Fixed Gear…Uh…’Coaster-Brake’ Friday: OSO Bike

Shane Stock from OSO Bike just sent us a bike to test for the next couple months. At first glance, it looks like any number of mid-range fixed gear bikes on the roads today…but wait: is that a coaster brake?!?

full bike

That’s right…this bike is a simple, straightforward singlespeed based around a coaster brake hub. All the simplicity and ease of maintenance of a balloon-tired beach cruiser but in a sexier, sleeker, speedier package!

Here’s a bit about the specs from OSO Bike’s website:

Frame: Chromoly high strength steel.
Fork: Chromoly high strength steel.
Rims: Alex-450. 700c, double wall, 36H
Chainwheel: Lunge 48 tooth
Rear Cog: Shimano 18 tooth
Spokes: Stainless Steel
Brake/Rear Hub: Shimano CB-E110 Coaster brake
Front hub: KT 516F
Tires: Kenda Kontact K-191 700c x 23mm
Pedals: Victor Pedal VP-196 Platform
Handlebar: J.D. Aluminum bullhorns
Saddle: Velo 11391
Color: White
Sizes: 52 cm, 54 cm, 56 cm, C to T
Weight: 54cm is 19.8 LBS w/o pedals
Price: $419 plus $40 shipping (optional front brake/lever additional $38), available directly from OSO Bike.

The frame is made of TIG-welded chromoly, and the main frame tubes are teardrop-shaped. Welds are a little bit crude, but serviceable. The frame is equipped with rear-facing “track style” forkends with included chaintugs on both drive and non-drive sides. There is a single waterbottle mounting point on the downtube and fender eyelets brazed to the front fork (more on that in the upcoming review). Other than that, this bike is bare-bones: simple and lean.


The wheelset looks fancy, but don’t let the paired-spoke configuration fool you — the wheels have semi-aero doublewall rims with 36 spokes laced in a three-cross pattern. These wheels appear as if they will be able to stand up to some pretty harsh urban riding.


OSO Bike sent me the optional front brake assembly, with inline “cyclocross” lever and precut cable and casing. The lever mounts next to the stem on the included bullhorn handlebars.


Since the bike is pretty bare-bones without a lot of the bells and whistles that many commuters demand, how will it hold up as a “commuter bike”? Well, that’s something I aim to find out as I test it. Not everyone needs a means of hauling gear on their bike, nor does everyone need or even want fenders. For some commuters, a simple “point A to point B, and step on it!” bike serves admirably, and that’s what I’ll keep in mind as I put this bike through its paces.

Stay tuned for a more detailed “first impression” article and a full review to follow. In the meantime, you can check out OSO Bike by visiting their website.


  1. Raiyn October 16, 2008 9:56 pm 

    Pretty pimp looking wheels from the Rodney Dangerfield of rims.

  2. RL October 16, 2008 10:13 pm 

    Are you saying that Alex Rims don’t get no respect?

  3. Dman October 17, 2008 4:14 am 

    haha…BSNY posted a video from this guy yesterday…looks like a neat bike, but the sales pitch on the video was pretty horrible. It’s a cool looking bike tho.

  4. Ghost Rider October 17, 2008 4:30 am 

    Yeah, I caught that on the Snob yesterday. Shane’s a sweetheart, but he could definitely use a little “sales pitch” fine-tuning.

  5. Quinn October 17, 2008 5:00 am 

    ESP Must exist! I have thought about this concept for a long while now. I saw this on MTBR and I Almost bought one, can’t wait for the review!

  6. Shek October 17, 2008 5:21 am 

    kinda the Swobo folsom ideology

  7. Mike C October 17, 2008 6:01 am 

    Shane had the temerity to post to the BF SS/FG forum and got an earful… or rather an eyeful. I like the bike, the idea behind it, and the fact that Shane had these built in the first place. I don’t quite get eyelets up front but none out back. Best part about it is if you don’t end up liking the single speed coaster brake, with the horizontal track ends you could always go SS/FG, or even throw a IGH wheel at it–might be bitchin’ with a 3sp coaster brake rear hub, or incredibly useful with an 8sp hub. It’s a neat bike at a fair price, kudos to Shane.

  8. MattG October 17, 2008 6:10 am 

    The concept for this bike intrigues me, especially the idea of putting a geared hub/coaster brake on the back tire.

    I’m curious about how effective the coaster brake is with a skinny tire. Please don’t forget to test that out!

  9. Tony Bullard October 17, 2008 6:20 am 

    Maybe it’s cause I’m still fairly new to all this, but I think it’s funny how everyone is reacting to the coaster break. Everyone seems to have a “What?! I love it!” reaction.

    I think it’s funny that it gives the impression of a hip fixed gear, but is more akin to a kids bike.

  10. Ghost Rider October 17, 2008 6:53 am 

    @Mike C — I’m right there with you concerning the fork eyelets…I’ll have more on that in the review. And I agree that IGH would be awesome on a platform like this!

