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  1. #1
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    Help Me Find A Good Beginner Bike

    I'll give some of my background: I have been riding BMX for about 8 years now.. I know everything about BMX bikes and barely anything about Road bikes. I am looking to find a cheap commuter for my 5 mile bike ride to work; with that said, I have checked craigslist for any fixer-uppers, but none of them are my size (I'm 6'-2" so 60-63) OR they are overpriced. I'm looking to spend around $300 because I will only use this to get to work and college.

    I know that everyone will yell at me for wanting to buy a steel frame, coming from BMX I know that chromoly is important for strength and weight. Is a chromoly frame really necessary for road bikes? I feel like for just riding it to work, hitting the occasional pot-holes, a steel frame would be able to hold up to that abuse? I'm not looking to jump stairs on it and I don't mind the extra weight that a steel frame will bring...

    Here is what I'm considering buying (Obviously a cheapo): Amazon.com: Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike: Sports & Outdoors

    OR

    http://www.amazon.com/Retrospec-Beta...ADQSM6M98APD71


    I have done some looking around on threads here and it seems like everyone is worshiping this Kilo TT? Should I wait to find one of these? Save up to 60% off new Mercier Singlespeed Track Bikes - Kilo TT Special Chrome+Custom Paint Edition

    I really don't care about color or how it looks... I just want cheap and functional. I think 46-16T or 48-16T will be a decent starter for me since I'm coming from a 28-9T on my brakeless BMX bike.

    Thanks in advance guys....

  2. #2
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    I had a critical cycle that I used for commuting, no frills, but it worked fine. And I was putting about 80-100 miles per week on it.

    Everyone likes to nuthug bikes direct and the kilo tt because it's one of the decent bang for your buck bikes.

  3. #3
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    Go to www.nashbar.com and get the Nashbar Bull single speed. It's perfect for college and fits well within your budget.


    College campuses are notorious for bike thefts! Kilo TT's are more of a theft magnet than the Bull


    Cut your losses!

  4. #4
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick reply guys! I'm strongly considering getting the Critical and just upgrading the chainring/saddle/tires/putting bullhorns on. I am hoping that this will last me a year or two and then eventually stepping up...

    College campuses are notorious for bike thefts! Kilo TT's are more of a theft magnet than the Bull


    Cut your losses!
    I figured, thats why I was going to paint it. I will definitely check out that site too.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimSlimShermz View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply guys! I'm strongly considering getting the Critical and just upgrading the chainring/saddle/tires/putting bullhorns on. I am hoping that this will last me a year or two and then eventually stepping up...



    I figured, thats why I was going to paint it. I will definitely check out that site too.
    Just make certain that you know the difference between "single speed" and "fixie"...

    I do enjoy coasting downhill with hand brake capability!

  6. #6
    pro in someone's theory prooftheory's Avatar
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    Would you be interested in a rusty conversion with 27 inch wheels?

  7. #7
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    Just make certain that you know the difference between "single speed" and "fixie"...

    I do enjoy coasting downhill with hand brake capability!
    Oh I definitely know the difference between a fixie and a single speed. I haven't had brakes on my BMX bike in 6 years haha. It will definitely be a learning curve with the whole non-coasting thing though.

    Would you be interested in a rusty conversion with 27 inch wheels?
    Interested. Do you have any pics? Link?

  8. #8
    pro in someone's theory prooftheory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimSlimShermz View Post
    Interested. Do you have any pics? Link?
    pm'ed

  9. #9
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Mate, stick with looking at second hand. Buy an old, steel roadie that you can ride NOW. They don't take much to tame, just don't spend any money. Then read Tom Deakin's article Fixed gear on the cheap This'll give you a fixed gear bike or a single speed bike with very little spent and very little attraction to thieves.

    Despite the doom and gloomers, you will not die if you use a so-called suicide hub, ie, a fixed cog spun on and tightened properly onto a normal hub with a bottom bracket locking ring. You do not need locktite. You do not need jbweld. You do not need a tame gorilla. BUT, you WILL need to forgo skids and use your brakes to stop. When you feel rich, you can upgrade to a proper track hub at the back (maybe second hand again though you may find yourself in the 700c vs 27" game then). I rode for over six months on a 27" road wheel wearing a track cog before being able to afford a pair of cheap track wheels. Others have done far more.

