The Kalkhoff Agattu Bike Reviewed
Kalkhoff Aggattu bicycleSince I wrote a while back about how I commute to work on a bicycle to cut down on my carbon footprint and to save money too, I’ve had a couple of questions from people asking about my bike, a Kalkhoff Agattu. For those who are interested in German bikes, here are my impressions. Please note that this really is just what I think. I’m no bike expert so this is not an expert review.
Before I bought the Kalkhoff I did a fair bit of research but didn’t actually find many reviews of this bike, or at least not many reviews written in English. In the German press and test centres, however, Kalkhoff generally gets good reviews for their bikes. They don’t make particularly fancy ones, but they are known for making good and simple solid bikes. You also see them all over Berlin, so they can’t be all bad.
What tempted me to get the Agattu is that it is firstly a no-nonsense commuter bike. It has a fairly upright sitting position that provides a good view of traffic and the road and also makes you visible to cars. It is also pretty well specified with middle of the range Shimano gears and hubs. The equipment has all worked flawlessly for me in a year of riding so far. The brakes give a good firm bite, the gears change easily and the steering is nice and firm. It wasn’t the cheapest bike on the model but I thought it had reasonably good components for the price.
In line with the German practise is also comes equipped as standard with a full set of lighting. This is because the German highway code directly covers bikes and insists that they have lights to be allowed onto the road. And although the Germans have relaxed their rules on battery lights, for a time they didn’t believe that batteries were good enough, so most German bikes come with hub generators.
This is great. It has a decent Shimano hub generator that feeds a B&M lumotech halogen light up front. It is made by the respected Germany lighting company Busch and Müller (which has the great website name Bumm.de). On the back of the bike there is a slightly cheaper brand of rear red LED light that also has a capacitor built in so it operates as a stand light. In short, that means that even when I’ve stopped cycling the light stays on for a couple of minutes. In general the lighting works pretty well but it is not the highest spec out there.
If I wanted to spend a bit of cash I would switch to a front light with LED bulbs instead of the current halogen one that I have. I would also look for a front light that also has a stand-light function so that I’m always illuminated when on the road. I still often supplement my lighting in winter with a second flashing red LED light on the back of the bike, and I also wear a bright yellow jacket, as being seen is the first part of being safe on a bike. But it is nice to know that the existing lighting on my bike will never have flat batteries and is just built right in.