Fixed Gear Friday: Are ‘major’ brands not hip enough?

Editor’s Note:This post keeps receiving interesting comments so we decided to bring it ‘back to life’. Be sure to check the comments, there are times that comments are more interesting to read than the post itself.

The following post was written on August 25th, 2007.

I’ve noticed that Fixed gear bikes made by major bike companies such as Giant, Specialized or Trek don’t retain their value as much as a Bianchi, IRO or Swobo.

Giant Bowery
giant bowery

Specialized Langster

Trek T1
Trek t1

Is it because it is not hip to ride a bike that’s from major bike companies?


  1. russ roca January 25, 2008 6:06 pm 

    for me these bikes don’t really capture that fixie look….rounded track bars, single brake lever, etc…

    these feel sort of like neutered road bikes

  2. Ghost Rider January 25, 2008 6:19 pm 

    The three “bad” brands you mentioned are all aluminum frames, whereas the Swobo, Bianchi and IRO are steel. Remember that to the “fixie” crowd, steel is real, and the other crap is for posers.

    Anatomic road drops on a fixed gear bike look silly…of course, I have some on mine, but then again, I’m not just riding from bar to bar and posing for the ladies!

  3. Stevil January 25, 2008 7:37 pm 

    ‘these feel sort of like neutered road bikes’


  4. rick January 25, 2008 9:17 pm 

    I think it’s partly because they are trying to cash in on a heritage that is not part of their own history

  5. Steven Nordstrom January 25, 2008 10:22 pm 

    I’ve never looked at these bikes all together before. Check out the crazy track gearing on the Trek! Its a 49-15 (6.5 gain ratio (GR); 87.4 gear-inches (GI)).

    For comparison:
    Fuji Track: 48-15 (6.4 GR; 85.6 GI);
    Bianchi Pista, Swobo Sanchez, Raleigh Rush Hour, Windsor The Hour, Mercier Kilo TT, Motobecane Messenger, Tommaso Augusta, KHS Flite 100: 48-16 (6.0 GR; 80.3 GI);
    Surly Steamroller: 48-17 (5.6 GR; 75.6 GI);
    Scattante Americano: 44-16 (5.5 GR; 73.6 GI);
    Giant Bowery & Schwinn Madison: 48-18 (5.3 GR; 71.4 GI);
    Redline 925, Specialized Langster, Raleigh One Way, Kona Paddy Wagon: 42-16 (5.3 GR; 70.2 GI).

  6. Paul January 25, 2008 10:40 pm 

    I have a non-major brand fixie (Surly) and I am envious of the simple no-name brand fixies I see around town. They really capture the soul of the old-skool-meets-new-commuter type bikes.

  7. Mike Myers January 26, 2008 12:10 am 

    I agree with Ghost Rider. It’s because of the aluminum frames. The fact that Trek/Giant/Specialized failed to notice that Surly/Bianchi/Iro are steel bikes speaks volumes about their lack of hipness.

    It’s weird, because Trek and Specialized have a long history with steel.

  8. Ghost Rider January 26, 2008 5:19 am 

    Steven, of all the ones you listed, the Trek T1 is the only true “race-ready” track bike; hence the steep gearing.

    The rest (with the exception of the Fuji — still pretty steep there) are geared according to their intended use…riding on the street.

    87 or 88 gear inches is a decent starter gear for track racers, unless you’ve got tree trunk thighs!

  9. russ roca January 26, 2008 11:47 am 

    I never thought about the steel vs. alum. thing, but that definitely affects the aesthetic….skinny steel tubes, to me, look a lot cleaner….

    plus, the larger surface area of aluminum tubes seem to act like a seductive siren to bike graphic designers who can’t seem to keep their damn clip art off of them….you end up riding something that looks more like a candy bar than a proper bike

  10. Mike Myers January 26, 2008 2:22 pm 

    Russ—I subscribe to Road Bike Action magazine. It’s an OK magazine but I subscribed mainly because it’s nice to have another mag besides Bicycling on the market. They ran an article in the latest issue on the 7-11 race team from the 80s. Every rider they interviewed had nothing but raves for their steel Merckxs and Serottas—Ron Kiefel said if he rode aluminum his lower back siezed up in 30 minutes. I had the same experience on a KHS road bike and I own an Al bike now that does the same thing. Steel is real!

    I don’t get the bike industry’s love affair with aluminum. I can see it for ultralight race bikes and MTBs but for the average road rider it’s less than ideal. But that’s just my opinion.

