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Fixed gear bike for very short (5ft) rider?

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Fixed gear bike for very short (5ft) rider?

Old 04-27-13, 02:48 PM
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luvsgiraffes
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Fixed gear bike for very short (5ft) rider?

Hi, I am having a really hard time finding a decent quality fixed gear that fits! I don't know too much about bikes/fixed gears, but have tried to do research online and at my LBS. Any advice and suggestions are welcome!

Me: female just about 5' tall. Test rode 47 and 43cm(650c tires) bikes, 47cm is a little big in stand over and reach (esp since I want drop bars). Will be riding it for a 12mi round trip commute, mostly on a bike trail. Current bike is a Marin commuter/hybrid (21 speed) that weighs around 30lbs, guessing its a CroMO frame, would love something lighter to carry up my stairs (esp since I don't usually bother with the gears)!

Read a lot of archived posts on here, and had my heart set on the Fuji Classic Track 43cm, but all the bike shops I've talked to called Fuji and said that they are no longer making Tracks! SO... now I am once again on the hunt for a good quality fixed gear (I don't need top of the line, but want something reliable). Hopefully priced around $400, but willing to fudge for the right one. Am fine with a complete bike, but also kind of like the idea of making one from scratch. I'm fine with 650c tires as I'm afraid of top overlap.

The options I've found can be ordered through LBS but, I would need to purchase toe cages and drop bars and I'm not sure about each one's quality/build:
- Fuji Betsy $390: CroMo frame weighs 23lbs, not sure about components, but haven't heard anything negative, also... on a less important note, it is a bit too girly/purple so probably want to swap out either wheels or tires. (Not being made anymore but one in stock at LBS)

- Pure Fix $325: Hi Ten Steel frame weighs 20lbs, however have heard that many of the components need to be swapped right away, such as pedals, brakes and bottom bracket, but LBS said that PureFix does have really good customer service

- SE Lager $419: Seems that people on here aren't too fond of SE, why? LBS said that Fuji makes SE? LBS offered to throw in free drop bars, but Hi ten Steel frame weighs 26lbs!

- SE Draft Life $329: Seems to be pretty similar to the Lager? But it weighs 27lbs.

Just found:
- Fuji Declaration ~$500, may be able to order? On LBS website or instock a few hours away. CroMo Frame, 24lbs. I like the coloring.

Thanks again for any help!
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Old 04-27-13, 03:44 PM
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I can't make any recommendations on the Fujis, but stay away from the Pure Fix and the SEs. You can get much better bang for your buck.
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Old 04-27-13, 07:49 PM
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Talk to Richard at Wabi Cycles. I believe it's his daughter that is 5' and they have smaller frame sizes. As far as quality, I've got a Wabi and love it.
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Old 04-27-13, 07:49 PM
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BikesDirect(dot)com has 43cm Motobecane Messengers and 44cm Kilo TTs for sale. Both within your price range and a variety of colors as well.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...essenger_x.htm

http://bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/kilott.htm
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Old 04-29-13, 01:06 AM
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Cool! Thanks for the suggestions, I will definitely look into these. Those Wabi's come in a 42cm! And they are pretty sweet looking, but slightly more than I was thinking of spending... will have to do some thinking... they are so light!

BUT... Also... have another option which I'm leaning towards. Opinions? Found a LBS that offered to order me a SE Draft Lite (we can only order the full bike), take off the wheels and sell them, but build me better quality and also much lighter wheels. He wouldn't charge me the full price of the complete bike, so total cost of bike would come out to be ~$500 and I'd also be able to support a LBS that was highly recommended by a coworker.

Any opinions on the SE draft lite frame and other components? Am I better off buying the more expensive Wabi from the start? I'd prefer to buy it/order from a shop as I'm still learning about maintenance and I'd hate to be one of those people that asks for buying advice, then brings in my internet bike that I now have issues with... or put together wrong etc.

Thanks, and sorry for all the questions!
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Old 04-29-13, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by luvsgiraffes View Post
Cool! Thanks for the suggestions, I will definitely look into these. Those Wabi's come in a 42cm! And they are pretty sweet looking, but slightly more than I was thinking of spending... will have to do some thinking... they are so light!

