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  1. #1
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    Trying to buy a fixed gear for $400 or less....HELP

    So, I haven't ridden a bike since I was ~14. I'm gonna be starting college in Chicago, and I need a solid bike that will last me through the summer and the winter (possibly/probably). My size is 58cm and I weigh ~180 lbs, and my friend recommended I get a fixed gear because that is the most ideal for a commuter.


    Problem is, I have tons of student debt to handle, and If I could get a bike for less than 400, that would be even better.

    I've been looking at CL, but the used bike people are either too greedy or too shady, so I've come to the conclusion that I need a new bike.

    I've lurked on here for a while, and I've checked BD.

    I tried to get a windsor clockwork, unfortunately they're out of stock in my size, actually, there's absolutely no windsor bikes at all in my size.

    I'm not in a hurry to get a bike, but I do need to have one by August 24th.

    A lot of people seem to be fans of the Kilo TT, but they also recommend upgrading it. I've read similar things about the gravity swift 2. I've also read a few things about the Dawes SST and the SE premium brew...which of these bikes can I buy without having to swap anything? Or if you gurus know about some other really good brand in this budget, PLEASE HELPPPPP

    I want a bike that will last me the next 4+ years

    2 things you should know about me:
    1) I'm broke. 400 is already breaking the bank.
    2) I'm not a mechanic, I barely trust myself inflating tires, let alone swapping/upgrading components.
    Last edited by towerdiveme; 07-10-13 at 06:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    A Kilo tt is the most popular because it comes with pretty good components for what you pay for. People begin to upgrade only when they want nicer parts or ride, but it seems like it wont be that necessary in your case. Since you havent had a bike since you were 14, the only thing you may consider upgrading would be a saddle that would be more comfortable for you. Other than that a kilo should meet your needs.

  3. #3
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    If you are going to be riding in the winter in Chicago you may want the option to put wider tires and fenders. This is your best bet from BD but a little above your budget:

    http://bikesdirect.com/products/merc...tt_wt_xiii.htm

    A cyclocross bike will also make a great commuter. BD has this single speed (not fixed gear) cyclocross which might be a good choice too:

    http://bikesdirect.com/products/merc...tt_wt_xiii.htm
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  4. #4
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    Are you in Chicago now?

    Personally, I would buy a used bike from a co-op. They usually have various types of bikes for very reasonable prices, yet you have some assurance that they were checked/repaired/assembled with some knowledge.

    They will also have necessary accessories that you may want for various weather conditions (fenders, lights, racks, etc.), while still remaining under your posted budget.

    In addition to all of that you can get involved and learn about your bike, so you can trust yourself when doing minor repairs (tubes, tire changes, chains, adjusting brakes), saving you some money.

    There are a couple of member on here that live in Chicago and can point you in the right direction/give you more specific advice.

  5. #5
    sqrl misskaz's Avatar
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    I'm always a little concerned when people's budgets are that tight. Does that $400 include helmet, good lock, and lights? What about a few spare tubes and a pump? A bike doesn't do you much good if it gets you killed cause you have no lights, stolen cause you have a ****ty lock, or you have to give up riding it the minute it gets a flat because you can't afford tubes and a pump (or the $12 to have a shop do it for you.)

    Most of my friends either have a bit more room in their budget or just buy a beater they found on craigslist. I've heard Working Bikes co-op does good stuff but I don't know much about it personally. I would definitely check it out, or also consider a CL bike for $200 or less and see just how much you use a bike and then save up for something better and re-sell the CL bike? Or even (OMG everyone's gonna crucify me) a $99 target bike? I see that damn white and lime green target fixie EVERYWHERE around here and no one seems to have died on them. Are you gonna be at U of C or somewhere on the north side?

  6. #6
    Senior Member ATX_McKee's Avatar
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    I saw a vilano fixie on amazon for 199. Don't know how good it is, but that leaves you some room for a lock and lights.
    First he makes hangovers, and now half women half sharks that won't even sleep with me. Thanks for nothing, God!

