If you have been shopping around for a bike, you may notice that there are a wide variety of bikes out there, ranging from $50 to $5,000. You may already know that there are different types of bikes and that different bikes will have different features for various purposes. After shopping through all the different brands, styles, and features of bikes, though, you are probably wondering, “What really is the difference between all the different bicycle brands and styles?”

Manufacturing and Assembly vs Importing

Over 99% of bikes sold in the United States are made by large bicycle manufacturers overseas. These bikes are boxed overseas and shipped across the ocean in their final packaging. The first time the box is opened in the US is by the customer or the bike shop who will then put the bike together. This means that although the bike was bought from an American bike brand like Trek, or Brooklyn Bicycle Company, that bike was entirely made, branded, and packaged overseas by a factory that American companies simply buy from and then sell to you.  

Many of these factories make bikes for multiple ‘American’ bike brands, which is why there is a lot of similarity in the industry—different brands are often selling basically the exact same bike!

Within any brand, bikes are priced differently depending on their features. It’s the bike industry’s little secret—customers are often convinced to buy bikes with components that are probably a lot more expensive than what they actually need. On the other end of this spectrum are bikes that are sold to people who assume all bikes are the same and should be priced as low as possible. These are the bikes you find at big box stores, priced at $200 or less. Sometimes these bikes can last for years. However, more often than not, they can make the cycling experience very unpleasant.

What makes Detroit Bikes different from most of our competitors is that we completely assemble all of our bikes here in the US and, for our US-made Chromoly bikes, we also manufacture the frames here using high-quality American Chromoly steel. We’re trying to find the intersection of quality and affordability. We want to make bikes that are reliable and fun to ride—and have an amazing origin story that our customers can be proud of—while also being at an accessible price point. We sell the most affordable US-made bike you can buy. When you buy a Detroit Bike, you are getting something very special.

Types of Bikes

One point of friction in the bicycle business is that there are different types of bikes for different riders, and sometimes people are sold bikes that don’t really suit their needs. There are bikes that can be used for transportation and bikes that are tailored to athletes and intense recreation. Some bikes can be used for both! Cyclists who are into athletics will look for very specific weights and component specifications. Cyclists who want to get around probably just want something reliable. Unfortunately, for a long time, people who wanted a bike to get around had to go talk to a bike shop that was probably more interested in selling athletic (and higher-priced) bicycles. Customers were told that certain features were important, but, in reality, they were actually not applicable to that type of customer.

Recently, as more and more people in cities are realizing that driving everywhere is simply too expensive, bike stores are popping up that are primarily interested in selling people bikes they can use for transportation (#livethebikelife).

As a customer, it is a good idea to understand what you want out of a bike and to make sure that whoever you are buying a bike from understands what you need.

At Detroit Bikes, we specialize in commuter (transportation style) bicycles. We want to help people get around their cities on bikes that are long-lasting and require little maintenance.

Detroit Bikes’ number one goal is to produce high-quality bikes for our customers. It is important to us that we tell the story of how our bikes are manufactured and assembled. We welcome all of our guests to check out our bikes at a local retailer, or if you’re really interested in getting to know our company and our bikes on a deeper level, head over to our Detroit factory for a tour!

How Bicycle Brands Differ