Detroit has a long tradition of US manufacturing and it’s this very tradition that Shinola is looking to continue with their brand. The company began with watches, a common, everyday object that hasn’t been mass produced in the United States for decades. But Shinola knew that in order to bring that industry back to Detroit, they’d have to enlist in the help of true craftsmen. Ronda AG, a Lausen, Switzerland-based movement manufacturer is working with Shinola on their Argonite 1069 watch movement assemblage and that’s only the beginning.
Similarly, when Shinola began to design their bicycles, they looked to Wisconsin and the Waterford facilities for fabrication. Inspired by French porteurs and light tourers, the Shinola Runwell is an ideal city bike and you don’t need any fancy Swiss movement to get these bikes rolling. An 11-speed Alfine hub effortlessly shifts this mid-trail bike through your city or countryside. Load up the front rack with groceries, post office runs, beer, or what have you and just go! If you need to stop on a dime, the mechanical disk brakes will do the trick.
The Runwell has details. Waterford’s simple and classy lugwork, along with a bright Cherokee red paint job (it’s really bright!) really compliments the mostly chrome components. Even the gusset on the non-drive fork leg resolves any stress riser issue you might have with disk tabs on a mid-trail ride. Shinola went the extra mile with their branded saddle and grips and the 32c Continental Contact tires will roll without getting flats from thorns or glass.
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So enough of the copy, what do I think of it? Let me start off by saying that I’m not much of a porteur guy. If it were mine, I’d have it running on some bigger tires, take off the fenders and front rack, change the bars to something a little sportier like an Ahearne bar and put a pair of low-rider racks on the front. That said, as it is equipped, the Runwell will meet over 90% of the potential customer’s needs. It’s really well spec’d.
The overall feel of the bike is quite nice. I love the ride of a mid-trail bike. The 11-speed Alfine hub is so quite and once you get over the “cushy” feel of the drivetrain, you kind of just cruise away. I let Lauren ride it this weekend and her only complaint was that she couldn’t “feel” the internal hub and it was too quiet. She’s also riding a White Industries freewheel, so I think the notion of a quiet bike is foreign to her. I feel like the no-worries and hassle-free maintenance of a Alfine would be ideal for a commuter like her.
I’ll be holding onto the Runwell for a few weeks. It’s a bit small on me but will fit a lot better with a new bar. Until my touring bike is finished, I’ll be using this as an around town bike. So far, everywhere I take it, people stop me and ask about it. Some balk at the price, others don’t seem so surprised. The Runwell is a great looking machine and even someone like me, in head to toe black and a metal shirt makes it look classy. But I do have a few concerns. I wouldn’t call the following critiques as much as personal preference. The Runwell would benefit from a stabilizer for the front end, a kickstand and swap out the MKS touring pedals for MKS Lambdas. But that’s about it and all said, you could add those post-purchase.
The main question on everyone’s mind is pricepoint. Expect to pay around $2,950 as pictured. The Runwell comes in three sizes and two colors, this is the 57cm. Check the geometry here. Bike shops will be carrying these shortly and you can contact Shinola directly for ordering information at 1-888-304-2534, or simply email email@example.com.
I’ll put some more miles on it and do a follow up post in the future.