Monday, September 08, 2008

Fixie Commuter

This used to be my Nishiki Sport Fixed Gear Commuter. This is the bike that got me started in fixed gear riding and eventually lead to the construction of my Brass Knuckle Superdrome racer. I eventually sold the bike on CraigsList as I had started a new job in outside sales (a huge mistake) and was no longer riding the bike.

Now that I am back in a cubicle and have attained access to a shower and locker, I have been planning the construction of a new fixed gear commuter. The planning stage has been brief, but I knew exactly what I was seeking from the get-go. Unfortunately, I've had trouble settling on a budget and the quick build I was seeking has not materialized. I got stuck mulling over a few framesets before finding some off-the-rack bikes that would suit the job, but I loathe buying off the rack.

  • Soma Delancey
  • Salsa Casserole
  • Eighth Inch
  • Jury
  • IRO
Off the Rack
  • Specialized Langster
  • Kona Paddy Wagon
  • Redline 9-2-5
The Redline is the best bang for the buck, but the 53.6 TT might be a little long. I'm trying to order one through RBM but sometimes they don't do what you ask them... Sgt D. had a bad experience with this when I bought his KHS fixie and it is still hard to convince him to trust the guys and gals at RBM for parts and service. Given his experience, I don't blame him. Essentially, they ordered the bike and never called to tell him it had arrived. He called them numerous times with no success and eventually walked into the shop, some 35 days after ordering, and found the bike hanging from the ceiling. It had been there for quite some time. Likewise, they neglected ot call me when I special ordered a 144 BCD 51 tooth track gear. Instead, I found it displayed on the sale rack...

The Langster looks awesome in the London paint scheme, but I think a full aluminum frame with aluminum fork will be harsh on the roads. I prefer steel, and don't mind the excessive weight of 4130. The Langster would save me some serious weight, but sacrificing ride quality might not be a smart choice here. I prefer to get a work out... but the Langster does feature bottle cages, rack mounts and a badass paint scheme.

I need to make a decision. If the Redline comes in this week that will likely be my choice, but if the TT is too long and the bike is not balanced (54 cm TT bikes typically do not handle properly to me), I may opt to build up a smaller frame. The real factor here is cost. Do I want to spend twice the cost of the Redline to build a bike from the ground up? I'm tempted to say yes. Choosing the parts is half the fun and I can certainly keep the build cheap as long as I reuse many old parts and concentrate on the frame for construction. Problem is, I'm having trouble finding a frame that has bottle and rack mounts. The Soma is nice, but sporting only bottle mounts does me no good if I can't mount a rack. I could use clips, but its not as solid, and why compromise?

Perhaps the Salsa? I'll need to check the specs again. What else is there? I wouldn't mind building an older steel like I did the Nishiki, but oddly enough I am having a lot of trouble finding one in my size. There are a lot of 56+ cm bikes on CraigsList, but very little in the 53cm range of TT I'm seeking.

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