Fixies are dumb, but I love them — Jack’s hill climb fixie
Modifying a State Bicycle Co Undefeated for hill climbing
Over the past year, my State Undefeated has spent its life as a fixed gear TT wagon, a flat-bar street-skidin’ machine and now, it’s had the weight-weenie treatment and will be my choice for the remainder of the 2018 hill climb season.
State Undefeated hill climb bike key specs
- Frameset — State Undefeated II, 7005 double-butted frame, full carbon Essor fork
- Wheels — Yishin Bike tubular rims on Mack hubs
- Tyres — Continental Podium TT tubular, 22mm
- Cranks — SRAM Omnium with VeloSolo 42t chainring
- Cog — Surly 20t
- Chain — Miche Pista
- Handlebars — Profile Svet TT base bar
- Seatpost — Ritchey Pro
- Saddle — Fizik Antares R3
I’ve made a few changes from the stock spec to make the bike more appropriate for hill climbs.
It’s a hill climb favourite to run bars without tape in the name of weight savings. However, I found the bars to be too slippery with sweaty hands sans tape, so I have wrapped them with a DIY grip tape made from a chopped up innertube.
I’ve also fitted the bike with a set of SRM/Look Exakt power meter pedals. No crank-based power meter solution exists for SRAM’s Omnium cranks.
However, as the Undefeated spends most of its life as a distinctly non-performance-focussed bike, an easily transferable solution like these pedals makes perfect sense.
There’s no doubt I could drop a good chunk of weight from the bike if went for more svelte cranks, chopped the steerer and got some lighter finishing kit, but I could do with losing a bit from myself and actually training first!
A delightfully stiff ride
The Undefeated is designed for Red Hook-style fixed gear crit racing, so it should come as no surprise that the frameset is ridiculously stiff.
During a hill climb, this translates into a bike that feels incredibly efficient, direct and fun.
The last point is the most relevant to me; I just really enjoy riding fixies and that, to me, is justification enough — If I get my kicks out of mashing one (probably wrong) gear up a hill as fast as my little body can, then so be it.
That the bike is highly Instagram-compatible, attracting lots of horrified/admiring attention whenever I post about it is just another benefit.
Are any of our readers riding fixed gear bikes up hills? Or were gears invented for a perfectly good reason? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments.