When my Brilliant Bicycle arrived in the mail last week, I had a minor epiphany: I’ve never actually purchased a bike on my own before. When I was young my parents chose my bike, and though I spent a few months on a borrowed bike in Europe, I have very little knowledge when it comes to making bike-based purchasing decisions.
Sure, some folks have been cyclists since before the re-emergence of the bike trend, and props to them. It must be nice to wander into a small store with no more than twenty bikes available for purchase and have all the confidence in the world to inspect, understand pricing, specs, etc. I, however, am not one of those people. That doesn’t mean I don’t want a bike.
So enters Brilliant.
Brilliant is one of the first direct-to-consumer bike brands in the world. It would be easy to assume that bikes are the kind of purchase that requires touching the product and seeing it in-person. But remember what Casper did with mattresses?
The Brilliant website asks you three simple questions to determine which of their two bike models is best for you: your riding style, the type of terrain you live on, and your height. From there, all you have to do is choose a color and wait for a bike in a box to arrive at your house.
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The bikes come in a handful of stylish colors, from a simple white to a more daring Laguna Blue.
This is where things can get slightly tricky. If I’m not familiar enough with bikes to buy one in a store, what makes me qualified to build one? As per the instructions on the website, I asked a friend to help, and got to work.
The Astor (the model I reviewed) comes in a few large pieces: the frame with rear wheel, the front wheel, the handle bars, and the seat. The website offers text-based instructions, complete with pictures and gifs, as well as a video based tutorial to get you through the process.
Attaching all the pieces — the front wheel, the handlebars and the seat — was quite simple. Hooking up the brakes, which is just as crucially important to successful riding as it sounds, was not as straightforward. This is the part where a general understanding of the composition of a bike comes in handy, but after switching from text instructions to the video tutorial the brake setup was much easier.
Brilliant bicycles were not built to be the most spec’d out, lightest weight bikes on the market. The Astor ranges from 25 lbs to 30 lbs depending on the size, while the Mayfair weighs either 27 lbs or 30 lbs, again depending on size. It has a classic, simple design with brown leather seats and handlebar grips.
Both the Mayfair and the Astor come in three speeds, one-gear, three-gear and seven-gear.
Given that I’m not racing or cycling seriously, my Brilliant bike more than gets the job done. And what’s better, the Astor starts at $299 and the Mayfair starts at $399. Anyone who’s been on the market for a brand new bike knows what a steal those prices are, and all you trade in is the time and effort it takes to assemble the thing.
If you’re a serious cyclist, you probably want to look for something on the higher end. But if you’re like me, and you just want a bike that looks good and will get you from point A to point B, I highly recommend that you check out the Brilliant Bicycle website and have a gander.