If you’re looking for something beautiful yet easy, think Brilliant Bicycle Company. It’s about biking, not bikes. When Digital Trends spoke to him, co-founder Kane Hsieh made clear the company’s motto reflects how they feel about the bike industry today: Costs and crazes have gotten a little out of control. The bike does not maketh the man, and you shouldn’t have to spend a grand or swathe yourself in spandex to have fun going for a ride. Brilliant’s direct-order website just launched May 27 where you can grab near-assembled single-, three-, and seven-speeds at $300, $400, and $500 dollars, respectively.
The website reflects Brilliant Bicycle Company’s streamlined aesthetic: Choose “versatile” or “relaxed” as your riding style and you’ll be picking either the Astor, which looks something like a traditional touring bike, or their new model, the Mayfair, more of a traditional cruiser. Both ride 32mm tires, and both are made of 1020 steel, and what this means to us is they’re tough enough to take more terrain than butter-smooth asphalt, and they”ll last you a good number of years if you take care of them. And you’ll likely still be able to have your frame bent back into shape if it meets with wrong end of a car. For steel snobs and hardcores, no, 1020 is not high-end Reynolds, but you’re also getting an entire bike at the price of a chromoly steel frame.
Put in your height, and Brilliant will recommend a size for you. The large of both models weighs in at 29 lbs, the small at 27.5 lbs. If you go with the Astor, you can pick your Shimano internal gearing. The Mayfair is only available in a three-speed right now. You can pick your accessories, like your basic bells and lights, but also including Nantucket baskets and a Brooks saddle if you want a little extra flash. Otherwise you’ll be fine with the “vegan leather” seat and bars that are included; they’re weatherproofed against the elements and feel smooth and well made to the touch.
Brilliant has no real competition. Other direct-delivery companies don’t offer these styles of frames (what you’ll see is track frames, if that) of this high a quality, and with customer service at this price point, let alone in any state for the average person to put it together on their own. These are handmade quality bikes not made in China, with glossy dropouts and quality finishes.
As far as the DIY aspect goes, these come with everything greased up, headset installed, the cables already in place, all you need to do is put on the bars, wheels, and seat. For those of us who’ve had to change a tube, adjust bars on the road, or raise or lower a seat, we know this isn’t asking too much. Brilliant even ships their bikes with the three basic tools you need to assemble them and provides detailed instructions in both video and written form. Wheels come properly tensioned, unlike when you order from 99 percent of other online services. If there’s a problem, Brilliant has customer service to match its name.
In keeping with their ideal of making it easy and inexpensive for people to get out and get riding, Brilliant is already at work on a line of children’s bikes, beginning with a balance bike and a starter single speed with geometry similar to the Astor’s. Look for them in time for Christmas. Keep your eye on its Facebook page for info about upcoming promotions.