When Fixed Freestyle Bikes Become Commuters Again Oct 23, 2010


Back in June, I showed you the Brooklyn Machine Works Launchpad Townie. Fender mounts, 8-speed Alfine hub, clearance for bigger tires and hand made in the USA.


Then today, Volume announced their Generator commuter. Same deal, minus the fender mounts and it comes with disk brakes. Volume describes their Generator as:

“We’ve been working on this bad boy for awhile now. Some of you guys might have seen it at our booth at Interbike? Our first post or mention of it was about a year ago with random parts we had in our warehouse. The Generator is a combination of a commuter and BMX. The thing rides like a dream and can still jump off a curb and do a mean wheelie. Features include: Full heat treated CRMO frame, fork and bar, EBB, fixed dropout, Shimano 8-spd. Alfine hub, Tektro Auriga Pro hydraulic brakes, 700X45c Resist tires, and much more. We’ll be offering it as a complete and should be due out around April/ May. What you see in the pic will be very close to what the production model will have. We’ll have more pics and info on the site asap.”

In an age where the fixed freestyle bike is moving further and further away from being an all-around bicycle, is this the answer? I think it is. There are a few things I’d change on the Volume (like who wants a commuter without fender mounts?!) but other than that, it looks good. I’m also not a fan of disk brakes but that’s a matter of opinion. There’s a bigger issue at hand here.

Back when we were rolling 38c at the biggest and still riding our bikes everywhere, something like this wouldn’t have been necessary but now, it seems like the fixed freestyle bikes are becoming more specialized. The guys who wanna do grinds and massive gaps are on 26″ with pegs and the tapper-tech guys are still rolling 700c but with big tires and slightly lower saddles.

People love the aesthetic of these bikes more than anything. A big, burly bike with big tires attracts all kinds of attention. They make the bigger riders feel comfortable and will take a pothole without coughing. You can hop curbs and take them off road. Having an 8-speed hub isn’t bad either. I find all this interesting. from one thing spawned many and as we saw in the Skidface video, it’s come a long way.

Are 700c freestyle-esque commuter (freewheel) bikes the next phase in the evolution of the urban bicycle? Or is this the last attempt to stay close to the fixed aesthetic and resist buying a road bike or cross bike? That’s for the consumers to determine.

  • Matt

    the volume looks like a blatant ripp of the BMW. Same cut in the vertical tube and all.

  • Sean

    Matt, you’re an idiot. Its not a “vertical tube,” it’s called a seat tube. Volume’s seat tubes are crimped, not cut like the BMW’s. Volume crimped their seat tubes way before the Launchpad, on their Thrashers. Basically, nothing at all leads me to believe that it’s a “blatant knockoff,” let alone any similarities other than the fact that it is a commuter bike.

  • http://bicyclecoffeeco.com matthew

    bikes like this make a lot of sense. seems pretty useful in a city.

  • http://fuckyeahitsfixed.tumblr.com logan

    nah lookit the seat tube.

  • dAniel

    what happened to mustache bar wearing touring bikes with some fatties?
    still like these bikes though.

  • jesse heber

    slowly getting there guys. got a bike similer but very close to tha bigger bmx urban assault bike i want to ride thru tha inner city on. pretty cool. jesse heber melbourne, Australia

  • Mike

    The Volume is rad, great idea, and would make and awesome commuting bike. But in my opinion far from a freestyle bike, I don’t consider jumping curbs and wheelies freestyle. If you want to do freestyle I think this bike is limiting. Fixed freestyle bikes have a purpose, they are fixed, which opens them to a whole bunch of unique tricks no other bike offers. If you want to go free wheel and free style. Why not ride rigid 26″ jump MTB, even brakless.. Aesthetically they look great and the ability to do tricks would be much greater than a bike like the Volume. Plus fun as hell to ride around the city and to commute on. I think Fixed Freestyle should stay Fixed..

  • http://flickr.com/beaverbeavs beaver

    that volume looks like a beaver bike! im looking into this!

  • sam

    AWESOME! i hope i can get the fork with the disc brake mount to use on my bruiser

  • trevor

    why the eccentric bottom bracket and “fixed” dropouts? Does “fixed” mean horizontal? HUH?!

  • Frazchops

    It had to happen eventually, it’s basically a ‘cool’ looking hybrid. As for freewheel equipped Freestyle-esque bikes with the move to 26” I can’t see it being to far a leap to start using a freewheel for big wheeled trick riding. After all manuals are miles better looking than gomy wheelies!

  • youdumb

    stfu dude, alot of bike look the same.

  • Lamour

    Get a roadbike already.

  • J

    I commute on a Milwaukee Bruiser. One of the reasons I bought it because I think it is the sharpest looking bike ever made. I have never done a trick on it- and really don’t plan to. I agree with much of what you say. The main reason I picked it up was to ride a rock solid hassle free bike that could take anything. Could I have done this riding 7 speed cruiser?- sure. I think it comes down to the low tech (but well designed) simplistic layout, well built frames, while riding something that is easy to care for and store. That is the beauty of the urban bike- it has so many sides that make up a complete picture….

  • http://macamcaca Terry B

    good write up.

  • Anti

    What is a rip off? A seat tube cut out a rip off? What about all the other frames with a seat tube cut out? They’re rip offs too? It isn’t even a patented design, stop being an elitist.

  • http://www.loosenutscycles.com Loose Nuts Cycles

    Its funny you posted this because at the shop we just rebuilt a Bruiser with a bunch of old parts as a commuter. Freewheel, brakes, basket etc. Having proper leg extension again is pretty sweet. If nothing else it points out the versatility of these bikes.

  • http://zlogblog.com butch

    i’d rather just raise the seat on my All-City. Everyone who tricks around in Seattle still rides their big bike everywhere. We all have diff. bikes but the whole point is being able to ride the same bike to the spot where your trickin.

  • NWD

    Count me in on a Volume Generator. Hopefully they dont cost an arm and a leg.

  • Dan

    Both “commuters” look amazing. I personally think FGFS has peeked and is in limbo on where it’s headed. Where it was once a 700c wheel is now a 26″ and with pegs. The sport has moved so fast in such a short amount of time that I predict that the majority of them just decide to buy a BMX bike next.

  • http://gettoworkordietryin.blogspot.com James B.


  • dontcoast

    Norco and Scott and others have been doing this style of bike for a year or 2, with 38/40c’s, alfines etc. including some crabon fribe belt options.

    but these do look good.

    burly commuters that look good will (hopefully) sell well- as much as i love track and road bikes, this is waaay more useful to a much larger audience.

  • negaatio


  • jon

    This trend + racks/fenders = win
    can’t wait to find out ETA and cost, I’m in the market for a “do it all” (commute, shred, cx, maybe even tour down to PDX on) bike

  • twowords

    what kind of tires are those? do they fit regular velocity deep v’s?


    I’ve been using a freewheel on my volume cutter its kind of like a Bmx/Cx baby.that i can do manuals on it and 180’s just like my bmx cruiser.I might ease up the ratio though for easier trail riding

  • Ben W

    I’ve been riding a Charge Mixer for a little while, which follows a very similar formula. Short wheel base with quick angles, steel, EBB, discs, Alfine 8-speed, 700c, etc. Incredibly tough, fast, comfortable, versatile city bike. I swapped on a pair of drop bars and a set of fenders and couldn’t be happier.

  • Phil E

    So is the CRMO butted? What’s the figurative production weight? The last one may not be as interesting to discuss as the niche evolution of the urban bike, but could factor in the popularity.

    Idk it usually matters in mtb, and roadies.