As more and more hit the road on two wheels — 77 percent more since 2000 — and as more lanes are added for riders, bicycling is fast becoming the city’s best transportation option. While that decades-old rusted Schwinn cruiser will still take you a few blocks, if you commute, ride distance, or want to actually enjoy the time spent on your bike (using our roundup of Summer Rides), local options abound for getting a bike built to your proportions and performance needs. The investment pays for itself with a bike you actually want to ride.
Brooklyn Machine Works
What: Completely crafted by hand and in-house, Brooklyn Machine Works got started making downhill competitive bikes, but has recently unveiled a beautiful track frame called “The Gangsta.” Every bike is fully customizable.
For: Folks who know what a track bike is — single gear, brakeless bikes popularized by messengers — and can ride them, though Brooklyn Machine Works has added brakes onto custom builds.
Where: The Brooklyn Machine Works shop is in Williamsburg, but there is no storefront space. Call 718-387-3307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs.
How Much: The Gangsta, with basic build starts at $1600. Downhill bikes — mountain bikes meant for bombing down ski slopes — are much, much more.
What: One of the fastest and sturdiest folding bikes available, first designed in the mid-nineties by Peter Reich in his Gowanus shop. The frames are now factory made (per his design), but Peter will build the rest of the bike to spec.
For: Anyone short on storage space; the Swift collapses to 31.5″ long x 40″ high x 20.5″ wide — with a bit of maneuvering you could get it into a suitcase.
Where: Built Swift bikes are available at both NYC Recycle-a-Bicycle locations, or online at Xootr. Or call Peter to order a customized version, from a lightweight single-speed commuter to a 21-speed touring bike: 718-875-3090.
How Much: Complete basic Swifts start at $679.
What: NYC Bikes offers five frame styles, all made of lightweight aluminum, from which to begin customized building — plus a variety of ready-built bikes. All gearing styles are available. Parts range from entry-level to super-core, depending on your performance needs and budget. And every NYC Bike comes with a year warranty.
For: Mountain bikers, casual riders, messengers and everyone in between.
Where: The storefront and shop are at 140 Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, 718-599-2409.
How Much: Pricing begins at $400.
What: Worksman is a 100+year-old company that specializes in cruiser bikes, tricycle hauling bikes and tandems. They recently began offering folding bikes and customizable cruiser frames.
For: People who want an easy rider, but don’t mind the weight — these babies weigh 50 lbs. on average.
Where: Assembly takes place in Workman’s Ozone Park factory (we didn’t want to discriminate just because they’re in Queens). Order online or by phone at 1-888-394-3353.
How Much: The standard “Atlantic Coast Cruiser” goes for $179 plus shipping. The customizable “Classic American Cruiser” will run you more.
Sent by Rachael.
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