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The infamous "what bike should I buy?" thread

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The infamous "what bike should I buy?" thread

Old 03-04-16, 11:06 PM
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bikemanure
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The infamous "what bike should I buy?" thread

Hello,

I just finished college last summer and got a job in the city (NYC) and I live about 9 miles away from work so roughly 50 minutes according to google maps (i go over a bridge and traffic downtown is a nightmare)

Last summer I just stuck with the subway for most of my commuting but this year I would like to mix things up a bit and ride to work everyday. I am already pretty active but fitting in two bicycle rides a day would be amazing. I am interested in looking for a bike. I think I am looking for a "Fixie" but I have only been doing research for about two days so I am still a newbie.

To start off I am
22 years old
Male
5'ft 11inches - (180 cm)
Looking for a lightweight/modern and nice looking bike - simplistic is what I am looking for
Budget is ~$500 (I would prefer not to go over $500 but if I can be convinced i can go up as far as maybe $700 but I think for a first commuter bike $500 should be decent enough)


These are some bikes I have come across already, would love to hear feedback on brands, models, etc.

I was going to include the 6KU Fixie Single-Speed Bike but they were the cheapest ones... are they comparable?

Pure Fix Original $349
Aventon Cordoba $379
Crew Bike Co. District $379
State Bicycle Co Fixed Gear Bike $449

Last edited by bikemanure; 03-04-16 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 03-04-16, 11:51 PM
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I'm not going to try to answer this, city riding and fixies are neither in my wheelhouse; but welcome to the forum and bike commuting. Get some lights!
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Old 03-05-16, 08:38 AM
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Can't make any recommendations either regarding fixies as I don't own one. But if there are any decent hills on your commute you might want to rethink that plan. But yeah, welcome to the forum.
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Old 03-05-16, 09:22 AM
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What's your experience with cycling, up to now? I'm asking because it seems to me that getting a fixie as your first serious riding experience might be challenging, but a different story if you're already an experienced rider in other contexts. But it looks like most of those bikes have flip-flop hubs, so you can ride freewheel if you want.

Some things that I would look for in a commuter, these days, are:

* Attachment points for fenders and rack.
* Clearance for wider tires, including possibly studded tires for winter riding.
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Old 03-05-16, 09:38 AM
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I don't want to soundlike Old Man Buzzkill, but You are going to end up a smudge on the pavement. Only one of those bikes looks to have brakes. If you're gonna play in traffic, you've gotta have brakes. Skid-stopping is technically stopping, but it is not quick, and it leaves you unable to steer or manuever. Look up bike commuting videos on youtube; the long, uncut, unglamorous ones. You will see why most bike commuters use brakes, gears, mirrors and more. Some are for comfort, convenience, and utility; and at 22 those things may not be important. But safety is important; and if you want to keep riding until you're a bitter old(ish) man like me, you'll put safety first.

And, oh yeah, welcome to the forum...just stay off my lawn.
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Old 03-05-16, 09:54 AM
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Yes, definitely brakes.
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Old 03-05-16, 10:39 AM
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Whatever you buy you're going to want to ad things like lights, a way to carry your stuff, a lock, clothing to wear while commuting etc....
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Old 03-05-16, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I don't want to soundlike Old Man Buzzkill, but You are going to end up a smudge on the pavement. Only one of those bikes looks to have brakes. If you're gonna play in traffic, you've gotta have brakes. Skid-stopping is technically stopping, but it is not quick, and it leaves you unable to steer or manuever. Look up bike commuting videos on youtube; the long, uncut, unglamorous ones. You will see why most bike commuters use brakes, gears, mirrors and more. Some are for comfort, convenience, and utility; and at 22 those things may not be important. But safety is important; and if you want to keep riding until you're a bitter old(ish) man like me, you'll put safety first.

And, oh yeah, welcome to the forum...just stay off my lawn.
The bikes are pictured without brakes but if you look at the tech specs, brakes are included. They just ruin the fixie aesthetic. Note the lack of valve stems in the pics as well, but you will still find them on most bikes.

I ride a fixed gear a lot of the time and I'm a relatively old man at 51. Gears can be nice but I didn't need them when I was 10 and I don't need them now. And it was uphill to get anywhere when I was 10. People seem to forget that they got along OK on single speeds when they were little.

If you can buy from a local shop and try the bike first that's the best. Some bikes just feel right and others don't.

Anyway, there's not a whole lot to a single speed so I can't imagine spending $500 on one. I use an old converted road bike from the 80's. If you're going with steel make sure it's a good chromoly frame. If aluminum, you might want to consider a carbon fork. If you're going to ride in the rain, fender mounts are really nice but not many people put fenders on a fixed gear.