    I hear that the new Reynolds 953 tubeset can be built into frames within half a pound of carbon fiber. Wow.

  11. Moe January 26, 2008 2:31 pm 

    Hey Mike,

    Funny thing is, RBA has a bike profile on the Giant Bowery: “The Bowery was created with professional messengers and urban riders in mind. The frame is Giant’s ALUXX aluminum frame.. blah blah… The Frame is designed to be stiff and light… blah blah blah…

    Then there’s the Don Walker Article: He quoted Richard Sachs: “Weight is a marketing gimmick when there’s nothing else to sell”.

  12. Mike Myers January 26, 2008 3:30 pm 


    I love it when manufacturers brag about the stiffness of their bikes, as if we’re all sprinting for primes or climbing the Alps. Stiff bikes start to suck for the average rider real soon. I don’t know how many people I meet who say their road bikes are uncomfortable—then I see they have 700×23 tires running at 110+ psi, bars 4 inches below the saddle, and aluminum tubes the size of soda cans. Wonder why they hurt? :-) Racers get paid very well to be uncomfortable(well, bigtime pros do) and have access to masseurs, whirlpool tubs, and acupuncturists. How many of us have that?


  13. Ghost Rider January 26, 2008 3:37 pm 

    Don’t forget that manufacturing aluminum frames is cheaper than a comparable steel frame. “Cashing in on a hip phenomenon” is the rule of the day, apparently!

    At least some folks are doing it in steel, at least.

  14. Mike January 27, 2008 8:08 am 

    I’d agree with the steel v. aluminum, but the other thing is the geometry–all the Al bikes pictured above have a sloping top-tube, whereas the steel bikes you mention all have a classic flat TT. With fixed gear popularity, there’s also very much a fashion over function aspect, and right now flat’s where it’s at. I think it’s the aesthetics of a skinny tube, flat top tube bike that sells them better than their sloped-tt, fat tubing counterparts.

    I also am left scratching my head that Trek especially isn’t cashing in on their steel heritage. Plenty of old Treks being converted into SS/FG anyway.

  15. Mike January 27, 2008 8:09 am 

    One more thing, re: Trek. Especially head scratch making because Fisher, a Trek brand, is making the steel-framed Triton. Maybe that’s their answer–give it over to their own in-house boutique label?

  16. russ roca January 27, 2008 11:05 am 

    If they want to be hip and ahead of the curve, they should start making porteur bikes with front racks and cargo bikes :)

  17. Moe January 27, 2008 11:12 am 

    Well, the market for ‘lighter, faster, carbon fiber sexy’ machines heavily outweighs the utilitarian market. One ‘major’ company that does think outside the box is Kona, it is our understanding that their Ute is selling rather well.

  18. russ roca January 27, 2008 1:51 pm 

    I think there’s going to be a shift in marketing if the bike industry wants to expand….there’s only a small percentage that will don the lycra and another willing to take their bikes to the mountains….

    between those two extremes, there is a vast untapped market….

    Everybody Else

    so far, bike advertising seems to be heavy on the performance/sports angle, but seems to completely miss marketing it as a cool, fun, hip lifestyle….few companies do this successfully but they have a definite niche market…

    take for example surly, swobo, rivendell and velo-orange….great examples of companies that don’t try to make carbon fiber wunderkinds, but enjoy strong followings

    i don’t think trek and giant will go out on a limb on trying something that hasn’t proven itself successful already..which you can claim is good business, but I would say is a lack of imagination….that is why smaller companies will have to pave the way….

    i think we’re in the beginning of a great bike renaissance here…..look at the boom and popularity of indie frame makers at NAHBS…or the growth and interest in accessorizing/customizing your bike..

    i think if you’ll see more creative thinking and design at NAHBS then larger companies whose idea of innovation is a carbon fiber bottle holder :)

  19. Ghost Rider January 27, 2008 3:43 pm 

    I think the big bike companies (particularly Trek) have this “vast untapped market” pretty well covered…after all, they hyped the Lime with a pile of marketing money, and they produce a pretty big line of lifestyle bikes (Trek even has its own urban bikes catalog in shops). Gary Fisher is doing the Simple City, KHS has a couple of really nice urban bikes, Raleigh does too.

    What I DON’T hear a lot of is Specialized. Sure, they’ve got urban bikes, but I never ever hear about them or see them. That’s a shame.

    I do agree that ALL of the big bike companies have a long way to go to make cycling accessible to the average John and Jane, and they’re in a position to make that happen with marketing and promotion.