    I'm betting you've only been looking for SS for FG bikes and that is what has made it hard to find something to fit. Considering that we used to ride slightly larger bikes back in the 80s anyway, I'd be amazed if you can't find a decent steel roadie to start you off ... and chromolly steel is your best choice. Plan on getting it working then spending as needed - this is far more cost effective than trying to buy now for a budget.

    It worked for me ... except I already had the bike (that Europa I keep talking about).
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  10. #10
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    ^^But but but, we all know the best thing about riding fixed gears is laying down sw8 skidz.

  11. #11
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    I have found a few, but I honestly feel like I should just buy new. A few years back I got a used 10 speed for $20, it was decent, but wayyy too small. I want to have the right size to build off of. Thanks for the advice though, I'll definitely consider looking more before buying a new one.

  12. #12
    pro in someone's theory prooftheory's Avatar
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    Did you get my PM? I'm not sure whether you can look at PM's or not. How tall are you?

  13. #13
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
    Did you get my PM? I'm not sure whether you can look at PM's or not. How tall are you?
    Yeah I got your PM, I replied and emailed you. I am about 6'-2".
    BMX: Sunday Ian Schwartz
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  14. #14
    pro in someone's theory prooftheory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimSlimShermz View Post
    Yeah I got your PM, I replied and emailed you. I am about 6'-2".
    Weird, maybe I filtered it somehow. Anyway you are too big.

  15. #15
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
    Weird, maybe I filtered it somehow. Anyway you are too big.
    Bummer! Thanks for the offer though! Let me know if you happen to see any for sale in buffalo that'll fit me. I can't find any bikes that are my size in that range at all. I almost went to Toronto last weekend to pick one up. It got sold before I could go though.
    BMX: Sunday Ian Schwartz
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  16. #16
    Uninformed Senior Member
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    All scams aside, $5000 Canadian is like $37 US right now.

    The Windsor Hour comes in under your price point and is of decent quality. Looks like there are a number of options in your possible size (61cm?).

    Save Up to 60% Off Track Bikes | SingleSpeed Bikes | Fixie | Windsor Bikes - The Hour | Save up to 60% off Fixed gear and singlespeed bicycles

    Aside from quality control, the other downside to Bikes Direct is the beginner mechanical knowledge needed for assembly. Coming from a BMX background + YouTube as long as you feel comfortable with assembly, that may be a non issue.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Jared.; 04-24-14 at 05:58 PM.

  17. #17
    Out fishing with Annie on his lap, a cigar in one hand and a ginger ale in the other, watching the sunset. Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    And now that I cleaned out the commercial content, the thread is back in it's regular channel and time slot. Carry on!

    By the way, for your first FG, don't gear too tall. I have a lot of years riding fixed, myself and found about 70 Gear Inches (48:16 on a 700c wheel/28-32 mm tire) is a great all around gear for urban riding. Short enough to muscle a hill but tall enough for some decent speed as well, and won't blow out your knees. Also, think aboiut foot retention. I used Crank Brother's Egg Beater clipless, personally, as I do on my recumbent trike now. I can't ride FG anymore since I can't balance after a couple of strokes back in September and I'm on a cane or walker, so I went to a trike.

    Steel frame? Well, steel will give you a softer, more compliant ridethan aluminium, and is less prone to cracking or fatigue cycle failure than aluminium. Remember, though, there's steel, and then there's steel. That steel frame can be made form poor quality "gaspipe" tubing, or Reynolds Alloy/ It can be lugged, brazed or TIG welded. (Or Electroforged, like old school Schwinns were with that oh so smooth joinming at the various joints that make the frame look like it was cast or extruded in one piece). I highly recommend steel, actually, preferably lugged frame design, and preferably either Reynolds or Columbia alloy.
    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

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  18. #18
    Senior Member iTripped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jared. View Post
    All scams aside, $5000 Canadian is like $37 US right now.

    Good luck.
    At 90 cents on the dollar, remind me to never buy anything from you.
    http://www.pedalroom.com/member/itripped

  19. #19
    Uninformed Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by iTripped View Post
    At 90 cents on the dollar, remind me to never buy anything from you.
    Haha. Just felt that way I guess when I visited last in Jan. I was so used to an even exchange (or the short time the loonie was up on the dollar) for the past couple of years.

  20. #20
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    Coming from a BMX background + YouTube as long as you feel comfortable with assembly, that may be a non issue.
    Assembly is definitely a non-issue with me. Thanks for the heads up!

