We get it. There is a certain appeal to a fixed gear bike. The simplicity and clean lines of a fixie capture the essence of bicycling while giving the impression that rider and bike are one with each other. So when Venice, California based Sole’ Bicycles offered to send us one of their fixies to check out, we were stoked.
Formed in 2009, Sole’ Bicycles is one of a handful of companies that make stylish fixies that are constructed from quality parts and are affordable for most. Ok now you know everything you need to know. Opening the unmistakable box that housed our el Tigre model on its commute from sunny California to the East Coast, we were curious to see how Sole packs their bikes. Packaging for the most part was good, protecting all of the key parts and amazing colors. However, the packing of the front wheel did result in a bent spoke. That aside, we took to unwrapping it and putting the sucker together.
The el Tigre comes mostly assembled, requiring only the attachment of the front wheel, handlebar, seat, and pedals. It only took about an hour and a half to assemble despite having to finesse a fork dropout to set the front wheel. As it comes assembled in freewheel form, we opted to try that out first. Later on, we will flip the rear hub to fixed gear.
First, we should tell you, this bike draws attention. The silver finish paired with white trim and deep orange wheels is handsome and attracts curious onlookers. Sole’ definitely has their shit together when it comes to bicycle aesthetics.
Out on the road, the steel framed el Tigre feels both nimble and sure-footed. While heavier than aluminum, it lacks the un-even footing that aluminum bikes have on less than stellar roads. Even on the worst of roads, at no time did the el Tigre lose its composure. Performance is spirited, considering the heft of the steel frame and mountain bike style handlebars. Make no mistake, this is not lightning quick, it’s not a road bike, but neither does it try to be. It is, however, a great bike for the city dweller, commuter, or cyclist looking to have fun. And look good doing it.
All in all, we enjoyed our time with the Sole el Tigre. Despite some small packing and assembly issues, the bike is a fun ride and looks hot too!