The market for bicycles has been booming these past few years but one particular brand stands out among all manufacturers of urban bikes, ‘Retrospec’. In this article, I will introduce you to the brand and five of the best Retrospec Bikes review!
You will also learn more about how Retrospec translates their visions onto their bikes. Then later, we will talk about the essential factors to consider and features to look for in a great city bike. So, scroll down and let’s ride into it!
Best Retrospec Bikes Review
What Is A Fixie?
Most Retrospec bikes are fixed-gear bikes or also known as fixies. These are bikes in which the cog is controlled solely by how gently or intensely you pedal. In other bike types, a ball bearing system allows the independent spinning of the cog and wheels. You then control this ball bearing system to change your riding speed through the handlebars.
However, when riding a single-speed bike, your pedaling is what directly causes the wheel to spin. In other words, the faster you pedal, the faster your bike goes. Fixies, therefore, can be pedaled and ridden backward if your pedal backward since this causes the wheels to also rotate backward.
Why Retrospec Bikes?
Retrospec is a Los Angeles-based bike company that deals with the designing, manufacture, and distribution of urban bikes and components. The bikes they produce are popular both in the local and international scenes because of their attractive looks and functional features.
According to Retrospec, their aim is to provide riders with high quality bikes that will meet all their needs. They also test and check every completed item for performance, durability, safety and strength.
So, they pay attention to all the elements that make up the bikes. Check out the following list for a rundown of all these elements:
1. Multiple Components
According to the company, all components of their bikes are hand-picked and tested. These include the tires, saddles, and chains. The standard saddle should provide sufficient support for pedaling a fixed gear bike. If it is not as comfortable as you would want it to be, you can always replace it with a more comfortable saddle.
The Kenda Kwest tires offer minimal resistance and come with V-shaped double wall rims. The chain of this bike is strong, reliable, and can handle the intense pedaling that comes with using a fixed gear bike.
The integrated seat post and fixie freestyle Velcro straps also add extra function. However, the company recommends taking your bike to a professional bike shop or mechanic for the assembly and to have it checked. This should help you ensure that the cogs and lockring are tight enough, the wheels are properly trued, and the brakes are adjusted for a smooth and safe biking experience.
2. Flip-Flop Hub
Fixie Retrospec bikes are interesting and fashionable. However, there are situations when you may want or need to enjoy the benefits and less stress of riding a single speed bike. Fixies will require you to pedal continuously and at some point you will get tired and wish to shift to a free wheel.
With this in mind, Retrospec comes with a flip-flop hub that offers you two options: a fixed gear for when you need your exercise and a freewheeling single gear cog. Essentially, you will get the best of both worlds and reap the benefits of two bike types in one depending on your mood or energy levels!
3. Quality Materials
Retrospec also carefully selects and makes sure that the materials used will make each bike string and durable. The frame is hand-built and made using high-tensile strength steel. The front brakes are made of alloy material. The stem and the lightweight handlebars are also made of Promax alloy. Their fixies feature a BMX-style platform pedals that come with professional straps to secure your feet on the pedals and prevent them from slipping off.
4. Unbeatable Prices
If you compare the prices of Retrospec bikes to those of similar models, you will find that their prices are much more affordable. This is an important factor for most buyers and although Retrospec bikes may not be the cheapest in the market, they prices are hard to beat for the quality and performance you get from their products.
Retrospec Bike prices normally range between $300 to $350 dollars depending on the dealer and whether or not you buy directly from them.
5. Return Policy
Retrospec also offers a 50-day return policy for all of their products. Your bike will be accepted for a full refund excluding the shipping cost as long as they receive it within 50 days of your purchase. The unit should also be in good retail condition and must be sent in the original packaging. Any product returned after the 50 day period or in a condition that is not deemed good enough for reselling will not be accepted.
In case you have any problems or are not satisfied with the bike you received, you can reach the company’s support team through email and give them your bike’s order number.
For your peace of mind, Retrospec also offers a warranty for all material and workmanship defects on the fork and frame for a whole year from the date of purchase. According to the company, this warranty was based on their more than 5 years of experience in the manufacturing and sales industry.
All original components and accessories come with a 60-day warranty from the date of purchase. However, since the company claims that all their bikes are tested for safety and professionally designed, they do not recommend the replacement of any of the different parts. Otherwise, any component that is not part of the original product will deem this warranty void.
