Last month, Boston-based Fortified Bicycles, a company bent on quashing rampant bike theft, launched a Kickstarter campaign for its latest dig at urban bike thieves: a $399 “city-proof” commuter called Invincible that can’t be stolen and looks built to ride out anything.
“Most bikes die in the city,” says Fortified co-founder Slava Menn. “This bike loves the city.”
Menn should know. While living in New York City after grad school, he bought a $50 Gary Fisher, then spent $80 on two locks to secure it. No use. The wheels were stolen, then the lights, until one day the entire bike was gone. “It was this huge frustration [for me],” he says.
Invincible is his answer to that frustration. Menn and Fortified co-founder Tivan Amour surveyed about 350 cyclists to learn what biking in the city was like and what people needed in a commuter. “We realized that [bike commuters] operate out of fear,” says Menn. “They’re scared of leaving the bike in the rain because it’s gonna get rusty. They’re scared of locking it up in a certain neighborhood overnight because it’s gonna get stolen. We’re trying to eliminate fear.”
To make the new bike, Fortified, which debuted with theft-proof bike lights and seatpost clamps, started by locking down all the components—handlebars, wheels, saddle, and front and rear lights—with its proprietary bolts, and then threw in a tough, custom-designed U-lock. The result: what the company calls the world’s only bike guaranteed against theft. Fortified is so confident that no part of Invincible will be stolen—just a fraction of 1 percent of its products have ever been filched—that it’ll replace any of its components within 24 hours for free.
The most involved part of its security efforts is FortifiedProtect, a team of bike-security experts whose sole responsibilities are keeping bikes safe and tracking down thieves. Each Invincible comes with an electronic title and prominently displayed serial number that makes the buyer the only owner—much like a title on a car.
If a bike does go missing, the security team trawls Craigslist and eBay, where more than 80 percent of stolen bikes are resold. If they find a Fortified bike, they’ll contact the owner. If your bike’s been stolen, Fortified works with local authorities to track and apprehend the thief (something they handled effectively last year when a friend’s saddle was stolen in Cambridge, Massachusetts).
If that isn’t enough, the company prints the name of your choice on the bike with a permanent, unique decal that’s hard to miss. (Ride on, Shadowfax, king of steeds!)
Invincible should also hold up to standard urban wear and tear. Puncture-resistant tires prevent flats, while a rust-proof 6061 aluminum frame, waterproof saddle, and zinc-coated, corrosion-resistant chain stand up to grime. “Ride it over potholes. Ride it over glass,” Menn says. “Leave it in the rain.” Barring a major crash or an persistent thief with a drill and hacksaw, this bike will outlast your antics.