Bixi bike review
The BIXI bike is the go-to, taken for granted, tool of Montreal. They’re grabbed when you’re running late, too cheap to pay for the metro, and when you want to burn off those Timbits you just ate. The BIXI bike-sharing scheme has been a Montreal staple since 2014. With over 6,000 bikes and 500 stations in the area, it’s a near dead-cert that you, or someone you know, has been on one of these iconic bikes.
BIXI Bike Details
Intended use: Utility bike
Travel: 0mm rear / 0mm front
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: One-piece aluminum
Sizes: One size fits all (tested)
Weight: 18kg / 40lbs (not including rider, or friend hitching a ride)
Price: Starting at $2 and up
Website: Montreal BIXI
“The BIXI is a do-it-all, no-holds-barred, white-knuckle-ride of a bike. The more you punish it, the more it wants.”
Construction and Features
The Bixi is constructed by DeVinci (no, not him, the bike company from Quebec) from a one-piece aluminum frame. The frame has an industrial feel to it, with sweeping curves in all the right places. Some may bemoan the lack of a carbon option, but the BIXI is built for purpose and this frame is built to last. Hidden cable-routing is a welcome surprise on this bike. It helps with the longevity of the components and adds a subtle touch of ‘steeze’. A chain protector comes standard on all these bikes, very useful for us who still wear bell-bottom jeans. A metal luggage rack on the front is great to see. This can carry bags, speakers, pizza, small dogs, even smaller children, and some microwaves. However, unfortunately, not at the same time. BIXI assures me that they are working to fix this.
Geo and Sizing
BIXI are keeping their card close to their chest in regards to the exact dimensions and angles of their bike. What we do know for sure, is that the adjustable seatpost ranges from a lofty 7 to a lowly 0. If you’re human-sized, you should fit.
Our test bike was kitted out with roller brakes, integrated Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub, a dynamo light, and a theft-proof comfortable seat. Rumors are doing the rounds in certain circles, that there will be a BIXI in the near future with Di2 shifters, Chris King hubs, Hope brakes, Fox dropper post, and ENVE wheels. Hopefully, this won’t affect the $2 price too much.
Test Bike Setup
I selected the classic ‘Midnight Grey’ color for my test bike. ‘Obsidian Black’, ‘The Grass is Always Greener Green’, ‘Red, But Also Kinda Pink, Red’, ‘Blue, Blue, Electric Blue’ and ‘Let’s Do A Prince Tribute For The Purple One Purple’ colorways are also available. After some tire squeezing and kicking, I was sure all the passersby knew I meant business, and I hopped on my ride.
Location: Montreal, Canada
Weight: I’d rather not say kg
Industry affiliations/sponsors: None, but my Mam thinks I’m great
Riding the BIXI
As I a human-sized, I had no difficulty in finding a seatpost height that suited me. 6 was a little bit too short. Great on descents, but gave way to a wild front end on climbs. 8 had me chasing down Fed-Ex trucks and zipping through amber lights with ease. But once things pointed downhill, the 8 setting didn’t allow me to center my weight off the back end, which meant missing out on some epic curb drops and sick wheelies.
In slower settings, amongst heavy traffic or when you’re trying to look in the window of a fancy restaurant, BIXI’s weight becomes very noticeable. The weight rocks from side to side and can take quite an amount of bikemanship to keep it rubber side down. However, once free of traffic and culinary distractions, I was able to set my BIXI free. This beauty is built to be pointed downwards. It’s as if BIXI watched ‘Cool Runnings’ too many times and copied John Candy by weighting the front of the sled. This thing rips. Gone is the chaotic balancing act at slow speed. At pace, riding this bike is more akin to dancing than cycling. Truly transformative.
So how does the BIXI compare to other options? Compared to walking, the BIXI is much faster and involves much more wheels. Rollerblades, however, do have more wheels, but raises the eternal question of ‘What do you do with your shoes?’. Uber is an option for most, but I’m not allowed to have a smartphone, so that’s a no-go for me. Having your own bike is also an option. It was an option I was strongly considering too. But how many times have you been out cycle, decide to stop off for a White Russian, and next minute you’re home with a hangover and no idea where your bike it. With BIXI, your bike is everywhere, there’s 6,000 of them!
My test bike was in good general condition. The sun had gotten to the grips and melted them slightly. They left my hands feeling like I was eating jam all day. The tires were great. Enough thread on the front for grip while powering down tricky stair sets. And the rear was smooth enough to allow for maximum skids. The brakes are functional, however, if you weigh more than me, you may want to increase your braking distance. The luggage rack was a great success. I can’t go into great detail about my testing, but let’s just say it fits most microwaves.
Pros and Cons
+ Colour names
+ Downhill sled
+ Chicks love them
- No carbon option
- Unruly at slow speed
- Jam hands
- No tandem option, for aforementioned chick
Is this the bike for you?
If you’re looking for an easily accessible, brightly colored, gravity loving, cheap, gluten-free way to get about town, then the BIXI is for you.
You know when you’re at a family gathering and the kids keep pestering you to play soccer or basketball with them? Eventually, you give in and you start dunking on those fools and wonder why you haven’t been doing this all day. I don’t care that this is Aunt Betty’s funeral, these kids need to learn.
This is what riding a BIXI is like. You spend your days dunking and humiliating those who choose to walk, rollerblade, jog, speedwalk, jazzercise, zumba, rumba and pumbaa around the city.