Retrospec Bikes Review: Are They Really Good?

Some bike companies cater to specific customers; they may produce bikes that are of high-quality, top-of-the-line, the so-called high-end ones.

They set a high standard for their bikes, employing only the best parts, and using the most advanced technology and design for their bicycles.

But some manufacture for the mass market, catering to as many people as possible. Their bikes are not mostly high-end but still of good quality.

Their mantra is to provide bicycles for people’s enjoyment and not necessarily to cater to a specific group of people or riders.

Retrospec may belong to the second group. They manufacture bikes that are for the use of people, for their enjoyment. Most of their bikes are affordable, so many ask if they are good quality.

This Retrospec Bikes Review will assess whether such is the case. It will also discuss the best Retrospec bikes available in the market.

The Retrospec Brand

Retrospec may be unusual because it started as a bike company and then ventured into other fields. They now make products as diverse as bicycles, skateboards, coolers, and mats.

Retrospec Bike Review

Other biking companies started as a manufacturer of bike parts and other accessories, and their case seems to be the reverse.

Retrospec’s main selling point is comfort. To paraphrase their mantra, everyone can be outside, but not all can be comfortable in it.

To provide recreation while still making the bikes comfortable is their calling.

Their bikes seem to epitomize that precisely. They specialized before in kids’ and children’s bikes.

Their bikes have the hallmark of simplicity, not much fanfare, just a pure bike that a rider can ride and enjoy.

What Makes Retrospec Stand Out?

Several things make Retrospec famous among those who are bike enthusiasts. Among these are:

Affordability

Their bikes are, indeed, the most affordable. Prices of their bikes are usually below those of their competitors, if not way south.

These give them an advantage since they are selling bikes that are more affordable than others, and parents seem to love them.

Simplicity

Their bikes are designed just like ordinary bikes, like those you see in the department store. Retrospec bikes are an everyday staple in a bike shop.

You will likely find a Retrospec bike in the supermarket more likely than your favorite condiment on the shelves.

Kids’ bikes may have some accessories, but you can see that everything in it is necessary, the colors, design, everything. And as you move from kids’ bikes to other types, this tendency becomes more pronounced.

Nothing illustrates this better than their fixie bikes. They have that name because they have fixed gear and do not have many components. A fixie bike is as simple as a bike can be.

Many Options For All

Retrospec seems to manufacture and have all types of bikes. A mountain bike, a road bike, commuter bike, fixie bike, electric bike, they have it in their catalog. Of course, at the most affordable prices.

And they have one for all ages and males and females. Such is the great variety of their bikes. But now, making “outside” comfortable extends not only to bikes but also to skateboards and other sports and equipment.

But are Retrsopec Bikes of Good Quality?

Retrospec produces, for the general public, what we call the mass market. As such, there might be some quality issues because they are making so many bicycles of all types.

Are Retrospec Bikes Good?

Complaints about the quality are bound to happen if you mass-produce the bikes. A cursory look at the online reviews seems to indicate that.

But to assess quality, therefore, we must know if problems in quality are built-in or isolated instances only.

We must also bear in mind that as a biking company, they are relatively new in the field, having existed for less than fifteen years. What they are experiencing might be some learning curve.

For one, they tried to combine affordable pricing with high quality, which is very difficult in practice. The experiment may work, but not all the time.

Quality may be the unwilling victim if you mass market the bikes and then expand to other fields quickly.

Common complaints are fragile wheels and tires, cranks breaking, and loose handlebars. Some complained of the chain getting loose from the crank.

However, throughout the years, Retrospec has received favorable reviews, citing improvements in the quality of their bikes. Today, many consider their bikes to be of better quality than it was once before.

They have become one of the more popular bike brands, generating interest among some people for their products.

Retrospec Bike Review: The Best Ones In The Market

Here are some of the Retrospect bikes which are gaining currency in the market:

1. Retrospec Harper Plus Fixie

This fixie bike comes in different sizes, making it primarily available for most people. It has a diamond-shaped steel frame; the wheels are double-wall aluminum alloy.

Retrospec Harper Plus Fixie

The cassette is 16T Freewheel, the chain is KMC 1/8, and the brakes are from Promax. The tires are by Kenda, 700cx28c.

Harper has all the advantages you can get from a fixie bike and might as well epitomize Retrospec. It is a bike with few options and so much simplicity. All you have to do is just ride and pedal.

2. Retrospec Kinney Mixte City Bike

This one is a commuter bike and one of the more comfortable ones in the Retrospec bike line.

For one, its ergonomic features include the saddle positioned below the handlebar at an angle that makes the rider assume an absolute upright riding position.

