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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 03-13-10, 12:53 PM   #1
freefallkev
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Nashbar Hounder review

Just wanted to share my impression of the Nashbar Hounder. I've seen threads about it but no review, so I thought I'd write this up for anyone considering one.

It arrived a few days after ordering via FedEx. the bike was mostly assembled, I just had to put on the front brake, wheel, stem and handlebars. I also pulled the cranks and put on 1/8th inch (brand as well as size) 46t 165mm cranks. with the 16t cog it gives a gain ratio of 5.9, which works quite well in the Sandhills of NC. The new cranks upset the chainline slightly, but it's tolerable. And FWIW I put on Shimano M520 pedals. I also put a Continental Ultra Sport 25c tire on the front, and kept the stock 28 on the back. The frame is listed as CrMo but only the downtube and seat tube sound like it. The wheels were almost true out of the box, which was nice, and the lockring was dogged down sufficiently tight. The safety decals and labels on the rims peeled off easily, leaving it with a subtle black and silver look. Very classy.

After assembly and a celebratory beer, I took her out for a spin. There was a little bit of noise from the off center chainline, but it was barely noticeable. Everything felt nice and smooth. The steel frame felt nice and i was pleasantly surprised at the responsiveness. There was a slight buzz in the handlebars, but that was due to my not tightening the stem well enough. AFter fixin that it was very pleasant. The saddle is a cheap one, but fit my anatomy nicely and I will probably keep it. The seatpost clamp is the older, four part style and is a pain to adjust.

As with any bargain bike though, there are some downers. The flatbars were uncomfortable at first, but that may be just because I've been riding road bikes for so long, and need to get used to it - but I think it will be the next thing to be swapped out. The rims are drilled for Schrader valves, which isn't a huge deal, except I prefer Presta. All the bolts on the brake calipers are six-sided nuts, not Allen bolts, which doesn't affect performance but makes maintenance and adjustment tedious. The stock nuts on the axles are cheap and soft, easily rounded if you aren't careful. The component group in general is low end, but not trashy. The bike itself is pretty heavy but at this price you can't be picky.

Over all, it's a pretty nice bike, especially at this price. I'm quite happy with it and would recommend it for anyone looking for a super cheap way to enjoy the wonders of fixed gear.

Of course, there's pictures. Sorry that all I have for a camera is a phone...


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Old 03-13-10, 04:50 PM   #2
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Nice review, i like that sticker.
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Old 03-13-10, 05:24 PM   #3
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Looks like they've got some sort of closeout going on on that bike- 49cm only, for $200. Did you get a similar deal?

I like that the brackets on the toptube are removable.
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Old 03-14-10, 12:01 PM   #4
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Looks like they've got some sort of closeout going on on that bike- 49cm only, for $200. Did you get a similar deal?
All frame sizes were priced at $200, I got it during one of Nashbar's sitewide promos for 20% off so it was $180 total. It looks like they've only got 49cm left now though, hopefully they'll get more frame sizes in stock.
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Old 03-14-10, 12:07 PM   #5
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Planning to leave the commuter road bike home tomorrow and take the Hounder to work (15ish mi), I'll let you all know how it goes.
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Old 03-14-10, 04:59 PM   #6
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Your frame is too small.
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Old 03-14-10, 07:41 PM   #7
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Old 03-14-10, 09:51 PM   #8
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yeah... Maybe it is 'eh? The frame doesnt look like a small one, but the seatpost suggests Freefallkev must be a giant!!!
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Old 03-15-10, 10:26 AM   #9
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Your frame is too small.
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yeah... Maybe it is 'eh? The frame doesnt look like a small one, but the seatpost suggests Freefallkev must be a giant!!!
really? it rides quite comfortably. I sized everything up based on my road bike setup, is there a more efficient or just better position on a fixed gear? I'm about 1.8m / 6ft tall and it's a 56cm frame, if that helps.
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Old 03-15-10, 10:54 AM   #10
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really? it rides quite comfortably.
I'm about 1.8m / 6ft tall and it's a 56cm frame, if that helps.
Unfortunately Nashbar doesn't provide much detail about geometry. However, based on what is posted on Nashbar's website, you should probably be on a 58 or maybe even a 61. I am barely taller than you and I would have went with the 61 c-t. That sounds huge, but the tt length of the 61 is similar to many 58s and even some 56s.

However, it its comfortable, just ride it. Its a $200 bike after all. Next time, you might consider a size or two larger.
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Old 03-15-10, 11:01 AM   #11
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yeah... Maybe it is 'eh? The frame doesnt look like a small one, but the seatpost suggests Freefallkev must be a giant!!!

