Bike history: Insera Reflex Evo

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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By Markus Sandelin

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.