Hi-Fi spottings in the wild.

I don't despise them but, even from having lived in Detroit for just 5 years, I resent what they did to use the city's image.
For sure, I get that. 👍 It was all about positioning their brand in the marketplace, and what better way to do that than to appropriate the name of a struggling major city. To their credit, their part of the Cass Corridor isn't the dread-inducing part of town it used to be, and their presence has helped that a little. But they weren't the sole element in turning around that area, or the world's perception of the entire city for that matter.

Still, it's not like we're any sort of hip and upcoming town either. (Rebuilding, yes...thankfully! But we have decades to go.) It's kind of how Detroit-style pizza is laughed at outside of our area; anyone who doesn't know the style just laughs, thinking it must taste like a combination of oily industrial equipment and steel mill, and have the consistency of cold-patch. (It's been embarrassing to have to explain it to out-of-town friends, without going into the whole history of Gus Guerra and Buddy's Rendezvous.)

I still had a laugh at their bicycle. Same as some of their other products. I don't need a bicycle; I need to be seen buying and riding a Shinola bicycle. While the rest of us do it the right way and go to the bike shop to get something that fits our needs...
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
For sure, I get that. 👍 It was all about positioning their brand in the marketplace, and what better way to do that than to appropriate the name of a struggling major city. To their credit, their part of the Cass Corridor isn't the dread-inducing part of town it used to be, and their presence has helped that a little. But they weren't the sole element in turning around that area, or the world's perception of the entire city for that matter.

Still, it's not like we're any sort of hip and upcoming town either. (Rebuilding, yes...thankfully! But we have decades to go.) It's kind of how Detroit-style pizza is laughed at outside of our area; anyone who doesn't know the style just laughs, thinking it must taste like a combination of oily industrial equipment and steel mill, and have the consistency of cold-patch. (It's been embarrassing to have to explain it to out-of-town friends, without going into the whole history of Gus Guerra and Buddy's Rendezvous.)

I still had a laugh at their bicycle. Same as some of their other products. I don't need a bicycle; I need to be seen buying and riding a Shinola bicycle. While the rest of us do it the right way and go to the bike shop to get something that fits our needs...
When I was moving to Detroit at the end of 2014 everybody I knew was really curious. "What's it LIKE?" And the reality was a lot more complex than I thought at the time, and I left last year really admiring the place. I missed a bit of the wild-west atmosphere that I caught the tail-end of, but what had been coming around was really unique and interesting. There was and hopefully still is a cool art-deco bar, Willis Show Bar, in the Cass Corridor that a friend of my wife's started up. Jazz, burlesque, great vibe. He'd moved from LA a bit disillusioned with it and found Detroit an easier place to start something. I hope that's still the case after this pandemic.

And I liked the Shinola Hotel, too, actually. They at least backed up their effort with more effort. As for thie bicycles I thought they were great bikes for twice the price you could get an equally great bike. If you want to ride a REALLY HEAVY bike that looks nice.
 
As for thie bicycles I thought they were great bikes for twice the price you could get an equally great bike. If you want to ride a REALLY HEAVY bike that looks nice.
I guess it depends on what a buyer's idea of a bike is. If it's a two-wheeled upright thing with pedals and a "designer" name, well, they got that covered. 😁 (And I'm relieved to say that at least with the Runwell, they got it right by going with a "modern" type of design from a well-known company.)

Honestly though, they look to me like outdated, dressed-up department store bicycles, based on an outdated frame style from the 60s and 70s that is now outdated for a reason. I can get my current bike (better build quality, sturdy lightweight frame, disc brakes, locking front fork) for under $700, full list price, which is less than Shinola's cheapest model. If I want more of a cruiser type, which is way more comfortable than those dated things they sell (better and more ergonomic seat and riding position, wider tires for comfort, lighter weight, etc.), it's around $600. Hell, I can upgrade further to a carbon fiber frame and hydraulic brakes for less than Shinola's mid-level model, and can get within a few hundred dollars of a full-blown trail/mountain bike with "smart" shocks front and rear compared to Shinola's top model.

