Deal: Solé Bicycles

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No gears? Is it a bicycle for flat landscapes, with no hills in visual distance?

…do we actually still expect bicycles to be a practical transportation device, or are hipstermobiles designed to another order of priorities?


I love this reason that the ad cites positively for riding a fixed gear bike: “No unwanted coasting!” Because how many times has it happened when I’m on my old-fashioned bike with a free-wheel, leisurely coming down a hill, and I suddenly realise “Oh sh!t, I’m coasting again! Damn this free-wheel!”

Venice Beach, California

I’d never use anything for city commuting but a mountain bike with the front derailleur removed for simplicity, road tires, fenders, and two hand brakes. Well, I’d also use a three speed or something like a Milano with an 8 speed internal hub, too. I need to climb hills and go very fast on level ground and I need to get places in the rain without my clothes covered in road grime. A fixed gear with no fenders would be great in a flat desert city with no rain. Otherwise it just seems like too much sacrifice of utility for style.


To be fair, this company is a Brand. It produces/makes nothing in Venice Beach, California, USA. Most of these type brands don’t even assemble their products anymore as that work is easily outsourced as well.

If you were looking for a bike made on this continent, or even just a frame made on this continent equipped with a mix of Japanese/Chinese/Taiwanese components (it’s hard/super costly to do better than that, and Japanese components rock anyway) or even a bike 90% assembled on this continent, you should probably keep looking.

It’s always a good idea to keep in mind the nature of a Brand that muddies their copy enough to try and lead people to believe they’re buying a local/regional/USA made product where that is simply not at all the case.

Just this week I learned of a company that actually was doing a good job of integrating local workers that is going under.

You can get a bike superior to these, probably for less than these cheap Solé bikes because they are in the midst of their going out of business sale.

They’re honest about where their frames and parts are made, do assemble using local workers, do paint locally, integrate locally made accessories wherever possible (usually add-ons such as bags/straps for pedals and baskets/panniers) and were employing more than just a marketing & distribution staff.

If you want to mention how their model is obviously unsustainable because real businesses should know to go completely outsource except for marketing, please feel free but I assure you, you suck.

This is a Brand, not a maker/manufacturer/employer, and that is A-OKAY, except that they’re marketing as otherwise.


If I had Mr. Dunwoody’s time machine, I’d go back to about 1960 and buy about a dozen classic Raleigh three-speeds.

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Sturmey Archer: works forever.


My friends who ride fixed-gear bikes tout that as a benefit: no gears, no coasting, no ability to rest, because they see their bikes as a workout tool rather than just a way to get from place to place. With no ability to rest your legs, even rides on flat surfaces are a workout. Not my idea of a good time, but there you are.


$279 is surprisingly cheap. I’d assumed that hipsters bought fixies because they want to be macho hard-core bikers doing everything with muscle power instead of gears, not because they were cheap : -)
(Sure, it’s obviously cheaper to not have all the complicated mechanisms such as derailleurs and brakes, but the fixies I’d seen in the past made up for that by having fancy lightweight high-tech frames.)

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Fixie nerds seem to obsess on anything that adds weight or complexity to a bike: extra gears, fenders, brakes – they all add weight. My impression of fixie hipsters I know is that the ideal bike is just a pair of pedals that move wheels, ideally pretty crappy-looking (to deter bike thieves).

Personally, I like gears, coasting, brakes, fenders, and baskets on my bike, because I use it to get around a hilly city where it rains a lot and it’s nice to carry things home with it. Not much of a hipster!


I’m going to add to that, those disc brakes attached to the hub that some bikes have. My last bike has them, and I’m never going back. Rim oh so slightly out of true? Doesn’t matter. Ride through water? Doesn’t matter unless you’re hub deep.

I’ve got to have gears because I live in a pretty hilly area.

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“…no unwanted coasting”

If anyone has coasting they don’t want, I’ll take it.


Agreed, although my choice for city riding is a hybrid. The narrower tires reduce the rolling resistance significantly.

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My personal bike is a three speed with an internal hub. It’s nice and only weighs about 25 lbs.

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Beat me to it…
Fixed gear bikes can be fun, but the older me equates them with “pain or the potential thereof”


Exactly, which is why the idea of a “new fixie” sounds so ridiculous to me. It’s all bike porn.
Just about any old bike can be stripped and converted to a fixed gear machine for a nominal investment of time and money (provided you DIY).

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When they spell it “peddle”, you know what’s uppermost in their minds.


7 year old me. Learning to ride with no hands, accidentally veered into neighbor’s steep driveway. Wanted to stop but pedals going too fast to get feet back onto them. Face (actually front tire, then face) first into garage door.
I was so stoked when I got my next bike that freewheeled and had a pedal brake.


I’ve seen a few inexplicably expensive bikes out there and some well-designed and higher quality bikes for slightly less ridiculous prices. My friend had a Black Sheep and loved it, and went looking for a replacement and found an identical bike for cheaper that was apparently wholesale ripped off by Paul Budnitz. Apparently the fixie scene has some real douches.

We rarely rant here at Black Sheep Bikes. We see no need to defend what we do as bike builders and similarly we leave others to do as they please. If you like what we do great, if not cool. There is many talented people making bikes in this world. Check out your local builder for instance. We build the bikes we love out of the passion for our trade and our love for bikes. Pretty simple. However we do feel that the we need to clarify some things as we have gotten a lot of questions so the air needs to be cleared. 5 or so years ago we were approached by a fella we will call Mr. B. He came to us with a need for a quality built bike that would suit his needs, keep him fit, and have some style. No problem. We built him a Speedster style frame, belt drive, internally geared hub, internal routing, etc… Great commuter and he was very satisfied. So much in fact that he wanted another with a little different style and bigger tires. Kind of a urban thrasher that can fit in a travel case. Done. Another happy customer. After awhile he approached us with an idea of helping him build a bike company under his own name. He wanted us to make him replicas of the bikes we had already made with the potential to go over seas and have them massed produced. As you can imagine we felt like this wasn’t the best idea for our company and went against why we build these bikes with our own hands here in Colorado in the first place. Nothing against bikes made out of country and in Asia as many are high quality and almost all are handmade by skilled workers. It just sounded boring and not our style. So we told him we weren’t interested. Mr. B however is a man with money and the means to do as he pleases so he took our bikes had them replicated(kind of) at another American bike company and now has some being produced over seas. Damn! Wasn’t what we thought was going to happen. Oh well we suppose. We still get to build our dream bikes, one at a time, with our own hands here in Colorado. What this really boils down to is a choice. You can buy a bike from a man who has his name on it with no other connection to his product or the hard work that others have put into it. Or you can buy a bike from people who love what they do and do it themselves, pour their soul into their craft, and actually have a passion for bikes. The point is, before you drop a bunch of your hard earned cash on a Budnitz…give a guy like Curtis Inglis a call first. You will be glad you did.

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