TWO WHEELS GOOD
The small Brooklyn bike company that’s taking on the big boys
“We have the grit of a New York brand. We are within the thread of the culture. That has its aura”
Jason Gallacher didn’t set out to start a revolution. He simply wanted to build a better bike. In the seven years since the BMX racerturned-photographer-turned-semi-pro-rider simultaneously ounded his nity line o track bikes and opened a repair shop of the same name on an unassuming corner of Grand and Leonard Streets in hip Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the Kissena frame he designed has won two world championships and more than 20 United States and European ones. Perhaps more impressive is the impact Gallacher’s and his designs have had on bike culture, and the ability f nity has shown to go pedal to pedal with well- nanced international brands like Bianchi and Fuji. When Gallacher launched Af nity in 200 , he had three factors tilted in his favour. he rst was a series of precise ideas about the shape and geometry of bike frames that he honed during his racing years. The second was a wealth of biking talent in New York, from the racers at the legendary Kissena Velodrome in Queens to the numerous messengers sprinting around New York City to deliver packages. The third was NYC itself.
“We have the grit of a New York brand,” the founder says. "We are within the thread of the culture. That has its aura. I would like to think that although the brand has deep roots in racing, all of our bikes get ridden in the street also.”
Af nity took advantage of this trio, uickly building a dedicated following that included the Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon, who collaborated with Gallacher on three frames. As bike culture in New York exploded, so did the popularity of Af nity’s high- uality frames. The track bike boom spread across the United States and the rest of the world, and Gallacher hung on for the ride.
The company founder also proved a strong eye for talent, sponsoring a number of riders who represented the brand well on and off the bikes. One of the most recent is Ash Duban, a 28-year-old female rider who nished third in a mixed eld at the Red Hook Crit in March. For Gallacher, the accolades are simply a feather in the cap of his brand.
“Sponsoring people was something that came naturally because that was something that was given to me as a racer,” he says. “For anyone to say the plan was to sponsor people to become national and world champions is kind of ridiculous. Never in my wildest dreams.”
As it continues to grow, Af nity is now entering its second phase. The repair shop in Williamsburg closed in January as Gallacher decided it was time to focus on building the brand in the United States and overseas. He currently has distribution in Japan and Europe and plans to expand to South America and Canada. He’s also working on opening an appointment-only showroom where dealers and distributors can check out the latest Af nity lines.
Af nity will get larger but it won’t ride far from its roots. “You get the bike, you get the cool wheels and it makes you feel good,” Gallacher says. “That’s what’s great about track bikes. You customise them. You accessorise them. It’s like the skateboard of its generation.”
“Sponsoring people was something that came naturally because that was something that was given to me as a racer”