In an attempt to become more active, I started looking for a bicycle to my commute to work. I already owned a department store 21 speed CCM Riptide, but it weighed alot and was too small for me.
A friend owned a 2009 Jamis Beatnik which looked really sweet and got me interested in getting a fixed gear bike. Despite checking out 4 authorized Jamis dealers in downtown Toronto, I couldn’t find a single Beatnik. They either didn’t have much Jamis stock to begin with so it had to be ordered, or the dealer had suspended their partnership for the year as one rep told me “Jamis has out priced themselves out of the market” which I assume meant they weren’t able to sell them because of their high price.
With the Beatnik out of the equation, I checked out some alternatives, but wasn’t impressed with the 2010 Specialized Langster (ugly colours, and heavy) or the 2010 Trek Soho S (this time just ugly, chain guard, really?)
At the end of the day I walked into Bikes on Wheels in Kensington and saw several 2010 Fuji Track Classics and one or two 2010 Surly Steamrollers. The Fuji was $499 while the the Surly was a hefty $699. I took the Fuji for a test drive and was sold.
It met my main requirements as it was light (sub 20lbs), looked good (gloss black with aluminum accents), and was relatively cheap. The biggest reason I chose to get a fixed gear bike was the cost. To get a good sub 20lbs geared bike for $499 simply isn’t possible and you’ll likely have to shell out close to $1000.
Since buying it, I’ve replaced the stock toe clip pedals with platforms and added a right hand front brake. After a week of riding without brakes, I became deathly afraid of going fast or going down the smallest of slopes as it’s simply not possible to stop a fixed gear bike without planned or skid stopping. Not sure how the couriers and hipsters are doing it, but its just not for me. I used to ride fixed when I was 10 years old and do skid stops, to the point where I had a bare patch where the inner tube was exposed, but I can’t any more. I’m still riding fixed for the work out benefit, but rely on my front brake for stopping.
Lightweight, close to 20lbs, if not less
Track bars provide several hand positions
High position crank, so no pedal strikes
Pre-drilled holes for bottle cage, and both brakes (oh the horror)
Scratches easily, cheap paint job?
Riding fixed with no brakes blows
Riding on busy roads is dangerous, be very careful, and wear a helmet
Don’t signal and brake at the same time
Slow down around street car tracks, trust me