  7. #7
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    I have a Jamis beatnik which is an amazing bike and does justice riding, I haven't had to upgrade anything that I didn't want to.
    It only runs about 350 at your LBS I paid 350 for mine and lights run about 13 dollars for front and back. Also locks run around 12 for a decent lock.
    Which means you could hit the 400 dollar mark perfectly.
    Or possibly under it considering how much the beatnik/lights and lock runs you at your shop.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by xDUMBOx View Post
    I have a Jamis beatnik which is an amazing bike and does justice riding, I haven't had to upgrade anything that I didn't want to.
    It only runs about 350 at your LBS I paid 350 for mine and lights run about 13 dollars for front and back. Also locks run around 12 for a decent lock.
    Which means you could hit the 400 dollar mark perfectly.
    Or possibly under it considering how much the beatnik/lights and lock runs you at your shop.
    What kind of decent lock is $12? In Chicago I would recommend two locks, 1 U lock and 1 chain/cable. Probably going to be at least $50 for that. Of course getting the $99 Target fixie has built in security because nobody would want to steal it
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    What kind of decent lock is $12? In Chicago I would recommend two locks, 1 U lock and 1 chain/cable. Probably going to be at least $50 for that. Of course getting the $99 Target fixie has built in security because nobody would want to steal it
    Well here the prices are a bit different, I have a u lock that goes around the frame/front wheel and whatever your locking it to. Only cost me about 13 after taxes 12.89. But then again I normally never stop riding I ride my route then I just come home. But if I had to stop I hope it keeps my bike there and for the moneys worth I will be grateful. haha. Actually after reading what I wrote doesn't seems like that's a good idea, so I am going to go buy a chain lock as well just to make sure. Thanks.

  10. #10
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATX_McKee View Post
    I saw a vilano fixie on amazon for 199. Don't know how good it is, but that leaves you some room for a lock and lights.
    Actually, it's $179.95 with free shipping, and the componentry isn't bad. The problem is that it will require a lot of assembly and adjustment, and the OP has neither the tools or skills to do this. So, I figure about $50 more to get a bike shop to do this for him. Also there will be required maintenance such as cleaning and re-lubing the chain. Winter conditions play havoc on a steel bike, unless it's kept clean and lubed.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  11. #11
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    I would go for this
    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3917860237.html

    The seat tube sizing is wrong, because they measured it to the ground... So i'm not sure on sizing. It doesn't come with seatpost & saddle, but owner says he will throw in an old one.

    I have no idea about the quality of the wheelset, but overall everything seems pretty nice. Seems to be in good shape, except i see some slight bending at the fork... but i'm not sure; I'm sure its fine.

    Once you get it, and the owner provides an old seatpost and seat, I would advice in upgrading in better pedals and saddle.
    Last edited by Bakersb; 07-11-13 at 06:27 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    If you are going to be riding in the winter in Chicago you may want the option to put wider tires and fenders. This is your best bet from BD but a little above your budget:

    http://bikesdirect.com/products/merc...tt_wt_xiii.htm

    A cyclocross bike will also make a great commuter. BD has this single speed (not fixed gear) cyclocross which might be a good choice too:

    http://bikesdirect.com/products/merc...tt_wt_xiii.htm

    those are both links to the same bike, and unfortunately, they don't have my size.

    If anybody knows of any chicago Co-Ops, the help would be greatly appreciated, and I definitely wouldn't mind getting a chance to learn about my bike.

    I went to sports authority and bought their biggest, heaviest most expensive lock which was $30, and I also got a great gel saddle from my buddy.

    But so a kilo TT will do me fine summer or winter rain/shine? I'm gonna be attending UIC so I can't just not go to class cause my bike isn't winter compatible :/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by xDUMBOx View Post
    I have a Jamis beatnik which is an amazing bike and does justice riding, I haven't had to upgrade anything that I didn't want to.
    It only runs about 350 at your LBS I paid 350 for mine and lights run about 13 dollars for front and back. Also locks run around 12 for a decent lock.
    Which means you could hit the 400 dollar mark perfectly.
    Or possibly under it considering how much the beatnik/lights and lock runs you at your shop.
    I think we all said that was a screaming deal at YOUR lbs at the time... that is not typical pricing IMO.

  14. #14
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    Based on everything you've said I would recommend you find a used rigid frame mountain bike (no shocks or suspension). They should be plentiful on in your area on Craigslist. They will fit wide tires and fenders, racks and anything you need for commuting and will take a beating. You will be able to ride year round. You will probably want two sets of tires (sicks for summer and maybe some studded tires for winter). You may be able to convert to single speed/fixed if you want but it's not necessary. You should be able to find a used bike for less then $200 and leave some money for tires, fenders, rack, panniers.

