Brick Lane Bikes Classic SS first ride review£499.00

A singlespeed with an old-school feel

Brick Lane Bikes has long been the shop of choice for riders out of the East End of London. Off the back of the fixie boom a few years back, BLB maximised its shop’s reputation by forging an equally acclaimed bike brand, and I got to take its Classic SS out for a ride.

Brick Lane Bikes Classic SS spec overview

  • Frame: 4130 Cromoly
  • Fork: Cromoly with flat crown
  • Wheels: 30mm-deep V-section rims on Novatec hubset
  • Transmission: 48/17 singlespeed
  • Brakes: Unbranded dual caliper

Brick Lane Bikes Classic SS frame and equipment

With its parallel 73-degree seat and head angles, shallow head tube, long top tube, flat crown (chromed) and curved stays, the Classic SS has an old-school feel about it.

The 48/17 gearing allows for plenty of speed providing you’re happy to spin at a decent cadence

It’s kitted out with a short (80mm) stem and deeply curved and dropped track bars (though the package also includes a polished Bull horn bar). Those bars feature textured rubber track grips that feel a little harsh on ungloved hands; that said, traditional tape is included.

It’s also equipped with a negative-rise quill stem. The quill stem may have been consigned to history on modern road bikes, but it’s a decent option here as the design allows for a couple inches of vertical adjustment should you find the ride position on the low side.

The 27.2 diameter alloy seatpost is a nice touch, as is the (vegan) leather-topped, brass-riveted ‘Raven’ saddle bearing the BLB crest. The BLB chainset evokes memories of five-arm Sachs or Campag units, and though the 48t chainring is only pressed alloy, it’s shaped to replicate a period chainring.

The 30mm-deep double-wall alloy rims run on sealed cartridge bearing hubs with a flip-flop rear running a 17t freewheel or 17t fixed sprocket. It’s good to see BLB has used both stainless spokes and brass nipples to increase durability.

Brick Lane Bikes Classic SS ride impression

Great looks, great price and a great ride
Great looks, great price and a great ride

My 59cm test bike weighs just over 10kg, but it rides ‘lighter’, the decent 30mm deep V-section rims, great WTB Thickslick 25in tyres and 4130 cromoly steel frame unleashing a swift yet forgiving ride.

That’s not to say it’s not adverse to be chucked around and slotted through congestion gaps. The 48/17 gearing allows for plenty of speed providing you’re happy to spin at a decent cadence.

The BLB is however let down by its braking performance. The dual pivot brakes are of a higher-grade design wise, but it still suffers from plasticky, flexible, moulded pads that lack any real bite and lead to a squishy feel at the lever.

If you’re running fixed it’s not an issue and the front brake has a bit more bite than the sloppy rear if you want to run front only for fixed duties.

Brick Lane Bikes Classic SS early verdict

Overall, though, an impressive piece of kit: great looks, great price and a great ride to match.

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