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Odd frame choice, cable routing with no rear brake.

I can understand that the fixed thing is a fad for some, kind of like skateboards were, oh... 30 years ago, for some. Good thing they started those X Games to keep the whole thing going.

Fixed gear culture will either die or...some member of it's community will take it to the next level. But where everyone else can only see a fad, I see potential.

I'll tell you a fad that died, street luge. Who remembers street luge? It was boring, the races were decided in the first 50 feet, there was no marketability and very few people could participate at the grass roots level.

I think fixed gear riding, as a sport outside of the veoldrome, has potential. But it needs to get organized and marketed.

It's strange to me how much the cycling community shakes it's fists at "those damn kids" like we are somehow better than them. Or that we weren't just like them when we were younger. Wasn't that long ago that I took myself and my skaking very seriously and did it every day. But now I have a life and I don't want to get hurt so, for me, it was a fad that I grew out of.

But I don't think any of us can deny that someone like Tony Hawk is a very talented athlete. "Fixies" don't have their Tony Hawk yet, but who knows. If the whole cycling community could get behind it and support it by nothing more than admiring the people who aspire to be good at it, then I think we could see some real good come out of this mess we have made.

I'll bet Tony Hawk has been chased off of more private property that he was slowly destroying with Sex Wax then any fixie rider today. But he's involved in several charities and acts as a positive role model for a lot of people as do many other leading personalities of other subcultures.

Skateboarding
Tony Hawk


Video Games
Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade


...and I am sure there are many more examples I am not aware of.
 

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MisterC said:
It's strange to me how much the cycling community shakes it's fists at "those damn kids" like we are somehow better than them. Or that we weren't just like them when we were younger. Wasn't that long ago that I took myself and my skaking very seriously and did it every day. But now I have a life and I don't want to get hurt so, for me, it was a fad that I grew out of.

If the whole cycling community could get behind it and support it by nothing more than admiring the people who aspire to be good at it, then I think we could see some real good come out of this mess we have made.

Nice post, MisterC, and I agree with much of it.

I think the gripe that many "real cyclists" have with "fixie culture" is that its members have taken one of the oldest cycling traditions and broken with all of its conventions. These kids know nothing about the great heritage of track racing. They wear trendy street clothes instead of cycling kit. They modify their bikes to more resemble 1984 Skyway Freestylers than the long-revered steeds that once graced the velodromes. We all have seen young riders far too inexperienced to be riding brakeless, and the marketing of messenger bags and clothing has entered the mainstream fashion world. It's enough to make an old curmudgeon yell, "Get off my lawn!"

That said, when I was in my early twenties, we rode BMX cruisers: Cook Brothers, SE Racing, Lagunas, Kastans, etc. We put mismatched colored tires on them. We had weird punk rock haircuts. We rode wheelies through busy campus sidewalks and shouted to roadies, "Deraileurs are for failures!" We believed ourselves to be vastly superior to -- and far more hip than -- any poor sap who was riding some anachronistic throwback ten-speed, much less one of those idiotic mountain bikes. We were, I'm sure, an insufferable thorn in the side of the "real" cyclists, who called our cruisers "punk bikes." This antagonism, of course, delighted us to no end.

I think many members of the fixed-gear culture feel the same way. There's an inherent smugness that comes from being young and hip, and smugness always invites backlash. Interestingly, backlash has a way of validating and vindicating - it keeps the separation between "us" and "them" very distinct. Backlash reinforces the fixie hipster's belief that he or she is going against the grain, bucking the system, raging against the machine, and those who ridicule them are just to old or square (or both) to "get" it.

As for someone coming along and taking it to the next level, I have to wonder. Sure, there's a fixed gear freestyle movement of sorts, with people doing bunny-hops, bar-spins, and the like, but most of the riding I see is just screwing around, going to the coffeeshop to blog, or (more often) walking one's fixie down the sidewalk like an accessory item. I'm not sure there are that many levels you can take that to, but it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

One thing's for sure, though: It's nearly dead in the water as a hipster thing. Too many people have bought in, and the major manufacturers and mail-order houses have ruined the caché that it once held. Hell, middle school kids are riding the damn things now. The only thing that will save it, like skateboarding, BMX flatland, dirt jump and vert, is for it to get really extreme. Who knows - maybe offroad fixie riding will be its salvation. In any event, I'm certain by then it will have settled into "normal" culture, fully assimilated into the homogenous monotony of suburban life, and we can all start griping about whatever replaces it as the burr in our collective saddle.
 

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Fad or no fad, it has certainly helped our shop's bottom line in this troubled economy.

And a lot of these kids are coming in and eying geared road bikes. Sure, the "in-crowd wannabes" will fade away, but a good number are getting hooked on cycling, something to which they otherwise would have never been exposed.

It's all good.

I just rag on them for their NJS chopped risers.
 

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Richard said:
Fad or no fad, it has certainly helped our shop's bottom line in this troubled economy.

