The Fixie Inc Chip Race Road Race SL isn’t really a ﬁxie at all. After years of making gorgeous, high-end ﬁxed-wheel bikes, the German brand have decided to start producing high-end, boutique, geared machines as well. The Chip is a delight to behold, with a ride to match – if you can afford the price tag.
Ride & handling: Good enough to change your mind about steel
It’s not surprising we’ve had our heads turned by the brilliant carbon superbikes that lead ranges these days. Machines such as the Scott Addict Ltd, Trek Madone 6.9 and Giant TCR Advanced SL make it easy to forget there’s plenty of life in that old dog steel yet.
Still, if you’re brave enough to swap a premium carbon machine for the Chip Race, we don’t think you’ll feel short-changed. If you’ve never ridden steel – or shied away from it after a childhood on iron clunkers – this is the bike to change your mind.
There’s no denying that top-end carbon race bikes are ruthlessly efﬁcient, but that can occasionally leave you wanting more feedback. The Fixie – and it’s pretentious twaddle alert time – provides you with a rewarding oneness with the road. It’s not better or worse than a carbon frame; just different.
The Race part of the name is deserved. Just stamp on the pedals and the Chip Race works with you – the strong bottom bracket ensuring fast, efﬁcient transfer of power from your legs to the road.
The light wheels and frame meant we found ascending to be a pleasingly stress-free experience, with granny gearing rarely required.
Frame: Lightweight chassis made from top-end Reynolds 953 tubing
With its £2,000-plus frame-only price tag (the build tested would set you back over four grand), the Chip is the ﬂagship of Fixie’s two-bike road race range. That price might seem mad in these ﬁnancially testing times, but there’s a reason for it. Or rather, 953 of them.
Reynolds 953 is now the benchmark for steel bikes and has a tensile strength similar to that other pricey frame material: titanium.
Essentially, 953 is iron alloyed with nickel and chromium, and the resulting heat-treated steel can be made into thin-walled but super-strong tubing. It demands top dollar mainly because it’s incredibly hard to work with and weld.
Put on a blindfold, pick up the Chip Race and you’ll swear it’s carbon. Weighing in at 1,525g, the frame compares favourably to many carbon fibre sportive bikes.
Equipment: Carbon finishing kit aids comfort, and white wheels add a touch of bling
Our bike was kitted out with a Ritchey Ouzo Pro carbon fork – which Fixie Inc is considering offering buyers – FSA K-Force bars and a Ritchey WCS seatpost and stem, which helped make the bike responsive, involving and lively but easily comfortable enough for long days in the saddle.
Our frame was also paired with DT Swiss Mon Chasseral wheels. These have a mixed reputation, but we didn’t ﬁnd issue with them. White rimmed aesthetics aside, the Mon Chasserals are built with climbing in mind, so they’re light and smooth rolling.