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I'm a New Wabi Owner--Review

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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

I'm a New Wabi Owner--Review

Old 06-17-16, 07:28 AM
  #1  
rjmcgovern
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I'm a New Wabi Owner--Review

This is a follow-on the earlier post about Wabi's new home. I thought it would be helpful if I posted a review of my Wabi Lightning SE, which I've been riding for about a month. If you aren't familiar with Wabi single speed bikes, they're very light weight bikes made by a master craftsman.

My Wabi weighs about 16.75 pounds. I chose the lighter weight wheels (a $50 option) and the upgraded tires ($65 option) which removes about 1/2 pound from the standard bike weight. The bike has a traditional geometry, almost giving it a retro look. I'm a 6,000 mile per year rider with 5 bikes, including a Pinarello road bike, although the Wabi is clearly my favorite. The fit and finish is extraordinary, more like a swiss watch than a bicycle. My girlfriend teases me because I refuse to ride it in the rain, despite my history of commuting every day of the year, rain or shine. Honestly, it's too beautiful to get slopped up in messy weather.

I chose to add a second rear free-wheel, which means you can flip the wheel to change gearing. One one side I have an 18T for cruising around town, and a 16T on the other side for faster missions. The frame is made of steel, although there is a carbon fork to soften the ride. I recommend the bull horn handle bars which are helpful when climbing. One of my other bikes is a Pure Fix single speed, although the 7 pound weight difference is hugely noticeable. The Wabi feels like it's one gear easier.

I paid $1,400 for a Wabi Lightning with every option and upgrade. It's honestly the best $1,400 I've spent in my 200,000 miles of cycling. Single speed cycling reducing everything to just you and the road. There's a certain Zen to the Wabi bike.
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Old 06-21-16, 08:10 AM
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Thanks for your detailed review. I am considering the same bike. I take it that you are riding strictly as a SS, and not as a FG? I think I want to go SS, as coasting down long Arkansas descents seems very enjoy to me. Also, do you find the bull horn bars to be a detriment in any situation other than climbing? Thanks in advance for any other info, if you see this reply to your review!
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Old 06-22-16, 04:05 AM
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OP - if you didn't already know, you might be interested to learn that the new Wabi owners, who appear to be quite a bit more interested in social media than Richard was...quoted your review on their FB page
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Old 06-22-16, 08:25 AM
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@beardogger: Honestly, I'm scared to death to ride fixed. I only use single speed freewheels, perhaps because I'd "forget" as move among my bikes. Regarding the bull horns, I really haven't experienced any downside. There are two placement options for the brakes, either on the flat part of the handlebar (adjacent to the stem), or at the tops of the bullhorn. I chose to put them on the flat part of the bar, at the advice of a single speed expert, and am happy with the decision.

If you decide to buy the bike, you won't regret it. I've always thought their is a certain Zen related to riding a single speed, and the Wabi amplifies this feeling. It's truly a remarkable machine.
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Old 06-22-16, 08:27 AM
  #5  
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@IAMSam: perhaps this is consistent with Richard's view on life. He doesn't seem to care about boasting or tooting his won horn. Perhaps it's the mark of a true craftsman :-)
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Old 06-22-16, 07:12 PM
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My Lightening SE just arrived yesterday; very happy with it so far. Great customer service from Curtis, one of the new Wabi owners.
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Old 06-22-16, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rjmcgovern View Post
@beardogger: Honestly, I'm scared to death to ride fixed. I only use single speed freewheels, perhaps because I'd "forget" as move among my bikes. Regarding the bull horns, I really haven't experienced any downside. There are two placement options for the brakes, either on the flat part of the handlebar (adjacent to the stem), or at the tops of the bullhorn. I chose to put them on the flat part of the bar, at the advice of a single speed expert, and am happy with the decision.

If you decide to buy the bike, you won't regret it. I've always thought their is a certain Zen related to riding a single speed, and the Wabi amplifies this feeling. It's truly a remarkable machine.
Thanks for the kind reply. I have been in contact with Matt Gragg at Wabi Cycles. He has been very helpful. I hope to go to their physical place of business in Tulsa, OK, one day next week. It will be a 4 hour drive for me, one way. But, I want to make sure that a Classic may not be just as good (or better..) for my own use before pulling the trigger on a significantly costlier bike (the Lightning).
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Old 06-22-16, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rjmcgovern View Post
@beardogger: Honestly, I'm scared to death to ride fixed. I only use single speed freewheels, perhaps because I'd "forget" as move among my bikes. Regarding the bull horns, I really haven't experienced any downside. There are two placement options for the brakes, either on the flat part of the handlebar (adjacent to the stem), or at the tops of the bullhorn. I chose to put them on the flat part of the bar, at the advice of a single speed expert, and am happy with the decision.

If you decide to buy the bike, you won't regret it. I've always thought their is a certain Zen related to riding a single speed, and the Wabi amplifies this feeling. It's truly a remarkable machine.

That zen you feel with a freewheel is just the tip of the iceberg. That bike needs to be fixed gear.

I started riding fixed after 38 years of riding road bikes and now switch between road and fixed daily.

Just practice on a soccer field first. You will do fine. Smiles guaranteed.


