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Bike Buying Guide


All PUBLIC bikes are designed to make it easy and fun to get around your city. On nearly all PUBLIC bikes you'll find:




Classic,
Effortless Style



Simple and
Smooth Shifting




Fenders to Keep
Your Clothes Clean



Rack Mounts to
Carry Your Stuff




A Comfortable
Upright Ride



A Kickstand for
easy parking

Here are a few suggestions to find the best PUBLIC bike for you. If you have more questions than this guide can provide just get in touch or visit a nearby store!


What's My Style?

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Step-Through Bikes

Inspired by the classic Dutch city bike, our step-through bikes offer the most upright riding position and are the easiest to get on and off simply by stepping through the elegant curved frame. The Dutch bike is the best style for riding in a skirt. Great for fun, casual weekend rides with the wind in your hair or your daily commute to and from work, our Dutch-style bike offers style and comfort on your every ride.

Step-Through Bikes

Inspired by the classic Dutch city bike, our step-through bikes offer the most upright riding position and are the easiest to get on and off simply by stepping through the elegant curved frame. The Dutch bike is the best style for riding in a skirt. Great for fun, casual weekend rides with the wind in your hair or your daily commute to and from work, our Dutch-style bike offers style and comfort on your every ride.

Diamond Frame Bikes

The time-tested “double diamond” frame style is a simple and strong design found on all kinds of bicycles, from utilitarian city bikes, to mixed terrain hybrid bikes, to high end racing bikes. The high top tube is easy to throw over your shoulder and is the most compatible with car racks. PUBLIC city bikes with diamond frame design offer a comfortable balanced riding position that is fairly upright with some forward lean, for extra pedal power.

Diamond Frame Bikes

The time-tested “double diamond” frame style is a simple and strong design found on all kinds of bicycles, from utilitarian city bikes, to mix terrain hybrid bikes, to high end racing bikes. The high top tube is easy to throw over your shoulder and is the most compatible with car racks. PUBLIC city bikes with diamond frame design offer a comfortable balanced riding position that is fairly upright with some forward lean, for extra pedal power.

Mixte Bikes

The elegant Mixte city bike design was popularized in midcentury Paris and combines many of the best features of the comfort, step-through frame and sporty, diamond frame styles. The diagonal top tube makes it easier to get on and off than the diamond frame, while offering a sportier forward-leaning upright riding position than the step-through. The unisex “mixed” style is popular with both women and men for its versatility, comfort and elegance. The low standover height makes it a particularly good choice for hauling kids, pets, and cargo.

Mixte Bikes

The elegant Mixte city bike design was popularized in midcentury Paris and combines many of the best features of the comfort, step-through frame and sporty, diamond frame styles. The diagonal top tube makes it easier to get on and off than the diamond frame, while offering a sportier forward-leaning upright riding position than the step-through. The unisex “mixed” style is popular with both women and men for its versatility, comfort and elegance. The low standover height makes it a particularly good choice for hauling kids, pets, and cargo.

Kids' Bikes

All of our kids’ bikes are made with real bike components in the classic PUBLIC design. PUBLIC Mini kids’ balance bikes feature a smart, pedal-free push bike design that makes learning to ride a bike easy and fun for kids ages 3 and up. PUBLIC Sprout kids’ bikes are designed for maximum fun and minimum difficulty in two wheel sizes and step-through and diamond frame styles for girls and boys ages 5 and up.

Kids' Bikes

All of our kids’ bikes are made with real bike components in the classic PUBLIC design. PUBLIC Mini kids’ balance bikes feature a smart, pedal-free push bike design that makes learning to ride a bike easy and fun for kids ages 3 and up. PUBLIC Sprout kids’ bikes are designed for maximum fun and minimum difficulty in two wheel sizes and step-through and diamond frame styles for girls and boys ages 5 and up.


How Many Speeds?

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Single-Speed

The ultimate in simplicity. Many people find one speed is all you need to cruise around town, particularly if you live in a relatively flat area. With no shifters to worry about, single-speeds are a breeze to ride and the simplest to maintain. If you have a hill to climb or need to get somewhere in a hurry, you have to work a bit harder than on a multi-speed bike. But unlike on a fixie, our single-speed bikes let you stop pedaling anytime so you can coast down hills to your heart's delight.

Single-Speed

The ultimate in simplicity. Many people find one speed is all you need to cruise around town, particularly if you live in a relatively flat area. With no shifters to worry about, single-speeds are a breeze to ride and the simplest to maintain. If you have a hill to climb or need to get somewhere in a hurry, you have to work a bit harder than on a multi-speed bike. But unlike on a fixie, our single-speed bikes let you stop pedaling anytime so you can coast down hills to your heart's delight.

