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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 11-27-13, 09:10 AM   #1
nyrealitydose
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Spent $180 on a Crappy Fixed Gear



I bought this bike in Manila (in the Philippines) and really shouldn't have. I didn't want to spend more than $250 on a bike, and there was nothing in a 19" frame size as far as mountain bikes go in my price range, so I decided to look at fixed gear bikes since I wanted to try one and use it in Malaysia in January. Well, this is what I ended up with. Nice color combo, but that's where it ends. I rode it back to the hotel, and then noticed the brake lever was utter crap, as was the brake ($13 including installation added to the $170 for the bike). The seatpost is very poorly molded out of alloy and there was a smooth pebble (!) in the top of the seatpost, between the two parts that secure the seat. I presume this is to stop it from breaking during use, which could be extremely dangerous.

Then I noticed the hex screws that secure the cranks to the bottom bracket were completely and utterly stripped--I'm going to need help to get them off! One of the screws was torqued so hard that the plastic cap under it was cracked. Basically what I've ended up with is something I'm scared to ride after a closer look because I don't know if one of the cranks is going to break off at some point or if the seatpost is going to snap under me. The bike does, however, get admiring looks and someone who picked it up asked me if it was titanium. I locked it up poorly at the mall and someone stuck it over their shoulder and tried to walk away with it, but mall security stopped him and then locked it up for me in a shed.

The hubs are Shunfeng or something else from the mainland. The bike itself was a pleasure to ride home and around the neighborhood, but in retrospect I'm probably lucky I didn't kill myself riding this bike!

Is it worth spending the money to fix the bottom bracket and the seatpost, or should I just scrap this POS? From looking on Taobao, bikes like this one go for around $80, so it looks like I got royally screwed...
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Old 11-27-13, 10:01 AM   #2
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Are you still in Manila? Go back to the store have them fix the problems.
Last time I was in Manila, 2 years ago I was able to buy a medium(17in. ?)
mountainbike for $45, new. In Ortigas, can't remember the name or the main
street the shop was on. It ran ok for the week that I was there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxfDp7ddITg
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Old 11-27-13, 10:07 AM   #3
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Are you still in Manila? Go back to the store have them fix the problems.
Last time I was in Manila, 2 years ago I was able to buy a medium(17in. ?)
mountainbike for $45, new. In Ortigas, can't remember the name or the main
street the shop was on. It ran ok for the week that I was there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxfDp7ddITg
Nope, I'm back in Hong Kong now, and the bike is disassembled and boxed in Manila. I'll be back in Jan and will be taking it to Kota Kinabalu (on the island of Borneo). Cab drivers out there have a cartel of sorts, so having a bike out there will save me a good amount of money. On the plus side the bike is light and easy to transport. I guess I could pick up a new seatpost and have the bottom bracket issue resolved in KK while I'm there--prices out there aren't too bad.

They originally offered me a Taiwanese-made Schwinn mountain bike for $250 that had a little damage to the side of the fork. I should've taken the Schwinn instead, but it would've cost me a lot more to ship it to MY. At least I know what riding fixed gear is like now (it's pretty cool)!
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Old 11-27-13, 10:13 AM   #4
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The reason for the high price is price fixing on factory-made fixed gears in Manila. They're VERY popular right now, although the more dedicated riders build their own from frames and parts they pick up around the city of course. Fixed gear bikes are extremely popular in China right now, so I can get one sent over for very little money and the price/quality ratio seems high too. I'm very tempted!
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Old 11-27-13, 10:13 AM   #5
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Hong Kong will probably have better selection and prices, my
suggestion is to get the parts(s) there. Also if you travel a lot;
you may want to consider getting a folding bike. It's much
easier to pack and bring inside hotel rooms, restaurants, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUQNU2DKiWw
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Old 11-27-13, 10:25 AM   #6
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I do have a 26" Dahon, but wanted something with a solid frame I could use at home too. A fixed gear seemed like a nice, light bike that wouldn't be too hard to transport and then get home. I still think that's the case, but not if it's a POS like mine!

As for fixed gear pricing, they are much, much more expensive in HK. Bike prices in HK are 40%+ higher than US prices.

Beijing has actually banned fixed-gear bikes...I'd say there are more FGs in China than the US right now!

