Recently I spent some time with some friends in Costa Mesa, CA (I had to attend two weeks of special seminars for grad school). These good hosts provided much entertainment and general hospitality, as well as the use of the 61cm Windsor Hour from BikesDirect. This was my first experience on a fixed gear and I thoroughly enjoyed it for a few central reasons:
-It helped tremendously in rehabilitating my knee: I had torn my meniscus a month before while surfing.
-It was really fun, especially the track stands
-It was quite convenient and conducive to me staying in shape while I was estranged from surfing
At the end of my stay I decided that I must have one of these; but at the same time, Costa Mesa is different from La Jolla (where I live). La Jolla is very, very hilly, and the Windsors I rode were geared very, very high. And they were 61cm and I am only 5'10, while both my friends are over 6ft. So after much research, I decided on the Dawes.
After a couple of days of riding the new Dawes, getting everything adjusted, getting conditioned, etc., I kinda miss the Windsor. I am not sure exactly why, but my suspicions are that I am currently riding free wheel, while I only rode fixed on the windsors. I just haven't had a chance to get a fixed cog yet, but I plan on doing it. Although this, rather obviousl, will significantly affect my perspective on the bikes, here are a few points that I have noticed:
-The smaller frame is definitely a different feeling, one that I am not sure I like. I am more of a cruiser, although I do like to go fast. But I don't need to weave in and out of cars, dodge things, or make gnarly turns; and I don't want to. So for me, the Windsor was kinda nice.
-The geometry is different, not as track like. Not sure what to say about this.
-I prefer the flat bars to the bullhorns (the Windsors I rode had flat bars). The bullhorns aren't bad, but probably just are not much my style.
-I miss doing track stands.
-I really like having brakes, and I know I will maintain this preference when I get the fixed cog. My area is just too hilly to not have them. So that was a nice advantage over the windsor, getting brakes with the bike.
-I miss the higher gearing, but I know that it would kill me on the hills.
So my feelings are a bit ambiguous, but they usually are, so whatever. I hope that the write-up is informative for somebody; either way, it was a nice way for me to unwind after reading philosophy all day.