It's a classic case of slapping a brand name on an average product, a "lifestyle" product, sold to those who need to be seen riding that brand name, vs. those who buy bicycles that fit their riding style. (I don't really want to say their buyers have "more money than brains" but that's what comes to mind.) It might be well built, but I would counter that the major bicycle brands (once you get outside the trash sold at the big box stores) are built way better. And you can also return to your local bike shop when it needs service or upgrades.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
I've been to the Shinola store one time because I was in the neighborhood for the beer. Jolly Pumpkin Brewery is about 3 store fronts down (and right next to Third Man Records) and Motor City Brewing Works is across the street. Some nice looking stuff, but I can't afford to pay for hip branding. What is nice is seeing all the businesses in the area. I went to Wayne state in the early 90s and at that time there was not much to see (except empty buildings) or do in the area once you got off campus.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I guess it depends on what a buyer's idea of a bike is. If it's a two-wheeled upright thing with pedals and a "designer" name, well, they got that covered. 😁 (And I'm relieved to say that at least with the Runwell, they got it right by going with a "modern" type of design from a well-known company.)

Honestly though, they look to me like outdated, dressed-up department store bicycles, based on an outdated frame style from the 60s and 70s that is now outdated for a reason. I can get my current bike (better build quality, sturdy lightweight frame, disc brakes, locking front fork) for under $700, full list price, which is less than Shinola's cheapest model. If I want more of a cruiser type, which is way more comfortable than those dated things they sell (better and more ergonomic seat and riding position, wider tires for comfort, lighter weight, etc.), it's around $600. Hell, I can upgrade further to a carbon fiber frame and hydraulic brakes for less than Shinola's mid-level model, and can get within a few hundred dollars of a full-blown trail/mountain bike with "smart" shocks front and rear compared to Shinola's top model.

It's a classic case of slapping a brand name on an average product, a "lifestyle" product, sold to those who need to be seen riding that brand name, vs. those who buy bicycles that fit their riding style. (I don't really want to say their buyers have "more money than brains" but that's what comes to mind.) It might be well built, but I would counter that the major bicycle brands (once you get outside the trash sold at the big box stores) are built way better. And you can also return to your local bike shop when it needs service or upgrades.
It's just a style of bike that fits them I guess, their whole thing is a hipster retro vibe and that style of bike is hipster and retro. I have several bikes and I guess the closest is my red 1970's Raleigh Sprite with its fenders and rack and bell and mirror. I love riding it despite it weighing a metric ton and having crappy brakes and 8 speeds more than I use. To me its the equivalent of listening to the Fisher X202 I had- I think there's far better amplification around but I liked just living in another time for a bit. Maybe that's what the Shinola rider is after? I dunno. There's another bicycle company around, Detroit Bicycles, that does the same thing but its cheaper. At least they're not fixies.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
A couple of items....

First, Shinola has offered me, in all of their stores I have visited, by far the best retail experience of my life. I have actually writen them to compliment on how well we were treated.

Their bikes are not unfairly priced and they are astonishingly beautifully finished. They are hand made in Wisconsin by Waterford Precision Cycles, a high end, boutique bicycle maker.

