16 April 2010

South End Simplicity

elegant fixed gear bicycle
This is perhaps the most elegant stripped-down beautiful basic bike I've seen. While I personally like my bikes with brakes, this isn't my bike, and the aesthetic is just wonderful from the cream tires to the black frame to the custom leather accents.

U lock leather cover
This custom leather-accented U-lock is perfectly matched to the saddle.

simple saddle
My husband thinks the saddle came this way, I think that the owner carved off the skirt his/herself. The hammered rivets look lovely on this bike.

The inherent classiness of this bike is eye-catching from behind...

... and from the front.

elegant fixed gear bicycle
Bravo to the person who put this bike together, it's beautiful!


dr2chase said...

As simple as possible, but no simpler. I think it needs brakes of some sort. Chains come off, sometimes.

Maybe someone could devise a caliper brake that would fit down a threadless stem (you only need the star nut to compress it long enough to clamp the stem), and be built into the fork itself, so as not to detract from the lines of the bike.

Eric Schuller said...

The saddle almost certainly was purchased as it looks now. It's a Brooks Swallow saddle. Beautiful (and expensive). Here's a newer version that doesn't feature the large rivets.

Anonymous said...

It requires brakes- they're required by law. Why? Because skid-stops and "braking with your legs" on the back wheel aren't nearly as effective. Two basic aspect of physics.

1)The dynamic coefficient of friction (friction between two sliding surfaces) is ALWAYS less than the static coefficient. Ie: you get more braking force from a tire not slipping.

2)As you brake, weight is shifted to the front tire and off the rear tire. The required force to make the tire slide is a function of the coefficient of friction and the force applied to keep it in contact with the surface.

Bikes without brakes are ONLY for the velodrome/track, and even there racers often have some sort of brakes!

The owner is a danger to him/herself and the people around them. All for the sake of "clean lines"...

Nick said...

Also, trying to skid or break with your legs without clips on a fixed gear is incredibly difficult and dangerous.

As it is, this bike is a nice looking deathtrap.

James said...

Here's the Massachusetts law on bicycles and brakes (ch. 85, sec. 11B) --

(7) Every bicycle operated upon a way shall be equipped with a braking system to enable the operator to bring the bicycle traveling at a speed of fifteen miles per hour to a smooth, safe stop within thirty feet on a dry, clean, hard, level surface.

If you can go from 15 to 0 in 30 feet with your feet, then good for you. Otherwise, you need brakes. Maybe the BPD should be enforcing that, given the number of brakeless bikes around town.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this bike several times - it is really quite striking.

Welcome back, Charlotte!

Wishing I Had a Cool Handle said...

I'm betting the saddle is a custom chop job. I considering doing the same to my B17. The saddle in question looks a lot like the saddle on this page.

As for brakes . . . my fixie has a front brake, and I'm glad it does. My commute is 10 miles each way and I try to make good time. I could imagine, though, stripping off the brake if I had a leisurely ride down the block. It's hard to say how this bike is used. I'm happy to assume it just looks good on a slow ride around the block twice a day.

Ominotigre said...

Pretty positive that guy doesn't do any stopping without foot retention.
I've ridden a fixed gear without clips (with a brake) and it was absolutely impossible to skid stop.
As far as the saddle is concerned, it looks like a B-17 Special studiously butchered to mimic a Swallow.

Dottie said...

Great find! Such beautiful details, down to the leather u-lock protector.

She Rides a Bike said...

Stripped down elegance to be sure. I couldn't go brakeless, though.

Anonymous said...

That bike would be awesome set up as a classic French Randonneur, shame its a single speed, looks like a nice Trek 720.

Cris C. said...

doesn't it though, anon? I thought so myself but on closer inspection it'd have to be a fairly old 720. I had a 720 that I bought new in 99, then sold to a friend a few years later, and it did not have a lugged fork as this one does.

I just recently heard how my old 720 met its demise in a car accident that was only fatal to the bike. Didn't realize how much I'd miss it until it was gone. Such a nice, pure, simple frame.