Schwinn Collegiate

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The $89 fixie

So when I'm at Target, I always sneak away to peak at the bikes.  Bikes at department stores are essentially junk.  I thought people were exaggerating when they said this, but after a number of brushes with these bikes I quickly realized that these bikes earned these reputations.  Most noticeably, the components are ineffective trash.  The brakes seem able to usually slow the bike, but unable to stop a bike without the assistance of dragging your feet on the ground.  Additionally, they make horrible noises and often hop all over the place when it comes to shifting.  As far as the frames are concerned, I realized that they are incredibly heavy.   So much so, that a young girl's frame far outweighed my my own 63 cm steel frame (how is this possible???). On a plus note, the bikes often have wild paint jobs that may border on garish, but are at the least impressive to most kids.

So on this particular trip to Target, a bike stood out to me as not a cruiser or a mountain bike: a fixie.  I really stopped and stared.  I was shocked. I knew that Wal-Mart had started selling a 99 dollar fixie, but never went there and so didn't think about it much.  When I saw this one, I started to think about it more.  The frame is hi-ten.  This is far from surprising.  But then again, a number of brand name bikes are hi-ten.  This doesn't mean the frame is decent or even on par with these other frames, but it is certainly forgivable and functional.

As I thought about it more I realized that it didn't really matter if the brakes were junk because the bike was fixed.  The drive train on a fixie essentially consists of a bottom bracket, chainring/cranks, rear cog, and chain.  Even low-end components are fairly simple and hard to mess up.  So that really leaves the wheels...which I read online reviews and hear are pretty hit or miss (in particular in regards to their trueness).    I also suspect that all of the bearings could use some more grease.

So, what's my point?  If you true it and grease it, you might have a good-enough 89 dollar fixie....that looks like it is intended for a 10 year old girl. I don't know what to tell you about the aesthetics. I think Target might have missed their "target" audience when they did their research for this one.

This screams cool hipster bike, doesn't it?