I purchased an SE Lager back in December and been riding it quite a bit. This is my first fixed gear bicycle and I greatly enjoy the feel of it. Originally I bought this bike for the purpose of commuting to work everyday and for going on rides with friends who tend to keep a slower pace than I am used to. But every time I am going to go for a ride whether it’s 5 miles or 40 miles, my fixed gear Lager has been my first choice for anything that isn’t dirt.
This past weekend I had my first long distance ride on the Lager at 60 miles. This is also the first time I’ve been back on a rigid fork in about 8 years as well. Although I am unable to coast with the Lager and almost all decent grade climbs require me to get out of the saddle, I really haven’t had any problems. The whole no coasting thing took me awhile to get used to but after spending December through February indoors on my rollers, I was ready to hit the streets. For the first few weeks of riding it was a pretty big adjustment getting used to pedaling through bumps in the street I would usually coast through. The steel frame seems to flex a bit over the bumps to dampen the blow though. Even on crushed limestone paths the Lager handles well. I am totally sold on fixed gear riding for road.
When I jumped back on my Mountain Bike with a suspension fork after riding the Lager every day for about 2 months, It also took some readjusting. for the first few miles coasting seemed totally foreign and almost unnatural. I also noticed that with the combination of a rigid fork and fixed gear when climbing I really throw my weight to the very front of the bike almost so that I am leaning over the handlebars. This climbing stance seems to allow me to apply a good amount of leg power to the cranks. Climbing in this position on my front suspension freewheel bike was almost impossible because I couldn’t get as much power out of the cranks and with all my weight forward, my fork was bobbing like crazy and absorbing most of my speed.
All in all I definitely think both freewheel and fixed have their place as well as rigid and suspended. I am extremely happy with the lager and I think for the price ($300-$400) you can’t go wrong. I am using a 46 tooth Origin 8 Track Crankset with 165mm arms in the front and a 17 tooth fixed cog in the back. Seems like a decent gear ratio that I feel comfortable with. I switched the tires out to Continental Contact 700cx28. The tires are a bit on the heavy side but thick enough to ride through glass. perfect for my commute, riding on the littered streets of downtown aurora, or the crushed limestone on the Illinois Prairie Path. I also changed out the saddle to an E3 Form Gel. It’s a decent low profile saddle that is reasonable priced and good enough for longer distance rides, without being too bulky and causing chafing like the SE saddle that came with the bike.