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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been riding in Chicago for almost 7 years. Through last fall I had been riding a mountain bike that I bought with my paper route money somewhere between the ages of 10-12. Pathetic? Yes. But, money was a major issue until recently and I had the mentality that if it still worked, why not keep riding it? The bike is really unsafe to be riding with bad brakes and who knows what else being wrong with it, so I'm refusing to get it out on the road this spring which is forcing me to shop for a new bike.

I've decided I definitely want a single speed, and I like the idea of the hub that I can flip to become fixed gear if I feel like going that route later on. I've been to 7 different shops to look at single speeds just to get an idea of what's out there and to price different bikes, but I'm definitely more overwhelmed than I was when I started. I know the most important thing is for me to get out and test ride, but the weather has been very rainy lately so I plan to do that ASAP. I'll tell you what I've looked at so far, with most of these being between $600-$900.

Jamis Beatnik & Sputnik
KHS Flite 100
Raleigh Rush Hour
Schwinn Madison
Giant Bowery Mashup
Surly Steamroller
Scattante

There is also a local shop that is basically a junk yard of old bikes that they convert to single speeds and offers a 60 day warranty. This would be the most economical, as I could get a bike for about $200, but I don't know if that would be worth it in the long run. I like the idea of "recycling", but I don't want to have to buy a new bike in a couple years. I'm also regularly checking craigslist, but I'm nervous about buying used.

I'd really like to stay close to $500 if I go new, but that seems like it will be difficult, except maybe for the 2008 Schwinn Madison. Keep in mind that I've been riding a POS for as long as I can remember so anything will feel good compared that one.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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You know you can always fix that MTB up. I'm riding a 20 year old bike almost everyday, rides smooth as all hell.

Anyways, for the money, I think the Madison is the way to go.

It's a very nice SS/Fixed bike for the price and everything. And the best part is that it's definitely a bike that's worth upgrading.

Conversions are always a "good deal", but only if you know what you're buying. Sometimes people give treasures away (eg: my Prelude was near mint at a garage sale for 20 bucks) while some are complete ripoffs (Firenzes for 200 bucks)

I suggest you buy what you want, and try as many of those bike as you can. Ultimately, if you like the ride, you will love the bike soon enough. Don't buy because of brand or color or etc... Buy because of the ride. I would never buy a cheap treasure find if it didn't fit me. Sure I could ebay or CL it, but i'm not that type of person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. Definitely appreciate the advice.

I failed to mention, mostly out of embarrassment, that my mtb is a Huffy purchased at Montgomery Wards, which I believe is no longer in existence. Fixing it up really isn't an option for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A from Il said:
What size are you? Are you in the city?
I honestly don't know what size I am. I test rode a bike a few months ago, but don't know what they put me on. I'm pretty sure I fit on a 50" when i got on it in a bike shop last weekend. I'm really an idiot when it comes to all of this stuff. I'm 5'8" if that helps.

And I am in the city.
 

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Raleigh One Way.
Surly Cross Check can be run single or geared due to semi-horizontal dropouts.
Motobecane Phantom Uno. $399, no sales tax or shipping, flip flop hub.
Notice that all these bikes have steel frames and forks and cantilever brakes.
You can run the fattest or skinniest tires with cantilevers.
I have an Uno and I totally love it but I want a Cross Check.
 

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If I were you, I wont convert bike into single gear bike. just leave it as is and selling it to mexican people would buy your crappy bike.. ha!

So I think you should get quality bike:

Jamis Beatnik & Sputnik
KHS Flite 100 is superior commute as well as madison, also
Raleigh Rush Hour which is better quality than Scattante's
Schwinn Madison is superior commute as well as Flite 100
Giant Bowery Mashup is actually good commute which replaced your bike..
Surly Steamroller
Scattante

Good Luck with your decision.. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I test rode 3 bikes today.