  20. Quinn January 28, 2008 12:16 pm 

    When I think of all the new ss/fg bikes coming out i think of 1 word- Posers, that includes the gearing, I have one friend that rides 53 -15 and my best friend rides, 48-16., both ride Pistas
    people want to look “cool” but the dont want that racing position, or that high gear that they have to work for.

  21. Ghost Rider January 28, 2008 12:53 pm 

    What, pray tell, is “poser” gearing?

    The real posers I see are all pushing huge gears, partly because they don’t know any better and partly because it’s “hardcore”. Yeah, blowing out your knees at every stoplight is SO hardcore!

  22. John February 10, 2008 11:18 am 

    I could care less about looks. Seriously who cares if you can get to and from your destination. I have a Giant OCR3 with a fixed gear. The Chicago winters destroyed my gears so I did a little surgery.

  23. rtc February 17, 2008 11:16 pm 

    I have ridden a BMX bike for 26 years now, and was contemplating getting a fixed gear for deli/gym runs…however, I didn’t realize people would be critiquing my gear ratio, rim color choice, etc. — which reminded me why I have always ridden BMX — some of you road bike riders can be real f’ing elitist pricks. Just remember — BMX riders have better bike handling skills than all ‘yall…Track stands?!!? Neighbor please.

  24. Fitz February 21, 2008 10:23 pm 

    Amen BMX guy! I’ve been skateboarding here in Portland for 25 years, and I got into fixies for the same reasons I skate: fun, fast, simple, and perfect in the city.

    So I ride a new Bianchi? So my pants don’t look like I stole ’em from a 13 year old girl? So my hair isn’t full of grease, or mousse? So there’s no bandana hanging out of my back pocket?


    I’m a grown man, and as such, I realize those of you who worry about your silly fashion and your ridiculous brands will move on to the next thing as soon as it comes along.

    And I won’t be interested in buying your crapped-out vintage bike because my Pista will still be running strong.

    See you in 25 years, losers.

  25. Dusted718 February 24, 2008 9:58 am 

    I look at both sides of the coin and say I would like to go with steele because I use to ride one in the city about ten years ago and have not been on one in quit some time. And now see all the alum bikes that are lighter and faster and with age i need all i can get. Will i be mocked by these punk hipsters if i purchase an alum simply for the price and use as apposed to the hip factor. To be honest it is a bunch of BS, i am going to purchase the Bowery today from a local shop because i like the design and price tag and hope to get back into riding the track in April….

  26. Fred February 28, 2008 10:44 pm 

    I think what the fine fellows slagging on the Trek fail to realize is that it is a _track_ bike! Hence the gearing etc…

  27. Mike March 1, 2008 5:17 pm 

    Word Fitz, i totally agree. I have a tommaso augusta and i love it. And guess what, it still says tommaso on it! and i dont give a f__k. riding your bike is riding your bike

  28. dan.k March 14, 2008 8:35 pm 

    Maybe there are just 2 groups of riders here – those who care about style and those who care about the ride.

    I have a bareknuckles for my first fixie after riding aluminum and carbon road bikes for years. I got the steel drop bars, phils, the whole shebang. Don’t get me wrong, the bareknuckles is a very well made frame – I’ve been on it for 3 years now and really enjoy it. But, I’m considering the Trek T1 frame. I’ll get flak for riding it from hipsters who ride with their seat about a foot above the handlebars with steel drop bars and whatnot. But I put on between 50 and 75 miles a week and do 30-50 mile rides once or twice a month. I respect folks who make their bikes unique, or throwback, or retro or whatever – keeping that element of cycling tradition is cool. But I prefer comfort and speed. So people will make fun, but I’ll be comfortable and very fast.

    Concerning steel is real – I’ve ridden several aluminum bikes and the well made ones are very comfortable and very quick. I’m excited to ride the trek – I ‘ve read several reviews and most follow the same discussion: people rip on it because its a brand name and then a few guys or girls who’ve ridden it say it rides really well. How can someone who like cycling make fun of someone for buying a nice ride because its uncool?

  29. Ghost Rider March 15, 2008 3:43 am 


    good points. A lot of folks will harp on the “steel is real” business, when there are plenty of perfectly comfortable and good-riding aluminum frames out there. Personally, I prefer steel, but I’m not so blinded by it that I believe it’s the only viable frame material!

