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Internal Gears: What Makes Our Best Bikes Better

Friday, March 7th, 2014

PUBLIC Bikes C7i Shimano Nexus Internal Gear

When customers ride a PUBLIC bike for the first time, they’re often amazed at how much smoother and easier our bikes feel compared to the clunky old bikes they’ve tried before. 

One of the big reasons our bikes ride better and last longer is the Shimano Nexus internally-geared rear hub. Internal gears have become the standard in Europe and wherever people want seriously good commuter bikes for city riding. They are catching on in the US, and there is a reason for this.


With internal gears, shifting from one gear to the next is smooth and quiet. You can even switch gears when you’re sitting still at a stoplight, something you can’t do with a derailleur gear system. And because the gears are all sealed off inside the rear wheel, the moving parts are not exposed to elements like snow, salt, water, and other gunk on the road, making them very low maintenance. And there’s no annoying slack in the chain, so you won’t have to get your fingers greasy trying to put back a chain that’s jumped off the gears. Their simplicity also adds an aesthetic element too: they make your bike look really classy.

Our internally-geared bikes are great for urban commuters and everyday riders and they are terrific for someone who’s just getting back into biking. And right now every PUBLIC bike with internal gears is on sale – up to $300 off. That includes our dutch style step-through PUBLIC C7i, our PUBLIC M8i mixte model, and our classic double-diamond PUBLIC V7i 7-speed and premium 8-speed PUBLIC D8i. Shop our all sale bikes now and see how much smoother your commute could be.

PUBLIC C7i $799 $599 PUBLIC V7i $799 $599 PUBLIC M8i $1099 $799

A Smarter Bike Light: PUBLIC + Revolights Kickstarter

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

PUBLIC Bikes + Revolights Arc Kickstarter

We are excited to announce our partnership with Revolights and to support the launch of their third Kickstarter project: the Revolights Arc, a smarter approach to the bicycle taillight.

Revolights is an innovative Bay Area bike light design company, and we’ve been fans ever since they launched their first product on Kickstarter in 2011. So we were honored when they approached us to collaborate on a line of theft-resistant, commuter bike lights designed around the fenders that come standard on our PUBLIC bikes. This innovation alone is noteworthy, but they went even further to design a platform that could provide brake lights and turn signals as well. We think it could be a game changer for city cyclists.

You can watch Revolights co-founder Kent Frankovich appear on Shark Tank this upcoming Friday, March 7 at 9pm on ABC.

PUBLIC is proud to participate by offering our PUBLIC V1 and PUBLIC V7 bikes as special rewards for backers of the campaign. From now until April 22, you can order a PUBLIC bike (at a special Kickstarter price) with the Revolights Arc integrated into the bike’s fenders. And if you already ride a PUBLIC bike (thank you!), you can get the Revolights Arc as an easy addition to your current bike.

Watch their video below and support to their campaign to help make this smart new concept a reality. Leading the revolution to make bicycling safer and more fun is what both Revolights and PUBLIC are all about.

A $10 Clever (and Poignant) Gift for Anyone

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

MendeDesign Gift WrapJeremy Mende

Tired of the same kitschy gift-wrap for the holidays? Here is an alternative and a clever and poignant gift for anyone who appreciates bikes, cities, design, humor, wit, and graphic brilliance. It’s that type of gift-wrap that you may want to use, fold carefully and re-use, adding an element of sustainability to an already brilliant design. And it reminds us that it’s the idea – not the gift itself – that matters. You could wrap up a bottle of wine or a dog bone with this design and make someone very happy, and the color and pattern work well for whatever holidays you celebrate. Get a closer look here.

Visual designer Jeremy Mende came up with this pattern for our PUBLIC Works project, and we adapted it for the holidays. You have to look very closely at this piece to appreciate it. He has depicted five typical local urban scenarios, a romantic park scene, a bicyclist avoiding a car door, a mom riding with her child, a woman pedaling past a car accident, and a locked bike missing its wheels. Although the urban imagery is realistic – and even violent – Mende has disguised this in a decorative sweet blue and white toile pattern, like something you might find on Victorian china or wallpaper at the Ritz. Good designers can be cleverly subversive and Mende excels in this genre. His work often involves such ironies and plays on traditional and “public” conceptions of design. More details here.

There are 25 other posters and some t-shirts from world reknowned graphic designers that are part of our PUBLIC Works project, and these make sweet gifts also. See all of our PUBLIC Works designs here.

Hot New Single-Speeds – $299

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

For the past few years, we’ve had many customers ask us to design and offer an affordable single-speed PUBLIC bike that doesn’t compromise on quality and design. Voilà: The new PUBLIC C1 and PUBLIC V1.

