A British Budget Bike for Life: The Paper Bicycle

I rabbit on and on about the need for practical bikes or Bikes that defy categorisation typified by my expensive but fantastic Bike for Life, hence my search for a Budget Bike for Life. My friend Dave reminded me of a potential solution: The Paper Bicycle and it is British!

Paper Bicycle

The design, the pricing and the specification are all fantastic!

It makes an excellent Bike for Life.

Total price for a complete specified bike is almost exactly £1,000 and that is complete with:

  • 8 speed hub gears
  • front and year hub brakes
  • hub dynamo and front and rear LED lights
  • fully enclosed chain
  • steel step thru frame
  • stainless steel mudguards
  • kickstand
  • strong rear rack
  • big air tyres for comfort, speed and reliability

This should be way up your list of potential bikes if you want something that is going to be:

  • reliable
  • extremely low maintenance
  • comfortable
  • completely practical: carry stuff, ride it in any clothes, get on and off easily and stay clean
  • faster than a Dutch bike and many mountain bikes (unless they have been adapted for road use)

Every bike shop should have these in stock to provide a real alternative to the unsuitable bikes they normally sell for town and city use.

Look at the superbly strong rack.

If this had been available with this specification when I bought Jane’s City Bike, it would definitely have been chosen over her Ridgeback (excellent though that has been – after I added all the missing bits).

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  1. I’d second the Paper Bicycle as an excellent example of a Bike for Life. My late wife bought one in order to sit more comfortably when the cancer in her spine started to cause discomfort.


    You’ll notice that our example (in the closest approximation to Cadbury’s chocolate blue as Liz could get) that it’s fitted with a standard Tubus rack – this was before Nick Lobnitz created the “Starship Enterprise” rack for it.

    My younger daughter is now the regular user. She’s never been over enthusiastic about cycling but the Paper Bicycle has certainly reawakened her interest.


    Elder daughter likes to take it for a spin now and again, too.


    • Nigel,

      Thanks for sharing that! Inspiring! A great example of how a Bike for Life can “Enhance Life”!

      Great pics too.

  2. Suffolk Cyclist

    I bought one new in November 2012 (in Traffic Blue), and it’s now my favourite over several machines.

    Apart from some work to adapt the Sturmey non-turn washers so that they are also part of chain-tugs, for chain adjustments, and an extra rear reflector (out of the “bits” box), it’s pretty much as received from Nick Lobnitz in Scotland.

    The only thing that I might change (and have bought the chainwheel and sprocket to do so) is the default gearing ratios for the 8-speed Sturmey. These are a little on the low side for the flat-ish Suffolk countryside. However, I live near the sea, and every time I think of doing the work, we seem to have gales of wind. These persuade me that maybe low gearing isn’t such a bad thing after all, as I pedal into the teeth of a Force 8.

    Altogether, this is a brilliantly-designed, sturdy but surprisingly swift bicycle, and I can’t rate it highly enough. The price isn’t excessive, either.


  3. Great article.
    I got a red paper bike, one of the first 3 ever made by Nick – so he told me.
    I got it ex display from the Glasgow Bike Station, it came originally from Perth Bike Station.
    Love my paper bike: what a relief not to have to clean the bike after a 12 hour shift and a ride home in the rain.
    Mine is a singlespeed, perfectly adequate for the commute, good training for the legs too!
    My model does not have a rack, so I still take the hybrid if panniers are needed, planning to buy the latest model with rack and gears sometimes this year.
    During the storms we had lately, the paper bike’s considerable weight has been an asset, was never swept sideways like happened with my other bikes.

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