BUT... Also... have another option which I'm leaning towards. Opinions? Found a LBS that offered to order me a SE Draft Lite (we can only order the full bike), take off the wheels and sell them, but build me better quality and also much lighter wheels. He wouldn't charge me the full price of the complete bike, so total cost of bike would come out to be ~$500 and I'd also be able to support a LBS that was highly recommended by a coworker.

Any opinions on the SE draft lite frame and other components? Am I better off buying the more expensive Wabi from the start? I'd prefer to buy it/order from a shop as I'm still learning about maintenance and I'd hate to be one of those people that asks for buying advice, then brings in my internet bike that I now have issues with... or put together wrong etc.

Thanks, and sorry for all the questions!
Wabi is in an entirely different league compared to the ones you are considering. Much higher quality bike. You'll find more satisfaction in buying a wabi.
Don't be afraid to take it to your LBS. You gave them a fair enough chance to help/ offer you a fitting bike. Besides, wabi does not have a dealer network.
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Old 04-29-13, 03:00 AM
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Definitely I'd say do the fit calculator to find out the right size for sure. I know for me (although im a guy) the bike i was fitted with originally a SE Draft Lite 49cm was okay on the height, however due to my weirdly long torso, it ended up causing backpains from leaning over for so long, as well as on my kilo tt. My new bike is better fitted for me at 51cm (still slightly small, i would ideally fit a 53 but my short legs say otherwise). A fit calculator will definitely help since you said you wanted to go into drops you should make sure the top tube is the right length so your back isn't scrunched/bent in some way that will cause pain during and after you ride. But you could compensate that with a long stem but I've yet to see one past 120mm.

Do a fit calculator, it'll take you probably 10 minutes if you do it by yourself, less with a helper.
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Old 04-29-13, 03:35 AM
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once youre sure on the size you need 'fit calc', bide your time save and get a bike you know you will really enjoy. I made that mistake the first time around and bought a bike i overall wasnt happy with, second time around it was because of necessity and i love it but its a little bit to small and thats my fault because i was quick to buy and think after.

take your time, look and save monies and get something you wont regret later. like bear said, wab is a different category all together. they make good frames/bikes. it sounds like youve got an itchy trigger finger, hold off. in the end when you make your decision, you will thank yourself and the people here offering advice.
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Old 04-29-13, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by GENESTARWIND View Post
once youre sure on the size you need 'fit calc', bide your time save and get a bike you know you will really enjoy. I made that mistake the first time around and bought a bike i overall wasnt happy with, second time around it was because of necessity and i love it but its a little bit to small and thats my fault because i was quick to buy and think after.

take your time, look and save monies and get something you wont regret later. like bear said, wab is a different category all together. they make good frames/bikes. it sounds like youve got an itchy trigger finger, hold off. in the end when you make your decision, you will thank yourself and the people here offering advice.
Thanks so much for all the replies (and patience). Definitely guilty of an itchy trigger finger. I've been wanting a fixed gear for a few months, but finding one that fits and I like the look of is proving to be harder than I imagined. I think that's why I jumped on the LBS offer it just seemed like it was too good to be true. (I had actually told him to order it, but then cancelled a couple hours later, realizing I was being impulsive). Finances are tight and I don't really need another bike... which is why I LOVE your suggestion to wait for the right bike.

The resounding opinion seems that I should wait to purchase a Wabi?
With that... I apologize, I kinda feel like a child asking an adult to explain why the sky is blue.
But (haha, my mother would chime in with "oh, there's always a 'BUT') just wondering if anyone has the time/patience to explain why Wabi is worth the price tag? Or can you point me to resources where I could figure it out myself? Every bike shop I've gone to has been really nice, but it seems that they are only really pushing things that they are able to order (which from a business standpoint is completely understandable). I know it's not really fair for me to ask their opinion on bikes I've found online or in other shops, but I'm at a loss as to where I could find out knowledgable opinions about all my options. Hence all the questions here!

I've read tons of reviews and posts on lots of different bikes, and I realize that everyone has their own opinion on what is good versus bad, but I also know there is something to be said about good quality. Good quality bikes have certain things in common, so I guess maybe what I should be asking is what makes a bike reliable and good quality? And then from there maybe I'll have a better idea of what I want, where I can sacrifice a little bit of quality for saving money. A friend said that pretty much you find a brand you like and stick with it, or it's trial and error, but as you mentioned, I don't want to end up with something that I really don't enjoy. I love my Marin, but bought it solely on the recommendation of the store person, and have since realized that even though the stand over height is great, my arms/back feel cramped on the handlebars.

