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I'm looking to save wear and tear on my "good" bike after selling my "winter/commuter" bike by buying a low cost/low maintenance single speed. I had the chance to pick up a Charge Plug which looked nice but was very heavy. Also I like the look of the State Bicycle Co. bikes. My commute is only 5 miles each way so don't need anything too flash but don't want a real plodder either. Budget around £400. Would probably need one with a freewheel due to not having ridden a fixie before. What do you think ladies and gents?

15 comments

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 1 year ago
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I recommend looking on two places to pick up a good cheap on.

http://www.lfgss.com/
http://www.pinkbike.com/

I don't know what to recommend, I've just bought two track bikes in recent weeks for young Scottish riders to use.

Got a Pearson custom from Gumtree

Bought a Planet X carbon pro from LFGSS

It is easy to pick up something cheap and light, both of these came from London.

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GREGJONES [267 posts] 1 year ago
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Is it hilly? At five miles the difference between a light or heavier bike will be measured in seconds.

I was in Pearson cycles in Sutton a few days ago and daw they had the charge plug reduced to £380.

I use a kinesis decade convert because it's got the mudguard and rack eyelets that a lot of fixie frames don't.

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Quince [382 posts] 1 year ago
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The fixie would be an interesting experience. I mean, you're not going to have the experience of having used a fixie until you actually... have a fixie. Putting it off due to lack of experience is kind of self-fulfilling.

Not that you necessarily SHOULD own a fixie - it's just a issue with WHY not. If you can ride a bike, you can learn to ride a fixie without much difficulty - it'll be a little jarring at first, but in my experience, I found getting used to clip less pedals to be more daunting.

The potential advantages are in improved pedalling technique, bike handling (you learn to pedal 'through' surfaces you may have unweighted yourself from before, and if you can master track standing, your balance should be much improved), and to some extent, fitness (you will probably do a bit more spinning). The disadvantages are pretty obvious; little is made 'easier' by going fixed, so if you just want something to comfortably bumble around on it may all be a bit pointless. It's a question of whether you want to inflict the discipline on yourself, I think. But if you do want to, having a fixed gear as a winter hack is a great way to do it.

Most single speeds come with a flipflop back wheel anyway, so there's probably not actually much decision in it.

The bike I own probably isn't great value for money, so I'll let other people deal with recommendations. Oh, and if you want it for general, normal clothes pootling, I've found that PowerGrips straps are decent. Nothing on clipless pedals, but a lot better than flats.

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alotronic [456 posts] 1 year ago
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Yes, just get something with a flip flop hub and you'll be right. Fixie riding is fun, the ability to fine tune speed is nice and the benefits in technique are to be had if that floats your boat. If you have many hills on your commute you will get frustrated though  1 The lack of maintenance is fantastic!

If it's going to be a year-rounder then you need to very careful with front mudguard clearance - there aren't that many fixies that have guard clearance and 'toe-clip' clearance as well. Mine doesn't, but I have a set of shorties clipon guards that are a good enough compromise.

I see the plug doesn't have mudguard mounts, so that's not an option anyway!

If I were buying new I would be tempted by Genesis Flyer as they are essentially a single speed equilibrium now - but they are expensive at over £600. http://www.winstanleysbikes.co.uk/product/67563/Genesis_Flyer_Single_Spe...

The other classic fixie is a Kona Paddy Wagon at around £450. LFSS as above a good spot to look. I liberated mine - a lemond - from cash convertors for £120  1

Personally I wouldn't use a 'track' bike fixie on the road unless I really wanted that living on the edge feeling. Real track bikes are steep and twitchy - good fun but for commuting a bit nervy I reckon...

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psclarke [15 posts] 1 year ago
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Another vote for a Paddy Wagon. Last year's model has seen me through twelve months of a 5 mile each way commute with minimal maintenance (new brake pads and the odd spray of GT85 is all it's needed).

Mine's a bit of a workhorse as I've fitted 28c Marathon tyres, so it's heavy and a bit slow but puncture free despite crappy, glass-filled cycle paths. However, with the original Conti Grand Sport tyres it was fast and great fun to ride.

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Kauto [22 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks everyone for your input. My commute is only 5 miles each way and generally flat except a small rise over a flyover. I have been looking at the Paddy Wagon and more track type bikes like the Cinelli Bootleg Mystic Rats. However seeing as the bike is only going to be used for commuting and trips to the corner shop I can't justify the expense (I don't earn lots of money unfortunately).

So fingers crossed I'll find something cheap and cheerful on Gumtree or Ebay.

Thanks again

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richcc [62 posts] 1 year ago
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Not sure how much they are now or how much they go for 2nd hand but Cotic Roadrat is ace. I did 12.5 miles each way on mine Singlespeed.

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bigshape [129 posts] 1 year ago
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have you thought about converting an old road frame yourself?

if you buy an old complete road bike, you can sell off the wheels and gears to put back into the build cost as well...

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richcc [62 posts] 1 year ago
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With an old road frame you'd want to either find something with track end drop ours or old style angled drop outs so that you can tension chain or run a singulator or similar.

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bigshape [129 posts] 1 year ago
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if you're not familiar with sheldon brown, it's essential reading for fixed gear info.

http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed/index.html

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bigshape [129 posts] 1 year ago
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if you're not familiar with sheldon brown, it's essential reading for fixed gear info.

http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed/index.html

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Tjuice [183 posts] 1 year ago
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I certainly wouldn't worry about the weight of the Charge Plug. Especially since your commute is mostly flat. I see loads of couriers in London riding Charge Plugs, which means they are on them all day and are happy with them.

I built my two fixed gear bikes from very old steel Peugeots. One was comparatively light. The other feels like it could have been filled with lead (well, almost  3 ). Having said that, I can still happily hit 28mph+ on the heavy one on the flat before cadence starts getting a bit much to maintain.

Having said that, plenty of suggestions above.

Flip flop hub is definitely an option to allow you to try fixed vs. singlespeed. I bought a flip flop wheel when I built my first fixed some years ago. I have never used the freewheel side. I now wish I had bought a wheel that was fixed on both sides, so that I could run two different fixed cogs.

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Kauto [22 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks all for the comments. I am mechanically challenged so the thought of building my own bike terrifies me  2

So to buy one either new or pre-loved is the question. I keep going back to the Charge Plug but the other day I saw some on the Halfords website (I have bought two bikes from Halfords which got me into cycling and both were ok. Current bike is Carrera Virago full carbon 105 but I digress). Anyone ever heard of Quella Varsity? http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/fixie-bikes/quella-varsity-collect...
http://www.quellabicycle.com/collections/varsity

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mzungu [40 posts] 1 year ago
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Have a look at the on-one pompino as well. Mine has lasted years as my do it all bike. A really good piece of kit. Apart from the cheap as chips second hand price, you can get them new for £500

Whatever bike you end up with, be prepared to play with the gearing. With a 16 freewheel, I had 48 up front until my knees finally said no. I've since swapped to a 44 which works for me. Bit slower on the flats, but gets me up the hills.

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Binky [116 posts] 1 year ago
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Genesis day one Single Speed with disk brakes (i love it)

http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/adventure/urban-cross/day-one-disc

Was a 42:16 then i moved up to a 46:16, hills a still manageable and my legs look fab.