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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm very new to fixed gear riding. I've tried a few, but I don't know enough to make a truly informed decision. Any help would be appreciated. I have more money than time, but I don't have a lot of money. Because of that, I want to buy a bike rather than build one, but I'm not looking to spend a fortune. I've been looking online at the Jamis Sputnik and the Bianchi Pista. There is a little bit of a price difference here that definitely counts for a big part of my decision, but I was hoping that some of you might be able to weigh in on other factors. I'm open to other bikes too. I'm looking for something affordable, and I prefer steel. Other than that, I'm wide open. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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In addition to the Jamis, the following bikes can be had for under a grand. All of these have their fans and their detractors, but they represent good quality, mid-priced, pre-built fixies. Do some searching on this website and Google to see what the differences are and their availability in your area.

Bianchi: Pista or San Jose (with mod)
Raleigh: Rush Hour
IRO: Mark V, Jamie Roy, Rob Roy, Angus
Redline: 925
On One: Il Pompino
Milwaukee: Orange One
Surly: Steamroller (not sold as a complete bike)
Giant: Bowery
Van Dessel: Country Road Bob
 

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I have ridden the Sputnik, the Pista, and the Rush Hour, and they are all great bikes. If you are planning on commuting with it though, I would probably go with the pista or the rush hour. The Sputnik is an awsome bike, but is kind of flashy....
Giant is also coming out with a fixed called the bowery...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks and more questions

Thanks for the info. I have googled many of these bikes, and the information is OK. One thing that I have had trouble finding on most of them is weight. I'm not a weight weenie by any stretch, but weight does seem like one factor that I should at least consider. Is there a good source for this information if it's not on the manufacturers site.

Also, I plan on mainly using the bike for regular road rides. I work from home, so the commute is not a factor. Other than regular road rides, this will likely be my grocery-getter and pub bike. If that helps elicit more input- great.

Thanks again for the help.
 

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Versatility

A bike for use on regular road ridees and as a grocery-getter townie will have different needs, so I think a bike with versatility is more importnat than any weight considerations.

I have a Bianchi Pista, which I use as a commuter and some road riding. I got it before there were so many fixed gear options available. The bike rides well, but has no water bottle bosses (not great for road rides) and is not easy to set-up with fenders (not great for commuting). I've worked around these limitations, but the result is not pretty. If I were shopping now, I'd get a bike with water bottle bosses and with enough room for fenders and maybe even drilled for a rear brake. Even if you don't ride in the rain, room for fenders also equates with room for larger tires, which makes the bike rideable on terrain other than pavement. The option of a rear brake can either be used in fixed mode or allow you to safely switch to singlespeed. Water bottle bosses make it easier to do longer road rides.

Several of the listed bikes have these features...
 

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Pista and Bowery

My Bianchi Pista as pictured weighs in at 21.75 lbs. without water and with different clips, straps and seat. Off the rack it weighed 19.35 lbs. for size 53cm. The pack and pump weigh one pound.

At my LBS Saturday I saw the Bowery which comes with brakes and bottle bosses. They said it weighed 23 lbs.

TT
 

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BianchiJoe said:
In addition to the Jamis, the following bikes can be had for under a grand. All of these have their fans and their detractors, but they represent good quality, mid-priced, pre-built fixies. Do some searching on this website and Google to see what the differences are and their availability in your area.

Bianchi: Pista or San Jose (with mod)
Raleigh: Rush Hour
IRO: Mark V, Jamie Roy, Rob Roy, Angus
Redline: 925
On One: Il Pompino
Milwaukee: Orange One
Surly: Steamroller (not sold as a complete bike)
Giant: Bowery
Van Dessel: Country Road Bob
I would think that you could add Soma to that list, with reasonable parts, and KHS makes a moderately priced steel frame that folks use. For that matter, last year's LeMond Fillmore might be found on sale for under a grand if one looks--a local shop has a couple left at 900 bucks. It's a nice riding bike--road geometry, good pipes, and decent wheels. More expensive than a bianchi pista, for sure, but apart from more expesive tubes and wheels (and included brakes) it's better suited, IMO, to longer road rides too.

As others have said, throwing a leg over a few can be helpful, as can making a few basic up-front decisions about things like water bottle bosses, etc.
 

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redbeansclt said:
I have more money than time, but I don't have a lot of money. Because of that, I want to buy a bike rather than build one, but I'm not looking to spend a fortune.
Well, mostly I do not have the answer you are looking for because I do not have experience with track bikes or dedicated fixed gear bikes from the manufacturer. I just thought I would volunteer that I bought an 80's Raleigh on ebay, then got a fixed rear wheel and a new chain (internet purchase from Sheldon) and I was pretty much good to go. I think I overpayed for the bike a bit, but it was in good shape, it looked nice, and the timing was right. My total costs were probably a little over $400 once I got the wheel, new pedals and seat, and a couple other things to personalize and make it comfortable.

The time investment was not much. I guess I probably did spent a fair bit of time learning all I could on forums and internet searches, but once I understood what it would take to put my ride together everything happened pretty easily for me. It felt a little daunting at first; like it might just be easier to buy something already put together, but in my experience the rewards in such an endeavor come from added joy and pleasure that seem to come from the time and labor I put into it -- whether I am riding or just looking at it in my hallway!

