In recent years there has been a massive boom in fixed wheel cycling – especially in London- whether you’re out and about for a weekend stroll around Brick Lane or embarking into the hell that is inner city commuting, it’s nigh on impossible to avoid them.
The main trends, depending upon your hipster persuasion, are to go for either a decrepit looking vintage cycle or a brightly coloured, kooky modern effort. The east end of London at least seems to be absolutely swarming with this approach to the ol’ two wheel, and you don’t need have seen this video to realise how try hard and tiresome it seems to have become. But, without dwelling too much on stereotypes and predispositions, the main failure of most fixed wheel cycles is that they just don’t work very well as actual bikes. Sure, they look good, but take one on a 20 minute commute and you quickly realise how uncomfortable and cumbersome they are. The only alternative seemingly, to go for a genuine sport bike, designed with usability first, which is probably slight overkill when all you really want it for is city cruising.
Turning things nicely on their heads then and taking a slightly more direct and tailored approach are Orange Bolt with their aptly named Skinny Black Bike. A simply stunning cycle -built to run either fixed, or on a single-speed freewheel- that not only looks fantastic but rides like its primary function is to be a mode of transport, as it very well should be.
Creative Director Jay Pond-Jones explains: “I started out designing bikes that I’d like to ride myself, a mix of new and vintage. I wanted it to be for urban use with that look, but striking a balance with proven sport cycling components. Bringing the functionality of those bikes into one that looks great, that’s presentable and a little more bespoke.”
The Skinny Black range does just that, juxtaposing a high quality specification comprised of established brands like Ambrosio, Nitto and Gebhardt with a sleek and stylish minimalist design. Coming as the name suggest in just black, although offering a choice of finishes such as Chrome Black, Dry Black, Waxy Black, Bling Black and Sparkle Black. Aesthetically it’s direct and straight to the point carrying little to no branding other than a single orange chainring bolt. The bike manages to maintain its primary cycling capabilities whilst shedding none of its knee trembling good looks.
Built by Scott Murphy of Bicycle Workshop, Notting Hill, London, pricing starts around the £750 mark depending on parts and finishes. There is also a made-to-order option using Tom Donhou frames, prices of which are quoted individually.
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