When we opened our pop-up store in Venice, California, we were thrilled to be neighbors with Linus Bike. We can remember when Linus first opened their store on Abbot Kinney. Their bikes looked so fresh, and had a very different vibe from all the other bikes around - more sophisticated, more classic, yet with a modernity most of our community responded to immediately, judging by the amount of them that were soon on the street. They were owned by all the cool kids quickly, and suddenly there were a lot of them parked outside local restaurants and parties.
Linus bikes are now an integral part of the landscape of Venice, and in fact of many of the urban bike capitals of the world. We were lucky enough to do an art bike collaboration with them and we're excited to introduce the Sundry x Linus bike. Based on their Dutchi model, it has very special paintwork in our Sundry tri-colors, blocked onto the frame, and of course has all the qualities we love about Linus bikes.
We sat down with Adam McDermott (the founder) and Chad Kushner, two long time friends originally from South Africa, who run the company. We chatted about design, bikes in the community, Venice (home to Sundry and Linus), girls on bikes, memories, and other random things.
Adam: I really wanted to make a bike that was super simple and functional, for the specific purpose of bikes as transportation. Everything in the US market then was about performance or graphics. I wanted to make a really pretty and simple bike.
A lot of the inspiration was from '50s and '60s European bikes, with modern touches. I am constantly inspired by vintage Porsches and Mercedes. Most of our bikes are solid colors, not metallics, and are all painted with liquid paints, as it gives a better finish than powder coating, so they have a certain luster. We used to have a lot of grey in the colors of Linus, although now there are a few more pop colors creeping into the collection. The paintwork on our bikes is really important to give a sophistication to them.
We design all our bikes from sketching geometry. The rider position, the relationship of sitting and how it effects the steering. The curve or the straightness of bars gives each style its own personality. The frames are made to last through everyday use.
We use steel on many of our frames. It takes a lot less energy to produce than alloys, and it lasts longer, absorbs shocks better. We work to certain price points for our bikes to keep them accessible, and long-lasting. We do have some bikes with chro-mo frames too, that are lighter and stiffer. If you look after a bike there's no reason you couldn't be riding it in 20 years. That longevity is something we build into the bikes. It may seem counterintuitive for the company but its important to us. We want to make a bike that can stand up to a lot of use, and hardware that lasts a little longer. There's a lot about the bikes under the hood (that you can't see) that makes a difference to them from other brands.
Community and bikes:
The Linus mission is to introduce the idea that bikes are a better way to get around when you're traveling short distances. When you live in a community, and maybe work in that same area, bikes help build the community. It's about neighborhood. I'm happy when I see regular people on bikes, moms with kids, people riding to work and using them to go to the market. It's the best way to go to a BBQ. It changes the experience for people within the community.
We both ride bikes daily. I (Adam) commute to the office every day, and both Chad and I ride our bikes to surf.
When we opened our store in Venice, it was the start of the Linus business. The street helped build the brand. Venice has a creative energy, mixed with the ocean. It feels like people here are doing great things, and enjoy a lifestyle. Venice is a community. Linus became part of the ground movement of Venice. People here have ideas and they pursue them. California is a place that makes things. This has been home for both of us now for over a decade, and being here is part of why the brand was formed.
Girls on Bikes:
Adam: Every time I saw a cute girl on a bike I fell in love. Whenever I traveled to Europe I loved to see beautiful girls on bikes. Totally feminine and a spirit of independence, so attractive. The idea of girls on bikes was part of the start of the brand.
Chad: Normal bike brands have a ratio of 18% women to men, we are stoked that we have 55% women to men that buy our bikes.
Linus smiles when:
We get people back onto bikes. The joy is when we put someone on a bike again. You can see it on their face - they go back to when they used to ride, that feeling of independence. It reminds them of the pleasure of bikes.
Your own memories?
Adam: I had a bike with training wheels. Eventually my neighbors took the training wheels off for me. I got on it and just went - a total feeling of freedom.
Chad. I had a little green bike I used to ride across town to visit my friend, when I was 8! It was how I got around. We used to build ramps to jump off, bikes were both transportation and fun!
Linus and Sundry:
We feel the similarity. A French and Californian aesthetic, European sensibilities with Californian coast.
A huge thank you to Adam and Chad for letting us into their world. For more of their great bikes, check out their website: www.linusbike.com