The last thing is tire clearance. It's good to have some flexibility and if the bike can take some wider tires it will make riding on bad roads more pleasant. I ride on 25mm tires and it's fine but roads on my commute are in decent shape.

Last edited by tjspiel; 03-05-16 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 03-05-16, 11:10 AM
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I dont like the handlebars on the last 3. Not sure what those are called but its different from what i ride so I dont like it and better not see one on my lawn. Fixies are like a hipsters beard, it may impress some but is unnecessary and unhygenic. If you're commuting in from Brooklyn you need a folding bike which should also be a fixie, maybe with a banana seat, and a picture of Che, coming from anywhere else though a normal bike will be fine. I dont like most commuter/ comfort/ exercise bikes which is your likely alternative so the pure fix seems ok, over a mountain bike or a road bike. Just my thoughts. Fixies are to punish yourself or remember the old tymes, like muzzle loading your musket. Sure thats cute and quaint but not something you bring into battle unless it is a civil war reenactment.
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Old 03-05-16, 11:16 AM
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Do you have a secure place to lock your bike? If not, you will not want a new bike to ride in NYC.

Why not just pick up an old bike from craigslist with horizontal dropouts and convert it to a single speed? Get something with center pull brakes or long reach side pulls so you have room for a bit fatter tire and maybe fenders.
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Old 03-05-16, 11:55 AM
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Fixed gears are actually amazing commuters if your fit. I've been using one in some form or another just about daily (also own road and mountain bike) for 4 years. Some recommendations: definitely make sure it has brakes, extra tire clearance is wicked (I'm now running 38c), and personally I think full size fenders are required for daily commuting so make sure it has eyelets for fenders. I'll also recommend a conversion as a first bike as their cheap, less likely to get stolen, and will meet more of the features i mentioned than entry level "fixies".
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Old 03-05-16, 12:17 PM
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On the other hand... There are good social reasons for a young man in the big city to get a cool new bike.
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Old 03-05-16, 12:20 PM
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The one sold buy the Bike Shop you pass by between your House and your Job.

Because they will be there to help you keep it working properly.
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Old 03-05-16, 12:48 PM
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These are the answers that I expected in this thread. Just about all of them covered. Some of you need to take a step back and realize that we are all different, from the style of bike that we ride, to the style of riding that we do.

1. You do not need mounts for fenders. They are a nice addition, but you can ride a bike without full fenders. They make clip on fenders
2. You do not need super wide tires. The ride is much nicer, but any size tire can be ridden.


You do need lights and a good way to secure them on the bike while riding. If the bike happens to have an aero seatpost, some lights won't mount up correctly, the same goes for a clip on fender.
You do need to figure out how you will get what you are taking with you to work. No mounts for fenders or racks means you will be carrying it or getting it there ahead of time on the weekends. Backpacks, messenger bags, etc will leave you with a sweaty back in the summer.
You do need some sort of brake. Be it locking the rear wheel up on a fixed gear, or running front and rears on a single speed.
You do need a lock if you will be locking it up outside of work. If you can bring it in, even better.
You do need to figure out what size bike you will need for your build. This is where a local bike shop comes in handy vs ordering online. It is easy to order the wrong size, and could be hard to order the right size.

Me? I commute on several different bikes, from a single speed mountain bike to a full carbon road bike, to you guessed it, a modern track fixed gear with only a front brake. It doesn't have mounts for fenders or racks, no panniers, no Dynamo hub, no wide tires, and no mirrors. I get a sweaty back in the summer with my messenger bag on my back. I can't coast. I have a little A** Saver mini fender that goes in the saddle rails. I have an aero post so most lights don't really mount well. The fixed gear is my absolute favorite. City riding, skinny tires, one brake, and the simplicity of just pedaling. The smile on my face when I get to work makes it all worth it.
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Old 03-05-16, 01:22 PM
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[QUOTE=tjspiel;18586027]The bikes are pictured without brakes but if you look at the tech specs, brakes are included. They just ruin the fixie aesthetic. Note the lack of valve stems in the pics as well, but you will still find them on most bikes.

I was not aware...thanks. Also, while I think a fixed gear bike (with brakes) could be a fun and rewarding experience, I don't think I could do it daily without messing up my knees, especially here in hilly Colorado. A few years ago there was a guy who rode a high-wheeler along my route. Tall Bikes + Fixed Gear = Penny Farthing...the hipsters already have the facial hair for it.

Last edited by BobbyG; 03-05-16 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 03-05-16, 01:36 PM
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From where to where in NYC and which bridge?

I have two fixies that I love to ride. One has no brakes one has a front brake. I ride in Manhattan and Brooklyn somewhat frequently. I'd not ride either fixie in either borough. There are too many unexpected incidents in most areas requiring sudden stops. SO, if you get a fixie my advice would be include both front and rear brakes. For yourself and the safety of the person you'll avoid hitting (who may be my wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, or grandkid).

