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Fixed Gear Friday:Fake Fixies

While browsing through LA’s Online Bike Flea Market (CraigsList) I noticed an interesting trend: Faux Fixies. What is a fake fixie? They are late model bikes that have been converted to single speeds but try to look like fixed gear bikes:

I really dig the concept of giving old bicycles new life, but I have mixed feelings about the ‘faux fixie’ look, especially when these bikes are selling for over $250 bucks and some of them are being advertised as fixed gear bikes.

17 Comments

  1. RL Policar

    I ride a so called Faux Fixie. But all I really did was flip my wheel from fixed to freewheel. I guess these guys are just making the bike sound trendy by calling it fixie.

  2. Moe (Post author)

    The 925 is meant to be both, these bikes were converted, they actually call them ‘faux fixies’ or ‘wanna be fixies’

  3. Gene

    I guess I don’t really get how they are trying to look like fixies.
    Are single speed conversions supposed to look different than fixed gear conversions?
    What is a single speed supposed to look like?

  4. Moe (Post author)

    Check out the blue bike… Flat bars, tube pads and blue rims and I don’t think I see a brake….

    Check out this ad:
    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/bik/559640584.html

  5. Ghost Rider

    If it’s got no brakes, well…that’s just stupid.

    Otherwise, it’s a singlespeed — nobody’s trying to get away with anything. It’s the nature of the beast — once you remove the shifters and derailleurs and that chain takes on the straight look, the two types of bikes naturally look VERY similar. Hell, I ride a flip/flop singlespeed that could easily be mistaken for a fixed gear (except it has TWO brakes).

    Now, if people are advertising these singlespeeds as “faux fixies”, they should have public wedgies performed. Violently.

  6. Moe (Post author)

    Yes, I’ve seen them advertised as faux fixies or advertising the ‘fixie look’.

    Check out this ad: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/bik/557344499.html

  7. Evan

    Yeah nothing wrong with these bikes as long as they’re advertised as “single-speeds”. Single-speeds are great and I actually prefer them to my geared bikes.

    But the idea of a “faux-fixie” is totally lame. I think that’s an indication that the trend has gone too far.

  8. james o.

    Yeah i’m kind of scratching my head on this post. I would definitely have a problem with someone calling a bike a “fixie” or fixed gear if it was in fact just a single speed, because that’s just well…wrong!

    But with just the pictures you posted and no decriptions, I don’t see what’s wrong those bikes, as long as they are being advertised as single speeds. Sure I guess they have that “fixie” freestyle sort of look to them (especially the bottonm one), but I hate bikes as fashion statements anyway, and I ride a “fixie.”

    And I don’t see how fixie vs. singlespeed would bother you in terms of prices. If the frames and components are worth over 250 clams, then sell them as such.

    I think the link you posted in your comment is to the wrong bike too. No tube pads, flat bars etc. and it has brakes.

    Not trying to be a dick. Love the site, just not getting this one.

  9. Mike Myers

    If someone converts an old road bike to a singlespeed and wants to make it look like a fixed gear, so be it. A brake would be a good idea, and preferably two. I kind of find the fixed gear aesthetic to be strange. Why would anyone WANT to be uncomfortable? When I look at some of the bikes on BSNYC or FGG I imagine my hands going numb in a matter of minutes.

  10. Moe (Post author)

    The links were meant to be how they were advertised. “Fixed-gear-want to be” (@2:01) and Kick-ass Fixie on the title, but then saying ‘it is not really a fixed gear’ (@2:12).

    I want to reiterate that I don’t have an issue with giving these bikes a new life, but it looks like they are trying to cash in on a trend that as you said, is a fashion statement.

  11. james o.

    Understood Moe. I do think it’s lame and a bit disingenuous to try to cash in on the whole “fixed gear trend” that is sweeping the nation and if you believe Bike Snob NYC, is sprinting to its apocalypse.

    I suppose it’s inevitable whenever an asthetic or activity becomes a valued commodity. To me, it’s like someone selling Gucci or Dolce Gabana (sp?) knockoffs and including those names in the ads.

    But then again, these people are probably just doing whatever they can to squeeze as much money out of their single speeds so they can afford to buy that new geared road bike they’ve been aching for since they realized they couldn’t climb hills anymore without getting into better shape.

  12. Jeff the Veloteer

    I must admit, that upon first reading this post, I felt attacked. For I, Jeff the Veloteer, am in the process of converting a 1999 GT road bike into a single-speed, complete with chain tensioner (since the bike does not have horizontal rear dropouts) and bull horns. But it has brought great comfort to my self-esteem by reading the comments and seeing the true meaning of Moe’s post elaborated in the comments.

    For what it’s worth, I am not going to sell the bike on CraigsList, will not call it a fixie (it’s a “commuter”) and am certainly installing brakes and no frame pads.

  13. Quinn

    Around Reno the word “fixie” refers to any bike that has 1 chain ring and 1 cog. whether its a geared-to-SS converstion or a SS w/ flip-flop, i would say more “poser” than “faux”, because, 90% of the flip-flops are run on the freewheel.

  14. Ghost Rider

    If folks in Reno are using the term “fixie” to refer to a singlespeed, freewheel-based drivetrain, they are DEFINITELY posers. Ugh.

    When will people out there learn that there’s nothing wrong with a singlespeed conversion? It doesn’t have the “edgy, urban badass” cache of a fixed gear, but is every bit as fun and simple as one, and can often be a lot better in traffic — after all, who wants to strike a pedal in a turn on a busy street?

    Jeff, we’re looking forward to your GT conversion. Have you considered a “magic gear” rather than a tensioner? Tensioners work fine, but there’s something to be appreciated about finding the right ratio that eliminates it — makes the drivetrain that much smoother!

  15. Roman Holiday

    A bike’s a bike. Just enjoy the ride & don’t label stuff.

  16. Mike

    Pfft.

    Caveat emptor–if yer stupid enough to buy into a trend for trend’s sake, you deserve to get laughed at when you call your single-speed a fixie… or pay too much for a SS conversion.

  17. anthony uren

    i went to a fixed gear cuz when i road my geard bike i found my self pedleing the hole time and it was comfortable for me so that is y i went to a fixed and i think that what ever anyone wants to do is up to them and thay all look good to me but i truly love to bike so they all look good

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