If you know a biking barista or watched Joseph Gordon-Levitt dodge bad guys while racing through the streets of New York in Premium Rush, you probably have a vague sense of urban cycling style. The fixed-gear bikes are sleek, efficient, and often glamorously brakeless. These are no lazy cruisers or thick-tired mountain bikes. They’re lightweight and versatile. If you’re buying a Pure Fix bike, it might also be charitable or glow-in-the-dark.
Zach Schau started Pure Fix with his little brother Jordan and two friends, Michael Fishman and Austin Stoffers, after they found “nothing cool for under a thousand bucks” on the fixie bike market. Over winter break, Schau’s crew brought in 165 bikes, “made a shitty website,” and sold stylish, quality-built rides at $325.00 apiece. By the time they went back to school, they’d sold out.
Nicole, Jordan, and Zach in the Pure Fix Warehouse. (Photo by Jesse Anthony Spooner)
“We sold out in two weeks and we thought it would take like six months,” Schau says. “So we knew we were on to something. We quadrupled our order and invested more. Then that cycle kept happening.” Fast forward a couple years, and Pure Fix now employs 18 people in an expansive office in Burbank, California. Their 30,000 square foot US distribution center is nearby.
Schau is especially stoked that more of Pure Fix’s business comes directly from web sales, thanks in part to social media and content-centric campaigns. The company produces Pure Fix TV, an encyclopedic video series with topics ranging from “How to stop” to “How to ride backwards.” Pure Fix Features hosts more atmospheric compilations of fixie riders pedaling around LA and New York backed by rap or Florence + the Machine.
The combination of FAQ-focused content and nonchalant kids out on the town strikes a winning balance between cool and approachable, Schau hopes. “Cool in the sense that we like to be those cool kids with the new product that the New York Times is featuring, with the cool site and the shit that glows in the dark. But also we’re not so intimidating, we’re not like the badass company that some other companies try to be. We try to be as approachable as possible.”
Nicole chatting with Zach at Pure Fix HQ (Photo by Jesse Anthony Spooner)
Pure Fix culture also grows through collaborations with non-profits. They donate bikes to help raise money for local charities like HOLA and LGLA, most recently working with charity:water to create a custom line of bicycles, launched in October. For each bike sold, Pure Fix donates $100.00 to charity:water. So far they’ve given $20,000.
Through charitable work and multi-layered content, Pure Fix has avoided the exclusive feel that often comes with a niche lifestyle brand. Schau wants everyone to have a place at Pure Fix and, in a short period of time, he’s shown that fixies go far beyond badass bike messengers and hipster baristas.