So you saw Jason Hall in the national Apple commercial that featured Detroit and his Slow Roll movement, and you want to ride too. You are building your holiday wish list, and you know a bike needs to be on it. But it can’t be any old bike — no, you need a bike made in Detroit.
The problem is (and its a great problem to have) there are so many companies building bikes in Detroit these days. It’s so hard to choose which one suits your style. Fortunately we have the solution. Here is the roundup of all the companies that are building bikes in Detroit.
Detroit Bicycle Company
The Detroit Bicycle Company is probably going to be your most expensive option and will probably set you back a couple thousand. Don’t let the price scare you. These bicycles are barely rideable they are so beautiful. If you don’t believe me, head over to the Detroit Mercantile Exchange and take a look, they have one hanging up in there.
As long as Detroit Bicycle keeps making new bikes I’m going to keep lusting after them. My personal favorite is Detroit’s Fastest Bike, which features a laser-cut 93 tooth front sprocket. I would love to just blast down the long stretches of the Riverwalk, leaving my stresses behind.
Don’t confuse Detroit Bikes with the previous entry the Detroit Bicycle Company. They are two very separate companies, with two completely different personalities. If Detroit Bicycle Company represents Detroit’s ability to produce beautiful pieces of functional art, then Detroit Bikes represents the city’s more practical side.
Detroit Bikes manufactures your basic commuter. A solid, well constructed, humbly priced, joy to ride bicycle. These are not limited edition one-of-a-kind machines. Just because they are sold nationally doesn’t mean they are poor quality.
In fact, I was taught how to weld by one of the guys who makes these bikes and I can tell you from first-hand experience he is the best.
So far Detroit Bikes only makes one model: The A-Type. This is the perfect bike for a long monday ride, or a short trip to the farmers market. The A-Type retails for $699 + shipping, which can be waived by picking the bike up at one of their retailers. If you are from the Detroit area you can head down to the Riverwalk in the summertime and try before you buy by renting an A-Type near the Ren Cen.
GoCruiserGo isn’t actually a bike company, all they make are frames. But these frames are something special. They are called “stretch California cruisers.” These bikes are built more for show than ride-ability.
I remember the first time I saw their “Johnny Boy” frame in real life. I was walking down Woodward during the dream cruise. Surrounded by some of the finest machines that Detroit has ever built, and there was this bike. I stayed circling and staring for at least 20 minutes. It was love at first site.
GoCruiserGo no longer builds custom orders, and actually isn’t even selling any of their pre-built frames. If you want to get one of these your only shot is to subscribe to the GoCruiserGo Facebook page.
Shinola bikes aren’t actually welded in Detroit, but the frames are 100% American made. They are built in Wisconsin by Waterford Precision Cycles.
The frames are then shipped to Shinola’s facility in Detroit where they are carefully assembled by hand. Shinola currently carries 3 models, the Bixby, the Runwell, and the woman’s Bixby. The bikes retail from $1,950.00, $2,950, and $1,950 respectively.
Shinola also builds limited edition bicycles from time to time, including an all-copper one and a glow in the dark one.