    One thing a lot of us 0bject to is the folks who get into the fixed-gear thing merely because it is cool and hip. Sure, it gets folks on bikes, and that’s always a good thing (as many other commenters have pointed out), but a bike is so much more than a fashion statement!! Buy or build a bike because it suits your riding needs, not because it is the cool model to have, right?

    What don’t you like about the Bareknuckle? Is it not comfortable?

  30. ryan... March 16, 2008 9:20 am 

    what ever happened to preference?

  31. dank March 16, 2008 12:17 pm 

    I really* like the bareknuckle, its a high quality competition (entry) level frame and you can feel that as you ride. i got the small size – 48 cm – but the track geometry makes it a slight too big; i’m 5’3 125. i’ve ridden treks before and their frames seem to fit me well so i’m going to test out the T1. i’ve read some nice reviews so hopefully it will work out. also, the langster comp has compact geometry and i may try that as well. if the bareknucles frame fit me better i’d have no reason to switch. i’ve ridden on the local velo, commute on it and take 30 – 50 milers on weekends and it is really nice, just not my fit.

    i am helping my friend build up an old british fixed gear frame i got for 50$ on ebay. its white so we’re gonna put a brooks on and moustache bars with brown leather tape. it should look mightily vintage. so i’ve got nothing against steel or old frames, they have their place as well.

    as all riders know, there is ultimately a trade-off between comfort and speed depending on your wallet. how much you want to sacrifice for coolness is a personal preference.

  32. Ryan J April 3, 2008 4:42 pm 

    1970s steel Nishiki Professional….Best riding around town frame i have ever had! But i ride a t1 for my long state line rides and its great for that.
    Thats all. Love them both!

  33. ian April 4, 2008 6:21 pm 

    im new to this battle of the steel vs. alum. bike wars, but i just bought a giant bowery to get to work and back. i love it! i am a big guy 6’1″ 250. its mostly flat with two nice hills in my way and i have had no probs what so ever. i’ve hit pot holes, curbs, cracks and limbs and nothing is wrong. its a comfy ride and i have alot of fun. so if thats the case than what is wrong with the fact its an alum. giant?????

  34. John April 17, 2008 10:37 am 

    I think the only “hardcore” fixed riders are the fixed mountain riders. That’s the gnarliest riding I’ve ever experienced.

  35. Kriscube April 23, 2008 5:33 pm 

    I’m happy about anything that gets people riding bikes. In my experience hipsters never stay with anything for long, but I believe in the converting power of biking, so let’s all ride friendly, the Texas way. As the Moab billboard puts it, “If it’s a bike, it’s cool; if you ride it, you’re cool.” My fixelpooper is an 80’s Bianchi Premio, with fenders, lights, a bell, and a 27 inch front wheel, 70 gear-inches. It’s one of four, but if I had to pick one blah blah it would be, well, it. Smile and wave dammit.

  36. Ed May 5, 2008 7:35 pm 

    I think every judging, hipster fixie rider should take a trip to Copenhage Denmark. Then they’ll realize the truth behing biking; no matter what it may be.

  37. Ryan J May 7, 2008 8:01 pm 

    Even if you don’t ride fixed who cares. I love fixed gear and its the only way to go for me, but i work at a shop and build and sell geared bikes all day. I will have to agree with Kriscube…“If it’s a bike, it’s cool; if you ride it, you’re cool.?. just get out and ride…Thats all its about.

    (Having the hotest bike in town is cool too!)

    Do it for the heath reason, go drink some PBR with friends and do bar rides, do your gnarly fixy stunts….Its all good…Just do what you love! Thats all i ask!

  38. Cassie June 24, 2008 9:03 pm 

    I’m researching and shopping for a new bike right now, and I’m looking into a fixed because I want to be able to maintain my own bike without getting a technical college degree (and a host of other reasons). I also think they’re pretty. OH NO! You mean looks matter to me? So kill me. I also love that I’ll be pushing myself around town without having to bother with the bus or the car (no more parking nightmares!). And I like to kick my ass, so I’m ready to take on the hills.

    Thing is, everywhere I turn I’m being judged by someone. On the one end there are all the old ss/fg dudes who think they “own” old timey bike technology: “I’ve been riding fg for 30 years!” Uphill both ways in the snow, right? And as it’s pretty likely that you weren’t alive in the 1800’s, either–I “own” this technology as much as you do.

    Then on the other end, if I get a Bianchi off the rack I’ll be riding what every other “hipster” in my neighborhood rides. So *not* cool, right? And I’m only doing it because everyone else is doing it, right? Sure, sure, baaaaaaaaaaa, that’s me. And it gets worse! Don’t tell anyone, but I might secretly practice trackstands after I make a run to the library. Wait, is that cool? Is that dorky? Oh, I’m so conflicted!

