Ok anyone thinking about buying a Bowery, I have a few comments.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a pro and probably don't know the right term for a few things mentioned below, but I had poor luck finding reviews on the 09 Bowery on the net and appreciate peer level reviews by other amateurs so I'm posting my comments here.
I got the 2009 vanilla Bowery: http://www.giant-bicycle.biz/en-US/b...le/2344/32159/
Seemed like the best single speed option to me at the time, and I had enough cash in my wallet, which was $600 purchased locally. For the price I have several complaints, but I'm satisfied overall.
First off, they are shipped with a freewheel on one side and a fixed cog on the other. The specs say fixed/fixed hub which is true - I changed the freewheel for one with a couple more teeth and found that they had mounted a freewheel on the inside threads of a fixed hub, about half as much threads as the freewheel component has. This is not appropriate and makes me wonder what they were thinking, but seems to work - for now. And they put chain tensioners on this bike for some reason. Do people not tighten the track nuts enough to need these things? I threw them in the garbage.
The fixed cog that comes stock seems kind of cheap, but I guess it needs to be thinner in order to work with the same chain designed for the freewheel. The crankset seems fine to me, others have complained about it but I like the way it looks and feels. Of course the stock pedals are cheesy, I have never seen a bike come with nice pedals - these are a mid grade pedal with plastic single tongue toe clip and single vinyl strap, which is incredibly fiddly to get an average pair of sneakers into. I ditched those and put on a set of Crank bros eggbeater SL's which is the best clipless system I have tried.
I like the geometry for riding, but as a potential fixed gear bicycle it is more relaxed geometry compared to a track bike, making it harder to do some tricks. It doesn't handle as neatly as the Pista geometry for example, and since the front wheel is further forward it makes it more difficult to get your weight on the front of the bike to skid your back tire. Of course, you cannot do barspins on this bike while riding 700c in the front. I wish I had gone for a steel frame given the minor weight difference. I'm not so sure about this Allux aluminum technology from Giant after hearing more from other people, though I doubt I'll ride any single speed a distance long enough to be able to tell the difference in road buzz.
The brake levers on the drop bars are so far forward it reminds you why track style drops are meant for the track. There is no good place to mount any kind of levers compared to a pair of regular road bars in my opinion. The custom bend that Giant has used for these bars is not quite a track bar, and it effectively eliminates the thumb on top and fingers underneath resting position because the curve is not sharp enough - your wrists would be bent too much to be comfortable, but there isnt a straight area to use like a road bar. Also the hoods on the brakes feel cheap, but the Tektro levers themselves are nice enough. I took off the bars and levers and replaced with risers and cross levers which is definitely my preferred riding style, though I was hoping the drop bars were going to work out for me. I just couldn't get used to it after riding for a few days, but none of the models ship with risers anyway. The brake calipers seem to be of decent quality, although some cheesy feeling parts like the tire escape lever and tension adjustment.
There were two stickers that were incredibly hard to remove and left irritating foam and glue residue on the frame which I have spent hours trying to get off. The orange highlights between the black and silver parts are under the clear coat so they are permanent. All of the stickers on the rims of the wheels came off easily but left a good layer of glue behind as well, certainly requiring some scrubbing as well.
Haven't ridden it enough to break anything or wear it out, so not sure on durability yet. Have to wait and see!
Overall I wish I had done my research more and thought about it longer, I would have spent a little more and pieced together a Pake frame single speed or maybe a Kilo TT with two brakes. But in order to get all the parts for something like that locally it would have ended up more than the Bowery, and there wouldn't be any integrated cable stops for the rear brake cable. Maybe I should have ordered something from BikesDirect.com, but I hate shopping online for bikes and shoes!
So that sums it up, hope this helps someone!