One of the current themes in bike design could be summed up as, "nice looking, retro-inspired steel stuff that isn't too expensive" - very succinctly put, we're sure you'll agree. New to that particular party are Linus, who have been plying their trade in Venice Beach, Californ-eye-ay for the last few years and are now launching their range over here.
How to describe their range? Well, it's nice looking, retro-inspired steel stuff that isn't too expensive. By 'not expensive' we're talking bikes starting at less than £400 and working their way up to the heady heights of about £650. The less expensive bikes are mostly high tensile steel with Cromoly down tubes, whereas you get full Cromoly as you work your way up the range.
"Inspired by French bicycle design of the 50s and 60s we have created a bicycle that preserves the simple elegance, and pure form of that golden era but has all the benefits of modern comfort and reliability", they gush on their website. And make no mistake: these are nice looking machines. We were particularly taken with the bike above, the Mixte 3, which is yours for a penny under £500.
We're suckers for a mixte frame round here. The Linus Mixte is a hi-ten/Cromoly mix with a partially lugged design, and the finishing kit includes a Nexus 3 hub gear, double wall alloy rims, Tektro brakes and a Linus rack. You get real leather grips too, and a sort-of-matching saddle. If three gears isn't enough, there's a Nexus 8 version for an extra £150.
The Pashley Guvnor-esque Gaston is down as a five speed on the Linus website, and was on the stand in that guise too. But speaking to Alan Solomon of The Bicycle Movement, who will be distributing the bikes in the UK, we learned that the bikes that come to the UK will be three speed, and priced at £559. The Gaston sports a full Cromoly frame, swept bars and a very nice brass bell. It's the kind of bike you'd want to rock up to the pub on; Alan told us that bikes are "perfect for charming you back onto two wheels, or for the recreational or about-town cyclist". Sounds good to us.
You're not a bike brand these days if you don't have a fixer, so step up the Roadster Classic, also Linus' cheapest model at £389. The Roadster Sport. There's mudguard-sporting three- and eight-speed versions of the Roadster too, at £499 and £649 respectively.
On top of the bikes, Linus do a very nice range of luggage fashioned from Canvas and leather. The Pouch pictured above is a simple bar bag with leather strap fittings, and there's also the Office Bag (a single sided pannier), the Market Bag (a double sided rolled pannier), the Sac (a shopping bag cum pannier) and the Satchel, erm satchel. You get brass fittings and even a brass padlock to stop johnny thief running off with your prawn sandwiches.
Bikes and luggage will be landing next year, starting from February. The Bicycle Movement are currently looking for stockists in the UK, but that's a work in progress so we can't tell you how many bike shops you'll see them in just yet.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.