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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-23-08, 09:53 AM   #1
Dr.PooLittle
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My own which complete bike should I buy" thread.

Yes, I know there are quite a bit of these. Yes, I've used the "search" button. Yes, I've tried making a conversion from an 80's Schwinn but been turned off by the price of parts and tools. So I've decided to put myself out there, open to all insults, and create my own "which complete bike should I buy" thread. I'm sure details would help, so:

* I'm 6'3" and about 260, so strength of components is crucial. I break stuff.
* I want to ride mostly fixed with a flip/flop hub so I can freewheel for casual bike dates with my lovely wife.
* I commute about 9 miles each way to work, so comfort is important, but I'm not exactly doing centuries.
* I like to be zippy thru city traffic, so I'm leaning towards trackish geometry, though not exactly hardcore.
* I'm open to all the usual "aluminum vs. steel" arguments, so go ahead, have fun.
* I want something I can ride with the components it comes with. I'm open to upgrading IN TIME, but for now, if I'm spending the $ for a bike, I want to be able to live with it. As far as the frame, I'd like to be able to stick with one forever and ever.
* I top out at about $1000 dollars, including tax. Don't disparage me, because I've BUSTED MY ASS to get to the point in my career where I can spend a grand (or less) on a bike, and I'm very happy to be there now.
* I need a bike I can try out. For instance, a local shop builds up IRO frames, but I wouldn't exactly buy a complete IRO bike online, sight unseen.
* I don't really care about how I look. Frankly, I'm too old for that. I could care less if I'm on a sweet custom build or a Langster, as long as it works for me.
* I really want to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible.
* If anyone here is from Chicago, I'd love shop recommendations.

All this being said, I've read these forums enough to respect the opinions of those present, so thanks for your time.
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Old 01-23-08, 10:19 AM   #2
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felt curbside
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Old 01-23-08, 10:28 AM   #3
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I think Upgrade has a Curbside on the floor.
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Old 01-23-08, 10:34 AM   #4
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Anyone who faults you for wanting to keep it under a grand is in the wrong forum, so I wouldn't worry about that.

I am curious why you're compelled by a fixed bike with aggressive geometry rather than a geared bike with more comfy geometry. There are plenty of pros and cons on both sides, but you mention comfort and the option to freewheel, both of which you'll get full time with gears. If it's the clean look and low maintenance that appeal most, an internal hub gives you the best of both worlds. Not trying to discourage you from going fixed (that's what I ride almost exclusively), but my gut reaction to your criteria didn't scream fixed. All that aside, check out the Redline 925 if someone carries them in Chicago. The geometry might prove more comfortable than some other fixed options, and if you're into form over function, it has some nice amenities for your commute along with decent components in that price bracket.
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Old 01-23-08, 10:35 AM   #5
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They do. I was talking to them about it and they had nothing but praise for it, except for the looks. They also carry the Raleigh rush hour and one way and the Masi. That might be a good place to start.
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Old 01-23-08, 10:39 AM   #6
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Hey, thanx, and in answer to your questions, I have a comfort bike now (Specialized Expedition) and a.) I almost always just stay in top gear; and b.) I almost never coast (edit: unless keeping it slow for my lovely wife); and c.) more aggressive geometry actually seems more comfy to me, so I thought I'd try a fixed.
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Old 01-23-08, 11:12 AM   #7
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Hey, thanx, and in answer to your questions, I have a comfort bike now (Specialized Expedition) and a.) I almost always just stay in top gear; and b.) I almost never coast (edit: unless keeping it slow for my lovely wife); and c.) more aggressive geometry actually seems more comfy to me, so I thought I'd try a fixed.
if you ride fixed you will find you dont need to coast and you will be better able to control speed when riding with your wife. I have a flip flop hub on my current back wheel and I dont see myself ever flopping it for a freewheel. Ride fixed for a week or two and I bet you will feel the same way.
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Old 01-23-08, 11:19 AM   #8
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You should consider the Specialized Tricross single speed. It comes with a flip-flop hub and it's capable of handling anything you throw at it. The stock tires are not going to be the fastest but you can change those and run it as a dedicated fixie. BTW it's very comfortable to ride.
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Old 01-23-08, 11:28 AM   #9
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I know your OP suggests you want to buy a completely built bike, but if you are willing to spend a half hour reading and a couple hours of shop work you could very easily put together a beautiful bike which will provide you with EXACTLY what you need. its also a very educational and fulfilling experience, the first time through especially.
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Old 01-23-08, 11:33 AM   #10
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Steamroller, swap out the wheels when you can for something stronger
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Old 01-23-08, 12:16 PM   #11
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EAI Bareknuckle. I finally broke down and bought one after snapping two conversions (80s Bridgestone and Panasonic), and it's been perfect. Super comfortable on the road, supposedly unbreakable, and only about $600 for the frame. Your LBS should be able to build you one with a decent wheelset for right around your budget of $1000, and it'll be a frame you can keep forever.
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Old 01-23-08, 12:16 PM   #12
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Steamroller, swap out the wheels when you can for something stronger
keep in mind the steamroller comes with a flipflop but no freewheel. you could easily get a steamroller, add a freewheel, add some pedals, upgrade the saddle, and even throw in a back brake for singlespeed mode, all within your $1000 budget.

pros to steamroller -- strong as hell (good for your size), steel frame for comfort, excellent components that don't really need upgrading, can probably find one at a number of shops in chicago
cons - road geometry, but still plenty 'zippy' in traffic
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Old 01-23-08, 12:21 PM   #13
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I know your OP suggests you want to buy a completely built bike, but if you are willing to spend a half hour reading and a couple hours of shop work you could very easily put together a beautiful bike which will provide you with EXACTLY what you need.
Exactly. With your $1K limit, in Chicago you have enough shops at your disposal to just build exactly what you want from the start. I know you say you are leaning away from that but its definitely something you should look into too.

If you do so go to Yojimbo's and talk to Marcus.
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Old 01-23-08, 01:17 PM   #14
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EAI Bareknuckle. I finally broke down and bought one after snapping two conversions (80s Bridgestone and Panasonic), and it's been perfect. Super comfortable on the road, supposedly unbreakable, and only about $600 for the frame. Your LBS should be able to build you one with a decent wheelset for right around your budget of $1000, and it'll be a frame you can keep forever.
I really doubt that you could build a bareknuckle with decent parts for under 1000 dollars. I am building a brassknuckle and am slightly over 1000 with middle of the road parts.
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Old 01-23-08, 01:27 PM   #15
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i am biased but the schiwnn madison might do you really well. steel frame (strong), complete, track geometry, flip-flop hub... my LBS is selling the '07s for 400 now, so you could buy your wife one too. i have had good experience with mine (with the exception of an aluminum lockring that i switched with a steel for only $10.

good luck once you go track you never go back.
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