From what I can tell, the things Wabi has going for it are: the frame which is made from a higher quality steel which is exceptionally light (also designed to be very sleek and pretty) and a durable yet lightweight wheel set? And I'm guessing these plus other things I've overlooked are what make the Wabi such a winner over the SE or Fuji?

Edit: Wow, reply turned out long. Sorry. Have found (am reading) "stickied" resources which I'm hoping will answer a lot of questions & alleviate mini rant above.
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Old 04-29-13, 07:44 AM
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Personally I don't know that the fit calculator is really all that useful for those of us on the far end of the sizing bell curve. Our options for bikes that even marginally fit us are pretty few and far between, so knowing that a 520mm top tube would be better than a 500mm one isn't all that useful when there aren't those options available. Also it depends on what riding you are doing. 12mi round trip isn't very far, and small sizing imperfections will be less noticeable for your 6mi rides than if you were planning to do centuries on it, and many can be negated by swapping out stems, bars, etc.

But that's just my 5'1" opinion.

I love my Fuji Track but if I were to do it over again I would totally save up for that beautiful Wabi. I have been lusting after it for a long time. Don't be too upset about them not making the Track anymore. It's nothing special other than being tiny - which I realize is often all we can get.
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Old 04-29-13, 11:09 AM
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The way I see it when it comes to wabi cycles, if it comes with the GX410 fixed wheelset I'm sold, I've heard nothing but positives about them and I'm also looking at getting a set for my new bike; lightweight, stays true, and overall looks great and at the price they offer it is amazing too. Wabi Cycles look great too, and I'm sure you'll be getting what you pay for too.
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Old 04-29-13, 10:22 PM
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i know it might not be what you want to hear, but if you're buying a bicycle for the first time in a long time, i suggest getting a mid-range bicycle first, for you to get a feel for whether or not you want to truly ride a single speed. wabi bicycles, though nice, are a fair bit more than say a kilo, and you'd probably feel less bad if you dented up a kilo rather than a wabi. i personally just build up junker bikes, and don't worry so much about whether or not i lock them up in the best of places; sure they have nice parts on them, but to the casual bystander they just look like any other bicycle. best of luck to you.

ps: if you end up looking for a road bicycle with gears, i suggest trying to find a cheap georgena terry bicycle. might be worth your while; at one point, i was sitting on four of them and couldn't get rid of the frames to save my life, b/c i didn't know any women who were short enough to ride them (so sad that i, as a a 64" guy, was too tall to ride them T_T)
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Old 04-29-13, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by smoothness View Post
i know it might not be what you want to hear, but if you're buying a bicycle for the first time in a long time, i suggest getting a mid-range bicycle first, for you to get a feel for whether or not you want to truly ride a single speed. wabi bicycles, though nice, are a fair bit more than say a kilo, and you'd probably feel less bad if you dented up a kilo rather than a wabi. i personally just build up junker bikes, and don't worry so much about whether or not i lock them up in the best of places; sure they have nice parts on them, but to the casual bystander they just look like any other bicycle. best of luck to you.

ps: if you end up looking for a road bicycle with gears, i suggest trying to find a cheap georgena terry bicycle. might be worth your while; at one point, i was sitting on four of them and couldn't get rid of the frames to save my life, b/c i didn't know any women who were short enough to ride them (so sad that i, as a a 64" guy, was too tall to ride them T_T)
Definitely the fact that when my kilo falls over i dont worry about it (worry about my GR-9 pedals though) or when i lock it up, but my Leader 725 (the frame only) im paranoid to even leave it on the ground seeing as how the bike once its built will be 2x as much as i paid for the kilo. Theres always the route of converting an old geared frame which i will attempt at some point where my wallet has sufficient funds to support a 3rd bike.
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Old 04-30-13, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by smoothness View Post
i know it might not be what you want to hear, but if you're buying a bicycle for the first time in a long time, i suggest getting a mid-range bicycle first, for you to get a feel for whether or not you want to truly ride a single speed. wabi bicycles, though nice, are a fair bit more than say a kilo, and you'd probably feel less bad if you dented up a kilo rather than a wabi. i personally just build up junker bikes, and don't worry so much about whether or not i lock them up in the best of places; sure they have nice parts on them, but to the casual bystander they just look like any other bicycle. best of luck to you.