Found my bike on Taobao and it retails for $65 before shipping...nice.

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=...id=25208756971

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Old 11-27-13, 11:44 PM   #7
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Well, I did get ripped off, but I'm still going to ride it. I remember I saw some minor spots of rust on the cranks when I took the bike apart. Well, tried to take the bike apart; no way those cranks were coming off since the bolts are stripped!

The bottom bracket cover on one side is cracked, but no biggie, it's not as dangerous as I thought since it just keeps water out. I don't remember what size the seatpost is, but I'll change that out first since I'm worried about the clamp snapping (I'm around 215 lbs), and if the frame doesn't warp over time, I'll look into changing up the wheels and cranks, which are cheap and easily acquired online from China. At least I won't be all that worried about losing this bike in Malaysia or when I return to the Philippines!

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Old 11-28-13, 12:27 AM   #8
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You should just save up and buy a bike with enough build quality to be able to disassemble it completely, from what your describing I'd be scared to ride it
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Old 11-28-13, 08:40 AM   #9
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I'd buy something like an Fyxation Eastside frameset and start from there. Use what you can of what you have and replace what you want as you go along. I've thought about buying an Eastside just because I really like the copper color.
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Old 11-28-13, 08:54 AM   #10
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You should just save up and buy a bike with enough build quality to be able to disassemble it completely, from what your describing I'd be scared to ride it
The only dangerous part is the seatpost IMO--the bottom bracket is fine, but has a cracked plastic cover on one side. I can probably work a notch into the bolts so they can be removed with a large flat head screwdriver, but I won't do that until necessary, and then I'll replace the cranks and possibly the crappy sprocket too. The only pressing upgrade is the seatpost.

Last edited by nyrealitydose; 11-28-13 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 11-28-13, 09:08 AM   #11
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I'd buy something like an Fyxation Eastside frameset and start from there. Use what you can of what you have and replace what you want as you go along. I've thought about buying an Eastside just because I really like the copper color.
That Eastside looks pretty sweet, but out of stock in 58 cm and the shipping will cost me almost as much as the frame. Since I live in Hong Kong, I'd just buy a complete bike from across the border in China--some good deals to be had on fixed gears up there, and shipping costs a lot less.

When I get the bike back here in Jan, I may just try and sell it for $100 or so.

EDIT: eating my hat, got an Eastside today in 55 cm (I'm just under 6' and prefer to have a little more standover). Got it directly from Fyxation for a sweet deal because of the Black Friday deal. Thank you for the suggestion, I'm really pumped about this build! I've never built a bike from the ground up before.

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Old 11-30-13, 07:27 AM   #12
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Sure doesn't look crappy....
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Old 11-30-13, 07:22 PM   #13
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Sure doesn't look crappy....
I agree, until you get up close! It's a $65 (retail) Chinese market fixed gear. The seatpost is so crappy that there is a pebble in the clamp to prevent it from snapping under the riders' weight. The hubs are the cheapest Chinese crap you can find. The crank is already rusting, right out of the store, and the guys at the factory or the store completely stripped the heads on the crank screws. The brake and lever cost me all of $12, and the painted rim means I get really terrible braking performance. The frame is hi-tensile, but I don't know how long it's going to hold up under load since I'm 215 lbs. I should've looked closer, but it LOOKED like a decent bike until I took it apart to box it up for my January trip to Malaysia. At least it got me home safe and around the neighborhood.

If the frame is solid, however, I'm not too bothered. It'll be a fun upgrade project and will make a great urban beater. I'll change out the seatpost, brake and brake lever, wheels, front sprocket and cranks and it should ride much better. The only really pressing upgrade, IMO, is the seatpost. I should probably replace the cranks and crank screws after that.

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Old 11-30-13, 09:53 PM   #14
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I so wanna see this "pebble".
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Old 11-30-13, 09:58 PM   #15
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lol I'll take a pic in Jan, when I'm out in Malaysia. I thought it was foam or a packing pellet when I saw it for the first time. I then realized it was a nicely polished river pebble! I wonder if the factory has an employee who specializes in putting pebbles into the seatpost clamps.
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Old 11-30-13, 10:05 PM   #16
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Check out the high grade hub:

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Old 12-01-13, 08:05 AM   #17
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Keep us posted! Best of luck!!
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