Single-speed bikes have a great tradition going back 120 years, when all bikes had only one gear, and you’ll see them in classic films like The Bicycle Thief. They continue to be ridden today both for track racing and as city bikes around the world. Our new PUBLIC single-speeds come out of this tradition, foregoing multiple gears in favor of an economic and efficient drivetrain. (But unlike track racing bikes or fixies, on our single-speeds you can stop pedaling and coast whenever you like.) They are simple, lightweight, stylish, affordable, and fun.

PUBLIC V1 Single-Speed Bikes in Gold and Royal BlueThe PUBLIC C1 comes in Yellow and Turquoise and the PUBLIC V1 comes in Gold and Royal Blue. Ideally suited for trips around town, casual riding with friends and weekend jaunts through the park – these bikes are intended for a flat or moderately hilly terrain. We have carefully selected the ideal gearing for rolling hills as well as flatter routes.

We challenge you to find a better single-speed city bike at this price point that features strong dual pivot caliper brakes on both front and rear tires, durable steel frame, kickstand, matching painted inside rims, fenders, and chainguard.

Limited Supply at Introductory Price of $299 (Retail $449, Save $150)

Our new PUBLIC C1 and PUBLIC V1 bikes are now available for pre-order purchase for a special introductory price of only $299. We will have them ready to ship to your door, or to be picked up at one of our Bay Area stores in early December, right in time for the holidays. We think our new single-speed bikes are an ideal gift for yourself or for a special someone who wants an entry-level bike or a seasoned rider who wants a simple, around town ride.

We only produced a few hundred of these single-speed bikes for the holidays so pre-order now because we anticipate selling out very quickly.

New Lower Priced Bike Shipping

PUBLIC Bikes $55 Flat Rate Bike ShippingAlong with our new line of even more affordable bikes, we’re announcing a new lower-priced bike shipping option for online orders. We’re calling it Find Your Own Mechanic shipping. For a flat $55 anywhere in the continental US, you can now choose to ship your bike in a smaller factory box without pre-assembly. Instead of our Ready to Ride shipping option, where our mechanics build and tune your bike in our Bay Area warehouse before shipping to your door, you can now choose to find your own local bike shop to assemble your new PUBLIC bike after it’s delivered to you. Learn more about all of our bike delivery options here.

Top 10 Reasons to E-Bike

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

New Electric Bikes from PUBLIC

We’ve launched a range of e-bikes this month. Some are made from PUBLIC DNA with a BionX system, and others from the Swiss bike design firm Stromer.

Here are my top ten reasons for buying an e-bike, as an experienced rider and advocate.

PUBLIC BionX Mixte Electric Bike in San Francisco
Stromer ST1 Elite electric bike in San Francisco
PUBLIC BionX electric bike in San Francisco
PUBLIC BionX Mixte electric bike in San Francisco
  1. They are a thrill.
  2. You will ride more often.
  3. They make hills a non-issue. I like climbing hills on my road bike, and when we ride for exercise we typically look for steep hills. It feels good to sweat and hammer up a hill, and you always get the rewarding descent. But to me there is no pleasure in riding hills in the city when dressed in work clothes. With an e-bike, I can ride up even the steepest hills without puffing, with about as much effort as walking.
  4. They are friend-friendly. If you have a partner or friend who does not ride as vigorously as you, on an e-bike they can keep up with you (or stay ahead of you).
  5. Park anywhere for free.
  6. Ride in bike lanes to avoid traffic.
  7. Saves money (no license, insurance, or parking meters).
  8. Speed. If you want to zip past the other cyclists you can, some will chuckle, others will glare.
  9. Effortless function. You can carry twenty extra pounds of anything and not even know it.
  10. We have some special offers right now, including free e-bike shipping this month only.

I’ve written more about our new electric bikes in a previous PUBLIC OPINION, if you’re curious to learn more. Or check out the new Electric Bikes section of our website for lots of great information. But if you’re in the Bay Area, you absolutely have to visit one of our San Francisco stores to try one out for yourself. After the first push of the pedal you’ll understand what everyone’s so excited about.

Stromer ST1 Platinum electric bike in San FranciscoTake One Home Tonight
Borrow an E-Bike for the Evening
You’ve got to ride these to fully appreciate them. If you’re in the Bay Area, stop by our South Park or Valencia store and take one out for a spin. If you contact us ahead of time, we will be able to loan you an electric bike to use overnight or for the day with a credit card deposit. Find out more about our E-Bike Loaner Program.

Please come down and take a test ride. And you are even welcome to take one home, but please return them so we don’t run articles like the one below.

Proudly announcing new electric bikes from PUBLIC

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Listen up. We are introducing several electric bikes this month at PUBLIC. I want to strongly encourage any and all bicycle lovers to take a close look at these and, if possible, take one out for a test ride. If you’re in the Bay Area, we’ve got several models we can loan you for a quick test ride or an overnight stay.