The OP is 6' tall and riding a 56cm c-t frame. Most people that height would be riding a frame with a TT that is 2-4 cm longer (excluding compact frames of course). That explains the excessive seat height.
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Old 03-15-10, 11:19 AM   #12
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I'm about 1.8m / 6ft tall and it's a 56cm frame, if that helps.
I road a 56cm road bike for two years and I'm 6'1" and my seat wasn't jacked up like that. Everyone's different, height doesn't correlate to frame size.
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Old 03-15-10, 12:24 PM   #13
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I rode a 56cm road bike for two years and I'm 6'1" and my seat wasn't jacked up like that. Everyone's different, height doesn't correlate to frame size.
wow, I must just have freakishly long legs I've been going for a 56ish cm frame for years, now I'm kinda excited to try out some larger frames.
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Old 03-15-10, 03:50 PM   #14
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As promised, here's my report on the commute. I was worried about some of the hills around here, but standing gave me enough leverage to push my way up the hill. Once I get settled into a nice rhythm, it was a pure joy not having to worry about when to shift or listening the the clatter of a derailleur based system. The ride was smooth, and between the tires and the steel frame rough road conditions were absorbed nicely. The only complaint I have is the thin grips that came stock, I couldn't really get a handful of them so my hands were always clenched too tightly. I remedied this, of course, by stopping at my neighborhood bike shop and picking up some Ergon grips. The highlight of the trip? One of my students pulled up alongside me on his Dura-Ace equipped carbon road bike* at an intersection. He was promptly left behind when the light turned green. I am most definitely hooked on the fixed gear now...



*yes, I realize that a nice bike doesn't make a great rider, but damn, it still felt pretty good...
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Old 03-16-10, 11:54 AM   #15
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My friend has one of these bikes. For $200 (or less depending on promotions) it's a great bike. Add about $200 more in upgraded components and you'd have a very good bike, regardless of pricerange.
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Old 03-16-10, 12:08 PM   #16
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Nice looking bike!
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Old 03-16-10, 06:09 PM   #17
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My friend has one of these bikes. For $200 (or less depending on promotions) it's a great bike. Add about $200 more in upgraded components and you'd have a very good bike, regardless of pricerange.
what has your friend changed out? I'm pretty happy with it right now but I'm always looking for ideas. it sucks being an insatiable tinkerer sometimes...
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Old 03-16-10, 06:25 PM   #18
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what has your friend changed out? I'm pretty happy with it right now but I'm always looking for ideas. it sucks being an insatiable tinkerer sometimes...
Nothing yet, actually, but he's only had it for about two weeks. He's a very casual and low-key rider so he may only replace parts as they wear down.

Now... if it were my bike... hehehe... I'd swap the stem (or at least flip it) as I don't care for positive rise stems, especially longer ones. The riser bars are actually pretty decent but I'd cut those down by about 2" per side. And I'd put in a nicer crankset and bottom bracket... not that there's anything wrong with the stock one, but it just reminds me of the one on my Schwinn Cutter, which I ended up breaking after about 100 miles. I happen to be afflicted with the tinkering bug as well, so I feel your pain!
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Old 03-16-10, 06:51 PM   #19
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yeah, I'm still debating whether I want to put on an old set of drop bars on it, but other than that I can't find much I'd like to change... though after today an 18t cog sounds pretty nice...
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Old 03-18-10, 02:41 AM   #20
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I have the same bike and posted up a review about 2 weeks ago. Make sure you look at your rims after each ride and look for scratches. After 2 weeks my brake pads picked up some metal from the rims and scratched them. After taking out the metal from the pads they were fine but one side of my rear wheel is almost all shiny now :-(. You can get different brake pads but it will happen eventually, especially if you ride fast and brake hard.
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Old 03-18-10, 04:25 AM   #21
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cool thanks for the heads up. didn't mean to usurp your reviewing credit, when I searched for it I didn't see anything other than someone asking a question that devolved into a discussion about the windsor
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Old 05-24-10, 09:45 AM   #22
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Sorry for the bump but does the frame have braze ons for a rack? I can't tell from the picture and it doesn't say on Nashbar.

Also, does anyone remember the prices on these things going down to $133 in early March? After searching a few posts I saw that a few people notice the 49 cm size (the size I would buy, I'm 5'3) at that crazy low price. How likely do you folks think it is that the stock will drop enough in the 49 cm size that I could take advantage of that? I don't want to spend much on this bike because it will purely be my beater and its going to have to put up with a lot of rain and I might even have to keep it outside in a shed (the humidity in Miami is terrible).

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Old 05-24-10, 10:13 AM   #23
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I am going to purchase this bike today and would like to know what size frame should I get.
49cm, 52cm or 54cm?
Stand over height?
Rider height 5'8" tall.
Measurement from crotch to floor is about 30 inches.
Please let me know. This is going to be a gift.
Thank you.

Last edited by xpire; 05-24-10 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 05-24-10, 11:54 AM   #24
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FYI...Anyone thinking about this bike Nashbar has 20% off on everything until 10pm. Makes this bike around $159 before shipping. No affiliation with Nashbar, just saw the thread and the email from Nashbar about the discount at the same time.

ro
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Old 05-24-10, 01:24 PM   #25
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FYI...Anyone thinking about this bike Nashbar has 20% off on everything until 10pm. Makes this bike around $159 before shipping. No affiliation with Nashbar, just saw the thread and the email from Nashbar about the discount at the same time.

ro
Haha, yeah I'm aware and thats an awesome deal but jeez for $133 I'd definitely be willing to wait for their stock to dwindle, if anybody else thinks that will happen.
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