Fixed-gear bicycles, without gears or brakes were created for the controlled environment of a velodrome. This could not be more different from hilly San Francisco or car ridden New York, but their appeal as being both stripped down and minimalist as well as requiring considerable risk and commitment to learn to ride has made them fashionable in hip neighborhoods of large cities, such as New York’s Williamsburg.
This transition of use has lead to an interesting morphing of the classic post-war track bike design, to city fixies which inevitable become beefier, like road bikes, in order to be ridable and more recently to celebrity endorsed and/or fashion branded, limited edition products, which try to commoditize the playful individuality that urban fixies demonstrate.
The stunningly beautiful 1950’s Cinelli, Italian team bike, best represents the classic track bike and the solid titanium saddle and merlin frame captures the road-bike-in-denial, individualistic, urban fixie (albeit, without the current vogue of sawn off straight handle-bars). The fashion house branded versions include graffiti artist, Futura’s Colnago track frame, a Kid Robot bike a Fuji and Obey fixie and the surprisingly nice Nike AF1.
The fashion bikes are particularly odd, because they are created by or involve designers rather than bike enthusiasts and mix and match components purely on the basis of how they look. In this sense the transition of fixies from track to urban messenger to fashion designer is a continuous trend away from ergonomics to superficiality.
Vote for your faves, ours is the 59 Cinelli.
Posted by David Galbraith
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