Our Models: Stromer and PUBLIC BionX

We’ve been reviewing e-bikes since we started PUBLIC almost five years ago. But until recently we were unable to find models that we wanted to ride ourselves. We’ve become fans of two e-bikes this season, and we’re excited to offer these two models for sale now. Each of these Stromer and PUBLIC BionX models comes with several options. You can read all about them here and then come down and take them for a test ride.

BionX Electric Bike Conversion Kits from PUBLIC San FranciscoStromer ST1 Electric Bike from PUBLIC San Francisco

I don’t often make product endorsements this strong. But I have been checking out e-bikes for five years, watching them explode in popularity all over Europe. I’ve also been riding these e-bikes every day for several months, and I have become an addict, an evangelist, and a proselytizer. I think these bikes are game changers, commute changers, and even life changers for some of us. The electrical assist function is perhaps the biggest technology change in bikes since the invention of the derailleur to change your gears. They will not replace our basic bikes for beauty and simplicity. And why should they? But e-bikes offer some terrific benefits that will encourage many of us to ride more often. Find out more about the advantages of electric bikes on our website.

I am fortunate to have several different bikes and a Vespa in my garage. Depending on my mood and what my day demands, I always have to decide which is the best vehicle to ride. Now that I have an electric bike I find myself choosing it way more often than the others because it gives me the most flexibility, speed, and fun. My daily commute involves two stretches that are no fun: a mile stretch of flat grey asphalt, headwinds off the Golden Gate Bridge, and a steep half-mile uphill to my apartment. The e-bike solves the grind at the end of my day.

If I only had the space and budget for one two-wheeled vehicle in my life in San Francisco, it would be an e-bike. For any of us that have three to twenty-mile commutes or a hilly commute and are fortunate to live some place with a garage or elevator, an e-bike is a compelling option.

Take One Home TonightTake One Home Tonight – Overnight E-Bike Loans
You’ve got to ride these to fully appreciate them. Stop by one of our PUBLIC retail stores in San Francisco and take one out for a spin. If you contact us ahead of time, we will be able to loan you an electric bike to use overnight or for the day with a credit card deposit. Find out more about our E-Bike Loaner Program.

A Taste of Guatemala

Friday, September 13th, 2013


We’ve been serving coffee in our South Park neighborhood since July, and customers have been lining up for the special Saint Frank coffee drinks. Saint Frank offers a special roast from very special Guatemalan beans and this creates a taste experience that is as unique as it is rich, aromatic, and flavorful. I’ve been grinding my own beans and making my own espresso drinks for over thirty years, and I can attest to the fact that the Saint Frank coffee is exceptional. The youth driven coffee culture is taking coffee to entirely new level in sophistication.

We’re now making Saint Frank’s freshly roasted beans available to all of our customers by shipping directly to your door.

St Frank Coffee
“Frankly” speaking, we should not sell this special product at a discount. But we think that once you’ve brewed this in your own kitchen you’ll be back for more. The single origin coffee is that special. The farm where it is raised is called Retiro (which means “retreat”). The coffee is comprised of the traditional heirloom varieties of Bourbon and Typica and grows under the shade of tall Grevillea trees. The result is a great representation of a classic Antigua coffee from Guatemala: elegant, well balanced with a rich aroma and a very sweet taste.*

Juan Luis Barrios Ortega produces these unique coffee beans. The Ortega Family has been growing coffee for 100 years near Chimaltenango in Guatemala, and the farm has been in Juan’s family since 1832. They are one of the most environmentally progressive estates in Guatemala and use innovative sustainable practices for coffee production, forest preservation and management.

Here’s how our program works:

Your Beans Roasted Tuesday and Shipped Thursday Every Week

Get your order to us by Monday, 12:00pm PST for a Tuesday roast and we will ship to you on Thursday. You will receive freshly roasted coffee beans. You’ll need to grind them yourself, and if you do not have a coffee grinder – it’s about time you did! The aromatics and flavor imparted by freshly roasted ground coffee makes for coffee drinks that are astoundingly sumptuous.

*The package that the coffee arrives in is equally as elegant as the coffee itself. The graphic design is the work of Paula Scher of Pentagram. Scher was awarded the 2013 Communication Design award from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and has been distinguishing herself for decades as an artist and designer. The PUBLIC logo evolved from her poster for PUBLIC Works.