I started with the KHS Flite 100 size 50 ($750). I liked it a lot. Very quick off the line and overall a really fun ride. It felt very light. The only thing I didn't like about it was that there is a pretty good overlap w/ the pedals and the front tire. That definitely wouldn't keep me from purchasing the bike. This is probably #1 for me right now.

Next, I rode a Redline 925. Didn't enjoy this one. It wasn't bad, just not nearly as fun as the Flite 100.

Finally, I rode a Jamis Beatnik size 55 ($600). This one was a little large, but they didn't have a 53. It was a little slower off the line, but was quick on the rode. It felt a little wobbly to me, but I think it was mostly due to the size. I think I would be very happy with this one. The price is more what I'm looking for.

I want to ride the Raleigh and Schwinn soon.
 

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Go over to Performance in Naperville south of 88 on 59. They have a bunch of SS/Fixed bikes in stock and not just their House brand either. Check them out.
 

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If you aren't into wrnching (working on your own bikes), my advice is to NOT go the internet route. Find a LBS you like and take your time and pick a pick you like with a shop you will want to take it to for service, adjustments, questions, etc.

Around xmas I bought an internet bike, and while I love it now, it took me 4-6 weeks to get it to where it needed to be because the build was done horribly (wheels out of true, brake housing not done right, etc.). Heck, even the headset was way loose.

I went into my fav LBS last week and saw they were doing some fixed gears now and wished I had bought from them. I just like the service and that goes a long way.

Tha'ts all I can add to this.
 

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I like the idea of a recycled bike too, but be careful if you go that route.
Check the frame for cracks and rust, tires for rot, condition of the cables, make sure the brakes are strong and work properly.

Brakes are one place where modern dual-pivot just blow away old single or center pull. Worthwhile upgrade if needed.

FWIW, my daily commuter is 31 years old.
 

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Nickel II said:
If you aren't into wrnching (working on your own bikes), my advice is to NOT go the internet route. Find a LBS you like and take your time and pick a pick you like with a shop you will want to take it to for service, adjustments, questions, etc.

Around xmas I bought an internet bike, and while I love it now, it took me 4-6 weeks to get it to where it needed to be because the build was done horribly (wheels out of true, brake housing not done right, etc.). Heck, even the headset was way loose.

I went into my fav LBS last week and saw they were doing some fixed gears now and wished I had bought from them. I just like the service and that goes a long way.

Tha'ts all I can add to this.
Sorry you had trouble
BUT I would guess you did not buy that bike from bikesdirect

The number of SS/FG bikes we sell is huge and we do not hear about issues like that.
In the case of SS/FG - most buyers are riding 20 minutes after they open the box.

My opinion:
Kilo TT is the best new track bike under $600 anywhere
Messenger is the new best SS under $600 anywhere
-- both these bikes have quality that is generally not found on SS/FG under $700 or so and both are sold at $350 delivered
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I definitely don't plan to buy anything that I haven't ridden first. After riding those 3 bikes I can tell how important feel is.
 

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keep in mind that Kilo TT is KHS 100 and Windsor Hour is Fuji Track.

however IRO is a ncier option: you would not have to change parts for some time, and the wheels would not fold.
 

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emb said:
I definitely don't plan to buy anything that I haven't ridden first. After riding those 3 bikes I can tell how important feel is.
absolutely true! I always respect that! :D I just was suggested it.. that is all.. anyway, Its important that you want to be happy with bike and using bike a lots than useless bike.. ;)

G'LUCK with your decisions. :thumbsup:
 

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bikesdirect said:
Sorry you had trouble
BUT I would guess you did not buy that bike from bikesdirect

The number of SS/FG bikes we sell is huge and we do not hear about issues like that.
In the case of SS/FG - most buyers are riding 20 minutes after they open the box.

