Fixed wheel riding has exploded in the UK and the daily commute is seeing more and more cyclists ditching gears in favour of the fixed wheel bike option. Cycle messengers have traditionally adopted track bikes and modified road bikes for their daily dashes across cities delivery parcels and letters, but low prices and street-cred has been followed by an increase in young urban twentysomethings adopting fixed as a means of transport.
But it’s the reaction by niche and large bike brands that has brought the concept of fixed wheel bikes meaning it’s no longer necessary to get one’s fingers dirty with repurposing track and old race frames.
And the appeal of a fixed bike is an obvious one. They don’t cost much, the clean lines look good and their simplicity and lack of parts to go wrong makes them easier and maintenance free to run.
So there’s now a lot of choice available. Bikes typically start from about £300 and rising to over a £1,000 for more exotic options and higher specs. Steel frames are often used to keep the price down and low-level components are usually fine. A fixie that’s going to be put to regular use needs to have a sturdy set of wheels, and many opt for track hubs with 32-spokes.
Here’s some ideas off-the-peg from bigger brands:
Specialized Langster £399
Never a surer sign than its popularity than one of the largest bike brands in the world, in this case Specialized, released a fixed wheel bike. And it’s been one of the most successful selling bikes, with fleets of some clearly visible on the streets and chained to railings all around the UK’s cities.
Representing some of the greatest cities in the world, this year’s Langsters include decals and colours for London, Chicago, Seattle, New York and Boston. www.specialized.com
Condor Pista £699
The London-based bike shop arguably has its finger very firmly on the pulse of London cycling fashion, which explains the popularity of its Pista model. Based around a nice steel frame with reliable components and smart decals, Condor’s Pista has offered those looking to add a fixed bike to their stable an easy and affordable way to do so. www.condorcycles.com/
Fixie Inc. £415
Fixie Inc. was set up in 2003 by two couriers who wanted to put their own mark on the frame building world. Classic steel tubing and lugs, with solid and durable components mark them out. www.cycles-for-heroes.com
Surly Steamroller £299 (frame only)
Being something of a cult brand, Surly are a popular choice for the discerning fixed rider. The Steamroller is designed as a fixed street bike that’s track legal, and comes with a flip/flop rear hub and a front brake. It’s said to offer snappy handling and zippy acceleration. www.surlybikes.com
Charge Plug £399
Somerset-based Charge has built a reputation building MTBs, but recently has switched its attention to bikes for hitting the tarmac, the Plug being the result.
Bianchi Pista £425
Italian-based Bianchi’s Pista is a popular choice, with classic looks and smart decals, combined with a good price making it a good option for fixed newbies. www.bianchi.it/en
Genesis Skyline £499
What started out as one model in the Ridgeback range is now a fully fledged brand. Ridgeback forged its reputation making mountain bike-inspired, flat bar road bikes under the Genesis name. That was five years ago, and in 2006 Genesis transformed into a proper brand. RCUK tested the Flyer last year, but the brand has added the mudguard-equipped Skyline to its range. www.genesisbikes.co.uk