Kickstarter: Fabike Monocoque Carbon Fiber Urban Road Bike w/ Unique Dropouts

Fabike urban road bike that converts between singlespeed fixed and geared with dropouts for 120mm and 130mm hubs

Seems it’s a Kickstarter season as we’re getting a load of crowd funding cycling enterprises sent into the editor’s inbox these days.

The latest is FABIKE, an unusual take on an urban bike. We say unusual because the project as a whole is rather ambitious in that it entails not just a new frame, but new cranks, hubs, brakes and levers and more. The highlight of the project, in our opinion, is the dropouts.

Sliding dropouts aren’t new, but like most everything else on the bike, they can be rethought. Project founder Fabio Putzolu came up with a nifty way to let you run fixed/single-speed 120mm track hubs and 130mm road hubs using the same set of dropouts. Or, sub in one with a hanger on the driveside and you can run a traditional geared hub.

Switch sides to check out detail pics…

Fabike urban road bike that converts between singlespeed fixed and geared with dropouts for 120mm and 130mm hubs

Spacing on the dropouts inner and outer faces lets you simply switch them from left to right to make room for either a 120mm track-spaced hub or a standard 130mm road hub. Vertical openings make wheel install and removal quick and easy, and compared to most sliding dropouts, these are pretty inconspicuous.

Fabike urban road bike that converts between singlespeed fixed and geared with dropouts for 120mm and 130mm hubs

The dropouts are 7075 alloy with titanium locking bolts.

Fabike urban road bike that converts between singlespeed fixed and geared with dropouts for 120mm and 130mm hubs

Another interesting bit is the hub. Most track/fixie/singlespeed hubs intended for road use a thread-on cog. For the singlespeed side of a flip-flop hub, the cog has the freewheel mechanism built into it, like on a BMX bike. Fabike’s design mimics a singlespeed mountain bike hub’s design, which has the freewheel built into the hub and allows you to use any standard cog you want, like those from Endless or Niner. The same cog can be used on the fixed side, too. No thread-on cogs needed.

Fabike urban road bike that converts between singlespeed fixed and geared with dropouts for 120mm and 130mm hubs

Component bolts and bits will match the frame colors. The frame was designed in Italy by Exemplar, and after manufacturing, the plan is to have it painted and finished in Italy too. It’ll accommodate up to a 700x35c tire.

Fabike urban road bike that converts between singlespeed fixed and geared with dropouts for 120mm and 130mm hubs

If Fabike can pull off the claimed weights, it’ll be reasonably light, too. Frame weight is projected to be 1,100g, and and frameset just 1,550g with fork, headset and seat collar. Complete bikes will be offered in any build, from fixed/SS with 120mm or 130mm hubs, or geared with a 10-speed SRAM drivetrain and their single-ring crankset. The frame’s not designed for use with a front derailleur, so it’ll be a 1×10 (or 1×11 if you build one up yourself with the latest groups) at most. Completes bikes are projected as light as 11.9lbs (5.4kg) as a brakeless fixed gear bike.

You can find all the details of the the project on Kickstarter and their website. Venture over and you’ll notice there’s a lot of talk about it being an urban bike, which forces the question “why no fender and rack mounts?”

Fabio told us he left them off “because they would have compromised both look and performance.” We’re not sure about performance, but after thinking this through, we’re guessing some intentions are lost in translation and that the bike’s intended “urban” use isn’t so much commuting as it is fixed gear shenanigans. And let’s face it, fixie folks strip their bikes of any adornments (like fenders and racks), instead choosing one or two carefully curated ironic pieces of color and flair.

The bike’s geometry backs up this notion, with a pretty steep head angle that’s closer to track or race road bike handling than a commuter. The last question is cost. At around $2,990 for the complete bike with geared set up, it’s a bit pricy for something to just whip around town on, but then again, Trek Bikes has tried something like this, too.

 

Comments

wvcycling - 11/09/12 - 11:40am

Where do you put/ how do you mount the cables and housing if planning on making this a geared bike?

