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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, Long time lurker first time poster here!

I'm sure this topic has been beaten to death on some forum's but I wanted to get y'alls take/ advice.

I have been looking at getting a Fixed/SS for a few months now and have long had my sights on a a Kona Paddy Wagon. Before we go any further let me give you some background...

I am a college student living in Fort Worth, Texas. I am not "new" to cycling in that I owned/ rode/ loved a Specialized hardrock for 4 years but times have changed for me and I decided to sell my mountain bike. After not having a bike for a while I got the itch (you guys know how it is) and waltzed on down to my local bike shop. I went in thinking I would look at a giant OCR or maybe a Specialized Allez (silly me, looking at geared bikes) but when I told the salesman what I wanted out of a road bike he pointed me in the direction of a 54cm Kona Paddy wagon with the famous "flip-flop" hub. He explained to me that SS/Fixed are all the rage and that I should take it for a spin. Sure enough I was in love. It was fast, quick, nimble, and pretty good looking with a moderate price tag of $650 before tax (I'm a poor college student, remember?)

Well a few months have passed and I still have the fever, I want a single speed, and I one one now! And I have the money to do it this time (got to love disposable income). While doing a little more research on fixed/SS I ran across a certain Specialized Langster. I have always been very brand loyal to Specialized so I thought I might take a closer look. I decided that I liked the Kona better, mainly due the steel frame and slightly lower price tag, but there is one catch.

I called another bike store that is slightly out of my jurisdiction (my LBS doesn't carry specialized) and it just so happened that they had a leftover 2007 Langster, sized 54cm, in the "rust" color. I took it out for a quick spin today on my lunch break and really did like it. Felt very very similar to the Kona. They have it listed for $549, but I should be able to get it even cheaper than that due to the fact that the 2009 models are due in stores any week now.

I'm not looking to heavily modify my bike or make it "cool". What I want is a fun, lightweight, durable bike; that I can take on long rides but also short jaunts around town. None of my friends or peers are really into cycling so i'm not trying to make a statement (people at TCU scoff at bike riders, they would rather drive their gas guzzling diesel trucks).

So with all of that in mind here are my questions....

What bike do you guys/ladies prefer, the steel framed Kona or the aluminum framed Specialized?

What bike has the better components and would last me longer? I'm pretty hard on my bikes.

If I do jump on the Specialized what is a fair price to offer? Remember, its a 2007 and the 2009's are out.

Any other advice, questions, or concerns are welcome too! Sorry for the long post
 

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I dont know about the kona but I test rode a couple of langsters and they were pretty nice. I wound up going for an IRO robroy and am very happy that I did. It rides alot smoother than the langster and although its steel the bike isnt heavy at all. I know that aluminum is traditionally lighter but youve got to wonder what grade of aluminum youre getting on a complete bike thats under $600. Also Im assuming that when commuting and towning around you wont be wearing any padded shorts so the more forgiving ride of steel might be a good thing. Check out irocycle.com they have a really sweet build your own bike feature on there.
 

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Last fall I went to buy a Langster 54 cm in rust from one of the local shops but on the way I stopped at another shop and saw the Kona and took it for a ride and bought it. Yes it was a little more money but there were a couple of reasons I bought the Kona Paddy Wagon. First I like steel more than I like aluminum. I already had an aluminum bike and had sold my steel mountain bike, and I like the feel of steel. Second I can't get over integrated headsets on the Langster, I think they're ugly. Third I liked the the paint job on the Kona. The panels look great and the grey is quite understated, more of a classic look.

The Kona also had two water bottle bosses, eyelets for racks or fenders plus plenty of room for fenders if I want them. I am not sure of the Langster but think fenders don't fit, but you may not want them anyway. I may never use this stuff but at least it's there if I want. Plus it has room for large tires again if I choose. I kept the 28's for commuting and they work great.

The thing that impresses me about the Kona are the long reach Tecktro brakes, with the stock pads. I am amazed on how well these brakes work, considering some of the negative reviews especially about the pads.

The Kona also seems to have a relaxed geometry compared to something like the Pista which suits me just fine as it is a commuter bike. I don't know how the Specialized is in that department.

