Wabi Cycles is a Los Angeles-based company founded by a longtime bike enthusiast, which specializes in fixed-gear/single-speed bicycles. I’ve been riding the Wabi Classic fixed-gear bicycle around for about a month now, and have really gotten to know this bike well in that time. Here’s my Wabi Classic review:
The Wabi Classic bike arrived boxed up and I have to say, it was really well protected in the packaging, with much of the frame also wrapped in cardboard tubes to keep it safe from scuffs and scrapes. After removing those, I really admired the nice finish on the bike – both the paint and the nice welds. It was also nice that there are no tacky decals to remove – this bike has a clean, well-made look about it that you have to admire.
The Wabi Classic frame is made from Reynolds 725 cromoly steel. This is a higher quality of steel than most of the steel bikes out there, and (as I’ll discuss more below) you really can feel the benefit of this quality in the way it rides – the frame quality really makes a difference. But this does not mean it is a heavy bike, because in fact the Wabi Bikes Classic only weighs 18.4 pounds for the whole bike (not just the frame) and feels super light when you pick it up. The frame is also designed using removeable stainless steel cable clips instead of built-in brake cable guides to route the brake cables, so if you plan to remove the brakes the frame will have a clean look like many fixed-gear riders like (legal disclaimer: I’m not recommending this – I like having brakes :-)).
As I mentioned above, the Wabi Classic bicycle comes standard as a fixed-gear bike. Since this blog is focused on cycling for beginners, let me explain that a fixed-gear bike (or fixie) is a bike with one gear that is attached to the rear wheel that always turns with the wheel – meaning you must keep pedaling when the bike is moving (no coasting down hills, etc.). The Wabi Classic’s rear wheel hub is a “flip-flop hub”, meaning you can have a fixed gear on one side and add a freewheel (that allows coasting) on the other side and switch back and forth if you want to, and Wabi has optional freewheels that customers can add for this purpose.
As far as the Wabi Classic’s other components, I’m not aware of any better component mix at this price point. The crank and wheels are good quality, and the brakes were so good they inspired me to change out the brakes on my road bike. For those who are into the details of components, you can see the full list here.
In addition to the option to add a freewheel to the flip-flop hub, Wabi offers customers a lot of options to tailor the Wabi Classic to their needs. You can choose different crank and cog sizes to get the gearing to meet your individual riding needs. In addition to colors, you can also choose saddle type, handlebar type, crank arm lengths, and stem types. Please note that, as with many bikes, pedals are not included (the pedals in the photo are mine), but Wabi has several pedals to choose from.
Now for the really good stuff – how the Wabi Classic feels on the road. As I mentioned above, the frame on the Wabi Classic really translates into a great riding bike. The light-weight Wabi Classic definitely feels quick and nimble, just feels the way a bike should feel, firm with the right type and amount of flex. The gearing felt great to me, and I took the Classic on some of the same training routes I usually ride my road bike on and I was really impressed.
While the saddle was a bit hard and narrow for my aging and ample posterior at first, I grew accustomed to it – and some riders will probably like it from the start (Wabi does offer is a larger saddle option also). Overall, the Wabi Classic is a fixed-gear bike that can be a great training bike for road bike riders as well as just a great all-around bike – a bike that is designed for a great ride, not just to look good.
The verdict: The Wabi Classic is a good looking, well-made bicycle with quality components, light weight and excellent road feel.
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