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…
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.
The dropouts are 7075 alloy with titanium locking bolts.
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.
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.
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.