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Can bike lube be stylish? Thanks to Orontas's (orontas.com) Chris Hanz and George Klein, tuning up your ride for another season of cycling is definitely headed in a more refined direction.
Their Toronto-made line, which includes a non-toxic, biodegradable, plant-based degreaser, chain oils and a lubricant, is known both for its functionality and for its fashionable packaging that would look right at home on the cosmetics counter at Holts.
"Maybe only 10 per cent of bike owners use a chain oil," says Hanz, who's responsible for the brand's slick design that has already received kudos from aesthetic arbiters like Wallpaper and Monocle magazines. "We wanted the line to be approachable, and created it not really knowing what other people in the market were doing."
The cycling supply market is mostly geared to high-maintenance road and mountain bikes, whereas Orontas is focused on urban commuters who likely service chains, cables and wheels in their front hall or living room. The brand's philosophy, says Klein, is "as little as possible," which informs its limited range of products and its store displays and sandwich boards made from shipping palettes reclaimed from Orontas's airport-area warehouse.
That point-of-sale gear (printed with the firm's slogan: From Toronto With Love) is introducing its products to cyclists in over 400 shops worldwide. In Toronto, you can find them at boutiques like Cycle Couture and larger retailers like Mountain Equipment Co-op, which offers free Orontas samples to riders who bring their bikes by for spring servicing.
"As much as we've built a lube company, our brand is focused on the full cycling lifestyle" says Hanz. To that end, they've introduced their first non-chemical product, a kit for packing the company's products that can also hold tools, wallets and smartphones. Apparel and bags are also in the works.