Say you’re looking for an everyday city bike. Most of us would simply shop and search until we found something satisfactory. But not Paul Budnitz, the founder of world-renowned ‘art toy’ creative engine Kidrobot. Uninspired by everything he saw, Budnitz instead built his own custom machine and then started a whole company around it to sell his vision of the perfect bicycle to others.
“I couldn’t find what I wanted, which is how this usually starts with me,” he told BikeRadar during a visit to his office in Boulder, Colorado. “In this case, I wanted a bike that was incredibly fun to ride, incredibly elegant and would last a really long time. That was my thing and it was either really high-end road bikes or city bikes that generally were made with lower-end components but weren’t so beautiful.”
Paul Budnitz Bicycles‘ current catalog includes two urban-flavored bikes: the No.1 with dual 700c wheels and 35mm-wide slick tires, and the No.2, a 69er (26in rear wheel, 29in front) with ultra-fat 2.35in street rubber. They share a common theme, with comfortable and curvaceous cantilever frame layouts, dual small-diameter top tubes, classic lines, internal cable routing, sliding rear dropouts and a minimalist aesthetic that’s intentionally devoid of logos and flashy colors.
While pleasant to look at and comfy to ride, the No. 1 model shown here is also light at just 9.32kg (20.55lb) all in
What’s also shared between both bikes is lots of titanium, which is used for not only the frame and fork but also the seatpost, stem and handlebar – nearly all of which is custom built for Budnitz by Lynskey Performance in Tennessee. Budnitz says he prefers the mystical metal not only for its light weight and durability but also its unique ride characteristics and renewable aesthetic. “If it ever scratches you can just buff it out so it’ll still look new and there’s an environmental component to that, too,” he said.
The componentry follows that same simple-yet-durable motif with Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes, Devinci machined aluminum cranks rotating on a Token square-taper bottom bracket, Schwalbe slick tires, Paul Components brake levers, standard maintenance-free Gates belt drives, Nokon segmented aluminum housing, and custom wheels built with White Industries hubs and Velocity Blunt rims.