My friend, Ben, has what I consider to be the “classic” fixie.
The classic fixie is a type of fixie that is made from an older-style frame that used to be a multi-speed bike, and was converted into a fixed gear bike.
Part of the fun of building a classic fixie is taking an old and rusty frame, and making it look new again. I have to imagine that it would be very similar to the allure of refurbishing a car from 50 years ago. Plus, older bikes often have extremely intricate design (lugged), usually with more detail than modern bikes have. Put all these factors together and your left with one elegant looking bike.
Ben makes use of an old Takara frame from the 80’s. He chose to paint the frame blue, with white accents on the lugs, and red accents on the seat and handlebars. The blue, white and red theme expresses a clean and sophisticated style.
With a seat tube length of 59 cm, this bike is not for anyone below 5’8” or so. Furthmore, the wheels are 27 inches, making the stand-over height pretty high.
Now, although the appearance of the bike is important, nothing is more important than how the bike rides. And Ben’s bike does not fail on this front either: his bike provides a smooth, powerful ride. The gear ratiois 53 (front chainring) to 16 (rear cog). This is a pretty steep ratio, and although it might take a bit of muscle to accelerate quickly, it also allows for extremely high speeds (20-30 mph) while not having to spin (pedal) extremely fast. In Houston, where the whole city is essentially flat, this seems to be a pretty sensible gear ratio.
Ben’s bike has tires of width 28 mm. These provide a good balance between low friction and decent amount of cushion over the rough roads of Houston.
My favorite part of Ben’s bike is his bullhorn handlebars. These are simply a great addition to an already great bike.
So there it is: the summary of Ben’s classic fixie.