7-8 Speeds

Multi-speed bikes offer the most versatility, with low gears for climbing hills and high gears for faster speeds in traffic. PUBLIC bikes with 7 or 8 speeds offer a wide range of gears for all kinds of riding, from daily urban commutes to fun weekend rides. PUBLIC bikes with 7 or 8 speeds are designed with only one shifter for easy and intuitive gear shifting, and come standard with a chainguard to keep your clean clothes away from the chain. For most people, this is the sweet spot of price, performance, and simplicity – everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

7-8 Speeds

Multi-speed bikes offer the most versatility, with low gears for climbing hills and high gears for faster speeds in traffic. PUBLIC bikes with 7 or 8 speeds offer a wide range of gears for all kinds of riding, from daily urban commutes to fun weekend rides. PUBLIC bikes with 7 or 8 speeds are designed with only one shifter for easy and intuitive gear shifting, and come standard with a chainguard to keep your clean clothes away from the chain. For most people, this is the sweet spot of price, performance, and simplicity – everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

16+ Speeds

For those who need maximum range to climb the biggest hills and reach the highest speeds, PUBLIC road bikes feature front and rear derailleurs for 16 or more gear options to handle even the most challenging conditions. The slightly more complex gear shifting style makes this a good choice particularly for gear-heads, athletic types, long distance adventurers, and those with a need for speed.

16+ Speeds

For those who need maximum range to climb the biggest hills and reach the highest speeds, PUBLIC road bikes feature front and rear derailleurs for 16 or more gear options to handle even the most challenging conditions. The slightly more complex gear shifting style makes this a good choice particularly for gear-heads, athletic types, long distance adventurers, and those with a need for speed.

Electric Assist

PUBLIC electric bikes pair a wide range of 8 speeds with an electric assist motor that can dramatically increase your normal pedal power. With a PUBLIC e-bike you can pedal straight up the side of the steepest hill in town without breaking a sweat, and commute home from work faster than you ever thought possible. You’re always in control of the level of power assistance, and of course you can always ride the old fashioned way under pure pedal power too. Great for people with long commutes or big hills who want a bike that can replace a car or scooter.

Electric Assist

PUBLIC electric bikes pair a wide range of 8 speeds with an electric assist motor that can dramatically increase your normal pedal power. With a PUBLIC e-bike you can pedal straight up the side of the steepest hill in town without breaking a sweat, and commute home from work faster than you ever thought possible. You’re always in control of the level of power assistance, and of course you can always ride the old fashioned way under pure pedal power too. Great for people with long commutes or big hills who want a bike that can replace a car or scooter.


What Else Do I Need?

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How to Choose a Bike Lock

A high-quality U-lock is the most important thing a city bike needs. Better quality U-locks use thicker, harder metal and stronger lock components that are extremely difficult to defeat. Never ever lock your bike with a flexible cable lock, as they are too easily cut. However, looping a smaller cable around your accessories is a simple security upgrade for a fancy saddle or other parts that might otherwise tempt a casual thief.

How to Choose a Bike Lock

A high-quality U-lock is the most important thing a city bike needs. Better quality U-locks use thicker, harder metal and stronger lock components that are extremely difficult to defeat. Never ever lock your bike with a flexible cable lock, as they are too easily cut. However, looping a smaller cable around your accessories is a simple security upgrade for a fancy saddle or other parts that might otherwise tempt a casual thief.

Do I need bike lights?

While passive reflectors are helpful to increase visibility in car traffic, powered bike lights are both strongly recommended for every kind of rider, and required by law in most cities. Like other vehicles, you’ll want to use a white light in the front and a red light in the back. In places with plenty of street lights, small blinking lights IN front and rear are enough to help you be seen by other bikes, cars, and pedestrians. For riding on back streets and off-road paths with less lighting, a bright steady front light is the best choice to illuminate the road in front of you. USB rechargeable options are a great way to avoid having to buy replacement batteries.

Do I need bike lights?

While passive reflectors are helpful to increase visibility in car traffic, powered bike lights are both strongly recommended for every kind of rider, and required by law in most cities. Like other vehicles, you’ll want to use a white light in the front and a red light in the back. In places with plenty of street lights, small blinking lights IN front and rear are enough to help you be seen by other bikes, cars, and pedestrians. For riding on back streets and off-road paths with less lighting, a bright steady front light is the best choice to illuminate the road in front of you. USB rechargeable options are a great way to avoid having to buy replacement batteries.