    I’m not particularly impressed by the quality of comments over at Bikeforums. Shane also posted to the Fixed Gear Gallery forum and got varied reactions to the bike there, too — and those posters generally know exactly what they’re talking about.

    @Tony — what’s not to love about the simplicity of a coaster brake? I think the OSO is intended for what you describe — a bike evoking the hip, sleek image of a fixed gear but with the ear-to-ear grins of locking up a coaster brake and skidding to your heart’s content, just like when we were kids.

  11. Clancy October 17, 2008 7:45 am 

    The bike looks great though and will certainly fulfill a function. Locking up the coaster brake will have the same effect of a fixie skidding. I have a skinny tire bike with a 7spd coasterbrake hub. The braking from the rear is lacking and I use mostly the front brake.

    It would be nice if a different coaster brake hub could be sourced. Those KT hubs are not made to withstand lots of hard use even though it is a Shimano design. They are meant for kids bikes and fat tire cruisers. There is a hub made in the Czech Republic- Velosteel. It is a company that licensed the tooling and design from the old Fitchel and Sachs.

  12. Brad October 17, 2008 8:25 am 

    Now he’s calling it a commuter? He’s tried to design a bike to be all things to all people and it doesn’t seem to do any one thing particularily well.

    No fenders on a commuter? No rear eyelets? How’s frame clearance to retrofit fenders? He did add the ubiquitous chain tugs to ensure that fixed gear emulators can get easily get their chains far too tight much like he has the bike set up now. Excellent. Looks like that chain needs a link too. 23mm tires for commuting? Ugh. Personally, I go no narrower than 28 and noticed a huge difference in comfort in doing so. I don’t know anything about the Kenda Kontact tires? Are they any good? Kevlar? I don’t tolerate ANY flats on my commuter and run nothing less than Vittoria Randonneur Kevlar tires with Mr. Tuffy tire liners. I don’t have much confidence in tires that are any lower grade…
    After you do fit fenders that horizontal dropout will complicate tire changes too.
    Blech. That is so NOT a commuter.

  13. awgie October 17, 2008 9:16 am 

    Yeesh! Hey Brad, Grant Petersen wants his soapbox back.

    “He’s tried to design a bike to be all things to all people and it doesn’t seem to do any one thing particularily well”

    Uhhh, ya pedal it and it goes forwards… prolly does that well, but I don’t have your capacity for photographic forensic chain tension analysis…

  14. Brad October 17, 2008 9:39 am 

    I don’t think it’s all that hard to see. The chain has zero sag and it’s all the way forward in the dropout. It’s not rocket science nor does it need a micrometer to judge. However, it is a really effective way to prematurely wear out cogs and chain rings.

  15. Brad October 17, 2008 9:45 am 

    “Uhhh, ya pedal it and it goes forwards… prolly does that well”
    …because that’s all a bike needs to do to be classified a commuter. I want to live in your world, it’s so much simpler.

  16. Ghost Rider October 17, 2008 11:12 am 

    Ease up, Brad…take a deep breath. Awgie’s right: all a bike needs in order to be a “commuter” is to be able to pedal forward without breaking down.

    Remember, we’ve gone ’round and ’round on this site as to what makes a “commuter bike”. Not everyone needs or wants racks, fenders and all that other stuff that most of us consider to be crucial commuting accessories.

    Read the last paragraph in the article again…I used “commuter bike” in quotes for two reasons: simply because it is not a typical commuter bike with the aforementioned accessories and because nowhere on OSO Bike’s site is it described as a commuter bike.

    You’re absolutely right about the chain tension, though. This bike needs another full link — you could shoot an arrow 100 yds. off this chain!!!

    @Clancy, tell me more about a seven-speed coaster brake hub. Is it one of the Nexus models? You’re right about the Shimano coaster hub on this one — folks just don’t make a top-shelf coaster hub anymore.

  17. Iron_Man October 17, 2008 12:32 pm 

    My seven mostly flat miles would be just fine on that bike. I run 23mm tires on my commuter and I don’t get beat up. Sure 28’s are more plush, but I’m no arthritic Geritol fogey either. Unless you’re riding the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix to work I don’t think it’s that big of an issue. My only hesitation for a commuter is no rear eyelets. I hate riding with a backpack, but I see plenty who don’t mind out on the streets.

  18. Clancy October 17, 2008 7:10 pm 

    Yes it is a 7spd Nexus Coaster brake. I stole the hub from my Electra Deluxe 7 cruiser. I laced into a new rim for my Kona Humuhumu . It is a fun around town bike. I do have a front brake as the rear just doesn’t provide the stopping power that I am comfortable with.

  19. Raiyn October 18, 2008 12:01 am 

    That’s exactly what I meant.

  20. Ghost Rider October 18, 2008 4:13 am 

    There’s a story behind those wheels, too. I’ll get to that in the review.