    I would certainly recommend finding a co op or at least watching some youtube videos and trying to do as much work as possible on your own bike. Some things need special tools but most regular maintenance can be done easily on your own.
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinikl View Post
    I think we all said that was a screaming deal at YOUR lbs at the time... that is not typical pricing IMO.
    Apparently EMS sells them for $299

    http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12294012d

    It's a Hi Ten frame with mostly generic components. If I had $300 to spend I would probably get a Windsor The Hour before I bought a Beatnik
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinikl View Post
    I think we all said that was a screaming deal at YOUR lbs at the time... that is not typical pricing IMO.
    But would the pricing be a dramatic increase?
    I wouldn't think it would be to much higher, I mean again I wouldn't know just wondering.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    Apparently EMS sells them for $299

    http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12294012d

    It's a Hi Ten frame with mostly generic components. If I had $300 to spend I would probably get a Windsor The Hour before I bought a Beatnik
    Well that sucks I wish I would have seen that, but I got a better fork, better handle bars, better BB (sealed) and I got a better seat. So I upgraded a bit.

  18. #18
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    I went to a Co-op here in Chicago, and they had absolutely no fixies or single speeds. However, the guy working there recommended I go with a Gary Fisher Big sur ($375) as it has tires that would work well with me during winter and summer, and he said that in the snow, a fixed gear is a verrryyy bad idea.

    So Now my question has become, do I buy a mountain bike and use it as a commuter, or was this guy just full of it when he said fixies/singlespeeds won't work in the snow?


    ALSO, I've been lurking on CL.

    What do you guys think of this bike?

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3915661202.html
    Last edited by towerdiveme; 07-12-13 at 04:13 PM.

  19. #19
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    What do you guys think of this bike?

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3915661202.html[/QUOTE]

    I mean like, for the worth, I would waayy rather get this: http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3917860237.html

    Btw, do u play league?

  20. #20
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by towerdiveme View Post
    I went to a Co-op here in Chicago, and they had absolutely no fixies or single speeds. However, the guy working there --snip-- he said that in the snow, a fixed t is a verrryyy bad idea.

    So Now my question has become, do I buy a mountain bike and use it as a commuter, or was this guy just full of it when he said fixies/singlespeeds won't work in the snow?
    We don't get snow here so I can't really speak from any knowledge base - what do those who do ride in snow think? Sounds like typical "I've never ridden fixed but I'm an expert" bulldust to me.
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  21. #21
    Senior Member seau grateau's Avatar
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    Fixed in the snow is one of the best ways to go, IMO. Riding a track bike in the snow is another story.
    Quote Originally Posted by adriano View Post
    thanckx.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakersb View Post
    What do you guys think of this bike?

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3915661202.html
    I mean like, for the worth, I would waayy rather get this: http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3917860237.html

    Btw, do u play league?[/QUOTE]


    yes I am a leaguer haha.
    and I'm just skeptical about buying anuthing from CL that's too old due to bad experiences, people in Chicago can be prettt scheisty

  23. #23
    Senior Member FlatSix911's Avatar
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    Have you considered a Cyclocross bike ... perfect for all seasons

    Single Speed CycloCross 2013 Fantom Cross UNO $399
    Wide Tires Fit up to 1.7"
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/uno.htm



    <or>
    SHIMANO 24Spd Cyclocross/Commuter 2013 Gravity Liberty CX $399
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...liberty_cx.htm
    Last edited by FlatSix911; 07-14-13 at 04:05 PM.
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  24. #24
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    I built a fixed gear/single speed with Velocity Chukkers and a cromo frame for less than $400. I dumpster dove for the frame, stripped it, sold everything off it I couldn't use, laced my own rims, bought everything from Amazon and eBay. Just buy used, get lucky, and keep at it. A budget is the best way to get creative - but it doesn't mean you have to cut corners.

    Edit: I mainly built it myself because I wanted wider, stronger wheels than are commonplace on most store-bought fixed gears because I'm going to be thrashing it via commuting and offroad use in addition to falling into the clydesdale category. I use 35s for tires and I don't doubt I'll have any issue in the Midwest city winters.

  25. #25
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    I know it has been over ten days since the last reply, but I'd continue my search on Craigslist. If I can find a used Fuji Feather for $300 (with no work needed) in Honolulu then you can find something in a big city like Chicago. You just have to be patient. I've also sold a bike for well under $400 and it was a good bike. So it all just depends on how much you're looking and what you want. Generally, I've found with craigslist: You want a nice bike, you want a cheap bike, you want a bike now; pick 2.
    Last edited by Erthwerm; 07-24-13 at 06:25 PM. Reason: I need to post an intro

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