Thursday, June 26, 2008

Redline 925 Review

I have a decent chunk of miles on the Redline now, mostly commuting, but I've also used it for a few training rides so I think it's time to share some thoughts on this rusty colored beast.

Thus far, I've only used the bike in fixed gear mode. It's very simple to flip the wheel around and run it as a single speed with freewheel so you can coast to your hearts content. It comes stock with a 15T fixed cog and a 16T freewheel. The chain ring up front is a 42T. I find the 42-15 ratio to work very well for my needs. Yes, I'm mashing up hills, but on the flats I rarely spin out over 90-100 cadence unless I have a strong tail wind.

Fixed gear is fun.

It's really fun. I love flying down the hills spinning at 180 cadence at over 30mph zipping here and there dodging all those nasty potholes which would send me flying off the road down in to the woods, or maybe the Hudson river if I'm lucky.

I'm pretty sure riding the fixed gear is good for my training. It forces me to pedal the entire time, and also forces me to mash more than I would typically do on the geared bike both riding in to the wind and going up hills. My knees feel better already. Seriously.

O yeah, back to the Redline. It's heavy, fat, ugly, don't buy it.

I'm guessing this beast weighs in at a hefty 25lb's. Quite a bit considering it does not have much going on, or hanging on it. It comes stock with some pretty swanky black plastic Planet Bike fenders with...drum roll...mud flaps! They do their job admirably and I haven't been sprayed once by the nasty NYC muck on the streets.

The frame is double butted 4130 chromoly steel. The fork is straight bladed steel, and tapers nicely from top to bottom. It's a pretty stiff ride, but not terribly so. Compared to my race bike it's STIFF. The carbon frame and fork do wonders. I did not appreciate this until going back and forth between the two bikes on the same day. Huge difference in ride quality...but the Titus FRAME costs nearly $1000 more than the entire Redline bike.

The paint job is really nice. It definitely draws attention. I've had more people comment on what a sweet ride I have, this $525 dollar single speed, than on my significantly more expensive race bike. I...feel offended. The paint job sparkles in the sun and has a decidedly retro appearance with the sexy cream panels on the down and seat tubes. It's tasteful, but loud enough to scream LOOK AT ME. Most people that see it and learn a bit more about it generally say they are going to go get one, too.

It's fun passing geared roadies on the steep climbs with my steel, full fenders fixed gear bike. Stroke thy ego.

The wheels seem very solid. 32H with some thick stainless spokes. Redline badged hubs. The bearings are very smooth on both wheels. I think the wheelset is more than adequate - better than most at this price point. They aren't even terribly heavy. The tires that came on the bike are Kenda Cosmos. Were, I should say. They were 28c with some light tread with grooves for water removal, etc. I got a flat on the second day so instead of bothering with them and risking another flat I put on my 28c Specialized Armadillos. The Armadillos were noticeably larger upon mounting. They are also slightly heavier but WAY more durable and much better feeling when riding, which is a pretty huge insult to the Kenda if anyone knows how poor the Armadillo rides...certainly no gp4000 by Continental!

Bullhorns are the bars that come stock. I don't particularly like these. They put too much pressure on my hands and force them in to an uncomfortable angle unless I angle the bars up a lot then I have too much pressure on the hands. They are also a touch too wide. Good for climbing, bad for everything else. I haven't measured them but I'd guess they are around 46cm wide. I'm awaiting some standard road brake levers and shall put on a drop bar I have kicking around.

The brakes are no name dual-pivot brakes. They work. They are quiet. They are not as strong as my Cane Creek SL on my road bike, but more than adequate.

I can't comment on the saddle. I took it off before leaving the store and had my Brooks Team Professional put on.

For a little over $500, I think this is the "GO TO" for commuters that don't mind having only one gear. Believe me, I did a lot of research, essentially checking every manufacturer out there, for the ideal single speed road bike. Cheap, versatile, fenders a plus, durable for long distance riders like me. It's a very solid bike and will last for years to come. It's looks defy the price tag, which may not be a good thing depending on where you wish to leave it.


elmonica said...

Interesting review

I picked one up off a Ebay recently. I guess one drawback of this bike I have read about is that the track style dropouts along with the fenders make removing the rear wheel a pain. I need to practice it in case I get a flat someday.

Do you have any thoughts on this?

Sean Smith said...

Try removing it when it's flat or very low psi and see if that works. I've no problem removing it on my bike when the tire is flat. I can't remove it when the tire is properly inflated, though.

BTW, I removed the chain tension thingees in the dropouts. I'm not sure if they exacerbate the removal of the tire. I also removed the plastic guard on the chain.