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June 27, 2016 Comments (0) Views: 1244 Design, Short Stories, Sports, Summer 2016

Hot Wheels: San Diego Is a Hub for Bespoke Spokes

San Diegans love cruising the beaches or hitting the trail by bike

There are almost 50 companies throughout the San Diego region selling bikes, clothing, and accessories for cyclists all around the world. As with surfing, skateboarding, and other action sports, San Diego’s climate makes it an attractive place for bike companies to call home. High-end companies like Turner, Intense, and Ellsworth design elite (and expensive) mountain bikes, while Holland Cycles builds custom road bikes, all of which can cost more than $10,000.

Projekt Bikes is a new company that’s found a niche in custom rides: You can build your own beach cruiser, fixie, or commuter bike from the wheels to handlebars in the colors and styles you want, online or in their Bay Park shop. The company assembles and ships the bike out as soon as the day after you order, for about $385.

Vista’s Haro Bikes, which includes road and cruiser brands Masi and Del Sol, sells children’s, BMX, and mountain bikes, while Trek-owned Electra Bicycle Company in Encinitas makes cool cruisers, including the Townie 7D, which the company boasts has been the best-selling bike in the U.S. since 2014. Clothing and accessories companies also abound, including Canari, Zoic, Six Six One, Graced by Grit, and Zoot Sports, among many others, helping round out the cluster. Several international bike companies have their U.S. sales, marketing, or distribution headquarters in San Diego, including European bike makers BMC, Commencal and Focus, as well as component giants Campagnolo and DT Swiss.

Though many leading companies do manufacture their aluminum bicycles stateside, as the high-end market shifts to lighter carbon as the primary frame material, more and more bike frames come from Taiwan and China and are assembled here. The San Diego Mountain Biking Association estimates that more than 150,000 bicycles are sold or distributed per year by companies with ties to San Diego. “We find great inspiration in the fact that so many companies in the cycling industry have chosen to make San Diego their home,” says Susie Murphy, the association’s executive director. “Southern California is the perfect place to not only ride bikes, but to design and build bikes and accessories that everyone loves!”

Build a bike

Hatch art director Tania Roulston used the Projekt Bikes website to customize more than 10 different bikes before settling on this vibrant orange-and-blue one, which had the Hatch-iest colors. Projekt Bikes liked it so much, they might even turn it into a special edition. Photo: Paul Body

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