Bicycle and Gear Reviews

Bike history: Insera Reflex Evo

2 Comments 08 July 2010

Here’s my current whip, which also involves a story on why I own it. The house you see in the background is where we moved in the middle of last winter and boy, was there a lot of snow. We lived in the city and only five kilometers from the office, so a road bike was not needed and also I had grown frustrated with my bikes being stolen constantly. So I got a 200 euro bike, which was a huge mistake since the parts were so shoddy that it was nearly unusable. Anyway, our nearly forgotten bikes were standing outside in the winter when we were moving and I didn’t want to put them in the moving truck so I walked both our bikes to the bike store across the street, they had an offer to give in your old bike and get a rebate when buying one of these Insera Reflex EVOs.

On paper they’re not terrible, they have a 6061 alloy aluminum frame, Shimano Deore (Not even LX) parts (well, A Deore part – the rear derailleur, everything else is Shimano Altus or lower – basically the lowest of the low), quite good clearance and decent caliper brakes. However, Insera is the private label of (I think) the largest bike retail chain in Finland and they have their bikes built somewhere in Asia. They’ve always gone for quantity instead of quality and build quality has always been their biggest issue. The bike geeks laugh at Insera, but for example my dad (who still bikes hundreds of kilometers per month) swears by their price/quality. In a way, I agree with that. Sexy they’re not, but for the masses they’re good enough.

Still, you can do some serious riding even with that and it having Shimano parts gives it life as you can pretty much replace anything in it.

As is with all these private label bikes, my suggestion is to have them taken to maintenance nearly immediately after the first 150 kilometers and do not take them to the place where you bought them, it feels like those guys don’t have a clue on what they’re doing. I found my new biking home in Ajomies in Tikkurila, Vantaa which is a super small bike shop in the middle of a mall but the service and quality is something to beg for. People come in from Turku (which is over 200 km away) for bike repair.

After my maintenance it’s totally different bike, but still my exponentially growing biking will probably need a new bike. At least the gadget freak in me is screaming for one.

Update: After three months the wear and tear shows very clearly even with constant maintenance and cleaning. The cables run in weird places, they loosen up quite a bit and basically it’s a hassle to keep up with the bike when you’re riding double-digits daily.

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- who has written 201 posts on Coming thru!.

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

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  • marcos

    Hej! I came to Finland 2 years ago and I start to looking for a cheap bike because I was no sure if I came to stay. So I got the cheapest bike (no biltema) that I found: a Insera. But I still biking it every day with no problems att all and I bike a lot even in the winter (even last one). In the summer I also drive my kid to day care in that bike. I have just one little problem with the rear derailleur but was still in warranty and the store (suomenpolkupyoratukku) change it (for one better, with no cost) and the bike just work and seems to keep doing for a long time…

  • Trinity 4949

    Hi, what a nice article and actually I fall in love with Insera bicycle after saw one beautiful girl carrying her bike out of the train at Pieksamaki. The white colour looks very nice and the white rims make the bicycle pretty especially when a pretty young lady is just beside it. :)

    But when I do some googling and saw that the bicycle actually built in a familiar Asian country to me my lust for Insera seems to be a little bit colder than before. ;)

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Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

It all started in the spring of 2010, after a record breaking snowy winter when Markus bought a house 25 kilometers from the office and decided to handle the commuting with a bicycle. It turned out the bike wasn’t up to standards for that kind of stress and the first weeks were more tragicomic than glorious. Thus the idea began to brew to actually document this journey.

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