    I just want to ride a bike. Get off my case already, what do you care? Aren’t you too busy riding?

    Whew! I’m probably yelling to a dead post, but I had to get that out 😀

    Oh, and Moe? I think the other posters are right re: steel being cool, classic being cool, and new “road racer” style aluminum frames being, well, not. At least, that’s what a glance around Seattle tells me. Of course, I think the Bowery is pretty sweet so maybe I’m not a good judge.

  39. Fixed Gear Friday: Are ‘major’ brands not hip enough? | June 25, 2008 12:31 pm 

    […] DealBook wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBe sure to check the comments, there are times that comments are more interesting to read than the post itself. I’ve noticed that Fixed gear bikes made by major bike companies such as Giant, Specialized … […]

  40. Iron Man June 25, 2008 1:30 pm 

    Where’s the bent tribe in this discussion? They must be reading the Popular Mechanics website.

  41. Shek June 25, 2008 1:51 pm 

    I am more confused than I was before I read all 40 comments!

    I am planning to buy a single speed road bike and I really like the minimalist uncluttered look of steel tube bikes like the Surly Steamroller and the Raleigh Rush Hour.

    What do I go for?
    I dont want to spend over $700 and use it for no-baggage commute to friends that live further away. My beater bike is a Specialized Rockhopper comp, 10+ yrs old and hybridized. I dont really like the riding stance for long city rides. I live in Jacksonville, FL, so it is fairly flat topography.

  42. Moe June 25, 2008 2:18 pm 

    Shek: It sounds like the Redline 9-2-5 is the bike for you! The 9-2-5 costs less than the Steamroller and the Rush Hour. RL and Lance ride a 9-2-5 and we have a few readers that have purchased one as well, they all seem to love it.

  43. mercutio stencil June 26, 2008 12:31 am 

    Since when is Surly a minor brand? They are owned by QBP. Not that I have anything but love for them, but QBP is about as corporate as you can get.

  44. Paul June 26, 2008 1:12 am 

    Steel is actually more environmental friendly. Aluminum requires alot more energy to process. Yet another argument for steel :)

  45. Shek June 26, 2008 11:55 am 

    thanks Moe

  46. Ghost Rider June 26, 2008 12:06 pm 

    In terms of sheer volume of bicycles produced, Surly is dinky compared to behemoths like Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc. It matters not that their parent company is QBP, which is a pretty huge company.

  47. Lance June 26, 2008 2:53 pm 

    Shek, you’ll love the 925! Well within your budget. Mine is a year old and going strong. Only thing you may want to replace is the tires. Other than that, it’s ready to rock out of the box. Hope you like it too!

  48. jamesmallon June 26, 2008 3:36 pm 

    Shek, better decide if you want track bars or bullhorn bars. Me, I like as many had positions as I can get: no flats or bullhorns, please. The steamroller is a pretty cool option: all steel down to the chainring, room for any tire or fender, wide enough rear to put in an internal hub if the mood should ever strike, good gear inches for beginning fixed. The bloody-stool frame colour could be changed

    It’s not what I did in the end. Mine is a steel touring frame, 73″ (44/16 on 28mm tires), randonneur bars and a porteur chaincase, all in black with chrome components. Brooks B17 narrow, because I bought a Brooks for another bike, and no other saddle is acceptable to my touche anymore. The chaincase lets me wear whatever I want, because at 38 I’m too old for ‘man-pris’. Though she ain’t light, she never puts a foot wrong.

    And that’s a funny thing about steel. I love steel, but I don’t love all steel equally. My steel road bike is supple, comfortable and light; but my steel touring fixie is solid, comfortable and durable. Maybe it’s the longer geometry, heavier guage of tubing, or the different rims, but there is even variety among steel.

  49. phil June 30, 2008 4:32 pm 

    i love my redline 925. if it’s not hip enough, i really don’t care!

  50. tres_uncool June 30, 2008 9:05 pm 

    I’ve been identified as one of these dreaded “hipsters,” (I still don’t know what that even means) and I might even ride one of these “fixed” bicycles.

    Wanna know the truth? From what I see?

    None of them are cool. Even the IROs, Pistas, et al. Those look the best out of the new crop of bikes. So they work and can be dressed up.

    But the real cool guy has the NJS Nagasawa shipped from Japan. Or a ’78 Guerciotti track bike with vintage Campy. Or a custom frame from a local builder.

