BikeCommuters.com

Fixed Gear

Why the skinny jeans?

The whole hipster/fixie thing is growing quite rapidly in my area of Fullerton, Ca. With the growth of the style, fashion comes into play. Here’s what I don’t understand, why in the world do fixie hipsters wear skinny jeans!?!

Personally I hate wearing pants of any kind when riding a bike. It feels way to constrictive and my legs get hot and sweaty…

So if you’re a fixie hipster kinda commuter, and you wear skinny jeans, can you explain to me why?

Fixed Gear Friday — 183rd Street Cycles Frameset

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.

frameset

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:

forkend

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!

Featured Product: Monkeylectric LED Wheel Light

From time to time, we get some cool and fun products to ride with and feature on the site. The Monkeylectric M132 is such product.

Here are the product’s features:

· Unique and powerful graphics synthesizer system:
generates thousands of constantly changing patterns and colors
instantly customizable colors, patterns and activity to fit any situation
· 32 Full color, wide angle, ultra-bright LEDs provide nearly 360-degree visibility
· 8 mounting options fit nearly any Road, Mountain or BMX bike wheel
· Ruggedized construction designed for daily use and frequent wet weather
· Vibration-proof 3-point mounting system
· High strength fiber composite construction withstands rough riding
· Hook & loop battery strap keeps batteries secure and easy to replace
· Lead-free, RoHS compliant environment-friendly construction
· Only 65 grams without batteries
· Clear hardcoat over all LEDs keep the lights fully waterproof for the deepest puddles
· Lasts up to 30 hours on 3 x AA batteries, rechargeables provide best performance

I installed the Monkeylectric LED on my DB Transporter-Xtracycle, I figured that the bike is an excellent candidate since I like to cruise with it in the dark.

The LED is fairly easy to use, simple push the power button, select a color, pattern and speed and you are ready to go. One of the things that I really like about the LED is that is really bright and it really attracts attention. As I rode through my neighborhood during 4th of July, I got a lot of cheers from the people that were enjoying the 4th of July festivities outside in their driveway.

The only drawback of this light is that it may make your wheels imbalanced, since I don’t ride very fast on my Xtracycle, I don’t really notice, but here’s what Monkeylectric says about how to handle such imbalance:

Our more casual test riders can’t tell the difference when riding. As with any product you attach to your bike wheel or bike – it can affect the handling especially at high speeds. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the handling of your bike after installing the m132s.

Any imbalance is more noticeable on high-performance lightweight wheels, and at faster riding speeds. If this is important to you there are a couple things you can do: (1) mount the m132s closer to the hub of the wheel – this will dramatically reduce any imbalance, (2) remove the batteries when you are not using it. the bare unit is only 65g, the batteries usually add another 100g. (3) mount a second m132s, or similar weight, on the opposite side of the wheel.

Here’s a short video of the Monkeylectric in action (Sorry about the fuzziness, my camera is not really equipped to shoot in the dark):

At $64.95 it may not be cheap, but Monkeylectric seems to be sold out due to high demand. I think that if your commute is a short one or a slow one and if you ride at night, you could benefit from the Monkeylectric M132’s brightness making you more visible at night.