Tokyobike’s American arrival feels like fate. After five years of successful launches — in London, Berlin, Melbourne, Bangkok and Sydney — the niche independent brand has brought their elite cruisers to the Big Apple, a thriving cycling city where a million people ride at least once a month. Their bikes ($825+) gel harmoniously with the lifestyle of city dwellers for three reasons: design, wheels and weight. With a 76-inch (650c) tire circumference, their wheels are smaller than the 82-inch (700c) circumference of standard American and European bikes; easily repairable standard parts make life that much easier after an accident or part failure; their compressed, light frames (whole bikes weigh around a reasonable 23.8 pounds) are easier to maneuver, take up less space and are ideal for carrying up stairs. “We find ourselves more of a lifestyle brand than just a cycling brand”, says American partner Dean Di Simone.
For city cyclists, potholes and rapacious jaywalkers are constant adversaries. Tokyobike has blossomed in other metro areas because they make pure city cruisers — meant for exploration amid the urban gauntlet, not speed — yet still have the quick acceleration ideal for the stop-and-go of frequent traffic lights. We were fortunate enough to take their flagship Classic Sport model for a spin. Pedaling through the NYC streets astride it (while hearing the calming cadence of American jazz in our heads), the street lights just seem to turn green.