    Something that you know nobody in your town will be riding. Something that you invested in by searching and piecing it together.

    And if you don’t want to spend the cheddar on that, or can’t? Ride a conversion. Throw nice handmade wheels on a funky beater frame. Instead of spending $650 on a bland new aluminum frame with meh components, build up a $75 lugged frame with kick-ass components. Ride it until it turns to dust.

    Build it yourself. Learn. Own the experience. Make it mean something. That’s cool.

    But buying your way in now that you’ve heard about the next big thing?

    That isn’t cool, and never will be.

  51. mercutio stencil July 4, 2008 12:20 am 

    Since when does ownership not matter, but production level does in determining hipness? Well, I suppose your right. Hipness is by definition scarcity, if its common, it can’t be hip. Sigh…I guess I just won’t know hipness when it spins by me doing 35 on a steamroller…

  52. Kent Stork July 16, 2008 11:41 pm 

    Physics vs. Style:

    Material-Modulus of Elasticity (psi)
    Steel 30,000,000
    Aluminum 10,000,000
    Brass 15,000,000
    Wood 1,600,000
    Copper 17,000,000
    Concrete 3,000,000

    I don’t know anything about “hip”, except when it hurts. But I know a little about steel and aluminum.

    Steel has an ME that is three times that of aluminum. It is much farther from concrete than aluminum is, as an engineering material.

    Materials with a higher modulus of elasticity can be applied to be more “springy” without failure at a given loading than those with a lower ME.

    A well build (heavily butted) steel frame can be strong and yielding. It can be far more comfortable than an aluminum frame.

    In terms of ride and inertia, a “fixed” gear train maintains the inertia of the wheel – crank – leg system. It takes much more skill to stop a fixie than a free wheeled bike. And it takes much less energy to keep it going.

    These are the things that matter; not style.

  53. Joe Le Taxi July 30, 2008 4:41 am 

    The whole fixed gear ‘cool’ thing is getting a little out of hand. I appreciate the aesthetic of a well designed bike like the next man. I also appreciate functionality. The ideal for me is a blend of form and functionality. But if you’re riding fixed to be part of the hip gang, then you’re locked into a never ending quest to out-cool your neighbor.

    I currently ride an aluminium road bike with gears, for cycling in the hills, lots of them near where I live. I also commute to work on a beater mtb with slick tyres- it’s served me well but stuff is starting to break and I can’t be bothered fixing it. I was considering building my own fixed using an old frame, but then my local shop has a total knockdown price on the Bowery, and I’ve ordered one.

    From my point of view, what’s cool is finding a bike that fits your needs and your pocket and riding the thing day in, day out. The Bowery suits me perfectly because it’s cheap, it’s available, and it’s as close to zero maintenance as you can get. I’ll take the stickers off so hipsters will wonder what it is. If I’m asked I’ll say I bought it in India. They will no doubt sneer at the compact frame, but when I tell them that compact alu frames from India are the next big thing, all the messengers in Bilbao ride them, they will scuttle off to Google ‘Indian aluminium fixie’.

    Seriously, what’s cool is just riding whatever you have. The coolest thing I’ve seen in years is the Velib ( system in Paris and the Bicing ( one in Barcelona. They are bikes you can rent for around a 25 cents a day, so long as you don’t go over half an hour. They have gotten thousands of people on bikes who wouldn’t bother normally. On a side note, I was in Barcelona in April and didn’t see a single fixed gear. Hipsters over there were riding raggedy old road bikes and sit up and beg bikes with apehanger bars. Made the whole fixed thing seem a tad irrelevant.

    Trying to be cool is very uncool :)

  54. Andy August 23, 2008 7:26 pm 

    I’ve been looking at changing to fixed cycling for a while (simplicity, “oneness” with the ride, strength building, chic etc.) and I just ordered a Giant Bowery to be my introduction:

    1. Price – clearance £225 for the 08 (identical to 09 except for handlebars). I don’t have much money.
    2. Fairly light weight compared to my old bike.
    3. Fairly hassle free. Less maintainance with a fixed wheel, off the peg bike will work better than anything I put together.

    I did attempt to build up an old (1980s) steel frame I found but with no experience I hit problems at every turn. This would have been cheaper (and more satisfying and hipper) but I can’t manage it right now.

    Plan is to see how I like being fixed, upgrade components now and again and enjoy cycling. Maybe one day go vintage with an old steel frame.

