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Fixed-Gear Bikes: More than a Niche?

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MAARSSEN, Netherlands (March 22) – Remember the sensation of riding a tricycle? It’s like that. On a fixed-gear bike your feet move when the wheels move – no freewheel. You stop by bracing against the momentum of the pedals. It’s called slowing down. And, no, they’re not the safest contraptions on the street. In recent […]

MAARSSEN, Netherlands (March 22) – Remember the sensation of riding a tricycle? It’s like that. On a fixed-gear bike your feet move when the wheels move – no freewheel. You stop by bracing against the momentum of the pedals. It’s called slowing down. And, no, they’re not the safest contraptions on the street.
In recent years, fixed-gear bikes were mostly the fancy of big-city bicycle messengers. Now they are experiencing a surge in popularity.
They’re cool. They’re hip. They’re retro. They’re practical and simplistic.
And that might be the key to their current success: as bikes become more and more complicated, a growing number of people is (re) discovering the fun of a fixed-gear bike. Track-bike sales are quickly growing – a species that was all but extinct some years ago. Bike shops are building custom fixed gear bikes – but as yet no mainstream manufacturer has a decent offering in these models. It might not be the big trend the industry is hoping for, but fixed-gear bikes are certainly one of the growing market niches. And they might point into which direction at least part of the market is going, too.(MH)

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