Coming this fall to 18 bike shops across North America is the new Simcoe lineup developed in collaboration with Curbside Cycle's (412 Bloor West, 416-920-4933) distribution arm, Fourth Floor. Rather than picking standard frames out of a factory catalogue, the Simcoe team has been tweaking the design of its three- and seven-speed roadster and step-through chromoly steel models over the past two years. They have Shimano components and Brooks saddles, with prices starting at $900. simcoebicycles.com.
Urbane Cyclist (180 John, 416-979-9733) builds lots of custom single-speed and touring Urbanites in its shop (prices start at $850), but the cooperative also has a production model called the 20Something. It's kitted out with smaller 20-inch wheels plus BMX-style pedals, a seven-speed rear derailleur, fenders, rack and kickstand for $525, and its compact size is great for biking and storing in smaller city spaces. ucycle.com.
Wonder why Beater Bikes, the Toronto-based, budget-friendlier line started by art and ad world alum Dave Chant is only available south of the border? Blame the customs duties Canada charges on imported bicycles from China and Taiwan (where most Toronto outfits do their manufacturing) that would price models way beyond their under-$400 sweet spot. Maybe you could find a friend south of the border to receive a new Beater on your behalf. beaterbikes.ca.