Fed up with trying to keep their bikes from being stripped or stolen by Boston-area thieves, Massachusetts Institute of Technology entrepreneurs designed a city-proof bike. Fortified’s Invincible has a rust-proof aluminum frame and chain, puncture-resistant tires, and theft-protection features.
Fortified Bicycle chairman Slave Menn was an entrepreneurial student in MIT’s Sloan Business School MBA program looking for a worthy problem around which to build a business. Menn was inspired by a friend who was hit by a car that didn’t see him because his bike light had been stolen. This was a problem he and his friends faced in the city every day: how to keep a bicycle from getting trashed or stolen in the city. The result was Fortified Bicycle. Fortified started by selling theft-resistant accessories, and is now launching two models of the Invincible city bike.
A single-speed Invincible 1Speed with caliper brakes starts at $399. That’s the bike Fortified recommends for flat cities like New York and most of Boston. If you live in a hilly city, like Seattle or San Francisco, the Invincible 8Speed with eight Shimano gears and disk brakes starts at $649.
Both Invincible models have rust-proof frames and chains, puncture-resistant tires, weather-proof saddles, and a custom bolt system. To remove the seat, handlebars, wheels, or any of the optional accessories — including lights, fenders, and a bike rack — requires a special screwdriver that works with the custom bolts that hold everything together.
The lightweight aluminum frame makes it easier to carry your bike inside at home or work than most steel-framed bikes, but there is still a chance a determined thief could steal it, which is why the company offers one-, three-, and five-year theft protection plans. If your bike is stolen, report the theft to the police and alert Fortified. The company has staff that watches eBay and Craigslist for your area to see if your bike shows up on either site. If Fortified is not able to find your bike within one business day, you get a brand new bike for free, except for a shipping-and-handling fee. Fortified Theft Protection plans cost $99 for one year, $248 for three years, and $348 for five years.