How to Choose a Bike Helmet

While not required for adults in most cities, a helmet is always a good idea when riding in traffic. In most places, bicycle helmets are required by law for children and youth under 18. All bike helmets sold in the US meet CPSC safety standards, so helmet shoppers choose primarily based on style and comfort. For people who like to pedal hard, live in a warm climate, or are otherwise prone to sweating, a helmet with enough vents for good airflow is usually recommended. For more relaxed riders or cooler climates, color and style may be more important than ventilation. No matter what style you choose, get something you like, so you’ll actually want to wear it. And who says you have to choose just one? We love to accessorize our helmets just like shoes, jackets, or anything else. Biking is all about having fun, right?

How to Choose a Bike Helmet

While not required for adults in most cities, a helmet is always a good idea when riding in traffic. In most places, bicycle helmets are required by law for children and youth under 18. All bike helmets sold in the US meet CPSC safety standards, so helmet shoppers choose primarily based on style and comfort. For people who like to pedal hard, live in a warm climate, or are otherwise prone to sweating, a helmet with enough vents for good airflow is usually recommended. For more relaxed riders or cooler climates, color and style may be more important than ventilation. No matter what style you choose, get something you like, so you’ll actually want to wear it. And who says you have to choose just one? We love to accessorize our helmets just like shoes, jackets, or anything else. Biking is all about having fun, right?

Do I need a bike rack?

PUBLIC bikes are designed for racks because biking is way more fun when your cargo is loaded on your bike, instead of ON your back. Unlike other bikes designed for recreation instead of transportation, we think a proper city bike should be able to carry your purse, briefcase, or backpack, your groceries, your laptop, or even your dog. And the simple cargo rack is the fundamental platform for liberating your back from that sweaty backpack. Many people choose a rear rack plus a pannier bag, crate, or shopping basket for carrying the most weight without affecting steering. Front racks are used by bike messengers and Dutch grandmothers alike to carry wide loads and keep everything within reach. Along with a rack, a simple bungee strap is a great way to tie down all kinds of stuff. And for daily riders, the rack-mounted pannier bag is the often the preferred choice for transporting the day’s essentials in style.

Do I need a bike rack?

PUBLIC bikes are designed for racks because biking is way more fun when your cargo is loaded on your bike, instead of ON your back. Unlike other bikes designed for recreation instead of transportation, we think a proper city bike should be able to carry your purse, briefcase, or backpack, your groceries, your laptop, or even your dog. And the simple cargo rack is the fundamental platform for liberating your back from that sweaty backpack. Many people choose a rear rack plus a pannier bag, crate, or shopping basket for carrying the most weight without affecting steering. Front racks are used by bike messengers and Dutch grandmothers alike to carry wide loads and keep everything within reach. Along with a rack, a simple bungee strap is a great way to tie down all kinds of stuff. And for daily riders, the rack-mounted pannier bag is the often the preferred choice for transporting the day’s essentials in style.

How to Choose a Bike Basket

The timeless bike basket is a simple, stylish way to bring your essentials along for the ride. A wood, wicker or metal basket mounted on the handlebars is an easy place to toss a small bag or purse for safe keeping. A bungee strap or cargo net over the top is a great addition to keep stuff from bouncing around along the way. Natural wood AND wicker baskets give serious style points and are fine for light loads SUCH AS a jacket, lock, or purse. Tightly woven styles don’t leave large openings for small items inside to escape. Metal baskets are even more durable and can usually handle larger loads. Baskets supported by a front or rear rack are great for heavy stuff like groceries, and come in permanently mounted or removable options.

How to Choose a Bike Basket

The timeless bike basket is a simple, stylish way to bring your essentials along for the ride. A wood, wicker or metal basket mounted on the handlebars is an easy place to toss a small bag or purse for safe keeping. A bungee strap or cargo net over the top is a great addition to keep stuff from bouncing around along the way. Natural wood AND wicker baskets give serious style points and are fine for light loads SUCH AS a jacket, lock, or purse. Tightly woven styles don’t leave large openings for small items inside to escape. Metal baskets are even more durable and can usually handle larger loads. Baskets supported by a front or rear rack are great for heavy stuff like groceries, and come in permanently mounted or removable options.

In Praise of the Bicycle Bell

The humble bike bell is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated bike accessories, and in our opinion is an essential component of a civilized bike culture. A polite ring can preempt many a sticky situation and is always much more pleasant than having to shout in traffic. Whether you prefer a fun color to personalize your bike style or a stealthy minimalist design, a bike without a bell is like cake without ice cream. You could live without it… but why would you want to?

In Praise of the Bicycle Bell

The humble bike bell is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated bike accessories, and in our opinion is an essential component of a civilized bike culture. A polite ring can preempt many a sticky situation and is always much more pleasant than having to shout in traffic. Whether you prefer a fun color to personalize your bike style or a stealthy minimalist design, a bike without a bell is like cake without ice cream. You could live without it… but why would you want to?