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Thread: Hipster Bike?

  1. #1
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Hipster Bike?

    Looking around here [gestures vaguely at his garage] I realize that I have enough odds and ends laying around that I could build up a hipster bike if merely I had a frame. And occasionally UO-8 frames show up on Craigslist for $30, so . . .

    What is a hipster bike? Here in Portland, it is a plain diamond frame (can be anything, bonus points for being a valuable vintage racer that's had its derailleur hanger sawed off) with a single-speed drivetrain (but not a fixed-gear, that being too hard-core for hipsters), bullhorns or track drops (so that we look really cool), a front brake and an inline lever, and a skinny guy in black jeans perched thereon. Maybe smoking a cig, maybe wearing a trilby, but maybe not.

    I see these things all the time. To their owners' credit, they are actually being ridden, more than from one beer joint to the next. On my daily commute, I'd say I see 40% road bikes, 40% flat bar bikes (mountain, city, hybrid), and 20% this sort of single-speed hipster ride.

    Maybe I've lived here long enough that the local ways are starting to mossify my judgment, but I have come to sort of like how these machines look. They say "I don't fuss about all that complicated bike nerd stuff, or fret about leaving a bunch of money parked on the sidewalk, I'm cool enough and strong enough to get around on my stripped-down beater-chic speed machine".

    Now, I pass these guys enough to know that the actual benefits of a single-speed do not include actually being speedy . . . but I wonder, perhaps there are enough benefits that I should keep an eye out for a real cheap excuse me inexpensive frame and build me a hipster ride? UO-8's have horizontal dropouts and no dérailleur hanger . . .

    Will they make me strong of leg and lung? Assume I skip all the cigarettes and some of the beer.

    Will they free me from the five-minute two-lock ritual and the nervous tic as I wonder if my road bike will still be there when I return?

    Will they make me cool, youthful, tatooed and bearded? Kind of mixed emotions about that.

    Seriously, have you C&V folks, whose attitudes toward biking seem to mesh pretty well with mine, as a whole, built yourselves such a machine? Do you like it? Why?
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  2. #2
    billy chuck eschlwc's Avatar
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    for me, it doesn't make sense to own an ss/fg in seattle. the hills around here are as fun riding up in that perfectly selected gear as they are coasting down. the hills coming up from elliot bay (or anywhere near the sound) are difficult in my lowest 28t rear cog. but i like the idea of a trim track bike with a front brake for the plains. i probably need one at my folks' place in tulsa. do they make more sense in portlandia? i guess they're popular here too, and i've noticed some flying past me at times. but i see a trim igh 3-speed as more agreeable -- a plain, skinny and lugged frame without graphics, a rack or a big bag hanging from a beautifully battered but incredibly comfortable brooks, pretty drops with dirty leather grips, and a black paint nicked up just enough not to worry about it.

    maybe a uo8 is just the ticket...

  3. #3
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    jyl... You need to get a Surly LHT to fit into Portland culture.

    Or a Subaru.



    Portland has enough climbing that riding a fixed gear could offer up some serious suckage on a daily basis unless you were very fit... I ride up and down Clinton a great deal and often pass many a hipster with my Raleigh 20 that has a three speed IGH.

  4. #4
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Almost forgot the Golden Retriever...

  5. #5
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Seriously, have you C&V folks, whose attitudes toward biking seem to mesh pretty well with mine, as a whole, built yourselves such a machine? Do you like it? Why?
    Seriously... I loves my fixed gear and am now down to two after having 6.

    Both are vintage bikes... I also have a vintage Bridgestone / Kabuki track bike in the works.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    ... and a skinny guy in black jeans perched thereon....
    With his right pant leg rolled up so his jeans don't get mussed and so you can admire the tattoo sleeve on his leg...

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    Quote Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
    With his right pant leg rolled up so his jeans don't get mussed and so you can admire the tattoo sleeve on his leg...
    wait... you bike in pants and don't roll up the right pant leg? Do you have a chain guard? How do your pants not get shredded?

  8. #8
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Hipster bikes depend on the location too. Rich hipsters ride drewed Cinelli Super Corsas powdercoated in flat black, while poor hipsters ride Takaras spraybombed in flat black.