-Tim-
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Old 06-23-16, 11:22 PM
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I have been talking myself into and out of a Wabi for the last few months. If I get one, it will be my first fixed gear bike. It will mostly be used for quick training rides and sunday rides with my kid and Dad. Kinda pricey for just that, but, damn they are pretty and get good reviews.

Part of me wants to order the frame and wheels and build out from there, but i know it will get pricey quick.
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Old 06-24-16, 07:40 AM
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I plan to make the drive to Tulsa next week to check out the new Wabi physical location, in Tulsa. Whether I end up buying a new bike from them or not, I hope to be able to provide a report on the experience.
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Old 06-25-16, 04:45 PM
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I got my doors blown off in central park today by a guy on an older wabi lightening!
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Old 06-28-16, 06:37 AM
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I ordered my Wabi yesterday. I was hoping to make a trip to the Wabi shop, in Tulsa, OK, but just couldn't find the time. After talking with Matt, I decided on the Classic, rather than the Lightning, with two fixed cogs on one side , and a freewheel cog on the other. I won't be able to put the bike together until next weekend, but hope to be ready to ride by the 4th of July.
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Old 06-28-16, 12:43 PM
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Rode 55 on my Lightning on Saturday. Hope to do 60 this Saturday if the wind isn't too strong.
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Old 06-28-16, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Beardogger View Post
After talking with Matt, I decided on the Classic, rather than the Lightning...
What convinced you to go with the Classic instead of the Lightning?
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Old 06-28-16, 11:18 PM
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Ability to add fenders and a rack. At 53 years old, with no racing aspirations, we doubted I would feel the speed/performance difference to justify the Lightning over the Classic, either.
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Old 06-29-16, 06:09 AM
  #16  
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Congrats

@beardogger, I hope you also enjoy your Wabi. Enjoy the first ride.
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Old 06-29-16, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Beardogger View Post
Ability to add fenders and a rack. At 53 years old, with no racing aspirations, we doubted I would feel the speed/performance difference to justify the Lightning over the Classic, either.
Thanks for the info. I just turned 52 and I'm weighing the same options. The Lightning looks like an awesome bike and I love the colour options, but I think the Classic makes a lot more sense for me. I'm not a speed demon and there aren't a lot of hills where I live, so I probably wouldn't notice the speed/performance difference either. I was also worried about the possibility of denting the thinner steel on the Lightning.

Please provide an update after you get out for a ride.

Cheers.
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Old 06-29-16, 11:56 AM
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I like my Lightning a lot but the Classic is a better buy and more flexible. If I were to buy an additional fg bike it would be the Classic set up with wider tires, fenders and probably a rack.
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Old 06-29-16, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
That zen you feel with a freewheel is just the tip of the iceberg. That bike needs to be fixed gear.

I started riding fixed after 38 years of riding road bikes and now switch between road and fixed daily.

Just practice on a soccer field first. You will do fine. Smiles guaranteed.


-Tim-
Agree with this, or at least that it's worth trying. I waited months when I got my first SSFG road bike to put a cog on because fixed seemed intimidating, and it was far more straightforward than I expected. Fixed gear road riding is something every roadie should try (except those people who can't handle their geared road bikes, I guess).
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Old 06-30-16, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by bowzette View Post
If I were to buy an additional fg bike it would be the Classic set up with wider tires...
I was thinking about a Classic with wider tires as well. What size would you go with?
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Old 06-30-16, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by streetcore View Post
I was thinking about a Classic with wider tires as well. What size would you go with?
Either 28mm or 32mm. I ride paved roads the same distances I ride my geared bikes and would probably try both. If the 32 was noticeably slower it would be the 28.
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Old 07-01-16, 01:04 PM
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I am a new Wabi owner as of today. I picked up my Wabi Classic this a.m. Everything I read about these bikes is true. They are gorgeous to look at and are a sweet riding bike. I had made the move from a multi speed road bike to a single speed last year. I live in Florida and found I used no more than 3-4 gears out of 20. Living in a small condo with no room for storing multiple rides I had to choose. I love the clean look of the single speed bikes and wanted to have my dream build. This is it. I made a great choice. Many thanks to all the good folks that post in these forums. A couple years ago I knew nothing about bikes. I'm still a newbie, but due to the information shared on this site by people that are very passionate about cycling and their generosity in sharing their knowledge, I now have a bike I know I will enjoy for many years to come.

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Old 07-01-16, 01:57 PM
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Thanks guys, I'm new to this forum so I really appreciate the reviews.
Do any of you have other suggestions for forums that I could find that could help me decide on what wabi frame I should look at buying? I just have to be sure before I go ahead and order one.
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Old 07-02-16, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dcting View Post
Thanks guys, I'm new to this forum so I really appreciate the reviews.
Do any of you have other suggestions for forums that I could find that could help me decide on what wabi frame I should look at buying? I just have to be sure before I go ahead and order one.
Cheapest, best value, fenders, wider wheels, rack, and a size for the vertically challenged=Classic
The "classic"-not the Classic Wabi bike=Special due to lugged frame
Lightest by around a pound=Lightning-the old scandium frames were two pounds lighter

Depends on how you plan on riding it. No bad choice.
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Old 07-02-16, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dcting View Post
Do any of you have other suggestions for forums that I could find that could help me decide on what wabi frame I should look at buying?
Did you see this page on the Wabi site? Which Wabi should you get?

It gives a pretty good explanation of the different frames.
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