If you make hybrid bicycles, how do you get yours to stand out from the kazillion others currently on the market? Well, as with anything, it helps if customers can customize it. That’s the approach that Alter Cycles is taking, with its new commuter bikes. By swapping in different down tubes, the stiffness of the ride can be altered to suit the rider.

First of all, the bit that’s interchangeable takes the place of the down tube, but it’s actually more of curved, flexible bow-like ... thing, that’s available in three levels of stiffness. The idea is that buyers will have the store install the tube of their choice when they buy the bike, although it’s also possible to swap between down tubes after the fact.

The softest model, the 500, is described as being good for the lightest of riders, or for riding over rough roads. The stiffer 625 is more of an all-arounder, while the 875 is aimed at riders who want as stiff of a frame as possible, or who are on the heavy side.

Alter Cycles bikes aren't commercially available yet, but once they are, the hybrid model should start around US$799. Down tubes will range from $75 to $99, depending on the level of finish. Road, mountain, and cyclocross models are also in the works.

Source: Alter Cycles