Chic Undies, Elegant Bells & Other Kicks for Cyclists

Friday, September 6th, 2013


The leading bicycle industry trade show, Interbike takes place in Las Vegas (September 18-20), and it is the traditional source for new bike products introductions. But we’ve seen that some of the most interesting design innovations in bicycle-related products don’t necessarily come from the big traditional bicycle companies that can afford to pay for an exhibition space and all the costs associated with travel to Las Vegas. And not to state the obvious, but why should the leading bike show in the industry be held in such a bike-unfriendly city? We attend the show every year and always come away with the same reaction.

That’s why we’re big fans of crowd funding websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other platforms that feature new bike products and accessories that come from entrepreneurs.

Here are three crowd funding products that caught our eye recently, two from the Bay Area and one from Austin, Texas.

Bicycle Bell
Spurcycle’s Reinvented Bicycle Bell
Our friends at San Francisco-based Spurcycle are designers at heart. They’re raising money to finance a new, American-made bicycle bell, and they have already raised over $230,000. Kudos.
Urbanist’s Chamois Panties
Austin-based designer Christiana Guzman is developing stylish, comfortable riding underwear, and changing the way we think about panties. It’s encouraging to see a woman succeeding in this male dominated business. Kudos to Ms. Guzman for already exceeded her funding goal and attracting over 500 backers.
Bluetooth LED
Erogear’s Fos Wearable LED Display
San Francisco-based designer Anders Nelson is offering this wearable LED display system that can be used for bicycling and other purposes.

Back to Interbike. So maybe it’s true that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens on the web happily does not. All around the globe people can see these cool Kickstarter supported products and help fund these entrepreneurs. Please let us know about other products you find online or from other sources.

Put a Load on Your Rack

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Do these loads look unreal? They are. French photographer Alain Delorme embellished photos captured in Shanghai as a commentary on the Chinese economy and global consumerism. These compelling images entitled Totems feature migrants who bear the physical brunt of the fast-paced economy by hauling wares on their bikes and carts, like improvised trucks.

All PUBLIC Racks are on sale till June 18th.

Most of us don’t consider a bike complete without a rack, and 70% of our customers attached a PUBLIC Rack to their bike for good reason: it makes riding more enjoyable and functional. The rear of the bicycle frame is the most stable part of the bike and the most logical place to carry extra weight. And
if you’re used to carrying weight on your back, your body will thank you when you switch to one of these.

A rack allows people to carry their everyday awkward goods effortlessly with them when they ride such as laptops, u-locks, food, and other bulky items. And with a rack, many other possibilities open up: basket, pannier, or bag. (We have many to choose from and some are on sale too.) Our racks are unique. We design them ourselves to match our bike colors and for easy installation by anyone. They are an everyday good value and a special deal this week.

Was $65 Now $49
The most practical rack is our PUBLIC Rear Rack with Spring Clip. Our spring clip rat trap feature makes it practical and convenient for everyday lightweight objects and clothes. This rack can fit most bikes with 700c wheels & seat stay braze-ons.
Was $65 Now $49
Even our new city road bike PUBLIC R16 has a compatible matching Slender Rear Rack option so you can carry weight on longer recreational rides.
Was $60 Select Colors $25
Some customers even like to increase their carrying capacity by adding a PUBLIC Front Rack too. All PUBLIC Front Racks are discounted, select colors as low as $25.


Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Our 2013 PUBLIC bikes just arrived this week, so we are back in stock on almost all models and there are a range of new colors and new models, even including a road bike. We’ve made some minor changes in some visual details, such as new stripes, we’ve upgraded our handle bar grips, and even added water bottle cage braze-ons to our higher end bikes. On top of it all, we’re kicking off the season with special prices across the boards.

Our most popular PUBLIC C7 for example is now available in a classic red and priced at $449 (regularly $595).

We added two new, 7-speed internally geared city bikes the PUBLIC C7i and PUBLIC V7i priced at $649 (regularly $795) in royal blue and red in the step-through frame style and black in the classic diamond frame style.

If you’re new to internally geared bikes, these allow you to shift gears when stationary or coasting for easy stop-and-go riding. With the gears sealed in the rear hub, the bikes are more impervious to bumpy roads, bad weather and the all the challenging conditions that daily city riding dishes out. If you can find a lower priced 7-speed internally geared bike with similar PUBLIC features – buy it!

We’ve been fine-tuning our premium 8-speed internal hub PUBLIC M8i and PUBLIC D8i since we launched. These are available in a range of new colors and we are back in stock on the larger sizes that tend to sell out quickly. We’ve priced these at $899 (regularly $1095) to kick off the season.

We are introducing our first ever city road bike, the PUBLIC R16, to meet the requests for an affordable and classic road bike for the modern commuter and weekend recreational rider. We are having a contest in which we will give away two of these city road bikes. Enter contest here.

All models can be shipped to your door 99% assembled, Ready to Ride. Roll into this summer with a smile.