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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Urban Outfitters Fixie: $400. Achieving Hipster Chic: Priceless.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge Meet 'Aristotle'
  • Meet 'Aristotle'
They sucked the hip out of ironic T-shirts, singer sewing machines, and hamburger phones. Now Urban Outfitters has a new trend-killer in stock: The fixed-gear bicycle.

Fixed-gears are the gazelles of the bicycle world: simple, elegant, and more than a tad dangerous for the inexperienced rider. They're called "fixed-gear" because they have the rear cog attached ("fixed") to the rear wheel of the bicycle, which means the rider has to continuously pedal to keep the bike moving. Some models are even too cool for brakes. But since it's illegal to ride without brakes in most cities -- and stupid in every city -- Urban Outfitters has done their due diligence and included brakes on their model, called the Aristotle (because spending $400 on a send-away fixie is obviously very logical).

Representatives from a couple of local bike shops say $400 isn't an

outrageous price for a fixie, although they also say the price is

similar ($400 to $650-plus) at a bike shop and you'll probably end up

paying a shop anyhow for assembly help and replacement parts. "Steven"

of Pedal Revolution says

that because fixies have so few parts, those parts see a lot of wear

and tear -- i.e. if the parts are cheap and unreliable, it's likely

they'll go fast.

Although Steven said that the Urban Outfitters label could symbolize the final

death knell to the fixie fascination, he's just happy to see anything

out there that will get more people riding bikes. That being said, people who are ordering their first bike from a chain clothing store should know exactly what they're buying -- in addition to the ticket to instant hipsterdom.

Upon ordering the Aristotle, which is described on the Urban Outfitters Web site as a "singlespeed bike with a flip-flop hub," you will receive your

custom-made bike in a big cardboard box, 90-percent assembled by the Urban Outfitters Bike Shop (an amalgamation of the clothing store and Florida-based Republic Bike),

and 10 percent in pieces. The flip-flop part means that if you're not

ready for the weirdness of riding a fixie, the rear wheel can be

flipped and made into a regular old unfashionable bike again.

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Anna McCarthy

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