SURU, Meet Toronto.
From January 18 to the 22nd, SURU Cycles made it's big debut on the trade show floor of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, as part of the 19th annual Interior Design Show.
Why launch SURU at a show about high end kitchen and bathrooms? The IDS is so much more than an interiors expo, having grown into an exhibition that encompasses all the latest home tech and urban design. Everything from digital, cloud-based furniture and fixtures, to luxury cars and yes, electric bicycles are covered.
More crucially, IDS is one of the biggest events for the downtown dwelling professional classes in Canada's largest city, making it a perfect place to expose SURU. After all, SURU is urban transportation technology, designed to make multiple, short point to point trips in the city core easy and practical.
Toronto Meets SURU.
The overwhelming feedback from show goers at IDS was enthusiasm. SURU Cycles was part of the Samsung Lab, a collective stand that highlighted eight small Canadian designer-manufacturers of new, technologically innovative urban products. As the thousands strolled past, the bright red and white of the SURU One stopped most in their tracks.
"What is it? What am I looking at?" was among the most common first questions.
As we introduced the SURU One to people and explained that made-in-Canada meant really made-in-Canada, and not merely assembled here from foreign parts, smiles grew wide. They grew wider still as they sat on the machines and watched our video clips.
"This is what I've been looking for." exclaimed one woman.
The SURU team, including co-founder and SURU One designer Michael Uhlarik, took hundreds of contact details and listened intently to the suggestions and comments. People loved the look. They were amazed that SURU was backed by a lifetime frame warranty and was built by hand in Nova Scotia. They almost all appreciated the affordability too.
But they wanted things too. A rear carrier rack, wider front fenders, and even a cargo basket. We listened and wrote it all down. Nothing is off the table when you are cutting metal and fabricating the product yourselves, from scratch.
Toronto is not only Canada's largest city, but also a cycling nexus, not far off the bicycle density found in Montréal or Vancouver and Victoria. The strong fixed-gear bike ("fixie") culture blends with the usual litany of cycle couriers, touring bike commuters and of course, the generic, far-east imported e-bikes. Bike lanes are popping up all over the downtown area, and by and large, cyclists and motorists appear to co-exist well.
SURU will be back in Toronto soon, with demo bikes for test rides and to drive home the point that comfortable and convenient electric cycle commuting in the biggest cities can happen and be fully compatible with regular pedal bikes.