  21. Raiyn October 18, 2008 10:51 pm 

    *Waits patiently*

  22. Marrock October 19, 2008 11:52 am 

    I was of the opinion that all it took to make a bike a “commuter bike” is that one uses it to commute.

    I look forward to the reviews, been a long time since I rocked anything with a coaster brake.

  23. MattG October 20, 2008 5:47 am 

    This bike strikes me has half of a good idea, from a commuting point of view. Perhaps slightly wider tires, fenders, bottle cages, and you’ve got yourself a very bomb proof little ride right there.

    I was struck (again) this weekend about the importance of fenders… It was wet, and I wear glasses… DOH!

  24. Ghost Rider October 20, 2008 6:04 am 

    Wider tires would fit in this frame, despite some tight-looking clearances. I’m pretty sure you could fit up to 28mm tires in there (I’ll check during the review process). The frame comes predrilled for a single waterbottle cage, but no cage is included.

  25. db October 21, 2008 7:21 am 

    – 23s vs 28s: That’s 5 mm of difference. I run both, and I do not notice a major change in comfort (or speed) between the two. Maybe when I get up to a 32 I do. But 23 to 28 is a “huge difference”? Not to everyone.

    – No rear eyelets: If you have to have a rack or fenders, use P-clamps or QR-axle mounts. They’re quite stable.

    – Several of us prefer not to stick more stuff on the bike, and I love using a messanger bag so that I can hope right off the bike and be on my way. So a lot of this comes down to personal preference.

    – I just can’t get excited about coaster brakes. They are fine if you’re not going above say 15 mph, like on my wife’s cruiser. But like Clancy, I’d have an auxiliary front brake on any coaster-brake equipped bike that I had to use to commute in Boise’s traffic.

    Looking forward to Jack’s review. It’s a very nice looking bike.

  26. Mike October 21, 2008 4:20 pm 

    Also looking forward to the review.

  27. 2whls3spds October 26, 2008 4:28 am 

    Waitin’ on the Review…it was all Jack’s fault that I bought the Redline R530 LOL

    A commuter bike is different things to different people. My main commuter for years was a beat up 70’s Raleigh 3 speed. It worked day in and day out for over 7 years over a 7-14 mile round trip commute.


  28. 2whls3spds October 26, 2008 4:32 am 

    As far as 23 vs 28…I try not to ride anything under 30 😉 Different tires will give a different ride. Also rider weight plays into it. I am right at 200# and can promise you I get a better ride out most any tire that is 5mm wider. I also have to run tires at full pressure.


  29. Ghost Rider October 26, 2008 4:49 am 

    But Aaron, are you happy with your R530 or do you want to hang me from the nearest bike rack? If it’s the former, then I’ve got a new bike to recommend for you! If it’s the latter, maybe you shouldn’t read any of my other bike reviews… 😉

  30. Shek October 26, 2008 6:29 am 

    Sounds like the OSO stands up to your tests. I am interested to hear how that goes too.

  31. 2whls3spds October 26, 2008 7:03 am 

    I think your review was good for a short term review. I am still upgrading and fiddling with the R530 to get it where I want it, but I do that with all of my bikes. When I bought the R530 I had been looking for a Breezer to lay eyes on, but none of the “dealers” within a 500 mile radius had any in stock. I did find one R530 in the S size to look at to get a feel for the build on it. I bought mine knowing full well I would dump a few bucks into upgrades and changes. I would have done that with a Breezer too.


  32. 2whls3spds October 26, 2008 7:05 am 

    BTW the perfect number of bikes is N+1 where N equals the number of bikes currently owned. 😀


  33. MattG October 27, 2008 2:17 am 

    I see the oso bike has been added to the site’s list of links. Does this mean that they’re getting a favorable review?

    I’m still highly curious about it.

  34. Ghost Rider October 27, 2008 3:10 am 

    No, we’re not afraid to “tell it how it is”. While we appreciate that folks want to advertise on our site, we do everything we can to remain objective and spell out what we like and don’t like about the products we test. If the truth hurts, so be it…

  35. MattG October 27, 2008 3:35 am 

    Oooo, foreshadowing! My interest is piqued!

  36. Ghost Rider October 27, 2008 3:57 am 

    You can see that I’m trying to throw people off…is it good? Is it bad? Is it somewhere in between? I hate giving away the secrets!

  37. Phil Kratz December 23, 2008 4:54 pm 

    I recieved my oso bike a week ago and i love it! I’m not a daily commuter but i like to ride alot and like simple bikes with no gears and things hanging off of the bike. the coaster brake is fun. i dont like the idea of a fixed gear bike so much . one thing i can see changing is the crankset… just for the fact that the chainwheel is an odd 4 bolt pattern and i wanna change to a 46 t ring. but other than that everything on the bike is great if you ask me. its a very stiff super light fun and simple ride!

  38. Chi Ride March 5, 2009 9:43 am 

    So what ever happened to the real review?

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