INDUSTRY OPINIONS: Fixed or fad? - BikeBiz

INDUSTRY OPINIONS: Fixed or fad?

‘Every time the fixed gear market reaches a peak, a new horizon appears.’ That’s the word on the 700c growth from Brick Lane Bikes. Mark Sutton asks other enthusiast companies to explain why they’re so optimistic about the future of fixies...
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I originally designed a ‘track’ style frame and fork for myself to ride. We had no plans to bring it into production, but we had such a good response from the sample that we all thought it would be worth doing a limited number of fixed gear completes.

The response since has been overwhelming. As we come from a core BMX background, the majority of our customers are older BMX guys who want a bigger bike and are already familiar with our products and background.

We have some prototype parts in the works aimed at this market too. Volume now has a dedicated fixed section on its website at volumebikes.com/ indexfixed.html.
Brian Castillo, MD, Volume Bikes

Volume’s Cutter frames have been doing quite well for us in store, despite our BMX following. The version one model has surprised us in terms of interest and consistent demand.

We have just received some of the new second generation Cutter frames, which have a new head tube complete with the ‘speaker’ logo cut through, as seen on the brand’s BMX frames. These are sure to be popular.
Mason Smith, store owner and Scoop MD

I’ve always liked the aesthetic of skinny steel frames with traditional geometry, and having seen some pretty nice looking custom bikes in San Francisco, Tokyo and London, I decided a simple and sturdy urban bike would be the perfect product to develop as a complete bike for Charge.

The Plug makes sense for urban use, particularly for those people that want maintenance-free reliability. I showed the first Plug to Charge distributors in 2006 and they were on sale in 2007.

Sales did start kind of slow, but then took off. We have sold quite a few now, with further plans to expand in future.

We have new versions of the Plug coming out soon, and more for 2010. These bikes will be adding to the range –not replacing existing models. Chains, grips, bars, saddles, and wheels in a plethora of colours are either in stock now, (at Hotwheels) or will be soon. And there’s more fixie specific stuff in development too...
Nick Larsen, MD, Charge

Fads can last for years and every now and then the market hits a new peak. We’re constantly recognising new horizons and with the store’s expansion into distribution, the opportunities for growth are immense.

When companies such as Nike begin to take an interest in niche markets, you can be sure the market will be sustained for some time to come. There have been three shops dedicated to fixed gears open inside the capital in six months. We expect far greater competition going forward, but it’s healthy for the market.

You can’t put a cap on this kind of growth. It seems to me that the culture surrounding 700c bikes went global overnight. As a result, we’ve taken more space in a warehouse down the road and launched our own BLB branded component line. We are a product of the community, which in return helps us grow and sustain the market.
Jason Finch, manager at Brick Lane Bikes and assisting Big Mama Distribution

The idea of doing a singlespeed/track frame had been tossed around at FBM for a couple years. The majority of us at FBM commute to work on bikes, and honestly, riding a BMX bike a couple miles to work kind of sucks. So, instead of us riding our normal commuter bikes, we decided to make our own frame and fork. Being a frame manufacturer, it was obvious to us that we could produce a frame and we saw a hole in the fixie market for an affordable handmade frame and fork.

Since its development, the response to the Sword frame and fork has been great – we initially had trouble keeping up with demand. Now that we’ve got everything dialled in, our plans include making various custom builds –anything from custom sizing and geometry, or tubing sets.

I personally don’t see Fixies as a ‘fad’ –I mean they are pretty trendy now among the general public. Anyone who is into cycling is going to still ride one no matter if it is a fad or not, and owning another bike is never a bad thing.
John Lee, buyer, FBM and Last Call Distribution

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