Androo - 11/09/12 - 1:47pm

They’ve sure put a whole lot of work into. It’s a shame that it’s a product designed purely to appeal to trends. wvycycling’s comment is one of several examples of this (as is the rack/fender situation). Definitely for those with more dollars than sense.

Speedy - 11/09/12 - 2:08pm

@WVcycling – I emailed dude and asked that same question. The cable routing is internal and covered up unless in use from what I understand, and he has images of it coming soon to his website.

GP - 11/09/12 - 5:29pm

No front/back brake drillings?

Ryan - 11/09/12 - 6:16pm

this is all design and no engineering. dude needs a babysitter.

Speedy - 11/09/12 - 7:44pm

@ GP – if you look at his website you can find that the brake set is completely proprietary and is some odd version where each brake (front vs rear) has a different reach and one mounts BEHIND the front fork LOL, and the other is TT style under the BB.

stephen - 11/09/12 - 10:00pm

130 mm is far from “Ideal for internal gear hubs” as most are 135mm. Some Nexus are 132, but Alfine and Rohloff are both 135.

Mindless - 11/10/12 - 3:21am

(deleted)

Fabio - 11/12/12 - 8:27am

Hi guys, here is the Fabio, the creator of the FABIKE project.

I’d like to make come clarifications:

@wvcycling and @Androo: on the market there are a lot of fenders with universal mount on seat tubes and down tube (just an example: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/crud-race-pac-mudguard-set/).
For the rack is the same, many solutions to attach to the seat tube (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/topeak-qr-beam-rack-rx-carbon/). There is no more need to have specific hangers on the frame for them. So, why to compromise the look for something that is used rarely and anyway it’s not fundamental?

@Speedy: thanks for clarifying this. Yes, the cable routing is internal for derailleur and rear brake.
The reach on front and rear must be different in TT brakes for geometry needs, check for example this:
http://www.trpbrakes.com/category.php?productid=1031&catid=182&subcat=0
http://www.trpbrakes.com/category.php?productid=1032&catid=182&subcat=0

@GP: the holes for the brakes are placed like in the TT bikes, in the back of the fork and under BB.
This is not for aerodynamic reasons though but rather to try to make the brakes disappear as much as possible and still keep the most minimal look possible.

@Ryan: please, no offenses, let’s discuss about real topics. Why do you think there is no engineering behind this project? (there is more than one engineer involved in this).

@Stephen: there are many different internal gear hubs on the market, with different spacings even less then 130 mm, up to 135 mm as you say. consider that using a 132 mm hub in a 130 mm frame is perfectly possible (2 mm can very easily be flexed) and the same is with 128 or so. The point is that some sliding dropouts without hanger are the ideal solution for an internal gear hub, but 130 mm spacing is of course not ideal for ALL the internal gear hubs (as you say).

We are not absolutely pretending that we have a bike that can do ANYTHING and that will appeal everybody. That bike does not exist and it will never exist. What we are trying to do is to put together many different need that a cyclist can have to obtain a bike with a much wired range of use.

Thanks very much to all anyway for your interest and comments, even if they are not all positive. And I wish you will want to keep discussing about this.

Sincerely,
Fabio

Lancelotlink17 - 11/12/12 - 2:41pm

It is a beauty for sure. Nice lines.

Fabio - 11/13/12 - 5:07am

One more update:
after many requests from potential customers we have decided to feature the FABIKE frame also with a (removable) front derailleur hanger.
This means now you would be able to have on the FABIKE any standard road group 2X10 or so.

dave - 05/01/13 - 10:01pm

Just a carbon frame road bike that can fit a tire bigger than 25mm is long overdue to appeal to some of us bigger clydesdale road racers. I’m 6’3″ 250lbs and would love to have carbon fiber and 28/32 mm tires as an option while retaining a racy geometry rather than having to settle for a heavy a** steel framed bike.

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