I currently have an '09 Specialized FSRxc Comp which is a champion of off-road. Occasionally there's the desire to hit a tame paved path or just cruise around town. Sure the FSR works but it's not necessarily the correct tool for the job.
I giving long looks to the following bikes:
'10 Specialized/Globe Roll 1 ($500)
'10 Trek Soho S ($500)
'09 Cannondale Bad Boy Base ($550)
'10 Gary Fisher Gritty ($439)
You'll notice the majority of these are fixed and/or single-speed. I like the idea of an absolute basic bike which is lightweight and low on hassle. Since it won't be for 100-mile, adrenaline-fueled super tours I thought the idea fit. All I need is the leisurely cruise or 10-mile path.
I like the look of the Globe but it might be a little too basic. The hard plastic seat and knurled metal grips might be too unforgiving for me. I'm also curious how it's primarily steel construction affects its weight.
This is the leading candidate at the moment. Padded seat, aluminum frame, and rubber grips seam to give it an advantage over the Globe for the money. I can't get my hands on the white variant so it's boring black only.
From what I understand this leans more toward a MTB in its geometry and handling. It's the only geared bike I'm looking at which makes it more versatile but also adds to the maintenance routine. Common sense tells me this weighs more than the Soho S.
What happens when a road bike and a BMX bike "get together". The BMX touches pull and my nostalgia strings since that was my only riding style way back when.
I'm very open to opinions or alternate suggestions.
If all you want is a nice single speed bike, Public looks good. (They offer the same bike as a 3 speed and an 8 speed). Specifications sound very nice...full chrome-moly frame and fork, alloy rims, stem, crankset and seatpost...currently $450
Have you considered a used bike? I have way more bikes than I need, including an Atlantis and Rambouillet, but the one I ride most for errands and MUTS and just cruising on the weekends is an old Trek I bought for $40 at the Salvation Army. It was a decent touring bike from (about) the mid-'80s, with Reynolds 531 tubing and good components. I bought it to convert to singlespeed, and it was ridiculously easy: I took off all the driveline parts i didn't need, kept the middle chainring and spun on a BMX freewheel (they also make SS cassettes for more modern bikes) with a spacer to fix the chainline. Cost $14 for the freewheel and a buck for the spacer at a BMX-oriented shop three years ago, and I haven't had to touch anything since.
I like the current trend of "urban" mountain bikes. Usually a straightforward design with 1.4-1.5 inch "slicks".
Light, handy....Good for all sorts of short-haul riding. Marin, Trek, K2... All make similar bikes, as do others.
Being older, and with wonky knees, I love gears.... Being a mechanic, I don't find maintaining a multi-gear system to be a chore. Indeed, if properly adjusted to start, they rarely cause any problems.
I agree that if properly adjusted from the get-go geared bikes are not that difficult to maintain. That said however I have to admit I was drawn in by the absolute simplicity single-speed offers. Just get on and go.