High Design on Two Wheels

Five gleaming Budnitz bicycles were lined up for display, wheels tilted just so, like so many Harleys in front of a biker bar
Jamesine Staubitser demonstrated a Vermont-made Budnitz bicycle on Sunday in Amagansett, where she manages a company showroom. Baylis Greene

“Are these art?” That was the question from more than one visitor to the gallery space above Grain Surfboards in the old Amagansett Applied Arts building recently, where in a long back room of creaking floorboards and whitewashed walls five gleaming Budnitz bicycles were lined up for display, wheels tilted just so, like so many Harleys in front of a biker bar.

Jamesine Staubitser knew exactly what the gawkers meant. “They’re just so pretty,” she said Sunday afternoon, having met a viewing appointment barefoot, fresh from the beach, her blond locks a salty thicket. The floor models ranged from what looked like brushed stainless steel with seat and handlebar grips of leather to a striking royal blue to sleek all black.

Ms. Staubitser, a Montauker just home from college in California, is the rep for the Budnitz showroom this summer. “I’ve had many beach cruisers, but there’s no comparison. These are such a smooth ride. And they’re really light,” she said, easily hefting one from its stand.

The company gave her a bike to ride around on — for word of mouth; people see, people ask questions, questions are answered, interest is generated.

About that smooth ride, the company literature weighs in: “The iconic Budnitz twin-tube cantilever frame flexes vertically to absorb road vibration while remaining laterally stiff to deliver energy to the pedals.”

Which is done by way of a carbon-reinforced belt, not a chain — no grease, no rust, no maintenance, no noise.

And at times even no exertion. “Some of these have motion-pedal assistance” — electric, that is — “that kicks in after you pedal backwards,” Ms. Staubitser said. “As long as you’re pedaling,” an online brochure has it, “the 250W motor assists to exaggerate the effort you put in.”

“A pink Bella E, an electric step-through model, is on its way to the showroom,” Ms. Staubitser said. That model starts at $3,950, but more affordable bikes are available. “The lowest-price single speed is around $2,000,” she said, “but it’s more for 11 to 14 speeds.”

The bicycles are handmade in Burlington, Vt. — in fact custom made to a buyer’s own specs, measurements, and riding style, all of which can be submitted by way of what Budnitz calls its “interactive, online builder.” The wait time is four to six weeks.

Appointments to the showroom can be made by emailing Amagansett@budnitzbicycles.com.

Note the disc brakes. The Budnitz bicycle company was founded by one Paul Budnitz in 2010 and produces a select few hundred bikes a year.Baylis Greene