When I discovered The Bixby bicycle by Shinola I felt 12 years old again. It was like watching a slow-motion flashback film of my boyhood self racing by the bicycle shop on my Schwinn, bringing it to a halt, and laying it down while I gazed longingly into the window at the beauty and shine of The Bixby.
Originally Shinola was a shoe polish brand in Rochester New York circa 1907. It was a popular polish during both the World War I and World War II eras. Production of the shoe polish stopped in 1960. Today Shinola is a luxury lifestyle brand that caters to both heritage style and expensive taste.
In 2011 the new Shinola was established by Tom Kartsotis, one of the founders of Fossil Watches. Now based in Detroit, Shinola hired famed bicycle designer Sky Yeager, who’s pedigree includes Bianchi, Swobo and Spot. Frames and forks are hand built by Richard Schwinn’s Waterford Precision Cycles in Wisconsin. Richard is the great-grandson of the founder of Schwinn Bicycles. The wheels are from California, frame tubing from Mississippi, spokes from Colorado, and brand decals from North Carolina. Yeager says, “The frames are the hearts and soul of a bike. It was never an option to import them.”
Shinola is committed to making bicycles in America and the idea of American manufacturing, especially in Detroit. According to Shinola “Each bike is made one at a time, by hand, with attention to detail and using only the highest quality components available.” True to form, only 80-100 bikes a month come off the three-person assembly line at 441. W. Canfield.
The Bixby is a classic retro design that boasts a Shimano 3-speed internal hub. The men’s and women’s models offer gender-specific saddle design and proportional geometry. It features custom Shinola dropouts, fork crown, rack and fender mounts and internal cable routing. It’s available in char, dark green, gray, and navy. Another key feature is its drop-dead-gorgeous stop-you-in-your-tracks looks. Seriously.
Shinola produces other bicycles as well. The Runwell is an 11-speed model at $ 2,950 and The Detroit Arrow is a single-speed setup for $1000. In addition to bikes, Shinola makes watches, leather goods, and journals.
$ 1,950 www.shinola.com
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