    The difference? Selling to the former means the bike must cost a minimum of $1,850. Selling to the latter means they want it for free and some PBR beer.

    -Kurt

  9. #9
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    My usual routes are on the flat parts of Portland, minimal grades, maybe 3%? On those grades I seem to ride a similar gear to the SS riders I see, from comparing cadence. Around 42 x 17. So a stripper SS bike might not be much of a disadvantage for my daily life. Hmm. I really don't need another project . . .
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    Senior Member chenghiz's Avatar
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    A hipster bike is what that guy you don't like rides.

    Judging by the collection in your sig, it seems like you don't need too much of an excuse to build a singlespeed beater. Go for it! With parts from City Bikes it would be super cheap and fun.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    Try it. Fixed gear bicycles are fun. You don't need the bad handlebar setups, the amateur paint jobs or the ridiculous rims to join in.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    wait... you bike in pants and don't roll up the right pant leg? Do you have a chain guard? How do your pants not get shredded?
    I'm an old fart. Before my Schwinn Madison was stolen (grrr...) I either rode it with my usual cycling gear or used a little velcro pants strap to keep my pants grease-free and intact.

  13. #13
    Get off my lawn! Velognome's Avatar
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    What is a hipster bike?
    Brakeless ....throw a brake on the front wheel and your a poser.....but on the upside, your can live ride another day

  14. #14
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I built one from a $25 frame and spare parts. I rode it once around the block. It's been taking up precious garage space and gathering spider webs ever since. I'd probably give it away if someone asked me nicely. It's not my size anyway. I'd take of the 1st genaration Dura Ace brakes first, of course.


  15. #15
    Senior Member element-82's Avatar
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    One of the reasons I got into C&V was because of fixed gear bikes. I am too old to be a hipster. I am a bit of a gear head, but I wondered why people rode them, and then I thought I would build one. I bought an old Apollo and set it up with a 53x21 gearing (so as to look impressive with the big chain ring, like GB's above). I thought about doing a flip chop on the handle bars, but the cinelli logo was too cool and I could bring myself to damage these nice vintage parts. I really enjoyed sourcing the parts and the build. I used it when I was teaching my son to ride. You can ride really slowly on a fixie and be in full control. Now it is my grocery machine. I don't mind locking it outside the grocery store with a cheap lock. Then, I found a bianchi at the co op with a mixed bag of parts. I did the full hipster treatment on it, but I prefer matching wheels and a brake or two. I later bought a nice set of campy centaur skeletons for it. I commute on it a few times a week 25km each way. Lots of fun. Check out the http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/ Lots of nice builds, lots of ugly ones with the dump trick handle bars (bar spins).

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  16. #16
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    Here's my latest build. Definitely not a 'hipster' bike. A 1967 Carlton Flyer that I bought as a frame only. I ported the wheelset and (for now) the cranks from another build on a lower-quality frame.

    Flyer19.jpg
    Pictures after a fast 40 mile mostly flat ride on the Bosque, not too far from where Route 66 crosses the Rio Grande. This was sort of a longer shakedown ride. The dork in you may enjoy:
    - Cheap saddle bag
    - $5 Brooks of unknown origin (needs to be replaced soon...)
    - $1 Japanese Randonneur bar and stem from the '80s - Identical setup to the only other good bike I've ever had.
    - $5 Cane Creek brake levers - great stuff!
    - Campagnolo brake set, stem and seatpost, which I haven't installed yet.
    - Campagnolo front hub and generic rear track hub laced to Alex R-350 rims, Pasela 28 mm tires.




    Previous fixed gear builds of mine are
    1. 1986 Schwinn World Sport - Much of it was destroyed in a collision in 2005.
    2. 1980's Canadian Peugeot, low end - Still at my parent's house in Pennsylvania and I ride it when I visit.
    3. 1980 Schwinn Traveler - Bought as a frame and some other odds and ends when I moved to Arkansas in January, 2008.
    4. This one, purchased as a frame and fork in early April, 2012.

