These days, most people who ride “fixies” do so for fun. A fixed-wheel bike offers riders a unique experience defined by live-wire responsiveness, light weight and tactile feedback — key benefits that can only come from a bike that stops rolling when your feet stop moving.
What many fixie riders don’t realize, though, is that the bikes they now ride for fun were developed for a very specific purpose: to go racing. And they’re still in use today.
Many people will only ever witness an actual velodrome race watching the Olympics on TV, but the sport that jump-started the production of fixed-wheel bikes is alive and well. For competitors, there are bikes such as the Specialized Langster Pro.
The Langster uses a svelte aerodynamic shape similar to that of its time-trial specialist brethren, but it is significantly lighter thanks to its use of minimal drivetrain components. The Langster Pro’s aggressive geometry, stiff FACT carbon seatpost, clean gearing and bulletproof bottom bracket combine to deliver electrifying acceleration and superb maneuverability.
Of course, not everyone who rides a fixed-gear bike wants to go racing. In fact, most people don’t. That doesn’t mean, however, that performance should suffer.
The Specialized Langster Street features an optimized A1 alloy frame, square-tapered alloy crank set and the same high-speed gearing you’ll find on its track-special cousin. However, it uses tougher tires and wheels, and it features a flat-style handlebar for longevity while cruising the mean streets. Novices and experienced riders alike will appreciate this bike’s willingness to drop the hammer at any moment.
The middle child of the Specialized fixie bike family is the Langster SF. The SF represents the best of both worlds: a combination of track performance components and street savvy that is equally at home in either environment.
While it doesn’t receive the racecar aerodynamics of the Langster Pro, the Langster SF still enjoys exceptional stiffness and power transfer thanks to its A1 alloy frame construction. Mounted to its bulletproof bottom bracket you’ll find a Cr-Mo axel and square-tapered crank arms for the most efficient power transfer.
While it might seem like a dedicated track machine, Specialized hasn’t forgotten that the majority of Langster SF riders will be using this clean black machine to rip through city streets. To ensure you stay comfortable while commuting or just embarrassing your friends, they’ve equipped the Langster SF with a Body Geometry Toupé comp gel saddle. It will feel just as nice after hours in the saddle as it did when you first clipped in. You also get a set of Specialized’s high-tech hybrid Espoir Elite tires, made to roll quickly on the track without sacrificing toughness on asphalt. Rounding out the package is a set of capable Tektro dual-pivot long-reach brakes.
No matter which kind of bike is catching your eye, chances are you’ll find it on BikeExchange today.