Modern furniture brand Blu Dot is celebrated for its smart designs and reasonable price points. Handsome Cycles is known for their simple, elegant steel bicycles. Now, the Minneapolis-based brands have teamed up for a good cause. It’s a match made in minimalist heaven.
The companies have co-designed a stripped-down bike geared toward city riding. Inspired by the café racer motorcycle, the design of the single-speed bike started with Handsome’s versatile frame and simplified it, in that oh-so-Blu-Dot way. It’s finished with stylish touches such as leather-gripped chrome handlebars and a matching Brooks saddle, and is matte powder-coated in a custom grey-blue shade. In partnership with World Bicycle Relief, an organization that brings affordable transportation to rural areas of developing countries, Blu Dot will donate a bicycle for every collaboration bike sold.
I chatted with Blu Dot CEO and co-founder John Christakos about the collaboration:
How did the collaboration come about?
“We were approached by Handsome to see if we had an interest in working on a bike together. We love their brand, so we thought that’d be really fun. We’re drawn to them mainly because they’re a homegrown Minnesota startup like we are—our roots are very similar. Since we’re not in the bike business, we felt there should be another angle to it, so we thought it might be more meaningful if we gave the profits away to a good cause. Handsome turned us on to World Bicycle Relief, so we decided for every bike we sell we would buy one of their Buffalo Bikes they would distribute to someone in a developing country.”
What was it like working with Handsome Cycles on the bike design?
It was pretty easy, really. One of our designers at Blu Dot, Scott Smrstick, headed up the design. He’s a great designer and an avid cyclist himself, so it was a really fluid, simple collaboration. Handsome is handling 100 percent of the production. There was a back and forth initially that we can and can’t do, all the way from the color of the bike to the creation of the head badge at the front of the bike, which was custom-designed and incorporates our squirrel mascot. Handsome was super flexible in working with us through those things.
What inspired the design of the bike?
“Our designs are definitely clean and minimal but it’s all about the details, and that’s the approach we took with this bike. Our approach was getting to the simplest design we could create. We made the bike equivalent of the Blu Dot Toro Chair, in the sense that chair is composed of just two elements—a frame and a saddle. Both have an economical frame and a beautiful thick leather saddle seat. For the bike, the frame is stripped back and there are no hand brakes, just the coaster brake, so it’s stripped to the most minimal elements. From the leather handlebars to the seat, everywhere your body comes in contact, it’s this beautiful rich leather.”