ps: if you end up looking for a road bicycle with gears, i suggest trying to find a cheap georgena terry bicycle. might be worth your while; at one point, i was sitting on four of them and couldn't get rid of the frames to save my life, b/c i didn't know any women who were short enough to ride them (so sad that i, as a a 64" guy, was too tall to ride them T_T)
If you RTFP, you'll see that she already has a bike. She specifically wants to upgrade/change to a ss/fg. I find the "don't buy a nice bike, you'll be afraid to scratch it" advice really odd. Bikes are to be used. Nice bikes aren't nice because they look pretty, they're nice because they ride well.

Originally Posted by kite991 View Post
Definitely the fact that when my kilo falls over i dont worry about it (worry about my GR-9 pedals though) or when i lock it up, but my Leader 725 (the frame only) im paranoid to even leave it on the ground seeing as how the bike once its built will be 2x as much as i paid for the kilo. Theres always the route of converting an old geared frame which i will attempt at some point where my wallet has sufficient funds to support a 3rd bike.
The "converting an old frame" advice doesn't work so well when you're super short and frames that fit you are few and far between. Nevermind the advice around here is generally to buy a complete bike or you'll end up spending more anyway.


Girl, buy you a Wabi so I can live vicariously. kbai
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Old 04-30-13, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by luvsgiraffes View Post
Thanks so much for all the replies (and patience). Definitely guilty of an itchy trigger finger. I've been wanting a fixed gear for a few months, but finding one that fits and I like the look of is proving to be harder than I imagined. I think that's why I jumped on the LBS offer it just seemed like it was too good to be true. (I had actually told him to order it, but then cancelled a couple hours later, realizing I was being impulsive). Finances are tight and I don't really need another bike... which is why I LOVE your suggestion to wait for the right bike.

The resounding opinion seems that I should wait to purchase a Wabi?
With that... I apologize, I kinda feel like a child asking an adult to explain why the sky is blue.
But (haha, my mother would chime in with "oh, there's always a 'BUT') just wondering if anyone has the time/patience to explain why Wabi is worth the price tag? Or can you point me to resources where I could figure it out myself? Every bike shop I've gone to has been really nice, but it seems that they are only really pushing things that they are able to order (which from a business standpoint is completely understandable). I know it's not really fair for me to ask their opinion on bikes I've found online or in other shops, but I'm at a loss as to where I could find out knowledgable opinions about all my options. Hence all the questions here!

I've read tons of reviews and posts on lots of different bikes, and I realize that everyone has their own opinion on what is good versus bad, but I also know there is something to be said about good quality. Good quality bikes have certain things in common, so I guess maybe what I should be asking is what makes a bike reliable and good quality? And then from there maybe I'll have a better idea of what I want, where I can sacrifice a little bit of quality for saving money. A friend said that pretty much you find a brand you like and stick with it, or it's trial and error, but as you mentioned, I don't want to end up with something that I really don't enjoy. I love my Marin, but bought it solely on the recommendation of the store person, and have since realized that even though the stand over height is great, my arms/back feel cramped on the handlebars.

From what I can tell, the things Wabi has going for it are: the frame which is made from a higher quality steel which is exceptionally light (also designed to be very sleek and pretty) and a durable yet lightweight wheel set? And I'm guessing these plus other things I've overlooked are what make the Wabi such a winner over the SE or Fuji?

Edit: Wow, reply turned out long. Sorry. Have found (am reading) "stickied" resources which I'm hoping will answer a lot of questions & alleviate mini rant above.
Wabi owner with my perspective.

Light, handles well, great wheelset, all solid, quality components. Good looking clean bike, well finished and well put together. The frame has a more relaxed geometry than more trackish bikes which makes it very comfortable on longer rides. Richard at Wabi will bend over backward to do everything he can to make sure you are satisfied with the bike. For example, I wasn't sure what size stem I wanted and I called to make sure I could order a replacement stem if I needed to. (I wanted to match the stock one.) He told me to just send the old stem back if I wanted a different size and he would send me a new one.

