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Williamson Goods’ Wheelmen is one costly copper plated, reptile-wrapped luxury bicycle

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Williamson Goods Wheelmen bicycle, angle

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…

Williamson Goods Wheelmen bicycle, side shot

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.

Williamson Goods Wheelmen bicycle, saddle

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.

Williamson Goods Wheelmen bicycle, chainstay

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.

Williamson Goods Wheelmen bicycle, front end

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’.

Williamson Goods Wheelmen bicycle, rear angle

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.

Williamson Goods Wheelmen bicycle, head tube badge
*Photos courtesy of Williamson Goods

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.

williamsongoods.com

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arp
arp
5 years ago

This obviously falls into the “bike as art” category and under that premise I think it is a thing of beauty. Personally I wish they would have taken it a step further on a couple of details like something more interesting with the wheels (wood rims?) or some matching copper detail on the hubs. On the brakes it would have been interesting to integrate the mechanical rod driven designs you see on older bikes. I have a cheap “Shanghai” bike that has this set up driving drum brakes. Aesthetically that would fit with what they are doing here.

Ryan S.
Ryan S.
5 years ago

TIL: Shinola makes watches, bikes, and turntables. If they start brewing beer, it will be a company after my own heart.

Yus
Yus
5 years ago

Was it really necessary to wrap animal skin around it? haha, I’m not a veg or a vegan, but that’s just strange. They also sort of went 20 steps too far down the gaudy road. (but that one is personal opinion)

Andy T.
5 years ago

That’s very pretty. But they’re casting their own lugs and forging stems?

doug
doug
5 years ago

I am seeing a lot of wasted space that could also be wrapped in dead animals. At least they skipped over the typical farm animal dead skin and went for the boutique dead reptile skin.

kbark
kbark
5 years ago

Rather take the leather off and see the entire thing in copper. Why hide the beauty of the copper? Wrap the handlebars in the leather if you would like.

Tires look like they were sprayed with shellac.

Dave
Dave
5 years ago
Reply to  kbark

You sure you’re not looking at the fenders?

mudrock
mudrock
5 years ago
Reply to  Dave

haha

Collin
Collin
5 years ago

This bike has actually been around for a while. This was featured in Lincolns display at the Detroit North American Auto Show probably 4 years ago. When I get home, I’ll dig through my photos and see if I can find it. The one thing I noticed back then (partly because the way they had the cranks staged) is the toe overlap is a bit un-nerving.

Shinola is cool company around here but at the same time, you got to wonder who buys some of the stuff. When you go to their original store in Midtown Detroit, its packed with people like an Apple store, but its mostly people just checking stuff out. Their focus is watches, leather goods, and bikes in that order. The bikes are assembled there but the frames are built by waterford in Wisconsin (although that’s not a bad thing). One of the crazy things I saw in their store was a standard $30-40 Kryptonite U-Lock wrapped in premium leather for around $200. Other products in there follow this trend. Its luxury goods at its finest madness.

wrymacdawg
wrymacdawg
5 years ago

That’s not the best placement for a headlight IMHO. Most loads would block it.

Dave
Dave
5 years ago

How long before that shiny polished copper turns dark and green? I hope they clear coated it but the description says nothing about protecting it.

Another example of “A fool and his money…..”

Nellie Bertram
Nellie Bertram
5 years ago

“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.”

Just to be clear, CITES is an international treaty. Everything that you own is supposed to follow CITES and there is no such thing as a certification. It’s like saying that this bike is certified by the International Landmine Treaty or the Kyoto Protocols.

Brent Coe
Brent Coe
5 years ago

Ahh, American’s and their love of shiny crap.

Andrew Spaulding
5 years ago
Reply to  Brent Coe

Wrong

Allan
Allan
5 years ago

So there *is* a price point at which there is consensus that something costs too much? Half the comments on Rapha (for example) articles complain the prices are too high, the other half telling those people to quit whining if they are too poor to afford it…

mjw12867
mjw12867
5 years ago

This bike is a waste of time and money!!! That’s not my opinion but fact.

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