Suburban Assault

Three Well-Priced Urban Bike Sources

with 7 comments

People often ask me where they can find a good, cheap bike. The answer to that question is always subjective, because there are so many types of bicycles as well as so many different types of riding. When I ask what kind of bike they are looking for, the typical answer is, “Well, I’d like something that I can ride around my neighborhood or town, but I’d like to be able to take it off-road as well.”

I believe the reason for this reply is because they haven’t been on a bike for a while and aren’t sure what type of riding they will feel most comfortable doing. Until they can figure that out, these folks typically want a bike that can do everything. Finding that bike is quite a challenge. I am more than happy to help out because I’m glad to hear that folks still have that spark to ride a bike.

I try to steer new people in the direction of something more universal and recommend getting a simple bike that can get them from point A to point B.

I also try to steer them away from discount store bikes. I love Target and Walmart type stores for many things, but not for their bicycles – which are, typically, badly made from poor materials. That being said, if that’s your only option, then go for it. Any bike is better than no bike.

My next recommendation is to check out their local bike shops. There is no better place to find quality bikes, built and maintained by skilled bike professionals, than at your local bike shop. Occasionally, you’ll find a bike at a great price. Plus, it’s always good to support your local shops.

But, even that isn’t the right fit for some folks. This brings me to the point of this post – to showcase some different sources for some well-priced bikes found online. I decided to focus on “Urban” utility bikes to articulate that there are nice, alternative solutions that look good and won’t break the bank. Here are three companies that have done a great job at getting some attention in the blog and social networking circles:

© Republic Bike - Please Visit Their Site

Republic Bike:
Republic is a Florida based company who was one of the first to start offering customizable urban bikes at a really low price. From their site: “At Republic Bike, we decided to shake up familiar aesthetic conceits and expectations of what a bike should look like.  In fact, we decided to leave it up to you. The only tools we offer here are those to let your creativity go for a ride. You pick, choose, swap and decide, and we’ll build it, box it, and ship it out. It’s a bike we design and build together.  It’s built by us & you. (more) ” Early criticism pointed out the low quality steel used in their frames. Since then, they started offering some nice Chromoly solutions at a slightly higher price. They offer fixed gear/single speed models as well as Dutch inspired bikes with up to 3-speeds. Prices range from $399 to $499.

© State Bicycle - Please Visit Their Site

State Bicycle Company:
State is based in Arizona and also offers inexpensive urban bikes. Unlike Republic, State’s bikes aren’t as customizable. Their niche is offering bike models for a limited time before ‘retiring’ them. This gives you a chance to own a limited edition bike at a low price. From their site: “Our goal is to bring the most attractive, high quality, and smooth riding fixed gear/single speed bicycles to the market at the lowest price possible. We currently offer 13 different color combinations, 3 handlebar styles (bullhorns, riser bars, and drop bars), and 4 sizes (49cm, 52cm, 55cm, and 59cm). Each bicycle model that we offer is available for 3 months to a year before it is “retired” and we release newly designed models to replace it — when they’re gone, they’re gone. (more)”  Keeping it simple, they offer basic components with one type of Chromoly frame model that is single speed. Price is $429 with free shipping.

© Public Bikes - Please Visit Their Site

Public Bikes:
Public is a San Francisco based company. Although higher in price, they offer up a wide variety of well-designed, European-inspired bikes. From their site: “We design and sell urban bikes, along with accessories to make riding more enjoyable, practical, and chic. Our European-inspired bikes ride like butter. They come in single and multi-speeds in all sizes. You can dress in casualor business attire, and wear pumps, tennis shoes, or flip flops – just about anything – while riding our bikes. And we have baskets, bags and other gear to go along with them. These bikes will make you feel like a kid again, and this is every bit as important as anything else. (more)” Unlike the more messenger/fixed gear type bikes featured by the other companies, Public offers more bikes that keep their riders upright and comfortable. They’re not as customizable, but provide great design that’s accessible with most budgets. Frames range in steel quality, with the Chromoly bikes at a higher price. You’ll find gearing options from 1 to 8-speed. Prices range from $550 to $995.

Written by dickdavid

June 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm

7 Responses

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  1. My experience with bike stores has not led me to believe they are a good place for the inexperienced bike buyer to go. One of your recommendations might work, but people need to be able to figure out the right size, which I suspect will be a future post of yours.

    Steve A

    June 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    • You’re right. It’s been hit or miss with me as well. Performance has had the best all-around customer service IMO. They seem to understand the inexperienced bike buyer.

      Excellent suggestion on the bike size topic. I slightly touched on it’s importance here , but not in the degree that I should. A more thorough post is in order.

      Quite frankly, it wasn’t my intention to get so long winded in the setup of this post. It was just meant to be a short intro to some alternates to discount store bike purchasing, and it ended up being more involved. I’ve always said that I’m the king of tangents.


      June 25, 2011 at 5:32 am

  2. Sometimes, simple does it!
    Peace 🙂


    June 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm

  3. The only problem with buying bikes online for me is when I need help or something breaks or something just isn’t right… I know that LBSs will attempt to fix anything brought their way, but I feel a lot more comfy bringing them one of theirs… I buy a plethora of bike accessories online but haven’t bought a bike online… RBM is my favorite place to shop for bikes… as for newbies who ask me for recommendations, I usually point them toward hybrids until they can decide what it is they’re after… I also volunteer to go with them to a LBS to interpret, discuss, and make them feel comfortable in making a bike decision…

    Howard Maher

    June 26, 2011 at 4:13 am

    • I’ve never bought a bike online either. It’s something that I would like to try just once, but my wish list is long and my garage is getting smaller. 😉

      Hybrids seem to be the best, most obvious recommendation, but every time I suggest that, I get a turned up nose.


      June 26, 2011 at 2:37 pm

  4. Saw some things on Twitter about Brooklyn Cruiser – they look to be making some pretty cool bikes but alas it doesn’t look like they are available yet.


    June 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm

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