Hello bike experts out there,
I'm a 30-yr old student looking to spend under $600 on a fixed-gear bike. I've read back a few months in this forum, and the consensus seems to be that the Iro Angus on sale for $400 is a great way to go. I'm pretty close to pulling the trigger on this, even though I've only ridden a couple other fixed gear bikes.
My problem is that I have no mechanical abilities (or interest) whatsoever, and I don't know anything about bikes. (This is why making my own bike isn't a good option for me.) So I can't figure out which options to choose for the bike. (here's the link for the bike: http://www.irocycle.com/angusbuild-a...dwheelset.aspx)
I have to choose the crankset, the cog, and I have to decide whether I want a front brake. I have no idea! Another thing: This bike can take up to 700 x 28c tires. Is that suitably wide for handling cracks and bumps in the road? (I'll do my best to avoid the huge potholes).
A bit about how I'll be using the bike: I live in an extremely flat city (New Orleans). I'll use the bike on cool days to ride 3 miles to the university. I'll also go on up to 20 mile rides around town, and on paved bike paths. I like to get around in a hurry, but I'm no triathlete. I'm an ordinary, relatively fit person.
A couple other stupid questions:
*Are bike shops happy to assemble bikes purchased elsewhere? How much does it cost?
*If I don't like the drop handlebars (I don't have much experience using them, but I think I'll adjust to them over time. I learned how to drive stick shift by buying a manual car...), anyway if i dont like the drop handlebars, would raised handlebars work fine on this bike?
Thank you very much! I've enjoyed reading the help you've offered others over the past few months.
Well single speed would be your best bet, but we all get this fix where we have to do research and buy the best thing for our money I say look for used bikes, Craigslist, in town and at shops for single speeds. They are there. A good $100 single speed with some work and parts at a LBS would set you back another $100 and some tires and tubes for you travel (how rough your roads are) another $100. Work done at LBS and no problems for around $300 don't forget helmets, rear rack, panniers, patch kit (yes, learn how to patch a tube) and tools. Don't get caught into new bikes, I find them to be unreliable. I have a 37 year old 10 speed that will out perform and last longer than any new Trek you can buy. If you buy a older bike, you can always upgrade it, always.
Drops are a choice, just a change of hand positions, I use them for long rides, I drop down for hill climbs to get that extra push in. If your going to be signaling while riding, drops wouldn't work well. Bike shop want you to buy their bikes, actually ask them about buying that bike and having it built and work for you. But still, it would go over your budget with the extras and fees you might need. I still say buy a older one, buy stuff (pump, helmet) and have it worked on and fixed up at a LBS.
Thanks, Bot. Let me envision this. I find, say, a Peugeot road bike from the '80s. What am I looking at? Just the frame, to make sure it isn't bent or cracked? Then I take it to a shop, where basically all the guts are ripped out and a new fixed gear bike is made out of the geared road bike? And I don't have to do a whole lot, other than find the frame? (Like I said, I'm not interested in mechanics; I want a bike so that I can ride, not so that I can learn how to build a bike).
Avoid French bikes. Depending on how old it is, you might have a hell of a time finding replacement parts if you need them.
If you're going used, ideally you'd want to find something where the conversion has already been done. You _could_ purchase an old 10-speed and have the conversion done at your LBS, but parts and labor would bring the price near your limit.
Of course, BikesDirect offers a number of single-speed and fixed gear bicycles for about the same as you would spend on an Angus. Personally, if I had no interest in actually working on my bike, I would purchase something (new or used) from a LBS. You'll build rapport and get the amenities like free tune-ups and whatnot. More often than not, you'll get some attitude from the people at the shop if you bring in a brand new bike that you didn't buy from them. And you'll get gouged on the labor.
If you aren't going to learn to wrench on your bike, buy from the LBS and make sure they correctly tighten the cog, lockring, set up and adjust the brakes, etc. Maybe find an LBS that sells used bikes to stay on budget.
Wrenching on fixed gear bikes isn't hard because they have so few moving parts but the few parts they do have must be installed and adjusted correctly to avoid the bike becoming a safety hazard to you and other road/trail users. If you aren't going to learn to do this, please pay someone to do it for you.
If you look at Craigslist NOLA someone posts a cheap SS or FG fairly often. A few weeks ago some guy had a Pake up with a nice Brooks saddle somewhere uptown. If you decide to go with LBS I can suggest Bicycle Micheal on Frenchman and Bayou Bicycles on Jeff Davis in Bayou St. John. Both of therse shops are full of nice, helpful people. BM is more fixed oriented but BB gets more of my bucks because its between my house and the Rouses. Also I know you said you didn't want to build a bike but for about seventy bucks and a few afternoons work you can build one with supervision at Plan B in the Marigny. Website for Plan B www.bikeproject.org, I think their hours are 2-6 M, Th, and Sat, unless you happen to be female then you can go on Tues as well.
