Before the USA Cycling Track National Championships conclude here in LA today I am going to squeeze this one in. Track bikes and their street cousins have experienced something of a resurgence the past number of years. Whether fueled by images of Olympic glory, youthful attraction to counter-culture, a search for non-mainstream competitive outlets, or any number of other reasons, single speed and fixed gear bicycles have been propelled beyond mere fringe status. Of course that does not mean that every maker has jumped into the fray. I earlier noted how nearly everyone who produces sport bicycles has at least one cyclocross model in the line-up. The same cannot be said for fixed-gear bikes, these largely remain in the domain of certain makers with a more lengthy tradition in the genre. Names like Cinelli, Masi, Look have a long history of making these types of bikes. Add to these the custom builders such as the Dario Pegoretti's of the world, and the more recent mass production providers, such as Pure Fix Cycles and Leader, and you have a wide range of types, but still relatively confined number of companies.
almost all of the true fixes, such as this Masi, are being shown with add-on brakes these days. i'm not sure if this is an industry statement about safety, or if it is being driven by the fashion of the moment. either way, i would say it is a smart move; makes it more attractive to potential converts.
Look is one of the grand masters of the track bike. it is not difficult to see why, their stuff is always distinctive and cutting-edge. their branded graphics can be spotted from a mile away.
a more recent maker in this area of the market, but showing all the style and charisma of its namesake, is Cipollini . this model, simple called speed, just looks fast
a little more on the utilitarian side of the scale is this Swobo. the reason I show this is not so much for the bike per se, as it is for the finish. the raw, burnished look was so eye-catching; i didn't know a naked (unpainted) bike could look so good.
custom has long been in the purview of the fixed-gear realm. simplicity combined, and contrasted with, unique design, creates some stunning machines. i already showed you my best of show from this year; the custom built bike shown above fits nicely into that same lofty category where artistry and function are combined to perfection. shown alongside the world's first full-suspension fat bike, was this creation from the crew at Phil Wood. people gathered around kept using the word sexy, and it was appropriate.
the mass produced side of the fixed-gear market is distinguished by limited frame offerings (often just a single frame style), but allows riders to customize colors and components to match their personal style preferences; we are talking basic, welded steel frames, no decorative lugs or fancy adornments. from there you can do a no-frills build, or go all out. i believe this one with the Canadian maple leaf and Totem labeling is by the Hangzhou Joy-ing Cycle Co. Ltd. of China