It doesn't come with pedals. You will have to supply your own. The saddle was pretty comfy even though I changed it out to something personal. The stock tires had a harsh ride and I got a flat right off so I changed them out for 25mm Continental GP4000s's. Otherwise the bike is good to go right out of the box. All I had to do was install the front wheel put the handlebars, saddle and pedals on, tighten everything (you will need a lockring tool, a couple of hex wrenches and a 15mm box wrench) up and I was good to go. A shop shouldn't charge you much to put it together if you aren't confident of doing it yourself. Any friend with any mechanical aptitude at all could do it easy in fifteen minutes.

Last edited by jerseyJim; 04-30-13 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 05-03-13, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by misskaz View Post
Girl, buy you a Wabi so I can live vicariously. kbai
Haha... well I think I've pretty much decided on the Wabi... too bad you are in Chicago, too far for a joy ride.

jerseyJim, thanks for your post it pretty much sealed my decision to get a Wabi. And I have been hearing about their outstanding customer service. After doing a bit more research, I've realized that I would probably enjoy the more relaxed geometry, as I'm more of a ride along and enjoy myself versus a go as fast as possible type of rider. Plus hearing about their outstanding customer service, plus I'm as good about maintenance as I should be, so I'd rather save up for something that is going to be reliable and hopefully avoid frustration down the line. Lots of pluses for the Wabi it would seem. I don't think I've read a single negative thing about the Wabis. Closest was someone saying that you can get a bike for cheaper, but Wabi is still hands down the best bargain with quality parts.

Now I've just got to decide on which color. Leaning towards the teal since it's a bit more unique. With a brown seat and handlebar tape, it'll have a stunning classic look! I won't be purchasing it for a month or so, but will definitely have to post pictures etc once I have it clasped in my fingers!

Hahha funny thing about nice bikes getting scratched... I actually have what I consider a nice bike. (Compared to past used craigslist mountain bikes and walmart bikes). In the almost 3 years I've had my bike nothing has broken on me yet! *knocks on wood* However, most of the doors I take it through regularly have large chunks missing... just about derailleur height. am working on my "getting through the door-without it slamming the back of your bike" technique. Plus it is white so sometimes color rubs off on it from being locked up etc. I figure that bikes were meant to be ridden, bonus points for riding in the rain and a few scratches give my frame character, and usually come with a funny story.
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Old 05-03-13, 11:00 AM
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Great! Please update us and post some pics when you get the bike. Here are a couple of pics of my Wabi.
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Old 05-03-13, 02:52 PM
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Hey JersyJim,

I like your bike, here's mine

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Old 05-03-13, 06:43 PM
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hey bb just passing on the solid recommendation. thanks again!
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Old 05-04-13, 01:17 PM
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Gorgeous bikes!
Haha I was driving down the road yesterday and actually pulled over because I thought I saw a parked teal wabi. HAHA got out of my car... walked back admired the bike, then got back in and drove away. I don't think it was a Wabi though, the front decal part was different.

Also... does anyone have recommendations on pedals, toes clips or are they called cages? Not sure if I need straps? Esp ones that are balanced well for ease getting my foot in. I've done it a few times, but don't have that on my bike now). Right now I'm riding whatever came with my bike. Black plastic flat pedals.

Are these any good? Overkill? ($36 from Wabi)
Exustar PC960 pedal set
Want to keep it simple, and superlight? The PC960's feature sealed
bearings, extruded aluminum body, and can be ridden on either side.
Accepts toe clips and straps.
Body: Extruded aluminum
Axle: CNC-machined Cr-Mo
Bearings: sealed
Binding: NA
Cleats: NA
Weight: 99g/pc
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Old 05-06-13, 12:02 AM
  #21  
green n mean
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there's not a lot of difference between metal platform pedals for general commuting. just go to your LBS and get whatever they have. they can also put the toe clips on and straps on for you.
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Old 05-07-13, 02:11 AM
  #22  
smoothness 
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if you're just screwing around or riding to work, i say get plastic bmx pedals. you can get them in lots of different colors (omg color coordinate!), and they're basically indestructible, not to mention nicer on your shins. cheap + just as good = a win in my book. also, if you're crafty with a sewing machine you can make your own straps if you don't want to stick clips on plastic pedals, which admittedly might look a bit weird.
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