About The Brand
Solé Bicycles is a direct to consumer bike brand based in Venice Beach, California. This low cost leader has built stylish commuters and cruisers at affordable prices, and emits a happy, fun-loving Southern California vibe.
"We believe your bicycle should be more than just sporting equipment, it should be an extension of your life," they write on their About page. "Your bicycle should be live music, it should be art, it should be dawn patrol and late night adventures. Solé bicycles are YOU, they’re your mobile canvas, and oh yeah, they’ll get you there, too."
How They Deliver Value
In a 2017 interview with Cheddar TV, CEO Brian Ruben explained that the brand was created because he and his friends were financially strapped college students who wanted to build a premium beach cruiser for less than the $1,000 - $2,000 prices that were common before 2009, when the brand launched.
They were "fed up with the state of bicycles," according to their website, and set out to "introduce fashion forward yet affordable bicycles that any one can pick up and ride. We were sick of bike shop hassle, and figured out how to ship bikes directly to your doorstep 90% assembled, for a fraction of the cost."
Products and Pricing
As Ruben mentioned, the bikes arrive mostly assembled and the brand claims that the remaining assembly takes less than 10 minutes. This trendy direct to consumer bicycle brand offers five types of bicycles that the brand refers to as cruisers (most are a hybrid between beach cruiser and road bike, which we'd call a "street cruiser").
All Solé Bicycles come with a "durable hi-tensile steel frame and industry standard components," according to their website. Their frames and forks are built and assembled by hand, and made from post-consumer recycled Hi-Tensile steel, then TIG welded for maximum durability.
Their bicycle models, in order of price:
- Coastal cruiser: 4 models at $275 each. This is the brand's version of the traditional beach cruiser, in 3 different colors.
- Single speed / fixed gear: 10 models, all priced at $359. These are hybrids between road bikes and cruisers, with different colors as well as tire types.
- City cruiser: 5 models priced between $275 - $369. This is a "lightweight Cruiser equipped for both the boardwalk bike path, and the trek across town," according to the product page.
- Dutchie: 4 models priced at $369. This is a female-focused cruiser with a "coaster brake" (pedal backwards to stop).
- Three speed city cruiser: 3 models costing $469 each. This is another "street cruiser" hybrid between road bike and beach cruiser, with three speeds and the coastal brake.
Solé also sells apparel, and bike-related accessories like LED lights, combo u-locks, a wooden "space saver" rack, and much more. Also, if you're a student, you're in luck! Solé offers a 15% student discount, verified through the Unidays service.
Extra Value: Showrooms, Shipping, and Tunes
If you're near Venice Beach, you can see Solé Bicycles in their retail showroom there. Otherwise, shipping is free in the US and the bike arrives 3-5 days after purchase. Regarding their return policy, the brand writes, "Take a 30 Day Test Ride, and if you're not 100% Stoked, we'll take the bike back and sort a refund!"
It's worth nothing that their hip California vibe extends to the brand's Lifestyle page, which features art, videos, and our favorite: "Fixtapes
". We loved the music we sampled, and feel it's a creative way to add another layer of value and connect with the brand.
Solé's retail location in Venice Beach gives Solé a huge advantage over other direct to consumer bicycle brands, with such an idyllic place to experience their cruisers and ask questions before buying. Yet, their product quality and branding speaks for itself—according to a 2015 article on Inc.com, the company was generating "about 85 percent of its sales through online orders."
The article also mentioned that, "Aside from a $15,000 small business grant from the University of Southern California and a $10,000 loan from the founders' parents, Solé has yet to take outside investment." This could translate to a unique advantage with less middlemen on the financial side.
At No Middleman, we're optimistic about this direct to consumer bike maker, and they're our current favorite in the low cost leader category. Solé offers a surprisingly high level of quality for the price, and has an unmistakable style that will resonate with many fun-loving consumers.