If you think fixed gear bicycles are not for you, I may have found the fixed gear bicycle just for you. You might think fixed gears are inferior bicycles compared to most other bicycles. They brake worse. They don’t shift and they don’t coast. They come with a sheen of smugness that is hard to buff out.
But it’s hard to deny they aren’t pure fun.
And that’s precisely why your next bike should be the Fyxation Quiver, a Milwaukee-designed swiss army knife of a bike you can ride into the future. The Quiver is a do-it-all, ready-for-anything bike. It is designed to be a fixed gear, a road bike, a cyclocross bike, and if you blur your eyes a little bit, it might even be able to pass as a mountain bike, too.
The Quiver manages to be everything to everyone without feeling like a kludge.
"The Quiver really represents a shift in design for road and commuter-type bikes," says Fyxation owner, Nick Ginster. "It was purpose built to accommodate the varying styles of today's riders."
The frame starts out as one would expect, with 4130 chromoly tubing in "a traditional double triangle design with a horizontal top tube, aero profile fork and horizontal dropouts to easily accommodate a singlespeed, fixed, or internal gear hub."
But here is where it gets interesting. "The Quiver also ships with our proprietary derailleur hanger and removable cable stops so it can be built up as a geared road bike with front and rear derailleurs."
Additionally tire clearance allows for anywhere from the skinniest tires to beyond 45mm (which is basically reaching for mountain bike territory), and the stays are drilled for racks and fenders. Another bonus: it was designed with Wisconsin climates in mind. "We expect that this bike will be ridden year round, so we amped up the corrosion protection by coating the frame inside and out with an highly corrosion resistant electro-deposited undercoating."
So what does this mean for you, dear friend, who is in the market for a do-it-all bike? If you don’t want to run brakes and shifters, you can remove the cable stops and maintain that sleek, designer look. If your knees start begging for forgiveness, you can to a freewheel and reline your brake cables. If you move from the gentle hills of Milwaukee to the rolling highs and lows of western Wisconsin you can attach a derailleur hanger. Want to hit up some trails on the John Muir nature preserve? You can squeeze in fatter tires with bigger treads.
I was given a Quiver to test ride for a week and the weather collaborated nicely to enhance the overall experience. The bike was not exactly set up with my preferred accoutrements. This build came with Fyxation’s own Rodeo bullhorns, their most popular handlebar. I’m not a fan of bullhorns in general, but I was pleasantly surprised that these were ergonomically well considered.
The Fyxation grips have a wonderful tactile feel that I couldn’t get enough of. "The grips were one of our early products, and were designed to mimic the tread pattern on our tires," a unique idea that Ginster had never seen done before. "We used Kraton rubber which is durable, but soft for excellent grip."
Truly, I want this rubber on my bathroom floor, my spatula handles, my keyboard keys...
The bike itself seemed a little on the heavy side, but with the frame and fork weighing in at a mere 5 pounds, I can partly attribute that to the weightier Deep V wheelset.
The frame design takes the track-road geometry and relaxes it a bit. When compared to Fyxation's East Side track frame, the chain stays are longer, the wheel base is longer, the fork is longer, and the bottom bracket is lower. The result is a less aggressive, more comfortable ride.
But despite the weight and the more casual feel, the Quiver still felt snappy and responsive.
This build also highlighted a few other Fyxation products. Beyond the handlebars and grips (ah, those grips), their seatpost has a modern micro adjust clamp to easily set your saddle at precisely the right angle. Need it adjusted less than a millimeter? It has never been easier. The tires are incredibly stiff and are fully cased, which means they are highly resistant to punctures and extremely durable for all those jackass skids you’re going to want to do. The pedals are flat, light, and provide a decent amount of grip and the seat belt style foot straps provide the right strength for keeping your feet on the pedals.
So what’s the final result? Since I started my serious affair with cycling I’ve rotated through many bikes, some more ill-advised than others. If I could do it all over again, the Fyxation Quiver be the place I would want to start. I can imagine that as I grew up and switched styles this bike would have continued to give me reasons to consistently remain in my rotation.
"With the ability to be run single speed, fixed, geared or internal you really can pull whatever you need out of your Quiver," says Ginster. I couldn't have said it better myself.
The Fyxation Quiver will be available in early May with an MSRP of $299 for the frame and fork. It is already available for pre-order at many of your favorite local bike shops. Fyxation also has two other frame designs, the East Side, a street track style frame, and The Third Ward, a restyling of The Quiver, coming later this year.
Fyxation was the brain child of Nick Ginster, who had a background in mechanical engineering.
"Prior to Fyxation I worked for Hayes Brake designing mountain bike and motorcycle brake systems. I've also done contract design for other bicycle companies and have several bicycles and other components under my belt."
The company started in Mequon, but last December they moved to the Pedal Building on South Pierce Street. "Our products focus heavily on riders using bicycles for transportation, so it seemed natural for us to be in the city as we grow. The Layton Boulevard neighborhood also offers the advantage of being adjacent to the Hank Aaron trail, the Urban Ecology Center and Wisconsin Bike Fed."
Fyxation is a worldwide brand with distributors in the US, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Australia. We have retailers in those regions and in Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, the Philippines and customers worldwide.
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.