We ride and review three quite different bikes that can be ridden fixed or singlespeed
The only thing that these bikes have in common with each other is their lack of gears, and the fact that they’re all made of steel. The Black Jack is meant for posing, the Plug is meant for, well, plugging, and the Milani is a racer without a race track. But that goes to show how diverse the fixed movement — if you can call it that — has become.
Everything about the Fixie Inc is unashamedly meant to recall another era in cycling. It’s something quite novel for its level of shiny, chromed detail, and when you ride it down the road, people really do stop and stare. There aren’t many Fixie Incs around, so the fact you’ve ‘cheated’ by buying it fully built, rather than customising it, doesn’t matter as it’s such a head-turner. It costs three times as much as the Charge Plug, but when you consider what sort of a racing bike £1,500 gets you — a pretty basic one at that — you’re not doing badly. With Brooks leather adding the finishing touch, it’s the ultimate retro indulgence.
The Milani Velocita Urbana doesn’t seem to be able to decide what it is. It looks more like a track bike than the others, but it has rear brake bosses and a too-low bottom bracket. For a racing-oriented cyclist, the Milani is the only choice because it’s lighter, nimbler, faster and handles more like a race bike than the other two. But the problem is there isn’t any type of racing it can do, apart from against the Langsters and Bromptons. It has no gears, but it’s not a track bike. Neither is it much use as a winter training bike as it doesn’t have mudguard eyes, and £1,795 is a lot of money for a bike you would only use as a knockabout.
If you’re looking to buy into the fixed community then you can’t go wrong with the Charge Plug. It has all the right credentials — skinny steel tubes, hip graphics, classic brown saddle and bar tape, and at £499 it’s killer value. The Plug isn’t really aimed at racers or Lycra wearers and it doesn’t have mudguard eyes, so there’s not much point in evaluating it as a winter or training bike. But if you had to pick a bike that perfectly captures the current fixed zeitgeist, this might be it.