The Specialized Langster New York may resemble a yellow taxi cab, but the US$880* aluminium road fixie's aggressive handling and quick responses show there's more under the hood than just a fancy paint job.
Taking a page out of the bike messenger DIY handbook, the New York comes stock with chopped-down flat bars (a sideview mirror- and bus-clearing 420mm wide) and flat-terrain and spin-perfect 42x16 gearing.
The 73-degree head and seat angles are comfortably laidback, a boon for extended riding, and coupled with a somewhat stubby 43mm fork rake with 5.9cm of trail, one could easily flick a small stone out of the road while trackstanding at a stop light without skipping a beat.
The semi-compact aluminium frame and carbon fork provide a stiff ride, which is good for jumping off the white stripe at traffic lights.
There's some forgiveness from the 32-spoke wheels, which take the edge off longer rides due to the spongy feel inherent with longer stainless steel spokes.
Neither the hub flanges nor rim height are as extreme as some of the DIY wheels we've seen, but a Phil Wood/Velocity Deep-V combo is typically used on a steel frameset, which is more forgiving to begin with than aluminium.
Although the chopped-and-flat-barred fixie concept is new to me (I've been riding bullhorn, drop, and moustache-barred versions for nearly 20 years), I enjoyed the 'big-boy' BMX feel.
If it wasn't for the front brake I might have been able to do bar spins! And skidding was no problem because it was easy to brace a leg on the bars. This certainly upped the legitimacy of the Langster New York with my skid-happy riding buddies.
The 19.5lb 58cm sample we tested over the past three months certainly turned heads everywhere we rode. The overpowering mix of predominantly yellow and black colours caught the attention of curious onlookers, which unto itself creates somewhat of a safety net around the Langster New York.
Save for a carbon-wrapped Specialized seatpost, all components are standard plain Jane fare, and all serve their purpose as needed.
The pedals should be replaced straight away, though: double-sided platform pedals would be better than the one-sided toe-clippers that came out of the box.
Overall, the Langster is a fun and fast bike. The $140 price increase over the 2008 version is somewhat shocking, because the spec remains exactly the same. Still, the multiple city-themed Langster series offers something for everyone, and if the taxi cab concept doesn't trip your trigger, there are other options in the lineup.
* The Langster New York is not available in the UK, but other models are, including the drop-barred Langster Monaco and Langster Silver. We've got a Silver on test, and in the next part of this long-term test we'll let you know how it compares.
BikeRadar's long-term tests
Here on BikeRadar we already review more products than anyone else. But we've decided to take that a step further on a selection of our bikes in order to give you more in-depth reviews. Yes, we're literally going the extra mile.
We'll file several updates on each of our long-termers, starting with the bike setup and our first impressions, then a more detailed look at the ride handling and any quirks we pick up, and after some serious miles, we'll report on any durability issues that arise.