25 March 2010

To fix, or not to fix. That is the question

I have said before (okay, maybe not out loud, but many times in my head) that I won't ever get a "fixie". I would love to race a track bike on a velodrome, but I have always associated fixed gear bikes with hipsters and bike messengers, and at times have not looked favorably on either one of those groups.

Recently I have been thinking, that having an inexpensive, simple bike that I can keep at my office for riding around downtown during lunch would be a great idea. I don't have the luxury of commuting to work by bike - simply because a 40 mile commute by bike each direction is occasionally doable, but certainly not practical, and driving part of the way - something that I have done in the past is too cost-prohibitive because of the extra gas I would use. I could use it to go to stores and places that are normally out of reach by walking during my hour lunch, and I would be able to get in a little riding most days.

So, I am thinking that an inexpensive, simple bike that I can keep locked up at my office would be just the ticket. Guess what bike fits that bill to a T? Yep, a fixie.

Many of the fixed-gear bikes you see around have been built up from old steel road bikes. Inexpensive? CheckJenson USA even offers a complete fixed-gear bike for $199!

With no derailleurs and only one gear. Fixed-gear bikes are mechanically simple. Check. (I will keep the brakes, I don't have anything to prove by doing skid-stops)

Keep it at my office? Check. I can lock it up either outside, or maybe even down in the "fitness center" (also commonly known as "where old, broken exercise equipment goes to die")

So, I now want a fixie. Maybe I can get one for my birthday...


Jake Spurlock said...

I'm with 100% about wanting a fixie bad... I can't tell if I want the $150 walmart special, $200 from Jenson, or find an old one, and build it myself.


Yokota Fritz said...

Now that fixies are no longer hip, I think it's completely reasonable :-)

Don't get the Walmart one -- cheap fixies are painful to ride, about like riding a Walmart mountain bike.

I'm not too sure the SE Draft on sale @ Jenson is much better. It'll get your around, but hi ten frame & junk parts = not fun to ride.

Bikes Direct has Cromoly fixed bikes starting at under $300.

Plan B: convert an 80s Cromoly road bike to fixed isn't difficult. Remove shifters and derailleurs, replace the rear wheel, maybe cold set the rear triangle and you're done.