And maybe you aren't interested, but I also have found that maintenance and upgrades on my bike have become sort of a secondary hobby to actually riding it. I think this was a direct offshoot of going the DIY route. Now I am working on building a "newer, faster, better" fixie from the frame up. It will cost even more, but it is gonna be nice! and I have plenty of time to complete it since I already have a ride. I am enjoying the process very much.

So anyway... just my $0.02. I'm not saying I have the answer for you, but thought you might benefit from my experience. It can be educational to look around locally at thrift stores, on Craigslist, and on ebay - even while you are thinking about a new bike purchase. If nothing else it is always interesting to learn what resale prices are like: maybe you will love it so much you will want to upgrade to new bike after a year... or maybe you will never use it and want to get rid of it (I doubt this - fixed really is fun in a different way...) or you just might find a really sweet deal on a classy old road bike.

Have fun. Cheers.
 

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IMHO, weight isn't really much of an issue with fixies, since they are inherently light due to their simplicity. I'd be more inclined to look more closely at geometry, especially if the bike is going to be used for road riding; the steep geometry of "track" frames (like the Pista, et al) makes them a little less than plush on rough roads and over longer distances. I know people here are probably sick of me extolling the virtues of the Surly Steamroller, but considering the price and the advantages of the copious amounts of tire clearance, I think it's a tremendous value. It's also an extremely comfortable, sharp-handling bike.
 

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Iro

redbeansclt said:
Other than regular road rides, this will likely be my grocery-getter and pub bike.
Most of IRO's offerings are pretty versatile with dual water bottle mounts plus rack and fender mounts (excluding the Angus). They're not flashy but they definitely get the job done. I have a Rob Roy set up as a fixie commuter and it's been a great bike.
 

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My Pista weighs in the 20 pound range. At the bike shop this weekend I got to test ride a Bowery and that thing weighs AT LEAST 23 pounds. I was a little shocked at how much that beast weighs.

The compact geometry just fits me. I know there are some who swear off compact geometry and those that just fall between sizes, but it works for me. I have to say that I liked the road geometry over the Pista.

The only draw backs I see to the Bowery are the lower end cranks and wheels, but I don't know if that would stop me from buying one if I were in the market right now.
 

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yea, but the crnks work im sure.. there really isnt any need to upgrade them is there?

as far as the wheels.. yea, but considering a good set of wheels costs about 1/2 the price of the bike.. :thumbsup:

expecially since I am paying 470 and then going to seel one of the brakes.. (i suppose that will about cancle tax?)
 

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michaeln said:
I think most steel framed production fixed gear bikes (IRO, Milwaukee, NYBikes, etc) without brakes will weigh in at around 20 lbs or a little less, depending on wheelset.
Well, among off-the-peg production frames, there's steel and there's steel, and there are parts and there are parts.

I have a 2005 LeMond Fillmore in a size 55. With Look road pedals and bottle cages, the bike weighs 18.5 lbs. I just converted my 1996 steel Serotta, and it weighs 18 lbs, with pedals and cages. Nice parts, but nothing trick. Front and rear brakes on both bikes. I'm guessing that I could take a pound off either bike without using anything exotic and without giving up brakes. Fixies have certain weight advantages because pretty much all brake levers are lighter than brifters, no deraillers with no derailler cables are lighter than gears, and the cheapest track cog in the world should be lighter than a trick ten speed cluster. Some track chains are pretty beefy, but, then again, you can get rid of quite a few links when you don't have to wrap around changers and pulleys. A steel frame can weigh three pounds or six, and fork choice can make quite a difference too. 20 lbs without brakes sounds heavy to me, but I can believe it--in fact, there are contemporary aluminum road bikes that weigh quite a bit more than that.

Weight isn't everything by any means, and certainly not for most of the purposes folks have in mind for fixies. Anybody might really like one of the less expensive fixies, or might like them plenty well for the money. But some production fixie frames (lemond, gunnar) are made from contemporary, strong, thin-walled tubesets, and some are made from plane-jane chrome-moly with relatively thick walls and not much in the way of butting. The raleigh looks like a nice budget model, and it may be a great ride, but I picked one up at the lbs and it seemed pretty weighty. Surly are famous for solid, plane, chunky frames, not that there's anything wrong with that. Soma, if I remember right, uses Reynolds 631, which, depending on how they spec it, may represent a pretty nice trade-off between price and weight.
 

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Go for the Bob...

BianchiJoe said:
In addition to the Jamis, the following bikes can be had for under a grand. All of these have their fans and their detractors, but they represent good quality, mid-priced, pre-built fixies. Do some searching on this website and Google to see what the differences are and their availability in your area.

Van Dessel: Country Road Bob
It's all the bike you'll ever need... although stock gearing is quite low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all of the help. In the end, I got the Jamis Sputnik from my LBS. Because the bike didn't have brake hoods, they chopped the drops off of the bars and fliped them over to give a more comfortable riding position. It worked really well. Also, I've been experimenting with a few different gear combinations. I love it, it's a great riding bike. If anyone is considering it as a choice, don't have any reservations. It's a good bike.

Thanks again for all the advice. It really helped.

 
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