- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 15 December 2008
Riding fixed is a little hard to grasp until you try it, though you get hooked quickly. Now that it is a full blown trend in 2008 it is hard to escape, a quick glance down at the rear hub confirms "fixie rider". The motivation for riding fixed is not necessarily rationally based (reduced maintenance), rather is more often a fashion conscious decision. Like anything in fashion, fixed wheel riding has now diversified so that distinctive sub sections are distinguishable. Just like different genre’s of rock and even different genre’s of heavy metal – the fixed wheel culture reflects different influences and interests of the riders. And where there is an interest and demand, there is a market niche.
Most of the larger brands have recognised the fixed wheel and single speed trend, the specialized Langster is already a popular and afforable bike for young urban hipsters. Some brands such as Giant are expanding their product range in this market while other brands are releasing their first ever fixed wheel / single speed / track bikes.
This fast moving trend is drawing smaller brands to explore the possibilities in the future, a common theme is the slight move away from a classic single speed with the introduction of a internal geared hub such as the Shimano Nexus or Alfine.
Giant have increased their range of affordable retro style aluminium single speeds, in 2009 there are four models on the market.
The German Bergamont have two concept models based on their exisiting trackbike. As opposed to their vintage styled trackbike with flatbar handlebars and one brake, the two concept bikes with loud colours appeal to a new target audience.
While Vans already have Fixed Gear Era shoes, this concept bike from Fixed Gear London highlights an opening trend in fixed gear riding – a robust trick bike that wouldn’t be out of place at a skate park.
Charge Bikes, including the cult bike "Plug" are available in Australia as of Christmas 2008. Charge have a big following in the UK and mainland Europe.
The Charge Mixer features a Shimano Alfine 8 geared hub and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
Australian designed (Richard Ayling) track and urban bikes sold as Allegro in Australia and available in Europe as Cactus 10.
Fixie Inc. is a cult brand from German targeting a more discerning market of urban cyclists.
The newest offering from Fixie Inc is the Five Star which takes the forward progression a step further with the integration of a (Gates Carbon) belt drive in combination with geared hub.
Not only is the market for new fixed wheel and single speed bikes are big market, the second hand market is important as well. The prices and interest in track bikes and converted road bikes have sky rocketed. Demand for after market parts for cyclists who want to upgrade or convert to a fixed wheel has spawned the birth of speciality shops and brands who cater specifically for this market.
A prediction is that the fixed wheel trend is adopted by brands and media as a definition of "young and trendy". Would it be unusual to see a group of cool fixed wheel riders hanging out enjoying Coca Cola or a Hamburger from Mac Donalds.