    By the way, for your first FG, don't gear too tall. I have a lot of years riding fixed, myself and found about 70 Gear Inches (48:16 on a 700c wheel/28-32 mm tire) is a great all around gear for urban riding. Short enough to muscle a hill but tall enough for some decent speed as well, and won't blow out your knees. Also, think aboiut foot retention. I used Crank Brother's Egg Beater clipless, personally, as I do on my recumbent trike now. I can't ride FG anymore since I can't balance after a couple of strokes back in September and I'm on a cane or walker, so I went to a trike.
    Thanks for clearing out the trash in this section... also I think I am planning on getting a Purefix complete for starters. All steel, 44:16 (I plan to go to 48:16), and also they do have a basic foot retention. I plan to instantly upgrade to bullhorns, a new saddle, 48T chainwheel, and new pedals & foot retention.

    Haha. Just felt that way I guess when I visited last in Jan. I was so used to an even exchange (or the short time the loonie was up on the dollar) for the past couple of years.
    I live 5 minutes away from the Canadian border. I love taking advantage of the exchange rate when its good.
    BMX: Sunday Ian Schwartz
    Commuter: Kilo TT

  21. #21
    Member rekab's Avatar
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    I own a critical - it was my first ssfg bike and I had a bmx background as well. Its a solid bike for the price but heavy. I was putting close to 100 miles weekly on it the first year I owned it and now only put a few miles a month when I feel like running to the store or out to eat without my car. I now ride a significantly lighter 80s Maruishi (ishiwata steel tubing) that I converted to SS.

    If I knew then (when I bought the critical) what I know now I'd have spent $300 and bought a Windsor The Hour Plus - Its $300 and a better, lighter bike overall.
    If its a $200 (new) bike you're after Critical will get you around, but I'd grab something used or the Windsor. Those Nashbar bull bikes are heavy and overpriced. I'd skip that too.
    Last edited by rekab; 04-27-14 at 09:03 AM.

  22. #22
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekab View Post
    I own a critical - it was my first ssfg bike and I had a bmx background as well. Its a solid bike for the price but heavy. I was putting close to 100 miles weekly on it the first year I owned it and now only put a few miles a month when I feel like running to the store or out to eat without my car. I now ride a significantly lighter 80s Maruishi (ishiwata steel tubing) that I converted to SS.

    If I knew then (when I bought the critical) what I know now I'd have spent $300 and bought a Windsor The Hour Plus - Its $300 and a better, lighter bike overall.
    If its a $200 (new) bike you're after Critical will get you around, but I'd grab something used or the Windsor. Those Nashbar bull bikes are heavy and overpriced. I'd skip that too.
    I think I'm leaning towards getting a Purefix now, which will be $300 on sale. I'm not too concerned with weight because I'll only be riding it 6 miles a day. I have considered a windsor though.
    BMX: Sunday Ian Schwartz
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  23. #23
    Junior Member SlimSlimShermz's Avatar
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    Another thing is, I really don't like the look of a 58cm bike... headtube gap wise. They are just ugly, Purefix says that their 54cm will fit up to 5'-11" and I'm 6'-1"... is 54cm really going to make a huge difference if I add a longer stem and raise the seat? Or will I just look awkward on a smaller bike and feel cramped?
    BMX: Sunday Ian Schwartz
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  24. #24
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimSlimShermz View Post
    I think I'm leaning towards getting a Purefix now, which will be $300 on sale. I'm not too concerned with weight because I'll only be riding it 6 miles a day. I have considered a windsor though.

    A standard purefix is pretty much just a more expensive critical.
    If you shell out the cash for the premium, it looks like a decent bike. But in terms of retrospec, critical, purefix, etc I'd say you're just paying more for a better color scheme. It's the same crappy high-ten steel bike.
    For 220 shipped, the critical will get you around as rekab said. I rode the hell out of mine.

    In terms of the bike, if you want the 54 and it fits you, you'll be fine. For a first bike, I don't think 2-4 centimeters is a deal breaker in top tube length. Especially if you want to change the stem. The geo of the bike will affect sizing. I rode a 52 and a 54, now I'm on a 49 and I don't think it looks too small, and the top tube is the proper length for me.

  25. #25
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    I will say, the Purefix will come with better (or even existent) customer service than the critical will.
    I've dealt with both a few times, and Purefix was much more helpful and friendly.

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