Wild for Two Wheels? This Brilliant Idea Might Change Biking in a Big Way

May 27th, 2015

When you’re looking for a new bike, you’re usually stuck with two choices: Go to a specialty bicycle retailer and pretty much hand over your bank account, or head to a big box story and buy a cheap model that likely won’t let you pedal into the next year.

The minds behind Brilliant Bicycles think would-be bikers deserve a better options. Their innovative idea combines a simple online ordering with affordable prices. (It’s a little bit like Warby Parker with two wheels.)

Adam Kalamchi, Brilliant’s founder and CEO, says he was compelled to start the company after his own fruitless search for a reasonably priced bike.

“I realized the experience I had was a function of the way the industry was structured,” he said. “The bike industry is run by five companies, and they’re all run by former racers for racers. They’re not excited about selling a $300 bike. They want to sell a $3,000 bike.”

The average person just doesn’t have the time, or energy to figure out the mechanical jargon most high-end retailers expect you to know, Kalamchi said.

“The problem with bike stores is they sell bikes the way Dell sold computers 10 years ago,” he said. “They’re all focused on specs and performance. If you ask someone what GPU they want, most people—99 percent of people—don’t know what that means.”

But finding the right bike from Brilliant is simple. The website asks you three simple questions in what Kalamchi calls “plain-English terms” to figure out what bike is the right fit for you.  Once you pick your favorite color, bam—it ships right to your front door.

Yes, you have to put it together. But Kalamchi swears the super-streamlined design takes just 30 minutes to assemble. Even if you don’t know your way around a screwdriver, it’s easy—and it helps you get more familiar with your new bike.

“Given how digital our lives are, taking an hour to put something together is a really rare experience,” Kalamchi said. “People enjoy building the bike too. It makes them more comfortable with it. As they’re riding the bike, if something feels too loose or too tall, they know how it was put together so they know how to fix it. They feel an ownership over having built it.”

And that’s the whole point. Kalamchi wants to see people excited about the bike they’re riding.

“That first time you hop on one of our bikes, you can’t help but feel 12 again,” he said. “We want you to just be able to hop on our bikes and go do something fun.”

Photo credit: Brilliant Bicycles

This article is related to: Sustainable

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Annalise MantzAnnalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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