The movements of Shinola watches are assembled in Detroit, from parts made in Switzerland by Ronda. Hands, faces and cases come from Thailand and China.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Their bicycles make more sense if you’re not just looking at a bike as a functional device to get from A to B. They are beautifully finished and the current ones use contemporary fittings. I do think you can get an equivalent bike for cheaper but if a lightweight modern road bike is your definition of bicycle turn no these aren’t that. Personally I think lightweight in bikes is overrated for most people. A lot of us ride purely for exercise and I have to say my heavy-assed Raleigh is a better workout than my light road bike... which is better for long range touring.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Their bicycles make more sense if you’re not just looking at a bike as a functional device to get from A to B. They are beautifully finished and the current ones use contemporary fittings. I do think you can get an equivalent bike for cheaper but if a lightweight modern road bike is your definition of bicycle turn no these aren’t that. Personally I think lightweight in bikes is overrated for most people. A lot of us ride purely for exercise and I have to say my heavy-assed Raleigh is a better workout than my light road bike... which is better for long range touring.
It's a luxury product. It's priced at the lower end of Waterford range. As with most luxury goods manufacturers, there is nothing in the Shinola store that anyone needs. My Omega isn't a better watch then a G-Shock, but I love it because it looks great, feels great and pleasure to wear.
The Shinola bike in their gorgeous blue was the first bike I've fallen in love with since I was 13. It was just so beautifully made. If our dollar wasn't in the ditch, and it didn't cost over $2000 USD, I would have bought one.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I personally think they’re clunky, bulky, look cheap. But that’s subjective. Still there are similar watches for a fraction of their prices. This one has a Seiko automatic movement apparently, Shinola quartz movements are what, $20? I know we’ve been at this debate for a long long time. The store IS nice and welcoming and the staff is fantastic. Makes quite a contrast to the depressing high end audio shop up on Woodward.88DDB556-4CEB-47D2-A33D-544FF7D73A18.png
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
You'll probably notice I didnt defend Shinola watches. Don't own one. I doubt I ever will. However, I would love one of their big clocks. So pretty in the flesh.

View attachment 35756
Those are pretty cool.

I just feel, in regards to their being a luxury brand, it’s the difference between buying into a storied brand, and a brand that’s a story. They pass themselves off as a storied brand and its 100% made up by people who never even lived in Detroit before starting the company.

You know how I get about marketing that I think is pure BS.
 
Their bicycles make more sense if you’re not just looking at a bike as a functional device to get from A to B. They are beautifully finished and the current ones use contemporary fittings. I do think you can get an equivalent bike for cheaper but if a lightweight modern road bike is your definition of bicycle turn no these aren’t that. Personally I think lightweight in bikes is overrated for most people. A lot of us ride purely for exercise and I have to say my heavy-assed Raleigh is a better workout than my light road bike... which is better for long range touring.
Painful tale from several years ago. When I needed to run up to the car parts store, I rode my old "clunker." In comparison, the newer bike is far and away better in every aspect. And it is nowhere near a top-of-the-line model, nor is it the lightest bike made. Handling, comfort, ergonomics, especially efficiency and overall average speed. Even safety (think disc brakes, vs. rim brakes and that big-ass puddle I just sloshed through 😁). That old clunker (from the mid 90s) is torture in every aspect--it's slow, inefficient and heavy, and not at all well thought out in terms of ergonomics. At that point I had been doing 40-50 mile rides on my good bike regularly, and that six mile round parts store run on the old clunker had me feeling beaten up and totally exhausted. Yet that one was still an upgrade from the Schwinn 10-speeds which were all the rage when we were in high school.

If the comparison is about cruiser/commuter bikes, there are many other companies out there offering cruisers that are again more modern, ergonomic, efficient and comfortable than these Shinola offerings, at a far more realistic price. The components on their bikes are not high grade (Shimano Deora is entry-level Shimano, as one example). And I can tell right away I'd already be replacing that awful saddle and hand grips, and the crap tires before I'd even get on it.

Partly due to my experience on the old clunker, but also for other reasons (especially loading on a bike rack), I'm not fond of a heavy bike. But my reasons for a carbon fiber upgrade have more to do with rigidity and ride comfort than weight. The carbon fiber can be directional--it can be more rigid than metal in one direction (eliminating frame flex while pedaling, which translates to better efficiency), while flexible in other directions to absorb road roughness. I almost wonder if a carbon fiber rig might be too light. But if I can get the local bike shop to let me borrow one overnight (perhaps a trade-in), I can draw my own conclusion.

But hey, I'm the Forum Dimwit anyway, so take all that with a grain of salt... 👍
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Their bicycles make more sense if you’re not just looking at a bike as a functional device to get from A to B. They are beautifully finished and the current ones use contemporary fittings. I do think you can get an equivalent bike for cheaper but if a lightweight modern road bike is your definition of bicycle turn no these aren’t that. Personally I think lightweight in bikes is overrated for most people. A lot of us ride purely for exercise and I have to say my heavy-assed Raleigh is a better workout than my light road bike... which is better for long range touring.
Last summer I bought a couple of old Raleighs for us. I'm also working on building a light-weight Peugeot-based classic ten-speed for when I go out riding alone.
_ND39910.jpg
 
I just feel, in regards to their being a luxury brand, it’s the difference between buying into a storied brand, and a brand that’s a story. They pass themselves off as a storied brand and its 100% made up by people who never even lived in Detroit before starting the company.

