Bikes - Fixed & Singlespeed
Focale 44 is a fixed/commuter bike brand from BMX Groupment, an Andorra-based company that – you guessed it – specialises in BMX. This is the third year of producing fixie bikes, and there's a range of models, which seem to all be built around the same basic frame. This test bike is the Focale 44 Relax, a flat-barred commuter bike that the company places in the middle of its range.
If you're an urban rider in the market to make a serious style statement of the Italian variety and you likes your bikes in steel, the Wilier Ponte Vecchio could be for you. That said, this is Italian style of the full bore, unrestrained variety, Versace rather than Armani so it won't appeal to everybody. Unusually for a piece of Italian style it's very competitively priced too.
Kona's Paddy Wagon has been around for a while and I reckon the current version is the best looking one yet with its beautifully understated paint job. Ever since it came out (in 2004 if I remember correctly), I've wanted to get my hands one.
Pace have been fettling a range of bikes, bits and clothing from inside their shed on the Yorkshire Moors for near on 25 years although you may never have heard of them as up till now it's all been about mountain bikes. Most notably aluminium mountain bike frames, including one that they won't be allowed to let lie, famously and iconically made from square tubing that mountain bikers of a rose-tinted persuasion get all damp around the chamois over. So for Pace to come out with a bike made of *gasp* steel, with *faint* round tubing brazed into a *fetch the smelling salts* road bike, is certainly an unexpected departure to some.
In setting out to build a bike capable of taking the rigours of fixed freestyle riding with their new Persona, Identiti have also produced a bike that's a great, rugged round town urban machine.
Fixed gear freestyle is definitely gaining popularity, it has progressed somewhat from the circus balancing acts better suited to performers in leotards to something a little more burly although those skinny jeans could be mistaken for denim leggins or jeggins *shudder*.
We've tested the Ignacio frameset before in its other guise as the Marin Dominican – but the Ignacio brings something new to the party. Well, new in the sense of 45 years old. But different. You know what I mean. The something in question is Sturmey Archer's S2 Kickshift hub, first released in 1966 but lately resurrected as another gearing option for the style-conscious fixed crowd.
The Flite 100 is the one geared wonder in the KHS 'Flite' stable, from the collection of road bikes made by the US based bike company more commonly associated with mountain bikes. The Flite range starts with this steel framed town attacker and builds up to a thoroughbred 15.5lb full carbon race bike.
Cannondale’s Capo has been around for a few years now, it's always been a looker with a reputation for handling to match. This year it comes with the option of flat or drop bars. Flat bars were the order of the day when the test bike arrived at roadcc. HQ and first impressions were good due to the understated cool looks that are so important on a bike of this type.
There's so many people on the fixed bandwagon these days that it's probably looking a bit like a slow train on the Indian subcontinent by now. That's no bad thing if it means that we get better bikes, and economies of scale mean that they drop in price. The Marin Dominican certainly fits the bill on the first point: it's a very capable and well put together bike that's a fun ride straight out of the box. And the second? well, it's not a steal at £525 but it is decent value for the build quality and the kit you're getting, so we're not really complaining.
The first thing you notice about the Giant Chixie is that it is an undeniably good-looking bike. ‘Cute’ and ‘cool’ would be the first words to spring to my mind, and never have I ridden a bike that’s garnered quite so many appreciative comments in such a short space of time. The combination of light blue and brushed aluminium is one pretty enough to please the more girly rider, yet hints at a tougher, sportier side that’ll please those looking for something a little more urban in feel.