Takara Sugiyama Flat Bar Fixie Bike Review
The Sugiyama is worth a detailed look if you’re interested in entry-level fixed-gear bikes. It won’t put a dent in your wallet and its solid construction will provide safety and peace of mind when you’re out on the road. Whether you’re planning to ride in a rural setting or through urban streets, the Sugiyama delivers a wonderful ride at an affordable price.
Great strength at a great price
This bike is built incredibly strong yet still remains very light, weighing in at just over 30 pounds. The Takara Sugiyama consists of a handcrafted steel frame with horizontal dropouts for rough and safe rides. The city tires are 700 x 32, giving you extra stability when maneuvering through urban streets. The drawback of this tire size is that its width does require you to work a bit harder to stay at higher speeds. They’re built for rugged terrain so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Stock tubes have the tendency to develop slow leaks from the spoke rims on rougher routes. As a general rule, install some rim tape at the time of purchase to extend the life of your wheels.
Freewheel or fixie?
If you’re unfamiliar with the terms freewheel or fixie (fixed-gear), they refer to the type of gear that the bike pedals configured with. Before you go out on the road, you’ve got to choose whether you’d like your pedals locked into the rotation of the bike or if you’d like the ability to coast.
When you’re set up as fixie (fixed-gear), you have to be prepared to constantly be moving your feet. More importantly, if you’d like to stop or slow down, it’s up to your legs to make that happen. And if you choose to hit the brake, your feet will decelerate at the same rate as the bike. There is a certain novelty to this riding style, so only use it if it feels natural for you, not because you see it in the movies.
When you’re set up as freewheel, this will feel natural if you’re used to riding mountain or hybrid bikes. With this setup, you’re completely reliant on the hand brakes to slow or stop. There is less focus on your legs and feet so this is likely the more comfortable if this bike is brand new.
Much like our Takara Kabuto, this bike is outfitted with a flip-flop hub to allow for riding freewheel gear or fixie. Riders choosing the fixie route often say they have more control over the bike and feel safer. This is especially important when riding downtown or urban areas with a lot of traffic and hazards. You’ll also find that you’re receiving a much better workout as you are constantly pedaling and utilizing your upper legs for braking. As for casual riders, the freewheel gear maybe feel more comfortable and familiar if you’re coming from a background of mountain biking. What’s great is that you can always switch back just by flipping the wheel. The main sprocket could be a bit larger as you’ll find yourself pedaling quite fast to maintain speed. Unless you’re trying to race with this bike, it shouldn’t be an issue.
- Flat-bar fixie bike with handcrafted steel frame
- Flip-flop hub works in fixed gear or freewheel single-speed modes
- 32-hole alloy wheels and loud 700 x 32 tires
- Front and rear alloy side pull brakes
Easy to assemble
Looking for something that you can ride right away? While you can’t ride this thing straight-out-of-the-box (boy, wouldn’t that be nice) it should only take about 30 minutes to put it together. Along with your own wrench and the pre-packaged tools, you’ll find that the simplicity of its composition yields a much shorter time to get out on the road.
And because of its simple setup, you’ll also find that the required maintenance is on the low end as well. With fewer pieces, the less you’ll have to worry about parts breaking down over your next several years of ownership.
Sit straight and fly right
Having the flat bar allows you to ride more upright if you’re finding it uncomfortable to lean forward as you would with a drop handlebar. Coupled with the comfortable grips and front/rear alloy side pull brakes, you’re riding a very solid bike. And because you won’t need to switch the orientation of your hands as you would on a road bike, your hands never leave the bars. This is incredibly important when riding in high traffic areas with hills and obstacles.
Great selection of colors
Each color scheme looks great and often yield double takes from passers by. Believe me, this bike gets the looks. If you’re a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to go with the Orange/Yellow or Blue/Grey schemes as the tires hide the dirt much better than the stark white tire on the Black/Blue model. Either way, you’re getting a great looking bike that will stand out in a crowd. Not only will you be receiving compliments, but you’ll also be that much easier to see when you’re out on the busy road.
Factor in the incredibly low price and you’ve got yourself one heck of a great deal.