Fixie bikes, also called single speed bikes and fixed gear bikes are an absolute blast to ride. Nothing has the tactile response of a fixie since your feet are perfectly in sync with the rear wheel. It's smart to buy cheap fixie bikes since they are designed to eventually be customized to fit the perfect look and feel for the rider. It would be a waste to throw cash into an expensive stock when you ultimately spend money to swap out parts down the road. We found Critical Cycles Harper model to be a well-built flip-flop hub fixie with similar components and design to the much more expensive Pure Fix Original. While both are great urban road bikes for fun or the daily commute, we recommend going with the Critical Cycles Harper and save your money for the upgrades that suit your needs best.
Pure Fix is one of the leading fixie bike companies, and they have a fantastic selection of fixed speed bikes in all sizes and colors. The Pure Fix Original is pricey considering the components it comes with stock. With testing and surveying hundreds of fixed gear riders, we found the stock Critical Cycle Harper model to be a compelling alternative at a much better price. However, the selection of colors, wider rims, and tires may be up your alley if you are willing to pay more.
The price of the Critical Cycles Harper was very surprising considering the selection and quality of the stock build. It sports nearly the same or similar specs as the Pure Fix in construction, weight, chain, handlebars, hub & gear, and saddle. Its additional rear braking and incredible pricing are the most noticeable advantages over the Pure Fix. If you are cash conscious and looking for a great fixed speed bike for urban and commuting, you will love the Harper.
The Pure Fix Original comes in 7 sizes starting at 43cm, which is a very small bike that comes with different components than the rest of the sizes. The largest size is 64cm which is huge.
The Critical Cycles Harper comes in sizes starting at the same small size of 43cm and goes all the way up to 61cm. Generally speaking, this will cover riders under 5' all the up to riders who are around 6'7.
Built to last from high tensile steel and full tig welding. A high tensile strength steel means the bike frame is going to have long-term durability even under harsh treatment.
Built using the same method as the more expensive Pure Fix, the Critical Cycle also uses tig welding which is a process that powerfully connects the frame at joints using the same steel as the frame itself
Depending on the size you get the weight will be between 22lbs and 25lbs, this is a great weight if you need to carry your bike up a few flights of stairs or rack on a bus or car.
We found the weight to be exactly the same with the Critical Cycles Harper. The largest size weighed about 25lbs and was easy to lift with one arm as needed.
With over 13 colors and shades, the Pure Fix comes in more colors than a rainbow, and many of the colors have different color options for the seats, handles, stems, wheels, rims and more. Impressive range and selection.
The Harper sports 6 different options for colors. The staple matte black and clean white choices are great bases to use when adding more accent colors with customized components down the road.
The Pure Fix Original, as well as the Harper, come with a flip-flop hub which allows you to switch from a fixed speed to a single speed freewheel setup. The 44 tooth crank and the 16 tooth cog together make the 44:16 gear ratio which we found best for urban riders.
Matching the Pure Fix Original with the exact same setup, Critical Cycles equips the Harper with a flip-flop hub for switching between freewheel and fixed speed riding. Similarly the 44:16 gear ratio means you get good acceleration and excellent top speeds.
From experience, we have found that brakes are a necessity for city riding. The Pure Fix comes with Promax brakes installed on the front wheel, but nothing on the back wheel.
Critical Cycles has braking redundancy with Promax brakes on the front and rear tires. The extra stopping power as well as having a backup is a better than the Pure Fix for daily riding and commuting.
The Pure Fix Original comes with some extraordinarily wide deep dish 45mm rims with fat 28c tires. This is a setup that creates a durable combination and a smooth ride.
A more commonly used setup the Harper comes with 30mm Deep V rims and 23C Wanda City tires which will be a tad lighter and slightly more aerodynamic for a small speed gain.
The Pure Fix comes with a basic Drome saddle which we found a bit stiff to ride for long distances. The saddle is a good place to invest in an upgrade, and there are plenty of options to choose from.
We found the Pista Saddle to be equally harsh for long distance riding. Again, we would say that this is a pretty obvious place to spend a little extra and improve your ride experience considerably.
Comes with a standard KMC 1/8 chain. The 1/8 refers the width of the chain.
The Harper the exact same KMC 1/8 inch chain for long term durability.
Oury Grips on a 25.4 mm riser handlebar setup. The riser bar allows for a better posture when riding, which is important again for urban settings.
Kraton Rubber Track Grips on a 25.5mm riser handlebar setup. Basically the same setup for fast handling and good upright posture for visibility.