Community Minded: Brooklyn Bicycle Co.
Written by: Kwesi Adjin All Images courtesy of Brooklyn Bicycle Co., Blake Scott, CaliVintage, Sugar & Cloth

Necessity continues to be the mother of invention and it is awesome when that mother gives birth to something as cool and consciously informed as Brooklyn Bicycle Co.  This bicycle company delves deep into the ethos of bikes and continuously surfaces with designs, accessories and concepts that inspire socializing, community and style without breaking the bank.  Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s creations are all must-owns because not only are they functionally versatile, they are also statements of art that are sure to make you stand out. Did we mention that their prices won’t send you to the poor house? 

We were absolutely thrilled to get an interview with this forward-thinking innovate company and want to give a special cheers to Emily Rose, Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s industrious Marketing Associate for making this happen.

“The folks riding our bikes range from stylish Los Angelenos, to bike dealers in Colorado, to …”

Please tell us about how Brooklyn Bicycle Co. got started and the niche your brand is aiming to fill.

When our president, Ryan Zagata, moved to Brooklyn several years ago, he figured that the best way to get to know the neighborhood would be by bike—but he couldn’t find an affordable option for simply cruising the neighborhood in style.  Soon afterward, on a visit to Vietnam, he saw residents riding exactly the kinds of classic bikes he had been unable to find in Brooklyn, so upon his return he looked into creating his own models.  A chance encounter with Grant Petersen, industry thought-leader and founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works, led Ryan to a thoughtfully-designed city bike frame, and the rest came together from there.  Ryan has toured factories the world over and consulted with countless bike shops to make sure we’re always improving, putting out stylish, quality products that don’t cost and arm and a leg.

What products does your company sell?

We currently offer bikes and accessories, and we have plans to expand our lines of both this year!

What is Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s philosophy and/or mission?

Our mission is to connect people with the places they call home, fostering meaningful relationships and contributing to local economies—thereby strengthening communities the world over.

Who is Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s typical client?

Our bicycles are for anyone who wants to do good, feel good, or look good.  We don’t have one typical customer, really.  The folks riding our bikes range from stylish Los Angelenos, to bike dealers in Colorado, to moms in Houston.

Do sales occur primarily online or you have physical (brick and mortar) stores?

Very few of our sales are online—but we actually have no stores of our own.  Almost all of our sales are made through independent bike shops around the country.  Even bikes our customers order online (through our Buy & Ride program) always end up being assembled either by one of our authorized dealers, or by a shop in the customer’s area.  We don’t want customers to have to build bikes themselves, and local bike shops will help a customer find all the essential extras—like a lock and a helmet—that cyclists need.  We believe in keeping business local.

Does Brooklyn Bicycle Co. custom build bicycles to client specifications or do you execute a made-to-measure type model?

Good question.  We don’t build custom bicycles in the bespoke sense, but we have engineered our frame geometry so that by choosing the right size frame and then adjusting the seat and handlebar height, you’ve got a bicycle that can be tailored to any rider, allowing that rider both the ease of touching their feet to the ground when stopped, but also the luxury of full leg extension when in motion.

Which product is your most popular when it comes to sales and why?

Our Willow 3s—our 3-speed step-through models—are without doubt our most popular sellers, with our Franklin 7s—our 7-speed step-through models—not far behind.  We offer the Willows in an array of bright, but still gender-neutral colors, and a 3-speed bike offers more versatility than a single-speed, but doesn’t come with a bunch of gears you’ll never use.  Anyone can ride a step-through—women in maxis, men in suits—because there’s no bar to swing your leg over, and the Willow comes with a rear carrier already attached, so if you’ll be using the bike for errands, it’s ready to go.  Our most popular accessory is our signature handcrafted rear wooden crate, and many people pair the two for a stylish way to carry groceries, a laptop—or even a picnic!

Willow 3s

Franklin 7s

What is the best feature of Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s bicycles?

That’s a tough one.  I’m going to choose two: our thoughtful design and our quality components, which really go hand in hand.  Our president agonized over the geometry of our frames—we’re talking millimeters, here—and then found all the best components to ensure sure our customers would be getting the smoothest, most comfortable ride out there—without compromising style and affordability.

If you could use three words to describe your brand, what would those be?

Sophisticated, accessible, and community-minded.

Is Brooklyn Bicycle Co. open to doing collaborations and cross marketing with other brands/artists/designers?

Absolutely we are!  We are working on a collaboration with another Brooklyn brand as we speak—but we don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet.  Collaboration is really important to us.  Whether it’s from our dealers, customers, industry professionals, or others in our community, the feedback we get is invaluable; it’s what allows us to grow.  Collaborating with other designers and brands opens us up to new audiences, which is great fun, and introduces us to new communities, which is really the reason we’re doing what we’re doing.

Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. other than solid Brooklyn Bicycle Co. gear do you think define a man?

Well, people have been trying to answer this question for ages.  We believe style is of course important, but the real measure of a man—or any individual, regardless of gender—is his integrity.  What does he value?  How does he bring those values to bear on his everyday life?  Bicycling is a great way to turn abstract ideas—environmental concerns, healthy living ambitions, etc.—into daily practices, and with our bikes, men can take action and look good doing it.

Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like see on a Brooklyn Bicycle Co. bicycle?

We polled the office, and we’re pretty excited about what we came up with.  Our president has two little ones, and he’d like to one day see them on our bikes.  We are producing heirlooms, here, so nothing would make him prouder than passing his own bike down to his kids.  As for the rest of us, we think Rock Hudson would have looked absolutely phenomenal on one of our bikes, and even though Sinatra was a Jersey boy, we would absolutely put him on a Brooklyn.  Finally, one of our staff is from the same town as Bradley Cooper—and he’s someone we’d kill to see on our new Army Green Calyer model.

How can people learn more about Brooklyn Bicycle Co.’s products and/or upcoming events?

We’ll be launching a new website pretty soon, so that’ll be a great way to stay in the loop, and our blog always has local recommendations, interviews with bike shops and Brooklyn Bicycle riders, and roundups of stylish bike gear.  Twitter is where we pass along our latest collabs, features, and any amazing tidbits we learn through our network, and fans can follow us on Instagram for wonderful photos of our bikes and our cyclists.  Of course, we’re also on Facebook and—wait for it—Snapchat, where we show people what it’s like to live right here in Brooklyn!  We’re brooklybikeco across all platforms, so come see us!

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