    The change of pace was nice after riding my new (Saturday!) 29er hardtail on local mountain trails. I'm new to mountain biking, and it was much more tiring than riding the fixed-gear pictured above.

  17. #17
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Sure, I've done it.

    What size are you? I have a UO-8 frame and fork and headset you can have for the cost of shipping.

    I also have a Surly Cross Check frame and fork I would be willing to sell for whatever it's worth. It's barely ridden at all.

    Both are 54cm.

    Fixed gear is fun, but for me, it's not a way of life. I just ride it sometimes. I don't have a fixie currently. My last one got stolen. I'll be building one soon. I have a nice flipflop hub right here on the kitchen table.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  18. #18
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    The coaster brake is The Thing of the future.
    I have spoken.

  19. #19
    Jack of all trades anixi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
    The coaster brake is The Thing of the future.
    Oh, Yeah! I've been pricing 26" coaster brake wheels, woo-hoo!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Der_Kruscher's Avatar
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    I've had a few single speeds - riding fixed never appealed. Rather than feeling free I felt confined.

    Particularly, towards the end of a year, I like to shake up my riding with something different to keep it fun. Riding a single speed (or racing 'cross) works well for that. I'm rarely without one.

    The relative lack of maintenance obviously has benefits for commuting too. If you choose the right gear, even hilly routes aren't bad and you'd be surprised by how fast you can scoot up inclines. Probably my favorite single was a Miyata Triple Cross commuter with mustache bars, fenders, and a rack. I commuted on it and after work, with a full pannier, I'd go do hill repeats a few times per week before riding home. I had my best race season ever after a winter of doing that :-)

    Past single speeds:
    Schwinn Prelude
    IRO (whatever the aluminum one was)
    Miyata Triple Cross
    Performance branded steel MTB with rigid fork
    Surly 'Cross Check
    Diamondback something or other - selling the frameset

    I'm probably going to get another Cross Check before the Fall, provided I have a job within commuting distance.

    Anyway, build one up and have some fun.

  21. #21
    Hello There lovinbiking's Avatar
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    I converted a beat up Schwinn LeTour to a single speed for riding around my relatively flat city. It's a nice change and the maintenance is minimal. It's also lighter to carry up and down steps into my apartment, and less to worry about with locking.

    For more serious rides I'll break out my other bikes, but for general grocery store runs and the like I'll take out the single speed. The ratio is pretty small (can't remember off the top of my head) so it's not the fastest ride, but the direct chainline is smooth, and the slower pace is pretty relaxing.

  22. #22
    Senior Member jptwins's Avatar
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    i wouldn't necessarily call this a hipster bike, but i definitely appreciate having this bike converted to a single speed for my commute. it is very simple, hardly anything ever goes wrong with it, and with the exception of the saddle, i couldn't care much about it. Oh, and the 68cm frame that actually fits me is a nice perk:


    If you have the supplies, build it up. if it doesn't work for you, either break it back down or sell it.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member element-82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jptwins View Post
    i wouldn't necessarily call this a hipster bike, but i definitely appreciate having this bike converted to a single speed for my commute. it is very simple, hardly anything ever goes wrong with it, and with the exception of the saddle, i couldn't care much about it. Oh, and the 68cm frame that actually fits me is a nice perk:


    If you have the supplies, build it up. if it doesn't work for you, either break it back down or sell it.
    I think you need moustache bars on that bike to get the hipster-street-cred :-)

    Pb
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    Bianchi '85 (fixed, bling)
    Apollo '70s. ( fixed, grocery getter)
    Bacchetta Corsa 2008 (fast and long distance rider)
    Bike E2 tandem 2005

  24. #24
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Here's my Gran Sport when it was a fg back in the day. I liked it quite a bit, but I like it more as a geared bike. Like Sixty Fiver said, I don't know how much I'd like it in Portland. I'm in the flatlands and a 42 x 16 was a nice spinning gear most of the time.

  25. #25
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Built up a 1990 Fuji Ace frame as a fixed gear, 46x17. I don't know about street cred, but I do know fun. This bike produces it in abundance. Not too bad on moderately steep but short hills. I'd say go for it, but make it fixed, not single speed. You'll thank me later.

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