Here are some amazing reasons on why you should invest in Retrospec Bikes:
- They are relatively budget-friendly and affordable
- They have cool and stylish vintage or retro designs
- A flip-flop hub allows easy and hassle-free shifting from a fixed gear bike to a single-speed bike for versatility
- The company’s website provides helpful information and insights about each bike model
- All parts are hand-picked and carefully tested and selected to ensure a high quality product
- Most models come in different amazing colors so you can choose a bike that suits your personal preferences and style
- Some bike models are adjustable or comes in different sizes to accommodate riders of all shapes, sizes, age, and riding habits
Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Retrospec Bike
Before purchasing any bike from Retrospec or any other company for that matter, it is important that you think long and hard about your needs and preferences. Here are some of the things that I think you should prioritize when doing so:
Purpose Of Your Bike
Think of the activities you plan to use your bike for or how often you may want to use it. Will you use it for your hobby of going on long distance recreational rides? Are you going to use it for your daily commute of going to work or school? Or do you need your bike for when you run weekly errands around town?
Generally, Retrospec bikes are designed for recreational cyclists and daily urban road commuters. So, they do not have the same rugged features of something like a mountain bike
For example, the steel frame is light enough so you can go considerably fast on smooth roads but is stable enough to carry saddle bags. The slim tires also reduce air resistance and make for an aerodynamic ride for commuting and exercising but are not well-suited for dirt or gravel paths and mountain trails.
Landscape And Topography
The next thing you should consider is the topography of your town or city since this will also determine whether you need a multi-speed or single-speed bike. All Retrospec bikes feature a fixed-gear design so may not be suitable for hilly regions.
Because they lack multiple gears, it will be very hard for the rider to go up or down hills and slopes. However, this design does make maintenance a lot easier due to the absence of shifting cables.
Another important consideration when choosing your bike is comfort. If you do not feel as comfortable as possible when riding a bike, you are less likely to take it out for your stroll or commute.
Therefore, look for comfort features to make sure you can make the most of your bike. A step-thru frame will make getting on and off your bike easier and more convenient. Make sure the handlebars and bike frame do not force you to sit too far back from the handlebars. They should allow you to ride in a relaxed, upright position to make it easy to stand up on your feet whenever you stop at a traffic light.
The frame should also be the right size and height. Fortunately, many Retrospec bike models now come in different sizes.
To avoid and identify beginner fixed gear bike mistakes, please watch this video:
The 5 Best Retrospec Bikes Review That You Need To Read
Below are important information on some of the best Retrospec Bikes in the market:
1. Retrospec Mars Hybrid
Like the Retrospec Mantra, the Retrospec Mars Hybrid is another great city commuter bike line. This bike boasts of a vintage-inspired design with its classic diamond frame complete with cushy grips and a very comfortable saddle. A front light and a rear rack also adds a special retro appeal.
To accommodate the versatility of urban bike riders, this bike is offered in a wide array of styles, colors, sizes and gears. This is Retrospec’s take on a single-speed city bike.
It has the same hand-built, tig-welded frame and fork made with high-tensile strength steel. The frame is equipped with high quality front and rear caliper brakes for the safety of your rides.
Thanks to these dual caliper brakes, you have utmost control over stopping whenever you want or need to.
The Kenda commuter tires have water Dispersion grooves designed to provide reliable traction even on wet pavement, roads, and surfaces. The stainless steel spokes are also durable and strong and will hold up well even with frequent all day use.
You can get this bike in black or midnight blue. It also comes in a 1-speed, 3-speed, or 7-speed variant. It arrives already 85% built and requires minimal assembly.
- Stylish and affordable
- Lighter than most other vintage frames
- Comfortable to ride
- Upright riding position does not put pressure on the wrists
- The gear ratio is great for commuting
- The manual contains no specific instructions for assembly
- The seat is hard, lacks padding, and causes discomfort
- Low quality brakes and handles
- Multiple components may need replacement or repair just after a couple of months
2. Retrospec Mantra
The Retrospec Mantra is one of the most leading fixed-gear bike model due to many reasons. What makes it stand out are simple yet ingenious design and the impressive sealed cartridge bearing hubs.
These hubs are loved by urban cyclists because they make your rides so smooth while also lengthening the lifespan and improving the durability of the wheels. A flip-flop hub on the rear wheels also allow you to shift from single-speed to fixed-gear and vice versa.
The frame and fork are made with high-tensile strength steel hand-built and tig-welded for a comfortable and reliable ride. They also feature horizontal dropouts, barspin clearance, and no toe overlap.
Platform pedals equipped with removable FGFS (Fixed Gear Freestyle) straps to prevent your feet from sliding off. Other notable features include the Kenda Kwest commuter tires with rounded treads and water dispersion grooves, double-wall deep V Stars rims, an integrated seat post, and included bike tools.
This bike even comes with a kickstand mount, water bottle holders, and reflectors. Like the best bikes for college, it is perfect for daily commutes and other city cruising.
You can get the Retrospec Mantra in multiple color schemes including black and red, coral, graphite, turquoise and white, white, crimson, and dark green.
