The Pure City Bike Review
Posted on 24 March 2014
After years of importing European city bikes we discovered that European city bikes are essentially locavore - regional solutions to regional problems. And, like anything locavore, that meant that there was little uniformity or universality in the solutions proposed. That meant we either got bikes that were simply too heavy or too light, too modern or too antique, and in all cases, far too expensive. Perhaps products reach some sort of universality when they arrive in the great melting pot of North America, we don't know - but we knew we needed a North American solution, and certainly something to appeal to the vast throngs of newly converted city cyclists.
Linus, for many years, certainly came to the rescue. Despite coming from California - where most bikes are designed and feature a million gears and all sorts of silly doodads - Linus was a practical little city bike at a great price and perhaps most importantly: good design. We probably owe Linus a debt of gratitude, because unlike any attempt beforehand, they produced a bike that had massive appeal and opened up a unmistakably large swath of newly convinced city cyclists. Suddenly there were sartorially dressed city cyclists everywhere, and suddenly there were also a lot of Linus. Alas, we had always suspected one brand could not carry the day, and Linus always struck as a company that was a little too interested in their brand. When their simple three speed bike hit the $750 mark - a price increase of nearly 25% in two years - we knew we eventually had to part ways. We also knew that any product designed in California could never really articulate the harsh winters in the Northeast, the fact that many of us store our bikes outside, and to quote Neil Young, the problem that rust never sleeps. At Curbside, we took it upon ourselves to collaborate with our friends at Simcoe on a lightweight, rust-resistant city bike. But let's say you only have 500 bucks and you can store your bike inside? Enter Pure City.
Pure City looks suspiciously like a Linus, at least as far as spec. The rack, the chainguard, the crankset, the seat, the grips, even the frame. Our bet is that they're produced in the exact same factory - which is good, because both bikes are great quality, but not worth the $750 Linus price tag. The rims are actually quite a bit better, but everything else is pretty much on par. But its different. The colored rims take their cue from Fixed Gear bike culture and the colors are a little bit braver. We also really like the logo. This is the kind of bike that positions itself beautifully between entry-level bikes like Beater and investment-grade bikes like Simcoe. They come in a one speed model for an easy $499 and a three speed internally geared model for $599. That's really fair pricing for a bike of this quality. We're impressed.
Our only problem? They're sold online. Yeah, we're talking Amazon. Totally lame. New companies like Pure City need to learn that brick-and-mortar stores give a much better value proposition than selling bikes on Amazon. Despite our critiques of Linus, at least they crafted some pride in their brand, even if it's rather overinflated. In any case, city bikes are not mere commodities that can be bought like a blender, they're tools that are used day-in and day-out and require a shop that not only builds the bike properly (which isn't that hard), but makes sure it is tuned properly (which is really hard).
So, if you're looking for a great city bike to call your best friend, we daresay this is the finest we've seen in the price range. Is it the kind of bike you can store outside all winter? Absolutely not. This is a great bike for a city cyclist that rides seasonally and wants a well designed product that's made for actual city bike riding. It's as good as it looks, and it looks real good.