And a lot of these kids are coming in and eying geared road bikes. Sure, the "in-crowd wannabes" will fade away, but a good number are getting hooked on cycling, something to which they otherwise would have never been exposed.

It's all good.

I just rag on them for their NJS chopped risers.

Agreed. The fixie thing, coinciding with higher gas prices, has been a shot in the arm for local bike shops.

And some of the fixie kids really do have a great deal of knowledge and understanding of bikes. Here in Austin, a lot of them hang out at Yellowbike Project and learn how to build and repair their own - a lifelong skill that will serve them well.

But feel free to rag on anyone with anything NJS.
 

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BianchiJoe said:
Agreed. The fixie thing, coinciding with higher gas prices, has been a shot in the arm for local bike shops.

And some of the fixie kids really do have a great deal of knowledge and understanding of bikes. Here in Austin, a lot of them hang out at Yellowbike Project and learn how to build and repair their own - a lifelong skill that will serve them well.

But feel free to rag on anyone with anything NJS.

I still contend that the hipster fixie thing is another aspect of cycling like cross, BMX, Mtn, road, etc.......

They've created another subculture all it's own...This is also the reason that many old time fixie riders have a problem with it.

Most old timers are road riders that also ride fixed..They don't understand brakeless bikes, top tube pads, bars spins and skids....there are some very talented riders out there..it's run to watch...
 

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Dave Hickey said:
Most old timers are road riders that also ride fixed..They don't understand brakeless bikes, top tube pads, bars spins and skids....
That's me, I just like the challenge of a singlespeed/fixie. I just like to ride bikes, the ability to mix it up a bit keeps it new and exciting.
 

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BianchiJoe said:
I think many members of the fixed-gear culture feel the same way. There's an inherent smugness that comes from being young and hip, and smugness always invites backlash. Interestingly, backlash has a way of validating and vindicating - it keeps the separation between "us" and "them" very distinct. Backlash reinforces the fixie hipster's belief that he or she is going against the grain, bucking the system, raging against the machine, and those who ridicule them are just to old or square (or both) to "get" it.

As for someone coming along and taking it to the next level, I have to wonder. Sure, there's a fixed gear freestyle movement of sorts, with people doing bunny-hops, bar-spins, and the like, but most of the riding I see is just screwing around, going to the coffeeshop to blog, or (more often) walking one's fixie down the sidewalk like an accessory item. I'm not sure there are that many levels you can take that to, but it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

One thing's for sure, though: It's nearly dead in the water as a hipster thing. Too many people have bought in, and the major manufacturers and mail-order houses have ruined the caché that it once held. Hell, middle school kids are riding the damn things now. The only thing that will save it, like skateboarding, BMX flatland, dirt jump and vert, is for it to get really extreme. Who knows - maybe offroad fixie riding will be its salvation. In any event, I'm certain by then it will have settled into "normal" culture, fully assimilated into the homogenous monotony of suburban life, and we can all start griping about whatever replaces it as the burr in our collective saddle.
I agree with you in every way. Really, I don't have anything to add. I was going to make another example out of billiards but I don't think it's necessary.

What happens to fads, any fad that requires skill(like, the troll doll or peace frogs fads don't count) is that, for a time, it is cool just to be associated with it. Then, once that wears off, the "cool" comes from being good at it. Whether or not it stays mainstream is really dependent on whether or not someone finds a way to keep making money at it and that usually depends on people getting good enough that other people want to watch.

I give these kids the benefit of the doubt and just hope against hope that they will grow into and appreciate the sport the way that I do. I don't see the need to make them feel ridiculous before they have a fair shake.

I <3 this thread.
 

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MisterC said:
I give these kids the benefit of the doubt and just hope against hope that they will grow into and appreciate the sport the way that I do. I don't see the need to make them feel ridiculous before they have a fair shake.

I <3 this thread.

Right on -- I already see very encouraging signs that this may be happening. Only five years ago, the high school where I teach had maybe a half-dozen bikes locked to the bike rack on any given day. Now you can't find a spot on any rack, railing, or signpost that doesn't have someone's two-wheeler chained to it. The student parking lot is still far from empty, but I know several kids who have totally forsaken their cars for bikes - mostly they ride fixies, but they're also on retro Schwinns, Sturmey-Archer 3-speeds, and more typical mountain, BMX, and road bikes. Granted, I teach at a fine arts high school, so these kids may not represent the mainstream, but the increase in bike transportation has been profound, and I credit the fixie craze with a lot of the renewed interest.

I'm with you, MisterC: hipster bashing is fun, but let's not dampen these kids' enthusiasm for cycling, no matter how ridiculous their version of it might look to us old codgers.
 

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hipster chiming in.

Or at least im a hipster according to RBR. After moving to Chicago and selling my car, I quickly got frustrated with public transportation and how long it took to get everywhere, and how out of my way I had to go at times. After working as a delivery biker for Jimmy Johns and riding store bikes for a couple months, I bought my own bike. I started with a 10 speed road bike, and rode it for over a year.