- Flip-flop hub for easy shifting between fixed gear and single speed
- Lightweight and stable steel frame
- Carrying saddle for bags when commuting
- Stylish appearance
- Flat handlebars instead of road drop handlebars
- Difficult to ride up slopes and hills
- No way to secure bags on the carrying saddle
3. Retrospec Cub Kids Bicycle
Retrospec not only produces great bikes but also caters to customers of all shapes, ages, and sizes! The Retrospec Cub Kids Bike is every beginner’s dream bike.
It has a low frame with a step-thru and foot-to-floor design that allows your little one to balance easily and avoid any injury. The frame design also makes this bike more stable, durable, and less likely to tip or fall over.
This bike helps boost young children’s confidence and sense of independence when riding a bike by allowing them to cruise along by themselves. It is pedal-free, lightweight, and easily maneuverable.
Your kid only has to balance and push themselves forward. This prevents them from gaining too much speed and leading the ride out of control which is the main cause of them getting hurt or injured.
Because it is a no-pedal type of bike, it improves coordination and balance which are crucial during the developmental stages. This makes the transition to a big-kid bike much smoother and easier.
The Retrospec Cub only requires minimal and worry-free assembly upon arrival and then it’s good to go! It does not need any maintenance thanks to the ultra-safe air-free tires that never go flat, no pedals, no brakes, and no chain!
The bike can accommodate users aged 20 months to 5 years old. It can even accommodate a growing child for several years since both the handlebars and seat posts are adjustable. The Cub is CPSC compliant so you can rest assured of your child’s safety.
- Durable steel step-thru frame
- Lightweight construction
- Requires minimum assembly
- Adjustable handlebars and seat
- Maintenance-free tires
- Stable and easy to balance
- Not suitable for larger and bigger kids
- Plastic tires could have been better if they were rubber instead
- No mudguards to protect the rider
4. Retrospec Venus Step-Thru City Bike
The Retrospec Venus Step-Thru City bike offers an out-of-this-world performance and a stylish look. It is not only reliable and durable but also versatile. It is available in single, 3-speed, and 7-speed variants to suit all your riding needs.
Built with a hand-built and shock-absorbing steel frame along with some of the best drivetrains and components, this bike completes the ultimate commuter bike package.
The Retrospec Venus also has a classic frame shape and retro features like brown leather grips (which are vegan, by the way), a chrome headlight, metal fenders, and a Dutch bike-inspired aesthetic.
The UrbanComfort Step-Thru Frame makes mounting and getting off so easy while the cruiser handlebars encourage a relaxed, upright riding position. Front and rear caliper brakes make your rides extra safe as well by allowing you to have maximum control and precision when stopping.
Kenda Commuter tires in Gumwall are made with puncture-resistant material to offer long-lasting durability and traction. These tires are specially made for habitual riding. Water dispersion grooves provide amazing grip even on wet ground by allowing water to flow through the treads.
You can get this bike in different fun colors including Black, Coral, Mint, Pink, Cream, and Taupe.
- Adjustable pads
- Excellent quality gears
- Includes all necessary tools for assembly
- Great quality for the price
- Amazing colors and finish
- The booklet or assembly manual that comes with the bike is not of much help so you will still need to have the remaining 15% assembly done professionally
- Heavy bike
- Headlight is made with flimsy plastic
- Requires a few modifications
5. Retrospec Mantra V2 Urban Commuter Bike
Last but not the least, we have the Retrospec Mantra V2 Urban Commuter bike, the latest and improved version of the Retrospec Mantra.
This bike features the same hand-built, tig-welded UrbanComfort frame made with high tensile-strength steel, dual back and front Promax brakes for safe riding, sealed cartridge bearing hubs for shifting between freewheel and single-speed riding, and standard Kenda Kwest commuter tires.
The sealed cartridge bearing hubs protects the bike from water damage, grime, and muck. It also shields vital parts so your ride requires less maintenance but lasts longer.
It also has a top-shelf component set, KMC chain, VP freestyle pedals, super deep V rims, and FGFS removable Velcro Straps. Thanks to all these features and the high-quality durable and lightweight frame, you can enjoy stress-free rides around the city, to and from school or work, and for recreation.
Available in 5 different frame sizes measuring 43 cm, 49 cm, 53 cm, 57 cm, and 61 cm, this bike accommodates riders of many shapes and sizes. You can even choose among 11 different colors!
- Great bang for the buck
- Smooth and quick shifting
- You can get some speed since the tires do not have the drag that you would find in mountain bike tires
- Operates quietly and smoothly even on wet ground
- Looks great
- Several components may need replacement, tweaking, or upgrades
- Poor quality brake pad
- Cheaply made saddle
After reading those Retrospec bike reviews and buying guide, I conclude that the best Retrospec bike that in the list is no other than the Retrospec Mars Hybrid because its features allow you to enjoy the advantages that different Retrospec bikes have to offer.
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