Ryan Zagata launched Brooklyn Cruisers last year on grit and hope, but without huge aspirations. After his bikes made it into the pages of New York's glossy fashion magazines, however, things picked up - quickly.
"We launched with a direct-sale model," Zagata said. "But we blew through the first container. People love the look of the bike, but they want to test it first. So we are now expanding into bike shops,"
Brooklyn Cruisers product offerings are straightforward: the men's Driggs model comes in 52 and 59cm sizes in 3- and 7-speed options for $579 and $749, respectively. The women's Willow comes in 49 and 55cm sizes with the same gearing and price options.
In April, Zagata took his bikes to the hip New Amsterdam city bike show in New York City, where he connected with Grant Petersen, the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works and the former marketing director of Bridgestone Cycle. The pair hit it off, and Petersen is now on Brooklyn's board of advisors, Zagata said.
Style and simplicity, in steel, leather and wood
"Grant's whole thing is geometry, and he likes what we're doing," Zagata said. Petersen is also well known for his disregard of trends and his focus on old-school quality and simplicity.
Brooklyn Cruisers has exactly one accessory - a wooden crate, something Petersen could appreciate.
The bike build is straightforward: steel frame (with a double top tube on the men's model), Shimano Nexus internal hub/coaster brake, leather saddle (with a vaguely Brooks look), leather grips, cream-colored Kenda tires, a sturdy two-legged kickstand and hand brakes (in addition to the coaster brakes).