Category: fixed gear friday

Man, we haven’t done one of these in a while…

Last night when I got home from work, I was thrilled to discover a package waiting for me — a fixed gear frameset from the folks at 183rd Street Cycles. You may remember the company from our coverage at last year’s Interbike.


Details on the frame are a bit sketchy…but what we do know is this: the frame is made from double-butted Tange chromoly and is TIG welded. The fork has a low rake (30mm!) for fast handling, and both fork and rear bridge are drilled for brakes, so this could be a singlespeed or fixed gear machine. The only braze-on on the entire frameset is a pair of waterbottle cage holes on the seat tube (it’s more aero that way, I swear!).

Normally, the frameset comes in white or “E.D. Black”, a flat black that requires no additional prep before powdercoating with another color. As you can see, though, 183rd Street whipped us up a special one that is a dark green with silver sparkles…they know I like to express my inner Bootsy Collins from time to time!

The fork itself is a thing of beauty. In my opinion, it’s the way a steel fork should look. 183rd Street could have taken the easy way out and designed a unicrown fork like so many other manufacturers, but they took the extra steps and specified a flat crown with long-point lugs and cutouts on the front and rear. Gorgeous.

pretty fork

Rear forkends are drilled and tapped for long setscrews that help tension the chain and also help prevent the axle from slipping under load. No additional chaintugs are needed:


Over the next couple months, I will be building this bike up with an assortment of new and used parts. This project will give me the opportunity to try out some of the bits from the good folks over at Velo Orange (stem, headset, Milano citybike handlebars and possibly a seatpost). It ain’t gonna be a “hipster fixie”, but there WILL be some colorful additions — I can’t help myself! After all, it IS a sparkle paintjob!

It looks like the Fixie/SS trend is spreading South, but when I mean South I mean all the way down to Chile!

Here are a few blogs from Chile (note: blogs are in Spanish)that promote bike commuting:

Bicivilizate Great blog, lots of info about bikes around the world and they also do “commuter profiles”

Cliclismo Urbano This blog kind of resembles BikeCommuters; they have how tos, reviews, articles and answer questions regarding bike commuting.

Arriba’e la Chancha This blog focuses mostly on advocacy and is involved with the different politics of cycling, they kind of remind me of CICLE.ORG.

It is interesting to see that other countries face the same bike commuting challenges that we do, it is also interesting to see that they use the blogosphere to advocate bike commuting.

The KHS Flite 100 is KHS’ offering for track racers and bike messengers. Here are the specs of the bike:

Frame: Reynolds 520 Double Butted full CrMo
Fork: CrMo track
Headset: Cane Creek A-Headset
Rims: Weimann SP17 Alloy, Doublewall, black
Hubs: Alloy Flip-Flop Track, black
Tires: Kenda Koncept 700x23c, Kevlar
Spokes: 14G Stainless 36°, black
Chain: KMC Z30
Crankset: FSA Vero Track, 165mm x 48T, black
Bottom Bracket: Sealed Cartridge
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace SS-7600, 16T
Pedals: Alloy road w/toe clips & straps
Seatpost: Alloy micro-adjust
Saddle: San Marco Ponza Lux
Handlebar: Alloy track bend, black
Stem: Alloy 3D Forged, black
Tape: Cork Tape, black
Brake Levers: Tektro alloy top mount, Front Only
Brakes: Alloy dual pivot, Front Only
Color:Flat Dark Gray
Frame Sizes: 50, 53(tested), 57, 60cm (measured center-to-center)

Weight as tested:20.05lbs

Here’s some info about me and my commute: I’m 5’7″, 160lbs and 37yrs young. My commute is 23.6 miles round trip and it is mostly flat. I ride from Whittier, CA to Downey CA in Los Angeles County. 90% of my commute is ridden on the street and the rest is on the San Gabriel River Trail Bike path.

The KHS Flite 100’s flat dark gray/black scheme reminds me of a Stealth Bomber; the bike is very unassuming, it has proper track dropbars instead of risers and there are no trendy Deep V rims here. KHS did add a little touch of ‘retro’ with its fork:

KHS also added a front brake to this year’s bike; you can also add a rear brake since the frame is drilled for one.

These cracks on the road help me determine the bike’s ride quality.

The ride:
The KHS Flite 100 is one fast machine: once you are up to speed, you can cruise at 19-20mph effortlessly; if you want to sprint, the Flite 100 feels stiff with no noticeable flex. The steel frame absorbs most of the road chatter; however, the 150 psi tires will make the ride uncomfortable. I usually inflated the tires to 100 psi and I had no issues. The San Marco Ponza Lux saddle is rather hard, but once I dialed it in, I got used to it. The Tektro front brake did a great job slowing the bike down in conjunction with my legs, being able to use your legs to control the speed of a bike is one of the great things of riding a fixed gear bike.

I found the 48X16 gear combination to be adequate for my commute, it does take the Flite 100 a little time to get up to speed, but when it does, it flies. The last half mile of my commute is a gradual incline, it does take a little bit of more effort to get up the road, but that is how your physical condition is improved by riding a fixie/singlespeed bike.

Things I would like to change:I complained about the lack of water bottle bosses, so I asked KHS why is it that they are missing. Their answer was that the KHS Flite 100 is a true track bike that it is used for competition and it is also mostly used by messengers that ride short distances. My solution was to add a handlebar water bottle mount which kind of ruined the look of the bike, but another alternative is to get a water bottle holder that clamps to the seat tube or the downtube. I also didn’t care for the pedals; I know that this is a personal preference, I just like the easiness of entry of clipless pedals.

Should you buy one?
Riding a fixed geared bike is an experience that I recommend trying, not because it is the cool thing to do, but because of how much your pedal technique and your physical condition improves. The MSRP of this bike is $549, which is pretty much the average. Although the bike is a great seller among track riders and messengers, I also think that this bike is a good medium distance, flat terrain machine. If you are looking for a decent Fixed Gear bicycle, check out the Flite 100, you won’t be disappointed.

For more information, go to

I’ve gathered a few observations from riding the KHS Flite 100 to/from work. But first, here are a few tidbits about my commute: I ride 21 miles round trip from Whittier, CA to Downey CA. 2 miles of my commute are on the San Gabriel River Trail, the rest is on the mean streets of LA. I’ve been riding the Flite 100 fixed gear style, my demo bike didn’t come with a freewheel.

The Good: The KHS Flite 100 is a nice looking, well made bike; the bike received a lot of positive comments at the Urban Bike Commuter Expo. The 520 Reynolds steel frame is light and smooth. The handling is quick and precise, the single front brake is more than sufficient to stop the bike (with the assistance of your ‘leg brakes’). The 48X16 gearing is adequate for my flat commute, it does take a little to get up to speed but when you are rolling, the pedaling momentum of riding a fixed gear bike is quite a joy.

The Bad:Not every bike is perfect, and I do have a some personal issues with the Flite 100. The first one is the lack of water bottle bosses, yeah this bike is directed to Track riders/Messengers, but for us who ride longer commutes, we need to hydrate.

The San Marco Ponza Lux saddle has this weird hump in the middle, that causes my ‘nads to go numb. I’m going to do some minor adjustments, but I’m thinking of switching it altogether.

Lastly, the KHS Flite 100 comes with 150 psi tires. They may be great for the smooth surface of a track, but for everyday street riding, they are harsh.

That’s it for now, the full review will be up in about a month.