I finally got a new bike this week and it's a Takara Kabuto. I guess the name Kabuto means helmet in Japanese. I'm actually quite impressed with how the bike performs. One thing I will add is that the Vitesse racing saddle is actually quite comfortable which was a nice surprise. It doesn't look like it would be but there's actually a reasonable amount of padding for your butt. The 700 x 25c tires are a good compromise between rolling resistance and shock absorption.
Earlier today I installed the rear rack. After all, this is a commuter vehicle and if I go to the store this is my only transportation other than walking. In the next week or so I should be creating a new set of grocery panniers, they're far too expensive to buy having looked for some. I went and hunted up my extra canvas today. To admit, I wanted to make some new bags anyway, maybe slightly more aerodynamic that the rectangular ones. For some reason there's only one left of pair I had made before. The Axiom is specially designed to center any weight that's attached to it but when you have a heavier amount of stuff you need both bags to help maintain your balance.
Tomorrow the front and rear lights should be in so that I will be able to ride safely at night. I've even dusted off my helmet and made sure it fits right. I didn't install the trailer hitch yet though I probably will pretty soon.
Here is the review I posted on the Fingerhut site where I bought it at and I gave it five stars. The same model is on Amazon also and it averages 4.1 stars there with 318 reviews that have been posted. It's a really good bike.
The weight and balance are excellent on this bicycle which makes for great handling characteristics. I think a person who really knows what they're doing is who designed it. It felt like one of the road bikes I used to race on many years ago. There really isn't a need for multiple gears if you're in the city and this bike is proof of that. It will take a little oomph getting started though, since I'm close to 50 I'm noticing that.
Even going up 6% grades like one near where I live hasn't been an issue. I just zip right on up it. My daily commute is about 3/4 mile each way and it's now quite a dream compared that heavy mountain bike I was last riding. I timed it tonight and it took me 6 minutes, normally it's been taking about 12 minutes.
Assembly once I got it out of the carton went like a breeze, I think it took me about 15 minutes and I was taking it out for its first spin. It started getting noticed immediately so get yourself a really good lock or you may end up missing the bike rather quickly. I had a couple of people came to congratulate me on how good it looks.