You know how I get about marketing that I think is pure BS.
Totally agree, amigo. 👍 And I feel the same.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
Funny story about Shinola watches. My friend from work had been admiring them for years, but just couldn’t convince himself to spend the money. His daughter knew this and would have bought him one for his birthday but he told her she better not. He didn’t want her spending that much money on him. So what did she do? She bought him a Shinola laptop bag that cost more than the watch he was looking at. He showed me the bag and said “I should have let her buy the watch.”
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Those are pretty cool.

I just feel, in regards to their being a luxury brand, it’s the difference between buying into a storied brand, and a brand that’s a story. They pass themselves off as a storied brand and its 100% made up by people who never even lived in Detroit before starting the company.

You know how I get about marketing that I think is pure BS.
But almost all luxury brand marketing is pure BS. I don't understand why Shinola gets beat up more for this then others. Most "Swiss" watches contain parts from China. Is there any brand that is a bigger ripoff then Rolex? There is absolutely no reason for it to cost what it does, other then they can get away with it. They produce around a million a year of them, so it's not like they are rare.

My beloved Aston Martin took a tiny Toyota, added Aston badges, grill and some leather for the interior, and tripled the price. It was now an Aston. And according to the CEO, it was a real Aston Martin, just like the $200k DBS.

As far as stupidly marked up luxury products, the watch industry is easily The biggest scam now. Inflation correct the price the MSRP of an original Omega Speedmaster, and see if you get anywhere close to what it costs today. Nope. Not even in the same solar system. But they charge more because they can. I don't hold it against Shinola for doing the same thing everyone else is doing.

As far as watches, before their recent drastic price increase, the only honest luxury watch brand was Grand Seiko. You could actually figure out where the money was going. They built their watches dramatically better then anyone else even approaching the same price. And they didn't fill luxury magazines with ads to hype their brand.

C484D9AA-A89F-44CD-B22C-FC5162ABB794.jpeg
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
And in the interest of honest disclosure, I will say that the only Shinola products I own are a wallet (made of very nice Horween leather, tanned in Chicago), that I bought on the cheap at the Detroit area outlet store, and a nice, if not big dollar, pen. For the most part, I just can't afford the stuff they sell. The clock above is $400, and their super cool power bars, are $200.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
But almost all luxury brand marketing is pure BS. I don't understand why Shinola gets beat up more for this then others. Most "Swiss" watches contain parts from China. Is there any brand that is a bigger ripoff then Rolex? There is absolutely no reason for it to cost what it does, other then they can get away with it. They produce around a million a year of them, so it's not like they are rare.

My beloved Aston Martin took a tiny Toyota, added Aston badges, grill and some leather for the interior, and tripled the price. It was now an Aston. And according to the CEO, it was a real Aston Martin, just like the $200k DBS.

As far as stupidly marked up luxury products, the watch industry is easily The biggest scam now. Inflation correct the price the MSRP of an original Omega Speedmaster, and see if you get anywhere close to what it costs today. Nope. Not even in the same solar system. But they charge more because they can. I don't hold it against Shinola for doing the same thing everyone else is doing.

As far as watches, before their recent drastic price increase, the only honest luxury watch brand was Grand Seiko. You could actually figure out where the money was going. They built their watches dramatically better then anyone else even approaching the same price. And they didn't fill luxury magazines with ads to hype their brand.

View attachment 35763
I give Shinola shit because their fake story is built on the problems of a city I grew to really care for and empathize with. The only thing they manufacture is their own authenticity. That Aston Martin is a scam for sure, but there you’re talking about a legitimate brand being ruined, instead of a brand thats entirely made up. With Shinola watches you don’t even get that real brand heritage. It’s just a $120 watch sold for $600 because some dude from Texas put a shoe polish name on it, so he could profit off of the pain Detroit went through
 
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