State Bicycle’s Core-Line are one of the brand’s most popular bicycle lineups as they offer affordability along with durability. With prices starting at only $399.99 it’s easy to see the allure of the Core-Line bikes which feature steel frames and flip-flop hubs for single speed or fixed gear riding. The bikes also feature thoughtful quality components such as Deep V wheelsets, front and rear caliper brakes and seat stay rack mounts. In this review we’ll specifically be looking at the Lavender Haze variation which combines black accents with a beautiful lavender frame color. State Bicycle lets you customize the bike with optional handlebar, light, pedal, saddle and other accessory upgrades or add-ons when you order the bike.

The State Bicycle Co Core-Line combines an affordable $399.99 price point with a well-built single speed steel frame and fun color options.

Retail Price$399.99
RatingDesign:   A
ComponentsA
Handling:  A
Value:  A
Claimed Weight (in lb)27 (size 54cm)
Likes+ Budget friendly pricing
+ Comfortable and smooth ride with steel frame
+ Flip-flop hub lets you customize the experience
Dislikes– Stock grips and saddle feel cheap
Where to Buy (US)State Bicycle

UNBOXING

The State Bicycle Core-Line bicycle comes in a large box with branding printed directly on to it and plenty of protective material to keep the bike safe during shipping. Inside the box you’ll find:

  • Partially assembled bike
  • Box with saddle w/ seatpost / flat pedals / grips
  • Owners guide

State Bicycle Co doesn’t include an explicit assembly guide with the bike or any tools so you’ll need an Allen key at minimum. We’d also recommend buying or borrowing a torque wrench and some Loctite to put the bike together.

ASSEMBLY

State Bicycle Co uses a direct-to-consumer model which means you order the bike directly on their website and have it show up at your front door. The bike is partially assembled inside the large cardboard box and only requires about 30 minutes to put together and start riding. The first step to assembly is getting all the zip ties, tape and protective cardboard covers off the bike. You’ll want to do that carefully and avoid scratching the frame in the process. You don’t need to be a bike mechanic to install the front wheel, pedals, saddle and handlebar as it only requires basic knowledge and tools.

State Bicycle Co Core-Line Single Speed Bike Review - Stem Cap
Even though the Core-Line bicycles are budget bikes, State Bicycle Co has incorporated thoughtful details such as the “explore your state” stem cap.

We like to start by removing most of the protective covering so you can access all the bolts and get around the bike. Once you’ve done that you can attach the front handlebar to the stem by simply positioning the handlebar properly and installing the stem face plate over the handlebar. Take special care to line up the handlebar cables correctly. After that you can attach the front wheel and bolt it into place. The final steps involve screwing on the pedals, sliding the grips onto the handlebar and putting the saddle into the frame. Be careful with the grips and apply some soapy water to avoid ripping them like we did as the basic versions included with base price are very thin. We’d also recommend using a torque wrench, something like the Topeak Torq Stick,  to tighten the stem bolts and seat clamp to proper torque specs before riding the bike.

FIT & FINISH

The Core-Line bike has a classic single speed design with a traditional dual triangle frame and nearly flat top tube. To keep costs down on these bikes, State Bicycle Co has utilized hi-tensile steel which is heavier than chromoly steel or aluminum bike variations. The steel frame has clean welds at all the junction points and fairly small tube diameters which gives the bike a sleek appearance. State Bicycle Co offers quite a few color variations along with seasonal variations which means you have lots of options to choose from. At the time of this review there are ten models from limited edition Wu-Tang Clan black and yellow to the classic Rigby which pairs a navy blue frame with creme accents. We chose the aptly named Lavender Haze version which has a beautiful solid lavender frame and all-black accents on the wheels, seat and handlebars.

The Core-Line is a short wheelbase bike which provides responsive handling and a fairly upright riding position for commuting or urban riding. For additional versatility, the frame even features seat stay mounts for racks or fenders and a single water bottle mount on the downtube. While most fixie bikes tend to have no brakes, the Core-Line comes with caliper rim brakes on the front and rear with external cable routing along the bottom of the top tube. The finishing pieces of the bike look attractive and modern but are mostly unbranded which isn’t surprising at this price point. Thankfully, State Bicycle Co has stuck with modern component designs which means you have a standard stem and seatpost setup which means you can easily upgrade or swap out parts.

State Bicycle Co Core-Line Single Speed Bike Review - Drivetrain
All the Core-Line bicycles offer a flip-flop hub which let you switch between a single-speed freewheel setup or a fixed setup.

The drivetrain on the bike is a simple single speed setup with a 44 tooth front chainring and a 16 tooth rear cog. You can choose between single speed with a freewheel or fixie setup by simply flipping the rear wheel as it has a flip-flop hub. It’s a simple setup which is easy to maintain and only requires occasional lubricant on the chain. Gates carbon belt drives like those found on the Priority Ace of Spades have even less maintenance but haven’t become affordable enough to show up on bikes at this price point. The Deep V wheelset on this bike also has an attractive all black finish with 40 mm depth that gives the bike some additional style and street cred.

State Bicycle Co Core-Line Single Speed Bike Review - Steel Frame
The Core-Line bikes have a classic commuter style steel frame with clean welds and modern components.

RIDING IMPRESSIONS

Whether you’re a mountain bike or snobby road cyclist, there is something innately satisfying about riding single speed bikes like the State Bicycle Co Core-Line. The combination of the short wheelbase, riser handlebars and upright position makes the bike nimble and responsive. It’s the ideal bike for riding around town, shorter commutes or just clearing your head on a ride. Before we even finished assembling the bike we swapped out a few key pieces to improve the ride quality. First the stock rubber grips, which literally tore apart during installation, were swapped out for a set from our Priority bike (note, we’d recommend Lizard Skins grips if you’re looking to upgrade). Next, we replaced the basic State Bicycle Co saddle for a Velo Senso TT which was far more comfortable and visually attractive.

Aside from those two upgrades we also added some Redshift Arclight illuminated pedals for additional visibility on the road. Those upgrades added a little bit to the $399 cost of the bike but still result in a very affordable bike. Unlike higher-end carbon bikes or electric commuters, you can easily bring the Core-Line bike on public transit, park it outdoors (with a decent lock to deter thieves) and simply enjoy riding instead of worrying about damaging the bike. It’s a fun bike to ride and looks stylish particularly in the lavender color scheme. The single speed setup’s 44×16 gearing works well for flat road or moderate climbs as well as stop-and-go city riding. However, As with any single speed bike you’ll want to avoid larger hills or be prepared to walk. Even with the bike’s generic Sakura branded 700×28 tires and Deep V wheelset, the bike is grippy and has strong brakes which give you confidence to ride fast.

THE VERDICT

Overall, we found the State Bicycle Co Core-Line to be fun to ride and very affordable. With their $399.99 entry-level price, the Core-Line is an impressive value which is rare these days. Even though the cost of the bikes is low, the Core-Line bikes look stylish and feel well built with their steel frames, rim brakes and modern component designs. The flip-flop hubs on the bikes also means you can ride the bike as a fixed gear or single speed by just flipping the rear wheel. We were impressed with the lavender color scheme and responsiveness of the bike. While you’ll want to upgrade some of the cost-cutting parts like the handlebar grips, saddle and pedals the rest of the bike feels well put together. We were also happy to see some personal touches like the “explore your state” stem cap and the 5 year warranty State Bicycle Co includes with the bikes. If you’re looking for a fun city or commuter bike that won’t empty your bank account then the State Bicycle Co Core-Line is definitely worth picking up.

Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by State Bicycle. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.

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