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Red Line Touring Bicycles

On this page: 58cm Red Line Metro Classic touring bike

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Linn Kasten was a partner in Red Line, which made parts for motorcycles. In 1973 he decided to make a lightweight steel BMX frame for his son for Christmas. At the time, BMX was new and kids were converting heavy Schwinn Sting Ray twenty-inch bikes into dirt bikes.

Kasten gave the bike a lot of thought. The frame he made for his son turned out to be a seminal design, truly important in bicycle history. First of all, Kasten TIG-welded the tubing when he made the frame, proving lightweight steel bicycle frame tubing could both be welded as well as low-temperature brazed. Over time, the frame proved to be capable of taking enormous abuse.

By raising the bottom bracket to give the crank arms more clearance in corners compared to the Schwinn Sting-Ray and making the frame out of durable, strong and light cro-moly tubing, Kasten created the modern BMX frame. That led to his next invention, the tubular, welded cromoly fork, which is now used on most bikes today that don't have suspension forks. Kasten kept on innovating, creating his own signature handlebars and cranksets. The company thrived under his ownership.

Kasten sold Red Line to Seattle Bicycle Supply in 1988. The new owner expanded the line, and Red Line now produces mountain, cyclocross and road bikes.

58 cm Red Line Metro Classic. New, $1,200
58cm seat tube x 58.5cm top tube.

Here's how Red Line described its Metro Classic: Commuter, touring, gravel fondo, adventure rides, all of this is possible on the Metro Classic. Classic, because it retains a 4130 double butted chromoly frame and fork and a great ride quality that is timeless. The combination of classic materials and look, paired with disc brakes, STI shifters and triple crankset make this a very versatile bicycle.

The component specs:

  • Avid BB5 disc brakes with G2C 160mm rotors. Rear brake is mounted on the chain stay for ease of rack installation.
  • Alloy 32-hole disc-brake hubs laced to Alex Race 24 rims with Sapim stainless steel spokes.
  • Schwalbe Lugano 700x25 folding tires with Presta Valve tubes.
  • Shimano Tiagra crankset 175mm arms and 30/40/50 chainrings. The bottom bracket uses outboard bearings.
  • Shimano Tiagra STI shifters with Tiagra front and rear derailleurs.
  • Shimano Tiagra 4600 10-speed cassette, 12-28.
  • KMC X10 chain.
  • FSA Orbit MX sealed headset
  • XLC 31.8mm handlebar and stem.
  • Velo saddle with rivets.

Red Line Metro Clasic

Wide range gears, comfortable riding position and a resilient steel frame make this a superb, go-anywhere road bike. The steering tube has not been cut, allowing us to perfectly fit the bike to the rider.

Red Line Metro

The Red Line Metro from the other side, showing the disc brakes.

Red Line Metro Classic

The cockpit. Those are disc-specific rims that have more material in the center, where the spokes connect with the rim. The rims are designed to stand up to the powerful torque from braking at the hub.

Red Line Metro Classic

The business end of the bike

Red Line Metro Classic

Close-up of the Avid mechanical disc brake, mounted on the chainstay