Friday, 11 April 2014

Bombtrack bikes (by Wiggle) - a review

Bombtrack Arise.  Want.
The Bombtrack bikes stand was the first exhibition stand that really smacked us between the eyes when we visited the SPIN London show a few weeks ago.  This may have been the case because it was the second stand we came to after walking through the door, it may have been because we cycled across London to the show on Boris Bikes that weighed as much as a baby elephant (only less maneuverable) and the sight of a nice simple fixie really appealed.  Who can say, not us, we've already spent too much time considering why the Bombtrack stand looked so good, so let's move on...

Bombtrack bikes - what the hell?

From what we can figure out Bombtrack appears to be an attempt by mahoosive online bike retailer Wiggle to tap into the increasingly popular single-cog market.  We've always thought half the fun of owning a singlespeed or fixie is the trials and tribulations you go through building the bloody things.  But having had a few painful (and costly) build errors recently we can see a real appeal to buying a bike 'off the peg'.

So do the bikes look any good?  Well yes they do!  We weren't quite awake enough to ask if we could lift one of the display models off a stand and take it for a quick razz, but in terms of looks the bikes really were 'all that'.  Bombtrack / Wiggle have certainly given a nod to the retro look with this range of bikes, but they are also quite brashly modern in appearance.  I guess with a name like 'Bombtrack' you give yourself licence to rock the lookbook boat a bit.

So the range has enough odd-shaped handlebars to keep the most hardcore hipster happy, but also has bikes fitted with modern shaped 'proper' drop-bars.  We were a little surprised to see so many flat-bars fitted to these bikes, but hey, I'm sure Wiggle have had focus groups on this sort of thing and know what they're doing.

Bombtrack Arise - yes please!

Paint jobs are minimal almost to the point of being monotone, but it kinda works.  This simplicity over whizz-whazz works best on the 'Bombtrack Arise (Black)'; a sleek, simple looking bike that we don't mind admitting we fell a little bit in love with.  We were a surprised to see the 'Arise' fitted with direct-pull v-brake style brakes, but we can't say much more as we've never lived with this style of brake, we've just seen a lot of them snapped in two on knackered £50 mountain bikes ridden by the sort of people who wear tracksuits but never exercise.  For all we know they're lovely (the brakes and the tracksuit fans).

The tyres on the Arise aren't the super thin boneshakers that us roadies love, but seeing as how this bike is set up for commuters a little bit of comfort would likely be most appreciated.  I guess the only way we'll know for sure whether these Bombtrack bikes are worth the modest price tag would be if we either bought one, or if Wiggle sent us a 'review copy' *cough*.

See the BombTrack bikes at Wiggle...

Friday, 4 April 2014

How to find bikes on ebay (to convert to fixies or singlespeed bikes)

Fixed wheel and SingleSpeed bikes are more popular now than ever before, and there are a lot of really nice ready-built single cog bikes on the market, but the very coolest fixies are conversions.  The bikes I really love are almost always built onto old steel frames.

So if you want a truly cool fixie or SingleSpeed you need to find a good donor bike, and it's going to need horizontal drops.  There are a number of sources for donor bikes; Gumtree, local small-ads, post office windows, auction houses, fixed gear bike forums, and on and on and on.  If you find a donor bike through any of these sources then well done, but the chances are you're not going to find what you need.  So ebay is the best place to look, but the amount of bicycles for sale on ebay is a quite overwhelming, try searching just for 'bicycle' and you'll see just how unhelpful the results are.  So how do focus your results enough to make them useful?  Well it's actually quite easy.

How to buy bikes on ebay.

This is just my method, and it's a method I developed partly through laziness.  But I often find lazy methods are the most popular with my readers.

1. Log into ebay, and I mean actually log in (assuming you have an account, if not create one as you're going to need it).

2. Click the 'all categories' drop-down box and choose 'Sporting goods' and click the search button.  Ignore the fact you haven't typed anything into the search box yet:

3. On the left hand menu click 'cycling', and then 'bikes':

4. Now comes the clever bit, we need to start a search that excludes every item that isn't of any interest to us, we do this by entering the word we do want (bike) followed by all the words we don't want preceded by a minus sign.  I'll make this bit really easy for you, because I've done the research already, so copy everything in the box below and paste it into the search box:

bike -mountain -jump -dirt -ladies -girls -bmx -folding -touring -wooden -daisy -hybrid -boys -electric -kids -trials -childs -womens -mtb -childrens -shopper -ladys -batmans -trails -trail -trial -toy -girl -hardtail -suspension -puky -cruiser -T120 -comuter -lady's -commuter -kit -exercise -town

5. Put a tick in the 'include description' checkbox and click the 'Search' button:

6. Now put a tick in the 'used' option on that appears on the left hand side of the search results.  You can also refine the search further by choosing other options like size or maximum price.

7. Now here's the lazy bit, you don't have to bother visiting ebay every few hours to run this search, nah, you can get ebay to let you know when suitable new items arrive by clicking the 'follow this search' option at the top of the results.  When you click on it ensure you tick the email option that appears (the image below shows what the box looks like after ticking the email box).

8. Well that's it now, each time a possible suitable fixie SingleSpeed donor bike appears on ebay you'll receive an email to let you know!

Once you've found and bought a bike to base your fixie or SingleSpeed conversion on ebay then here's a great guide for building your bike...