Why Pure City?
Posted on 14 March 2016
Four years ago several Curbside employees were at a trade show in Las Vegas helping with the Simcoe booth when a nice lady from "Hangzou Yuanshi Factory" dropped by with a card and the promise that she could make Simcoe bikes cheaper in her Chinese factory (Simcoe is proudly made in Taiwan). To help sell the concept she said that her factory built bikes for Linus and Pure City. Oho! Well, we had a hunch that was the truth - they look exactly the same, share the exact same geometry, and have the same parts.
It's pretty obvious that Pure City and Linus are making the exact same bike. The frame is the same. The measurements are the same. The rack is the same, and the grips and seat are the same. That would be fine except that Linus charges about $200 more for the same bike in Canada. And, Linus is trying too hard to make their bikes carry the same elegant austerity as a Dutch bike (they call them "Dutchi's," whatever that means. Neither Pure City or Linus are anything like a Dutch bike. A Dutch bike is built so well it would survive the apocalypse). A Pure City is a greater starter bike that shows that riding in the city is fun and safe when you're on the right bike. That's about the only point Pure City want's to make.
Pure City is run by a bunch of young guys who aren't a day over 30 and got their start by winning a business plan competition at University. Bike companies rarely get a full two-page spread editorial in the New York Times, but Pure City did. It really is an amazing story. Between their beautiful fixed-gear bikes and the success of Pure City, we're talking about a company that sells 40,000+ bikes a year. Which means they have staying power. And, in a market that seems dominated by start-ups right now, staying power is good. Especially when it isn't priced snobbishly, like Linus.
As a store keen to attract more and more city cyclists, we like how Pure City feels accessible through great colours, quality and price-point. And, as a company that got its start in the fix-gear market, we like how Pure City is an interesting syntax between European elegance and California fixed-gear styling. Not too many bikes have the swooped top-tube of a Dutch bike mated with celeste coloured rims and nice little touches like one colourful spoke in each wheel. They really taking the market a step forward and creating (along with brands like Simcoe) a North American vernacular for bikes that were once exclusively European.
Ride quality is good but not amazing. You might say most lower-priced brands out tend to make slightly twitchy bikes. This is because most of the designers have BFA's rather than engineering degrees. Brands like Simcoe (or European brands like Koga, Tout Terrain and Fahrradmanufaktur) are the only example of brands who have focussed on maximizing stability with handling, but like we said - the ride is a-ok. It sits gloriously upright and you feel a little bit like a supermodel. In a good way!
In sum, Pure City is a great bike for the 2-3 season rider, a rider who stores their bike inside, wants a nice comfortable ride and enjoys the presence of a rack, chainguard, and kickstand. It by no means has the durability of a Simcoe or a Dutch bike, but with good care it will last a good long time. The colours are great, it's a smooth and delightful ride, and people seem to smile at you a lot when they see you on the street. That's probably because you're smiling too!
Want to compare city bikes? Read our City Bike Face-off!