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My top picks for SS/Fixed commuter would be:
Redline “9-2-5” – SS/fixed complete bike with fenders, they arnt light but they are cheep (Sub $500) and ride nice
Surly “Cross Check” – The standard
Pake” C Muter” – Similar to the Cross Check but a tad cheaper
Salsa “Casseroll” – Very nice riding bike, complete singlespeed is a fantastic build and under $900
Steel Wool “Sweet City limited” – very pretty, under a grand complete
Swobo “del Norte” – those thing are just cool
All of these bikes are steel, have rack/fender mounts, reasonable geometry for getting around in traffic, are readily available and are capable of coming in under a grand complete.
I started commuting a few years ago on a 29er and while it worked it was heavy, had slow geometry, and never really clicked for me on the streets. That bike was much more at home on the singletrack where it belonged. Also, 29er wheelbases are too long to fit public transportation racks should that need ever arise.
I commute 2-3 days a week (~20 miles each way) splitting my time between a Soma Double Cross with gears and Milwaukee Orange One fixed.
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