Retrospec Kinney Mixte City Bike

The common complaints about Retrospec being not quality and durable may not apply to this commuter bike.

It sports a high-tensile steel frame, a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain, and shifters also made by Shimano.

The rims sport a double wall aluminum alloy, while the spokes, seat post, and handlebar are also steel.

Steel and aluminum, of course, are known for durability. But this one, though, may be quite heavy compared to commuter bikes of other bike companies.

The seven-speed shift gears allow for more options, especially when commuting, as the terrain may shift now and then.

It might be one of the better city bikes, primarily if one engages in longer commutes.

3. Retrospec Mars Hybrid

Like the Harper Plus Fixie, it also sports a diamond-shaped steel frame, equipped with Kenda tires, probably its best feature.

The overall design brings us back to the throwback era. Back when the vintage bikes were the fad and still roaming the streets.

Retrospec Mars Hybrid

Retrospec Mars Hybrid also has caliper brakes, the standard among Retrospec bikes.

This hybrid bike is also serviceable in different terrains but much more of a commuter bike, more suitable for taking the city streets rather than trails and uneven terrain.

4. Retrospec Mantra Series

The updated version of the Retrospec Mantra fixie bicycle, the Mantra V2, sports a steel frame and caliper brakes. But it features more gears; this is a seven-speed Retrospec bike.

The gear options are one that significantly separates it from the earlier version.

Retrospec Mantra Series

Aside from that and the price, both have nearly the same performance, build, and specs.

The choice between the two will ultimately boil down to whether you want a single-speed bike or a seven-speed one.

5. Retrospec Kids Bicycles

Kids’ bikes are the type of bike for which Retrospec might be best known. Their kids’ bikes are all colorful, appealing to kids, and durable.

It might be what keeps Retrospec afloat, despite criticisms of many.

Retrospec Kids Bicycles

The Retrospec Cub Kids Bicycle might be the prototype of Retrospec kids’ bikes.

Small and cute, this bike sports a durable frame and design that makes it safe for the kids to ride. It is also one of the market’s more affordable bikes for kids.

Pros and Cons of Retrospec Bikes

Some things are going definitely for Retrospec bikes. Among these are:

The Price

They are among the most affordable bikes in this market, with the price generally below $400, sometimes significantly less.

Other types of bikes they offer have prices that, compared to their competitors, are so low you can consider it a bargain.

Simplicity

As mentioned, their bikes, with few exceptions, do not catch the eye of many and are sometimes so simple they do not have even a semblance of elegance.

It is the ultimate bike you can ride without drawing attention from the public.

The rider also need not decide that much when using the Retrospec bike. Most of it has few gears, so the rider need not agonize about shifting now and then.

Retrospec bikes are for comfort, and part of the design is to spare the riders from making decisions while biking. At least for some fixie bikes and those with single-speed gears.

All they have to do is continuously pedal and apply the brakes when needed.

The exception, of course, would be the kids’ bikes. They need to appeal to kids so they can ask their parents to buy those bikes. They need to have those striking colors and the like.

But in general, Retrospec bikes are as simple as they can be.

Some things work against Retrospec bikes. Among these are

Quite Heavy

With all the steel frames and components of Retrospec bikes, this is one of the heavier bikes. If you want to have a lighter bicycle, Retrospec may not be the brand for you.

Low-Specs

Retrospec bikes, maybe to lower the cost and make them more appealing to the public, generally do not employ high-end or top-quality components for their bikes.

We might expect that, considering they want to make bikes that genuinely appeal to everyone.

Shimano drivetrain and Kenda tires for specific bikes might be the exception.

But in general, the bike parts come from manufacturers for companies that market their brands to supermarkets, department stores, and even a local bike shop.

Is It Worth Buying It? Concluding Our Retrospec Bike Review

Retrospec had no pretense of being top-caliber when it comes to bikes. All they want to provide us is comfort.

That is, having a bicycle we can use now and again, going from point A to point B in as simple yet comfortable a way as possible. They do not produce for a die-hard bike enthusiast

They want to provide bikes that the kids can enjoy. Such are modest aims, even for a company that wants to offer bikes to everyone.

If what they offer is what you want, it might be worth it. Especially if you are not particular with specs, suspension, and high or top-quality parts, Retrospect bikes can serve you well.

But if you are a bike enthusiast who wants a good bicycle that can give you the optimum experience of riding a bike, far better alternatives are available.

But the ones featured in the Retrospec bike review are among their better bikes.

Thomas Kersten

Hi, I am a passionate biker, and I have been riding for more than ten years and share my biking tips and tricks with the world. I've tested more than 300 bikes.

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