Something curious is happening in Detroit, Michigan these days. Despite the city’s economic collapse, some local companies decided to stand strong and fight to keep businesses budding from the area. Most interestingly, a select few like Williamson Goods and Shinola are trying to rekindle Detroit’s manufacturing heritage by producing luxury goods from their troubled town.
At a price of $35,000 USD it’s hard to guess whether anyone would actually ride Williamson Goods’ Wheelmen bicycle or simply display it as a showpiece. While you’re really paying for exclusivity, that price tag does include a hand-made frame with copper or chrome plating, several components plated to match, and genuine Crocodile and Python skin wrapping as a very unique aesthetic accent.
If you have a passion for rare, handmade items (and a platinum credit card)… perhaps there’s a place in your 10 car garage for this beautiful bicycle…
The Wheelmen’s frame, fork, lugs and stem are all hand-manufactured in house with brazed logos and details adding some elegance to the design. The frame is fabricated out of Columbus chromoly tubing, which is then plated with the buyer’s choice of either chrome or copper. The handlebars, stem, fork, seatpost, light housings and front carrier racks are matched with the same plating.
The frame is mostly wrapped and hand-sewn with genuine python skin, but some bare metal is left to shine through in its midsection. Your contact points have also been ludicrously customized with a crocodile skin Brooks saddle and python skin Brooks grips. If you’re an activist-type, you’ll be glad to know the skins are CITES certified, meaning they are harvested in a humane and sustainable manner.
A 5-speed Sturmey-Archer rear hub provides a reasonable gear range for this cruiser, and its 700c Velocity rims are mounted with Continental Supersport tires. Since you won’t be downhilling on this thing (if you even ride it) braking is handled by a front caliper only. Paul supplies the cranks, and the MKS pedals are fitted with Brooks toe straps.
Under that fancy plating is a Nitto seatpost, handlebars and stem, and the bike’s Velo Orange fenders bear a hammered texture. The front and rear lights, leather saddle bag, center mount kickstand and beverage canister (which is plated to match the bike) are all included.
The Wheelmen frame is available in stock S/M/L sizes, but can also be custom built to your specifications. Geometry figures are not provided online, so you’ll have to discuss that and other custom options during your ‘product interview’.
There are three colorways available; Tan/Copper, Navy/Chrome, or Navy/Copper. Buyers can also choose between a Black Copper or White Copper finish on the frame, and you’re welcome to inquire about other plating options if these don’t happen to match your Bentley. Williamson will only produce ten bikes of each colorway, and each will bear an inscription of its production number plus your name, initials or an inscribed message if you choose.
I won’t even begin the debate on whether the $35,000 Wheelmen should be ti or carbon, or have a belt drive system and more expensive componentry. In the luxury market, performance is often secondary – the appeal is having something rare and hand-crafted to show off to the socialites at your next wine and cheese party.