  55. Dyl August 26, 2008 1:16 pm 

    I ride a Specialized Langster and I hate it. To me, my bike is a hunk of metal. A steel frame is a thing of beauty and is literally, a work of art. My bike is just this mass produced soulless thing. I will be buying something with a steel frame in the coming weeks.

  56. the roc September 5, 2008 2:04 pm 

    the very idea of the question posed above reinforces the fact that all of you hipster fashionistas are not cyclists…. mechanical objects do not by nature, have value, they have cost. Value is a perception, and subjective. All of you enterprising nit-wits that try to sell old bikes by calling them vintage, or try to sell your off the shelf Pista with some new grips, urban styling, and store bought spoke cards for more than retail, and the morons that buy them have a skewed sense of value.

    All of those corporate companies DO have a history in track/olympic racing as opposed to the trendsetters like IRO, surly,and Swobo and the notion that you are buying something special when you buy a taiwanese bianchi still leaves me scratching

    and Dyl(rod), you cannot polish a turd… it does not matter what you put between your legs when you have no substance

    bikes are for riding

  57. a.w.e.s.o.m.e.-o September 7, 2008 7:18 pm 

    Fixed gear bikes look great. the no bs attitude they emit is killer and the keep it simple stupid ideology is the best. BUTTTT, they’re dumb unless you’re on the track, training, or exercising. the trendiness will die off soon hopefully. bmx, time trials, velo, road, downhill, cross country>fixed. skids? trackstands? c’mon, let’s be real here.

    and lol @ no brakes.


  58. Motley October 10, 2008 2:46 am 

    I agree with mercutio stencil. Hipness is defined by scarcity. Idiot fixies have to buy the oldest rarest bike, fit it with mismatching color wheels in order to the “hippest”. Can’t fix stupid there. And the argument between steel and aluminum is dumb. It’s a bike, go ride it, just so as long as it’s not a stupid fixed gear. I have ridden bikes from both materials and guess what, they feel the same. The only things that determine the stiffness of your ride are your tire size, tire pressure, thickness of your grips and your saddle! I see fixies riding on a piece of carbon. No shiz it’s going to be stiff. Ideally you would want an aluminium bike in winter so it won’t be rusting inside out.

  59. Nad October 10, 2008 1:16 pm 

    I know that riding a Langster is not hip, but I have biked around town (both for commuting and for weekend spins) for 18 months and it’s fine, and often fun. For me, it is a lot lighter (and faster) than my trusty steel commuter bike (with rack, fenders, generator light, etc.). The end effect is that I ride more than I used to — and anything that gets you out of the car and on 2 wheels is a good thing. Yes, building your own single/fixed from a frame found in a barn is a better story, and there may be better pre-packaged bikes on the market (with better parts). But the Langster was at the local shop, it fits right, the price was ok, and it does the job. For me that is enough.

  60. apocalypse dude October 22, 2008 7:36 pm 

    agree with the roc, fix gears are for posers.

  61. Christopher December 10, 2008 3:10 pm 

    The Treks, Specialized, et al are typically grossly over priced. THAT is why they do not retain their value. GROSSLY over priced by hundreds of dollars.

    I saw a really nice looking Cannondale today with ok components for over $900. Are you kidding me? Even the most committed trend following wanker would not pay that kind of cash for such a trendy bike.

    Besides, usually the Trek/Specialized/et al are clueless when it comes to fixed gear bikes so instead they make trendy little cycles that newbies and the naive purchase. You don’t often see people in the know buying Trek/special/la la single speed/fixed gear bikes.

    One day the guy who buys the Specialized trendy with colored wheels is going to look in the mirror and ask himself “my god what have I become” and sell it on CL for $50. Just like we did during the Disco years…All the sudden we realized how ridiculous we looked, sold or burned our clothes, got a legit hair cut, threw away the big gold chains and got a life.

    The Trek riding fixed gear guy will soon realize the chartoon character he has become.

  62. Drew December 10, 2008 11:21 pm 

    I just want to know one thing. Would you trust a no name fixed sold on ebay for 250 or a named brand fixed sold somewhere else for at least 500 more? Why am I asking? Because this is going to be my first fixed (I have been riding my friend’s for a while now) and I have not experimented with too many other bikes and I just want to be able to make a smart/good investment. Any suggestions and recommendations?

  63. Ghost Rider December 11, 2008 4:24 am 

    Drew…how ’bout a link to the Ebay auction? I suppose it all depends what it comes with.

    A lot of “name brand” frames are made by the same factories as the no-name models, so mostly it depends on the components installed.

