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Jul 15, 2006 10:38pm


I'm buying a new bike, and I'm not sure what to get. I want it to be single speed road bike, flip-flop hub a plus. I'm a sucker for simple-looking things, and will usually choose things based on lack of ornamentation. Half of my desire for a single-speed is a direct result of wanting a simpler, cleaner looking bike than the incorrectly-sized mass of cables and doodads I ride currently.

Here are the four I tried today, and a fifth that's out of my reach:

Cannondale Capo

Light. Frame feels very balloony: large, thin, sounds like a plastic kid-bat when tapped. Rides pretty well. Has this dopey "graf" design on the side that's kind of a turn-off, also 25% more money than the others.

Specialized Langster

Rides very, very well. Light, but solid in a way that the Capo was not. Strong favorite. Frame is painted like it's being marketed to skateboard kids, though the one on the Specialized site is a more tasteful black. Flip-flop hub is nice.

Bianchi San Jose

Feels heavy in comparison to the previous ones. Guy at the bike store says many of the employees own these, and that they're versatile and a great ride. Stylish in a 1980's tube sock sort of way, but I would probably buy narrower tires and clip pedals to replace the stock ones here.

Raleigh Rush Hour

Stylish dark grey. 57cm frame feels significantly smaller than the others - why? Pushing the pedals on this one makes me feel like I'm on point, instead of using the balls of my feet. Very uncomfortable, but if it's just the pedals this can be salvaged. Otherwise quite nice.

Jitensha Ebisu

I don't know why I walked into this store. These bikes are hand-made by master craftsmen in Berkeley, and the frames they have hanging in the windows are masterpieces of simplicity and strength. Easily 4x more expensive than the rest of the bikes on this page, like I'd even know the difference.


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