Bike Shaped Objects

Funky bikes and news
 
Virtual Review – Thruster Fixie

Thruster FixieTook a trip to Walmart last weekend and got to take a look at this bike close up. I came away with mixed feelings.

On the good side: At $100 it’s the cheapest fixie on the market. It’s simple, which means there is less to break down. It’s much lighter than a cruiser bike. It has a flip-flop hub so you can free-wheel if you like. (Personally, that’s what I’d do.)

The OK: The saddle is neither great nor horrible. The brake calipers seem to hold well enough but are nothing special. The handle bars are very narrow. This would be useful when squeezing through Market Street traffic but might be twitchy elsewhere.

The bad: The brake levers are tiny and painful. The welds were pretty ugly, but I’ve seen worse on more expensive bikes.

The unknown: Those wheels and tires are funky looking but I don’t know how well they’d hold up.

What other people say: This bike is hated by the bike snobs who have never ridden it, but they hate anything that isn’t from an over-priced bike shop. It’s true that this isn’t the best built bike ever, but it’s so inexpensive that that isn’t a real concern.

Alternatives: The next cheapest brand name single speed bike I found was on Bikes Direct. The Windsor Hour goes for $279. This bike is also hated by bike snobs for the same reasons as the Thruster. You can also find a bunch of no-name fixie bikes on eBay, but you have no idea what they are and how they’re built.

Conclusion: This isn’t a bike I would buy, but I would buy it before I bought a heavy cruiser bike. If you want a dirt-simple bike with little or no maintenance to ride around the neighborhood, this might be worth a look.

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