  64. Ghost Rider December 11, 2008 7:41 am 

    Hmm…that’s a tough one. I suspect some of the savings comes from no branding, aluminum (vs. steel) frame and a pile of no-name parts. If the parts aren’t worth naming, they’re probably not terribly good.

    Still, that’s probably a good enough bike for introducing yourself to the world of fixed-gear riding…and parts/wheels can always be upgraded, as long as the frame isn’t total crap (and it’s hard to tell that from the Ebay photos). Roll of the dice, to be sure…

    If you’re concerned more about the investment itself, I’d save my money and keep looking for something a bit more polished (name-brand parts, perhaps a steel frame of better quality).

  65. Drew December 11, 2008 7:44 am 

    thanks for the advice. ill try my best to look around. any places you suggest i look?

  66. Ghost Rider December 11, 2008 8:37 am is a good place to look for cheaper bikes, while KHS and Surly make comparable steel framed fixed-gear bikes that are really nice.

    Or, you could try IRO Cycle, Alien Bikes for builds.

    One of the dreamiest fixed-gear framesets I’m fond of is the EAI Bareknuckle, but it only comes as a frame and fork.

  67. Harrumph February 2, 2009 2:14 pm 

    You people make me laugh. Ride what fits and works for you.

    You are all confused. You want to look like you are riding track bikes, and then you do everything you can to make them road bikes. Just get a fucking road bike already. Put a fixed gear on it IF IT WORKS FOR YOU. Otherwise, there is a reason planetary gears and derailleurs exist.

    I suspect I was racing track before most of you were born (1976). Track bikes are for riding on a velodrome. Not for riding to your Intro to Psych class, where you might want to pay attention and figure out why you are all so FIXated on your images.

  68. Frank March 22, 2009 4:49 pm 

    Fixie is so 90’s
    Retrovelo, Xtracycle, Madsen, Dutch bikes are a bit more “hip” these days…Copenhagen cycle chic…

  69. Bike T-shirt March 23, 2009 2:50 am 

    It’s because they don’t care about FG bikes at all, they are just trying to cash in.

  70. Kent Stork April 9, 2009 10:14 pm 

    RE: Retrovelo, Xtracycle, Madsen…

    You might as well walk.

    I’m probably the only one here that owns both a fixie and a Bike Friday PRP. I plan on lacing an ENO for the Bike Friday, so it too can be fixed.

    It is not about being cool — it’s about *control*.

  71. Shane July 26, 2009 7:47 am 

    Holy crap! Do you realize how elitist (and absurd) some of you sound?! Harrumph is right.

    “It’s because they don’t care about FG bikes at all, they are just trying to cash in.” WTF?! Who cares whether /they/ care?! As long as the people buying them care about them, what difference does it make?!

    Do you think everyone cares about their 9-5? I don’t care about mine. Does that mean I’m just trying to “cash in” too?

    Not everybody has the money or know-how to build up a custom fixie. I think it’s great that people can buy one off the shelf; and I think it’s f*ucking elitist to call people “posers” if they do. Why wouldn’t you want as many people as possible to experience the same pleasure you get from riding a fixed gear? It’s because you /don’t/ really want to see more people moving to FGs — you want to keep this to yourself. Seems like you’re the type who “doesn’t care” about FGs.

  72. death wish March 18, 2010 3:15 am 

    5:14am here and just got done having sex with my bike get off the internet and ride fuckers

  73. d June 29, 2010 8:34 am 

    I ride a Langster with a flip-flop hub (set for free-wheeling) because I wanted as little hassle as possible when it comes to maintainability.

    Most of you guys sound like pricks that I would clip when driving if given the opportunity.

    I agree with death wish, just ride.

  74. Grande Loco July 27, 2010 11:24 pm 

    Just do what I did. Buy a Vilano roadbike for $250 Then take it to your local bike shop and have them put a new bottom bracket on it for 30 bucks plus whatever they charge you to install it and there you have it. A nice black smooth riding fixie that you will enjoy riding everyday. It’s not about the brand name guys, with the right components u can turn any thrifty bike into a nice riding machine.

  75. Raiyn July 28, 2010 4:12 pm 

    Quote: Grande Loco
    “Just do what I did”

    You mean post spam? I’m sure we’ll get right on changing out that bottom bracket for our fixie conversion there Sparky.

  76. Xav August 5, 2010 8:26 pm 

    This is all going to far people just need to ride the type of bike they enjoy riding.

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