Gallant Bicycles is a Toronto-based company (and store) that offers highly customizable urban bikes at a price that belies the various options on offer. Co-owned by Jason Wood and Tony Mammoliti, the latter of whom also heads up the locally based YNOT Cycle, the business model is an interesting marriage of the bespoke and modular.
Gallant offers only two frame styles - named simply the No. 1 and No. 2 - but customers have a choice of 14 colours, the option for custom-painted parts, and a number of different drivetrains and accessories to select when completing their prospective build.
"Most other bicycles on the market are available in one, two, maybe three colours at most," explains Wood. "Each colour generally has slightly different specifications, introducing all sorts of compromises. We have 14 colours, and we paint and assemble every bicycle to order, so there are no compromises."
As far as frame styles go, the difference between the two on offer is put succinctly on the wall on the store. The No. 1 is designed for those who want to "lean forward, ride fast" and the No. 2 is for cyclists who prefer to "sit back, relax." Old timers might think that the No. 2 looks a bit like an traditional women's frame, but rigid gender division is not the order of the day here (essentialism is dead, guys).
What the No. 2 is really modeled after is a Dutch commuter bike, and given the various customization options (fender colours, baskets, etc), it can be made to look as conventionally masculine or feminine as one chooses.
As for the No. 1, it's similar geometry-wise to a track frame, but just a little more relaxed given that its target rider will be pounding around city streets rather than a velodrome. And, let's be honest, these things look slick.
Fixed gear culture has always put a premium on DIY customization, so Gallant has taken this strategy and made it easy for more casual cyclists to put their personal stamp on their ride. Hardcore-types might not be all that into it, but they're not the primary market for these bikes anyway.
Price wise, the base models come in at $699 (but $599 if you pre-order at this early stage in the company's development). You could probably double that if you wanted to upgrade most components, but I suspect that most people will end up spending around $800, having taken the opportunity to do a little bit of personalization with the paint and accessories.
For 4130 chromoly bikes with decent components, $699 is competitive if not cheap - but you're not going to find a colour selection like this from other manufacturers.
Also worthy of note is the warranty that Gallant will offer, which is 10 years with a service / tune-up guarantee for the original owner and a $40 flat repair fee. Yup, that means if you need a new tube (or perhaps 10) over the course of that decade, they'll replace it for you for no additional expenditure. The same applies to labour on other repairs and upgrades.
Although it's more than likely that many (especially those who don't live in Toronto) will opt to buy Gallant bikes online, the storefront space is worth a visit.
Located in Koreatown near Bloor and Manning, the warm and bright room is a great place to view the bikes and the various accessories on display (the most obvious of which are YNOT bags and pedal straps) are is likely to attract a wide variety of riders as well. The shop area in the back will also do maintenance (tune-ups, etc.) on non-Gallant bikes of the urban/city type.
Mammoliti and company are obviously committed to being a good bike store as well as manufacturer, which is in keeping with the local-focus that's informed the decision to design, paint and assemble their bikes right here in Toronto.
The scary thing is that once you're in the store looking for something else, however, you're really going to want to buy a bike. Enter at your own risk!
Gallant Bicycles is open Monday to Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 11am-6pm, and Sunday 12-6pm.