Fixed/Single Speed or Road Bike?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Saint Patrick, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. Saint Patrick

    Saint Patrick New Member

    Oct 15, 2014
    Likes Received:
    First, I'd like to apologize for asking such a cliche question that I'm sure tens of millions of people before me have asked. My situation is similar to many of those before me: I'm new to biking, I want a bike and just can't make a final decision on which one to get.

    I've done some research and have narrowed my list down to two bikes: one fixed/single speed and one road bike. I just can't seem to commit to one or the other.

    As far as my situation, I live in metro-Phoenix. I would be riding the bike to work 1-2 days a week (approx. 6.5 miles round trip) and would probably take it out on the weekends to ride around town, pick something up at the store, etc. Figure I would be riding it around 15 miles a week.

    For my fixed/single speed, I have my eye on a bike from State Bicycle. They're a local company that's pretty big around here. I can get a bike for around $450. It would have brakes, as well as the ability to coast. The frame is a 4130 cromoly steel. I have no clue what that means so maybe one of you experts can tell me if that's good or not.

    For the road bike, it seems like the Specialized Allez is a really good bike for someone "just starting out." It retails for around $770. I won't list the specifics but obviously has more gears, better components, looks super fancy, etc.

    My dilemma is trying to decide which one to get. I can think of pros and cons to each. Honestly, I'm tired of thinking about it and am now looking to get some opinions from people who know a lot more about this than I do.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who read this and/or replied back with suggestions.

  2. Viking55803

    Viking55803 Member

    Oct 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    It's the "just getting started" with cycling that might help resolve your ambivalence. Everything you think you want to do now could be accomplished with either a road or single speed bike. The problem is what you might want to do if you "catch" the cycling bug. As soon as the roads start going up, you are going to want a multi-speed bike. Also, as you become more comfortable and your cadence (rpm) speeds up, it's always nice to have another gear.

    To me, single speed bikes are a kind of urban fad, although there are many folks who have done amazing things on single speeds. They are very cool bikes, but I'm a little old for "cool." In my case, since I ride in hilly country, I routinely use probably 16 of my 20 gear combinations. The gearing allows you to keep a steady cadence (this is highly individual and you will find your own) going up, down and on the flat.

    Good luck with your decision!
  3. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Hmmm, I like your taste! [​IMG] I have an Allez which I used for 7000km now... It's a really nice bike. Reading that it has the same stiffness and geometry as the equivalent carbon one (Tarmac) kinda did it for me and bought it.


    -Fast, stiff.

    -Nice looking top tube.

    -Major company might mean successful warranty claims.

    -Quite crash proof.


    -Price. It costs 770EUR here instead of 770USD. That's around 1000USD.

    -The Alu fork started developing cracks on mine at around 5000km (picture bellow) but they replaced it under a warranty repair for free. The Alu fork has the same construction as the carbon bladed one, with Alu blades instead of Carbon.

    -The lower end ones have 8 speed groups and usually a cassette of 12-25. I found that 25 was not enough and got a 32T one for climbs. That didn't play that well with the 2300 derailleur, but when that broke on a crash I got a Claris long derailleur that works just fine, has a nice robust all metal feel and for 20 euro you cant go wrong with it. I might be equivalent to a 2012 Tiagra or something.

    -The 2300 shifters are kinda susceptible to break and there are no replacement parts. They cost around 60 euro each. Now discontinued and replaced by Claris.

    -Even though they say it has the same stiffness as the Tarmac, it doesn't seem to climb so effortlessly as the Tarmac, even with a 32t cassette on the Allez and a 28t cassette on the Tarmac.

    -The brakes are kinda scary bad from time to time. Especially in the rain. Tried some Ultegra ones and they just stop much better, even had to raise the wheel release lever a bit. Maybe due to rims, pads, calipers, levers who knows?

    -Although they make fenders for road bikes it might be a bit hard to find a rack for it for commuting...

    Fixies... They are maybe more of a "lifestyle" item then a useful set-up. They might be a bit lighter compared to a road bike with gears, brakes, brifters, cassettes, etc but then it doesn't matter since they can be really hard on climbs, or the start of the ride, or for carrying stuff etc...


    Cromoly steel is super strong steel. It means that they can make the frame 3 times thinner and still get the same strength as a 3 times thicker aluminium frame. But it is 3 times heavier so the final differences in weight might not be that noticeable.

    It's also supposed to make a more "shock absorbing" ride. Lot's stuff on the web describing at "Springy", "Lively", "Sexy" (No, that was for something else [​IMG]).

    Although that sounds cool, the walls are often very thin and might not be so "crash proof". Maybe also not a good idea to slam them to light posts.

    They say that steel has a longer service life then Aluminium under normal use. (Fatigue, Cycle load - strength).

    It might be a bit more susceptible to corrosion.


    Cracked fork: