As an avid city bicycle rider, I’ve learned a lot, observed quite a bit and grown to appreciate specific things about bicycles over the years. The standards of a great looking bicycle are like the standards of a great looking suit: the design is well-established, works really well, and won’t be re-invented in our lifetime (nor does it need to be). Sure, there are mechanical advances with things like shifters, hubs, brakes, tire strength, etc. that have made bikes more durable and efficient, but one really needn’t fuck with the beautiful aesthetic of the classic, handsome utility bike that was perfected many decades ago.
Look at a vintage Raleigh, Huffy, Ross, Schwinn or Flying Pigeon. Along with requisite trimmings like a simple leather saddle, fenders, a chain guard and even a headlight and a bell, they have that basic diamond frame with the top bar running parallel to the ground. Some brands have successfully put their own stamp on the classic, though all the flourishes, for better or worse, are essentially remixes of the same hit song.
Shinola in Detroit successfully put their spin on the classic utility bike with the Runwell. Recently they took it a step further with the ridiculously handsome Wright Brothers™ Limited Edition Runwell. It’s stunning.
This sleek and sturdy made-in-Detroit supermodel comes loaded. It features a lugged frame, custom cast crown fork, backswept alloy handlebars, leather grips, Shimano shifters and hubs, polished rims, stainless spokes, aluminum toe-clip compatible pedals, a Shinola chain guard and a Shinola leather saddle.
Some of the nice extras with the 11-speed Wright Brothers Limited Edition include an aluminum bell, a Shinola chainguard, a stainless water bottle cage, a Kleen Kanteen stainless bottle and a Torpedo headlamp. And one of my favorite touches? Bamboo fenders. Elegant to the last.
The $2,950 price tag sounds hefty, I know. But this timeless, thoughtfully built, tastefully-designed American-made classic should be considered a one-time investment to be enjoyed and cared-for for a lifetime.
Since it’s made in Motor City, one might think of it as the 1964 Mustang GT Convertible of bicycles, destined to become a collector’s item (if it isn’t already). Bravo, Shinola.