My opinion:
Kilo TT is the best new track bike under $600 anywhere
Messenger is the new best SS under $600 anywhere
-- both these bikes have quality that is generally not found on SS/FG under $700 or so and both are sold at $350 delivered
For the record - No, I did not buy from bikesdirect. It was from IRO. Fairly frustrating experience. I'm a pretty decent wrench, and it was painful. They got a lot of good reviews on this forum - rarely a bad comment. I went on bikeforums.net when the pain was happening and there it was 1 bad review for every 2 good ones. Minly that they are unresponsive. That is what I found also. When I called to discuss the issues, they said - "well you fixed it, right? So why are you calling." Not verbatim, but that was the message I got.

I just wished I had supported my LBS. They are tough to find. In hindsight, my new moto is the LBS is better for buying certain things, and a complete bike is probably one of them.

The end result is I love my IRO, it rides great, parts are really good, but the hassle of getting it setup right was ridiculous. Part of the frustration is also having a 3 year old daughter and a 6 month pregnant wife. If I could have spent and entire weekend in the garage getting it ready, I would have been riding it inside of 2 days. But I'd get 1-2 hours here, 1-2 hours there, need to drive to LBS to get new brake housing, had to buy a truing stand, etc.

Sorry for the rant. Just that there are risks of buying online, especially if you have no wrenching experience. If I did it again, I'd go local even if I paid a $100-$150 more.
 

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Nickel II said:
For the record - No, I did not buy from bikesdirect. It was from IRO. Fairly frustrating experience. I'm a pretty decent wrench, and it was painful. They got a lot of good reviews on this forum - rarely a bad comment. I went on bikeforums.net when the pain was happening and there it was 1 bad review for every 2 good ones. Minly that they are unresponsive. That is what I found also. When I called to discuss the issues, they said - "well you fixed it, right? So why are you calling." Not verbatim, but that was the message I got.

I just wished I had supported my LBS. They are tough to find. In hindsight, my new moto is the LBS is better for buying certain things, and a complete bike is probably one of them.

The end result is I love my IRO, it rides great, parts are really good, but the hassle of getting it setup right was ridiculous. Part of the frustration is also having a 3 year old daughter and a 6 month pregnant wife. If I could have spent and entire weekend in the garage getting it ready, I would have been riding it inside of 2 days. But I'd get 1-2 hours here, 1-2 hours there, need to drive to LBS to get new brake housing, had to buy a truing stand, etc.

Sorry for the rant. Just that there are risks of buying online, especially if you have no wrenching experience. If I did it again, I'd go local even if I paid a $100-$150 more.
I am sorry you had a bad experience with IRO - I really know nothing about them

However, I can tell you buying and setting up a SS/FG from us is one of the easiest transactions on earth. Absolutely simple. Our bikes are 95% factory setup and in the case of a SS/FG, unwrapping takes longer than setup. Whole job is 20 minutes.

How the IRO could take longer I have no clue.
 

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sokudo said:
keep in mind that Kilo TT is KHS 100 and Windsor Hour is Fuji Track.

however IRO is a ncier option: you would not have to change parts for some time, and the wheels would not fold.
Just an FYI...

A couple of years ago I bought a Messenger and was expecting the worst from a component standpoint considering the pricepoint. As it turns out, the wheels were of pretty good quality and happened to the best part of the component package. I don't know, maybe I got lucky and got a good set, but they were solid from day one.:thumbsup:

I've been building my own wheels for the last ten years and was planning another build for this bike as a #1 priority, but so far I haven't had to touch these wheels.

Has the wheels on the BD bikes been a problem....??
 

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bikesdirect said:
My opinion:
Kilo TT is the best new track bike under $600 anywhere
Messenger is the new best SS under $600 anywhere
-- both these bikes have quality that is generally not found on SS/FG under $700 or so and both are sold at $350 delivered
I would my Schwinn Madison slight a slightly better bike than the Kilo TT. But cost more. I have both a slightly prefer the Madison. Now I can say the Kilo TT is a KILER deal overall. The frame is really nice.
 
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