Angus is cool, it has the good tubing, but no cable stops to run a rear brake if you want to go freewheel some time in the future, and lots of folks love the threaded stem but I like the flexibility of threadless. It's too bad its the only IRO on-sale/available right now.
That being said, There are many, many happy IRO owners out there, including me. TGS above had an issue with IRO, but I didn't and lots of others haven't. I got my bike fast, just as I ordered it, and it worked out of the box.
You write as if you never want to learn to take care of your own bike. I'd say to you that it isn't difficult for 90% of what you'd be doing, and that includes assembling an IRO from the box. The most challenging part of putting my IRO together was getting it out of the shipping carton without getting styrofoam packing bits all over the house.
You are in school. Make some friends with some peeps that ride nice bikes. They can help you put your bike together. I am sure that basic bike mechanics is no harder than whatever you are studying right now. I also see it this way: You are here on this forum, which is a pretty specific place for fixed and single-speed enthusiasts. You came this far looking for advice. [i.e. you did not just buy a random bike from costco] Therefore I would argue that somewhere inside you is a latent "bike person" who wants to emerge. Don't worry about the assembly, you can do it.
Yes - 28's are great for crappy roads. I ride 28's in SF city.
No - local bike shops will not generally be stoked to assemble the bike you bought online. However, the peeps in your school's bike club or bike team are a different story. Go peer-to-peer on this one.
Yes - the Angus can run riser handle bars fine, though you might need to insert a shim between the bar and stem, because likely the stem is for a 26.0 bar and the riser bar will likely be 25.4.
I paid for the front brake, and I think you def. need a front brake since this is your first fixed gear bike. You don't need to get it from IRO though for $50, you can order a brake and lever through your local bike shop or online. I bought a front brake from IRO and it works fine. I ended up buying a new lever for the riser bars because the lever that came for the bars on the bike (my case bullhorns) did not work on the skinny riser bars. I also replaced my brake pads because the IRO ones weren't as grippy as I wanted.
Since you live on flatland, you can get a bigger chainring and smaller cog, but don't go nuts. I run a 46 front and a 17 rear (72.4 gear inches on a 28 tire). You might try a 47 front and a 16 rear (78.6 gear inches on a 28 tire). You can push up to 80 gear inches if you want for flatland. Depends on how strong you are and how fast you can spin. [Edit: I guess you dont get to choose chainring size, just cog size]
Thanks for all the good advice. Dardau, I'll check out the marigny Bike Project. I won't be back in NOLA til May, and I probably wont need a bike too much until the weather cools down. That gives me some months to explore. And thanks everyone for encouragement that doing it the "real" way isn't so hard. I'm just really not mechanical-minded. Maybe I'll try it out though, instead of over-paying for a new bike. My first option will be to buy a used fixed gear, and check out the build a bike place.
OP, I just heard that NOPD somehow evicted everyone out of the building that Plan B was (is) in. I was going to go by tomorrow to true my wheels after an especially deep pothole encounter. I'll let you know what I find out about their closure/new location.
I don't get why you think I'm a troll. I was literally on the verge of buying an Iro Angus online, and I had no freakin clue how to choose the options for it. I still don't actually, cos nobody explicitly answered those questions! On the other hand, since I don't really need a bike for a few months, I'll go on and do a bit more research just to make sure I don't have the ability/interest to cheaply put a bike together myself, or have the good judgment to pick a 30-year old classic on craigslist. (One of the first "classics" I found on CL turned out to be a terrible Schwinn model from back in the day.) Maybe it's a surprise to rusty that not everyone who enjoys riding bikes, even to the point of visiting a forum like this, knows or cares what a bike cog or appropriate gear ratios are. Go on and shudder with horror.
if you like the angus, buy it. get the front brake for sure.
you should be able to find a local shop to put it together for less then $100. although, it wont be that ahrd to do and you could prob do it on your own, or with a little help.
drops are cool, risers are fine too, might need a shim as mentioned.
i would forget buying used cause you prob dont know what to look for to really know if the bike is a in good shape or a good value. used is ok if you know hat you are looking for and can judge quality well. otherwise used bikes can get expensive.
also, there is a good deal on schwinn madisons at nashbar right now. they ight be a go
od bet for you. less then the iro, and is a ncie whip.
what size bike are you getting? 54 and up get the 175,anythign below get the 165. get the 16 cog, if it doesnt work cogs are not much $$ so you can get anothr off nashbar.