Who and What is Bilenky Cycle Works?
Steve Bilenky began working as a bike mechanic at age 12 and remained obsessed. He founded Bilenky Cycle Works in 1983 by debuting the Metro 5: an upright bar commuting bike (with 5 speed hub) that anticipated the internal gearing craze by over 10 years. We built our first fillet-brazed tandem in 1984 as well as our definitive touring bike, the Midlands. In 1998 we began building our patented Viewpoint, a semi-recumbent tandem with separate drivetrains. Now with seven staff members, Bilenky turns out nearly 100 frames a year and restores, modifies, repaints, and retrofits countless more.
We are S&S experts, having worked with couplers since their arrival on the scene in 1994. In the past 19 years we have installed tens of thousands of couplers in fresh new Bilenkys, elderly lugged roadsters, and everything in between. We were the first company to create a travel tandem (more on that later). By modifying couplers to fit individual bikes we can retrofit just about anything. Weird metric French tubing? Just add some custom shims and it's off to watch Le Tour with no extra airfare. Flattened, tapered, ovalized, square or triangular titanium tubes? No problem. We'll turn each coupler to fit on the lathe and carefully round out the section where it will go. The only tubes that stump us are very flat tandem bottom tubes-- and those can be easily replaced.
Our philosophy of perfectionism shines through in every bike we build, every retro-fit we undertake, every new product we design. We're all bike fanatics, and we understand that our customers are too - we'll listen to your concerns and desires before you order, and when your bike is done we'll walk you through the disassembly and packing process. Whether you're waiting six weeks for your retrofit or six-plus months for that brand new super custom dream machine, we promise it will be worth the wait!
So I want couplers. Now what?
Great! It's incredibly convenient to keep your bike with you on your travels, without excessive baggage fees or horrible rentals that don't fit. Here's what you do:
1) Give us a call! Discuss your bike, and any particular needs it might have. Internal cable routing needs to move to the outside? Fresh paint? Custom frog braze on? Six bottle openers? Now's the time.
2) Put down a 50% deposite to get your bike in the queue (prices below).
3) Send your bike! Disassembled is great, assembled is fine. We do charge a $120 dis/assembly fee if you send the whole thing. Headsets and bottom brackets are on us, though!
4) Pick a paint option. We can do matched touch ups, contrast, utility or full repaint. If you do a lot of travelling we do recommend getting a powdercoat, since it's much tougher. This doesn't apply to titanium, of course.
5) Wait. Usual 4-6 weeks, depending on the paint situation.
6) Learn. If you're local you're welcome to stop by and get a bike packing tutorial. If not, there are plenty of good videos online. It might take a little while to get comfortable, but even the least mechanically-minded riders can usually get rolling in around 20 minutes with practice.
7) GO EVERYWHERE!
But my bike is a tandem!
Bilenky Cycle Works was actually the first shop ever to build a take-apart tandem! As soon as S&S couplers came out in 1994, Steve realized they would revolutionize tandem travel. With six couplers (nine for a very tall team) your big ungainly bike becomes entirely manageable luggage. Even if you don't plan on traveling much, being able to break your bike down makes garage or closet storage infinitely easier- not to mention stuffing it into the trunk of your car. One customer had us install just three couplers so his bike could go in the back of his Cessna airplane! One tandem fits nicely into two cases, with plenty of room to spare for laundry, souvenirs, shoes, and smuggled exotic booze. We can also get our own Viewpoint tandems into two cases, no problem.
How much will this run me?
Below are our basic retrofit prices. You can get more details on our website. We usually ask for a 50% deposite up front and the rest on delivery.
Single Steel Retrofit (no paint): $595
Single Titanium Retrofit: $925
Single Retrofit Package: Includes 2 couplers, frame alignment, framesaver treatment, contrast paint touch up, travel package (case, padding, compression members, 3 cable splitters) and a coupler wrench: $1200
Tandem Retrofit Package: Includes six couplers, frame alignment, framesaver treatment, full powdercoat repaint, tandem travel package (two cases, padding, 6 compression members, 6 cable splitters) and a double-ended coupler wrench:$2,500
Our bikes are known for their great fit, beautiful design, and nearly infinite custom options. Almost all of them are built for one specific person and finely calibrated to that rider's needs. Everything is done in-house, from the tube selection to the paint. As enthusiastic cyclists we know just what makes a bike amazing, and that's what we strive for. From our utilitarian cargo Chuckwagons to our super light titanium racers, all Bilenky bikes are infused with a functional elegance and a timeless style.
But 6-plus months is too long to wait! I want a sweet bike with couplers NOW
We're a proud dealer of Surly, Salsa, Soma, Moots, Habanero and Ritchey bikes. Tell us what you need and we'll order it, retrofit it, touch it up and you'll be ready to roll in a couple of weeks. Some of these brands are only available as framesets; we're glad to set them up with the group of your choosing. Our travel packs (complete bike, couplers, case, pads, etc. etc.) start at $2,475.
We love everything about cycling, including our customers. You are more than welcome to call, email, or stop by. Our shop, packed with 30 years of accumulated bike detritus, is definitely worth the visit. Our friendly, hairy staff is delighted to show you round and guide you through the process of getting a brand new bike or a brand new modification. We hope to see you soon!
Other Bikes We Deal
Bilenky Cycle Works
5319 N. 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19120
Phone: (215) 329-4744