roll bicycle Custom Bikes Review
As the cycling industry continues to evolve, most of the large manufactures continue to only sell through the brick and mortar retailers. Smaller and newer cycling brands such as roll bicycles are more nimble and don’t have the threat of brick and mortar retailers dropping their brand if they sell online. This is a slippery slope for most brands, because while we all enjoy shopping from home in our pajamas, it’s nice to be able to go into a retailer and get that instant gratification and know that what you are buying is right for you. This is especially true for bikes since you want to make sure you get the right fit.
roll bicycle was built on the foundation of customization. Often times when you go to get a bike from a shop, you are limited in choosing colors and components. When going through the design and order process on the roll bicycle website, you go through a number of prompts, allowing you to choose and upgrade on various parts and pieces. The base price starts at $699 and the price goes up from there if you want to upgrade things like seats, pedals and grips. The components and frame style are not customizable.
There are three models that you get to choose from, Adventure, City and Sport. The only real difference between these three models are the tires and handlebars that accompany the bike. When I think of different riding styles of bikes, I am expecting different frame dimensions to accommodate how someone plans to ride the bike. This is not the case with roll bicycles, you only get one frame style with 3 different size options, S,M,L.
When going through the setup process, you can add on water bottle cages, blinking lights and so on, all things that you can buy from the local bike shop, but it is convenient if you want to get it all from roll bicycle.
roll bicycle Downsides
I find that if you are going to call bikes out by different names such as Sport, City and Adventure, the frame should match those riding styles. There is also no difference in frame options between male and female riders. The primary differences you will see in the different names are the tires and the handlebars options. In reality, they should list it as one bike style instead of three and allow you choose between tires and handlebars.
For a bike labeled as Adventure, I envision a bike that I can take on both road and trail. To take the Adventure roll bicycle on the trail, I would like to see a front shock to absorb the rocks and roots. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but having taken this bike on some pretty mellow trails and dirt roads, I found that I felt every rock and bump the front tire touched. If you are riding for any distance or duration, this will start to get tiresome.
The front tire does not have a quick release, meaning you have to use tools to take the tire on and off. I found that if you don’t have it on tight, you can try to tighten it with your fingers, but it loosens up after a minute of riding. Adding a quick release option on the front tire is a pretty simple feature to add in the design phase and I’m disappointed it’s not available on roll bicycles.
When receiving the bike to put together, the setup was pretty easy. The one thing that makes this bike look a little unprofessional is line for installing the handlebars in the right location. They pretty much got a stock handlebar and used a silver sharpie to say where to place the handlebar. On other bikes, the center location is printed on the handlebars, which is a little more professional in my mind.
The components of the bike use name brands like SRAM drivetrains and Kenda Tires, but they went with bottom of the barrel. The SRAM Via Centro 10-1 drivetrain chosen shifts very poorly. I like the simplicity of a 1 by 10 drivetrain for this bike, but given the poor shifting quality, I am not impressed. In my opinion, you can have the shiniest bike on the block, but if you can’t get the basics right of shifting and braking, you should have shopped around a little more.
While you may be impressed with disc brakes on a bike like this, the don’t work worth a darn. I feel you can get a cheap bike from Walmart with better brakes. The brake levers are cheap plastic and when braking, you really have to grab hard to get them to do their job. In specific, they are using Tektro MD-M300 cable actuated disc brakes.
At a base price point of $699, I expected a little more out of roll bicycle. Seeing that you can get a bike from Target or Walmart for between $100-$200 with similar quality, I cannot recommend the roll bicycle company and their bikes. It is nice to be able to choose your colors and types of handlebars, but it not worth the price you pay for a basic bike with low grade components in my opinion.
The concept of being able to build a bike online and customize it the way you want is a great idea, but I find the price that goes with being able to choose a couple options such as color and handlebars does not justify the markups some companies are charging.
Visit roll bicycle for more information.