I have been reading the fixie thread with some interest. I do visit the fixed gear gallery often, not just because it is run by a fellow Michigander. I have noticed the phenomenon Larry Myers describes below: expensive parts on very cheap frames. I have also noticed a number of bikes that are clearly built with whatever the owner could find. If someone learns more about bikes, and how to work on them, by converting an old 10 speed into a fixie, what's wrong with that? I know I learned a lot just by messing around with my 3 speed english racer, trying to make it more like a 10 speed. If, like Larry, you own a bike store and an idiot comes in to buy a Dura-Ace crank for a Schwinn Continental, sure he's an idiot, but at least he's in the shop paying for something.
I view fixed gear bikes as being on the same continuum we are on with our vintage multi-speed bikes. We give up something in pure functionality--our bikes are heavier, with fewer gears, and they are harder to shift than modern bikes. But we gain something in esthetics, ease of maintenance, nostaligia, simplicity, exclusivity, and riding pleasure. Fixed gear bikes can provide people with the same feeling. I don't want to open up the "are modern bikes better?" debate. I enjoy the feeling that I am riding something special, something that is not for everybody. I get that from both my geared and fixed bikes.
Growing up in Chicago, which is as flat as it gets, I wanted a 10 speed, but never really had a good answer to the question "why do you need so many speeds?" Here in Detroit, it is almost as flat, and sometimes I find that the 52-20 I have on my converted Cinelli (yes I left the hanger intact) is just right.
Best regards, Marcus Helman Huntington Woods, MI
I read with interest your posting to the CR list.....unfortunately, I do not see happening where I live, what you described as happening where you live.... Portland, Oregon is a hotbed of bike 'happeningness'; unfortunately, it seems to be kind of a closed loop here....local hipsters think nothing of dropping $500 on wheels to put on a Sears 'Free Spirit' frame ; nor do they put any thought into proper gearing, sizing, or positioning....I work in a local shop that services this crowd, and to put it honestly, I want to vomit over some of the machines that I have to send out...well-meaning talks about the above-mentioned subjects are met with hostility or carefully affected slacker 'don't care, doesn't matter' blank stares.
While I am glad to see youngsters riding, rather than driving, I also sadly fail to see the future of our sport in any of this movement...it is completely fashion-driven; there are no future Lance Armstrongs, Gibby Hattons, or Marty Nothsteins to be found in this so-called 'Keirin Culture' (most of them cannot even pronounce 'Keirin' correctly, and 90% of them smoke)....personally, I look forward to this fad's inevitable bust; then I will be able to liberate these sadly misused frames from their former owners, and then pass them on to more appreciative users.
Feeling extra grumpy & curmudgeonly,
Portland, OR, USA