Eventually the majority of my friends became punks and bike messengers and the majority of them rode fixed. I remember thinking they were crazy and defended my gears quite often. Then I realized my bike needed minor repairs more often than theirs, and I was taking the bus because I was waiting to be able to afford a new part more often they they were. After riding a friends fixed gear a couple times, I decided to get one myself.

I bought a Raliegh Rush Hour of craigs list, and have loved it so far. I love the simple efficiency of it, and how much less energy it feels like it uses. I like being less tired after a route Ive done lots of times. I hate people who accuse me of buying it because of a fad.

My favorite thing about riding fixed in the city is that I feel like is more of a challenge. my daily commute got boring on my geared bike. My daily fixed gear commute is more interesting be because I have the opportunity to practice new skills. I have a couple big intersections where I have the chance to work on my track stand, and I can practice stopping without using my brake. I feel like I can ride fixed for a long time and still have new things to learn with it, and that keeps me more interested than the fact that its cool right now.
 

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Dave Hickey said:
yep....the current hipster fixed scene is/was a fad.....all fads fad away eventually....
This is what I thought when I started selling BMX bikes [about 30 years ago]. And we are still selling BMX and it about saved the industry during some very hard times.

And this is what one of my managers said first time I shipped lycra shots into our shops. He had been in a bike shop in FtWorth since the 60s and knew that no serious cyclist would ever give up wool for that girly lookin stuff.


Wish I had a sure fire way to spot the 'fads' vs the lasting trends
 

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randi_526 said:
hipster chiming in.

Or at least im a hipster according to RBR. After moving to Chicago and selling my car, I quickly got frustrated with public transportation and how long it took to get everywhere, and how out of my way I had to go at times. After working as a delivery biker for Jimmy Johns and riding store bikes for a couple months, I bought my own bike. I started with a 10 speed road bike, and rode it for over a year.

Eventually the majority of my friends became punks and bike messengers and the majority of them rode fixed. I remember thinking they were crazy and defended my gears quite often. Then I realized my bike needed minor repairs more often than theirs, and I was taking the bus because I was waiting to be able to afford a new part more often they they were. After riding a friends fixed gear a couple times, I decided to get one myself.

I bought a Raliegh Rush Hour of craigs list, and have loved it so far. I love the simple efficiency of it, and how much less energy it feels like it uses. I like being less tired after a route Ive done lots of times. I hate people who accuse me of buying it because of a fad.

My favorite thing about riding fixed in the city is that I feel like is more of a challenge. my daily commute got boring on my geared bike. My daily fixed gear commute is more interesting be because I have the opportunity to practice new skills. I have a couple big intersections where I have the chance to work on my track stand, and I can practice stopping without using my brake. I feel like I can ride fixed for a long time and still have new things to learn with it, and that keeps me more interested than the fact that its cool right now.
hipsters, commuters, and all cyclists are welcome in SS/FG - that is my feeling. I can tell you lots of tri types and mountain bikers are finding the fun and benefit of SS/FG

my wife is a marathon runner who went into 24-hour adventureracing and then tris; and is now training for an ironman and she uses a SS/FG on rollers and finds it great. Lots of posts in tri forums of riders getting a SS/FG as a bike to train with

And I can tell you that when winter comes lots of riders of all types buy a SS/FG as winter bikes. They are simple, inexpensive, fun, and just generally great. We have had so many assorted requests for different styles that we will have 10 models by December in stock.

I thought at first this might be a 'fad'
now I think it may just make sense on so many levels that it will have long term legs

I personally love SS/FG bikes
 

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FatTireFred said:
I actually bought this piece of garbage for $250 on an ebay bid. Whomever built it up didn't make sure the bottom bracket was secured, so after riding it for a few days, the whole thing got stripped. The frame was crap too, I crashed into a garage when I wasn't paying attention (Note: I was entirely new to fixed gears at the time... so give me a break :p). The shitty aluminum frame cracked near the front of the top tube and I basically had to trash it. The reason was that no matter what I did to the frame, if I welded it, used some pipe securing components, whatever, that the aluminum would eventually stretch out and impale me anyway. I kept the wheels, seat post, crank, chain, front brake, and handlebars. Now I built it up with better MKS peddles, a CrMo Steel Pake street-fixed track frame and fork (I bet this can take a few falls and at least be repairable if a crack occurred), and a threadless headset. Now I actually can ride the thing, and I don't think I can turn back. I ride it for the ride, not for the fashion, I could give a **** about how "cool" it makes me look... Anyway, I should have built my bike from the start, but I was so anxious to get on a fixie when I bought that $250 bike and had a small budget then.
 

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t0dk0n said:
. Anyway, I should have built my bike from the start, but I was so anxious to get on a fixie when I bought that $250 bike and had a small budget then.
Yes, that's my concern with bikes like this and the $280 SE Draft (whose frame & fork are hi-ten steel): By pricing them so low, they're marketing to the absolute newbies who are probably more prone to riding their bikes in ways that really test the strength of these substandard materials.
 
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