How much stuff will you need to carry and how do you plan to do that?

Fixies got very popular in The Netherlands and Copenhagen about 15 years ago. Their popularity didn't last long as people found them very impractical compared to the typical Opafiets or Omafiets.

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Old 03-05-16, 02:10 PM
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Hey man, fellow NYC commuter here.

I have a couple pieces of advice for you about biking and commuting in NYC.

1. The best thing you can do to keep yourself safe is plan out your route before you go. There is a ton of bike infrastructure now--take advantage of it! Avoid high speed busy roads (Atlantic Ave, Flatbush, etc). There are almost always better roads just a block or two out of your way. Edit: Plan the route back, too! It may not be the same!

2. Take the Manhattan Bridge, not the Brooklyn in almost every case. For me, this adds about a mile to my commute, but the BK bridge is so slow that it adds very little time. It also keeps my stress level low! The BK bridge is full of tourists milling around taking pictures and constantly stepping in front of you.

3. Get really good lights!

4. Find a way to carry your stuff on the bike, not on you--keeps you less sweaty. I often use a saddlebag or pannier.

Now, bike choice. I started out on a single speed / fixed gear bike, and I know a lot of people love them. Personally, I like to have a 3 speed or better. If you ever go uptown or over the bridges, having a few gears is really nice. It means I get less sweaty and tired. I would personally go online and find a used bike that's in good shape. All that said, if you ride a fixed gear for a year and decide you want gears, it is really easy to turn the bike into a 3-speed. That's how I did it at first. If you need help doing this at some point, just let me know.

Out of the bikes you have picked, I would first say NO to the "Pure Fix". I have seen a lot of these around and they look really poorly made. I don't really have much knowledge about the other 3, but I believe 2 are aluminum and 1 is steel? I'd go with the steel model because it'll probably be more durable and city bikes get banged up a lot.
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Old 03-05-16, 04:46 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback, currently can't reply to all the comments at the moment but in regards to storing the bike- it will almost always be stored indoors. I will store it at work indoors and while I'm home it will be stored indoors as well.

I will be going from park slope to union square over the Manhattan bridge.

Also I found a new State bicycle black label 6051 for $600 and I am also looking at the tribe messenger bike which is $700 I believe.

The state is aluminum and the tribe bike is steel.


Let me know if any of you have any insight or recommend another bike all together.


State black label 6051 $600

Tribe messenger $675

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Old 03-05-16, 05:31 PM
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If you decide to ride fixed, you will want some sort of foot retention so don't forget to factor that in.

Never heard of the Tribe before. Wouldn't pay that much for the State.
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Old 03-05-16, 05:36 PM
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Yeah tribe is a new brand based here in Brooklyn and they are gaining traction. And the state-$600 isn't a good price for the black label even though it's priced at $760?

I might install the freewheel actually and maybe switch later on.
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Old 03-05-16, 05:42 PM
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Can you test ride either one before purchasing? Steel and aluminum will have a different feel to them. You may or may not like one more than the other.
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Old 03-05-16, 06:05 PM
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Some fixies use track geometry which can be extremely uncomfortable in Alum. Steel is a bit more forgiving and should last longer especially if multi layers of powder coat.

IIRC the Manhattan is about 3.5% on the Brooklyn side but there's a bit of steep kicker on the curve. Not quite as steep on the Manhattan side. I'd certainly want a freewheel going down either (and a many days a lower than average gear going up, especially if there's a headwind). Personally I'd want a 3 or 5 speed. That said I've seen fixies on there.
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Old 03-05-16, 06:08 PM
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I did, both feel good to me. The aluminum did make me feel more of the bumps though and the steel absorbed much more
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Old 03-05-16, 09:00 PM
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I am thinking that you may want to post over in the FGSS section about which one of these to get. The people that frequent that forum can answer this for you.
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Old 03-06-16, 10:57 AM
  #25  
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This isn't the SSFG forum, so I can say this: don't get a fixie.

Get a single speed with brakes, good brakes, if you want to mess around with it. Yes, brakes are non-trendy. A smashed face is non-trendy, too. If you do get a fixie, get one with brakes.

Avoid the the purefix bikes, poor quality steel and the fit and finish is about what I'd expect for a well used and abused bike. The single brake is pretty mushy, too. Low budget price point bike to cash in on the FG thing.


I ride a SS surly cross check around town - I bet you could find one used and in good shape for $500-$800, and other steel cross bikes would be similar. There are almost certainly dozens of used cross checks for sale in your area, if budget is a concern. A new saddle and bar tape can make them look quite nice, in their way.
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