Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fashionable and Famously Forgettable Fixies For Formosa

The Taipei Times ran a lengthy article about the growing fixie trend in Taiwan. I have seen several around and just chalk it up to the general trend, which is now several years old, finally making it to Taiwan.

For those who are not in the know, a fixie, or fixed gear bicycle, is a bike with only one chainring in the front and the rear cog is welded to the rear hub. This makes for a light, simple bike that works well in flat, urban riding, but is not very practical for a lot of other riding.

The fixie trend originated originated among the urban bike messengers in major US cities as the motion and braking are applied through the pedals. The pedals are always in motion as long as the wheel is moving, just as you might find with track bikes. These make ideal trick bikes.

Unfortunately, at least in my own opinion, the trend has been taken over by "hipsters" who find a beautiful steel framed classic bike. Colnago, Pinarello, Nishiki, 3Rensho, Masi... you name it. They will then dremel off the cable and brake hangars, for a smooth frame, and then paint over the original paint in monochrome color schemes to render the bike more of a fashion accessory than a fully functional bike. In Seattle I saw more hipsters walking their fixed gear bicycles than riding them.

The saddest part is that, like most of us, these hipsters grow up to some degree or another and move on to new trends, thus rendering the bike more or less disabled.

There are a few companies out there that focus on fixed gear bikes exclusively. In Taichung IRO bikes on Zhong min South Rd. is a popular spot for fixies. I have seen a couple other shops in southern Taichung near the Art Museum, but I have not had a chance to get the addresses. I hope people who are interested in this type of riding will buy a dedicated fixie than cut up an old Nag.

Happy riding!

5 comments:

  1. Put in a link to fixed gear girl Taiwan. http://fixedgeargirltaiwan.blogspot.com/

    Smokin' babes on hot bikes! Hubba hubba!

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  2. There is more positive view of the fixie trend. In my experience as a wrench back in the States, I saw far more fixie projects originate from dumpster-bound Schwinn Varsity's than Italian classics. Reusing idle bikes, even for a short time, gives them a second life they wouldn't have otherwise. A refurb is in many ways wiser than buying a newly minted fixie. I would love to see guys on weekend club rides trade their carbon cream puffs for fully restored classics, but that's just not gonna happen.

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  3. There is a more positive view of the fixie trend. In my experience as a wrench back in the States, I saw far more fixie projects originate from dumpster-bound Schwinn-Varsitys than from Italian classics. But regardless of make, a fixie refurb gives an old bike a second life it wouldn't have otherwise. Reusing an idle bike is in many ways wiser than buying a newly minted fixie. I would love to see guys on weekend club rides trade their carbon cream puffs for fully restored classics, but that's just not gonna happen.

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  4. I see a lot of classics out there. I've met up with a professor (not The Professor) on his amazing white Bottechia. Lots of old steel Nags.

    You are right. They have taken a few old Schwinns and revived them and honest fixie lovers will love the bikes for a long time. Unfortunately with any trend, they often end up like a bunny after Easter.

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