For my needs the Kona works just fine but I did changed a lot on the Kona, new ENO crank, ENO free wheel, Phil Wood fixed cog, Syncros seatpost, Thomson stem, Selle Italia saddle, Soma track pedals with steel toe clips with leather straps. But I would have changed that stuff if I had bought the Langster.

I am sure both bikes would be fine and maybe saving a little money would be a good thing. I don't think one bike is infinitely better than the other, I guess it comes down to which one floats your boat more. For me it was the Kona. But there are plenty of people on this board who have bought Langsters and liked them.

As for what to offer them on the Langster, I think you can try but they don't make much money on bikes so they probably won't go down and I think when the 2009's come out that 549 will look pretty attractive to someone else looking for a bike just like you. Good luck with what ever you buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses guys!

I still really like the Kona, but the Langster might be too good of a deal to pass up...

I'm going to the shop tomorrow to see if I can get them to go down to about $500 on the langster. If not I might just go pick up the Paddy Wagon.Either way I'm sure I will be happy.

Is it just me or is the aluminum vs. steel argument a little overrated? I mean is Steel really that much smoother?
 

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I build both bikes at the shop and i really like the paddy wagon.
2009 comes with nice wheels a standard top tube which i prefer to compack geoetry of the langster.
Kona's are local here and come most of the time well tuned straight out of the box.
You can't go wrong with that. Although steel could be troublesome in the rain over long run.
I would go for the paddy wagon and add a short stem with riser bars, boy does it ever feel like a big bmx!
 

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I've got a steel SS/fixed. It's my main form of transport - whilst I don't own a car, my g/f does and I do use public transport fairly often. I've previously owned a Alu SS commuter (franken'd from a flat bar road bike)... sure it was lighter and accelerated faster but I much prefer steel for commuting. The roads/paths here aren't perfect and I can definitely feel the difference.

If you're happy with owning a Langster and get a good price- I'd say buy it. If they wont budge, I'd go with the Paddy hands down.
 

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Steel is it.

Greg34 said:
Is it just me or is the aluminum vs. steel argument a little overrated? I mean is Steel really that much smoother?
Steel IS that much smoother. I'm almost happy that guy (or girl) stole my alumininum Trek from my patio years ago; now all my bikes are steel and I'm a much, much happier rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, I really would prefer steel. But at the same time this bike won't be my main commuter so comfort isn't that high on my list. I'm really just looking for a quick, fun whip that I can ride the .5 miles to my girls with or go on a 30 mile ride if need be.

I should be making my descion by tomorrow so I will keep everyone updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I went out an bought the 2007 langster... got it for $520 before tax, so not a bad deal at all IMO. I have been gone since friday so I haven't really be able to take it out but I should go on a nice long ride this evening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Dave!

Took it on about a 5 mile jaunt around the wonderfully paved streets of fort worth (sarcasim included) yesterday. She rode very nice and I couldn't be happier with my choice of a single speed. Would I of liked the paddy wagon more? Maybe, but I saved almost $150 bucks so its worth it to me!

I will post some pics when I get a chance!
 

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Good call on a Langster. I'm not thrilled about the color/theme options but with an aluminum frame, I'd like to own one and beat the snot out of the paint to make an unassuming commuter bike. Regardless, hope you have fun with the new bike!
 

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Hey Greg, good choise of bikes. I have a 07 Rust also. I would have rather had the brushed finish but I bought mine used. I tried mine as a fixie but I am too set in my ways so I use it as a single speed. I have a Trek Y-foil and a Dale CAAD8 but I think that the Langster is the most fun on the bike trail here in Sacramento. The fun part is that is that I usually pass all the better road bikes. It is great to see the looks on ther faces when you pass them on a inexpencive single speed! I actually average a faster speed on the langster for 30 mi. than the y-Foil or Dale. I think that it is a very good training tool for practicing your spin. It is by far the best handling bike in the twisties that I have had. The gearing is perfect for 18-22mph. I can hit 27 but not for very long. I don't use it in the Delta where the winds hit 30+. I have my limits of pain! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks guys again for all of positive comments! Boy these roads sure can beat you up and there have been a few instances that had me wishing I had a steel frame, but overall I love the bike.. It sure is quick!

David, when is the DFW ride?
 
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