SingleSpeed Commuters

Urban Velo has compiled an impressive list of singlespeed commuters ranging in price from $310 to $3235.  Singlespeeds are a pretty nice option for urban commuting – especially here in mpls where hills are rare.  I have a couple gripes with singlespeeds – most notably that if it’s geared properly for riding on dry pavement, it will probably be geared too high if you find yourself riding through a few inches of snow.  The easy maintenance and simplicity of a singlespeed is wonderful in a purely practical way, but it’s also amazing in a metaphysical / spiritual way you won’t really understand unless you’re totally into them.

The Urban Velo list is nowhere near comprehensive, but it’s a great place to start.  Generally, I think singlespeeds with drop bars are kind of pointless for commuting, so I’m partial to the Bianchi Pista Flatbar, Jamis Beatnik, and the Charge Plug, but the Raleigh Rush Hour and MASI Speciale are beautiful, too.  And for the price, the you won’t find a better deal than the Redline 925.  Bikes from a few local brands are represented too (Salsa & Surley).
The only problem with buying a new singlespeed is that it’s probably not going to be geared correctly for your individual riding style.  So there’s a really good chance that you’ll order a new singlespeed and end up having to swap out the chainring for a different size right off the bat (and if you’re adjusting to a larger chainring, you’ll probably have to end up buying a new chain, too).  I built my own singlespeed out of an 80’s model Raleigh frame I found laying around somewhere.  I went through 3-4 chainrings before I finally found one that worked well for me.

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