“I bought a fixie for $200 – thought to myself, this is absolutely crap – started looking into it and saw that there were huge gaps in the market here for decent stuff. So that’s kind of how JustRideIt was born.”
Since late 2010, Steve Atkinson and the team at JustRideIt (JRI) on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy have been supplying the ever growing demand for “decent stuff”, fixed-gear and single-speed related. When you walk into their flagship store, it’s hard to believe that this shop has only been rolling out bikes for 5 years or so. It feels like it has been a part of the unique local culture for decades.
They began by importing six and three spoke magnesium alloy rims, making them one of the first stores to sell them in a retail space in Melbourne. When they started selling them globally, things kicked off.
Pretty soon they were able to start importing a huge number of boutique brands, and began building unique custom fixies in store, setting them apart from the other specialised fixie stores in Australia.
“We’ve really taken it to that next level with customisation – you know, branded bikes, custom painted wheels, custom painted frames, airbrushing, vinyl wrapping – we’re looking at Hydrographics next month. So we are actually going to start dipping frames. You can bring a design to me and we can dip a frame and do whatever you want. If you bring in a picture of your tattoo, we can put it on your bike for you. That’s where we are taking it to...and it’s not being done anywhere else in the world.”
The recipe had two ingredients: a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work. In 2011, Pure Blonde had sent around a request for a quote from 45 different bike shops around the country for a custom-painted Pure Blonde fixie. But they didn’t just want one, they wanted 1300…in just 16 weeks. Every other shop said it couldn’t be done, but JRI (in their second month of the business) took it as a challenge and got it done.
JRI sources and manufactures their parts and components from countries all over the world; from Taiwan to China and the US. Every bike is then assembled in store. With the addition of Jesse to the team, the guys at JRI have been fabricating their own custom models for the past two years in Melbourne.
“People come to us with designs, you know breweries come to us looking for…keg bikes [I looked at Steve, confused at this point. “Trikes with kegs on the back of them,” he explained], and we’ve got the guys and the resources to build them now.”
But they’re not just building bikes for breweries – although there is certainly nothing wrong with that! JRI have built custom fixies for the likes of the Williams F1 team, Audi, Jack Daniels and Levis; Fitness First and Adidas, to name just a few. And of course, they’re constantly building unique bikes for the everyday rider who wants something that reflects their individual sense of style and needs.
They are old school customer service focused at JRI. Not many stores offer free service for life on every bike they sell.
“It’s confidence in what we do. We know that the bikes are quality. If anything goes wrong it’s our fault, so we’ll fix it. We don’t put it back on the customer. People don’t come in and pay 200 bucks for a service. You know that’s not what it’s about: it’s all about getting more people on bikes and out of cars – that’s our passion.”
With cities like London attempting to reduce congestion on inner CBD roads by charging for their use during peak hours, Steve sees bikes as a different means of achieving the same goal. With their third retail outlet opening in London in December in late 2015, you can expect to see some seriously unique bikes rolling around England’s capital…congestion charge free.
It’s been five years since things kicked off for the brand, and to mark the anniversary, Steve and the team have put together their first base store model, the T5: a culmination of everything they have learned building custom bikes.
“For the past four years we haven’t really had a fixed range, every bike’s been different. This is the first bike we have built that is ready to go.”
That doesn’t mean that it’s a stock standard deal. All the same customisation options still apply.
“This is the best bike we could make at that price, and we’re just excited to see it on the streets all over the globe,” Steve said.
Check out our thoughts on the T5 Race Edition after rolling it around the streets for a week!