Critical Cycles Harper Review

critical cycles harper review



Pros​​​​

​Comfortable, good body posture, affordable

Cons

​Limited off road, single speed

Summary

​The Harper is designed for you and your city street adventures, simple and affordable yet has a stylish and comfortable frame.

Our Rating

91/100

Manufacturer

The Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed and Harper Coaster are considered the next evolution of the commuter bike. The bikes have custom riding settings such as single-speed, fixed-gear or freewheel -- which allows you to cruise with no need for pedaling. Harper indicates that the bike is designed for daily excursions through city streets.

Tech Specs

FRAME SIZE: XS, S, M, L, and XL
BRAKE TYPE: Promax Brakes
SHIFTER: Fixed-Gear Bicycle
RIMS: Deep-V Double Wall
TIRES: Kenda City Tires

By function, the Harper bike can be operated on all surfaces -- but it is designed for urban environments. The bike is best used as a destination vehicle, capable of traveling short distances each day on smooth city streets or sidewalk concrete rather than dirt roads or offroad.

Frame Size

The Harper Single-Speed features a hand-built steel track frame with clearance on the bar-spin, flat top tube, and horizontal dropouts.

The Harper’s pedals also have no toe overlap. This means that the front part of the pedal has no extra room for toe space.

Critical Cycles offers the Harper in XS, S, M, L, and XL.

Brake Type

The Harper Single Speed has both front and rear Promax Brakes. The brake lever clamp has a diameter of 22.2 millimeters. Harper SS bikes with dual-braking increase the safety of riders by not just giving them control over how they commute, but also aids in safer braking and stopping.

That means you can ride at your leisure without worry about losing momentum as you reach peak speed.

Shifter

The Harper is a single-speed bike, which means it’s a fixed-gear bicycle. With fewer mechanical parts, the bike has a lower risk of damage -- and requires almost no maintenance.

Riding with a fixed-gear has several benefits:

  • Exercise. Since you are in a constant state of motion, your body will always be exercising as you ride the bike.
  • Control. A single-speed bike responds to your feet and body. This means that it can only move as fast and hard as you allow it. You are always in control and sync with the bike.
  • ​Mode changing. Riders can shift to different modes with ease.
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    Custom riding. The Harper comes equipped with a flip-flop hub, which allows you to customize your travel in free-wheel like a traditional bicycle or fixed speed, set to a single gear.

​​​​​​​​You’ll have to adjust the Harper’s flip-flop hub to obtain fixed-speed. Here’s how:

  • ​Remove the Harper’s rear wheel
  • ​Flip the Harper’s wheel
  • ​Remount the wheel

​​​Rims

The rims on the Harper SS are deep-V double wall and are 30 millimeters in length. The rims are designed to anchor the bike in place by holding the wheel steady. Additionally, the style of the rims enhances the aesthetic value of the bike.

Tires

City-dwellers can ride the boulevards on Kenda City Tires, which measure 700” x 23”. These tires are designed for control and efficiency. The minimal tread is perfect for city sidewalks or bike paths and can withstand daily wear and tear. The tires also have a continuous ridge that runs through the center, which promotes effortless movement.

Users are delighted with the tires and the smooth ride it provides.

Kenda City Tires are widely available at online retailers and come in various sizes, each with its own riding purpose.

Spokes

The spokes of the Harper offer balance to the bicycle and wheel. The spokes are high-quality alloy, which preserves itself from weathering and corrosion.

Price Range

Critical Cycles’ Harper Single-Shift and Harper Cruiser are found at retailers like Walmart, local bike shops, and through the website for Westridge Outdoors, the parent company of the bikes. Potential customers can also locate the bikes on eBay or Amazon; however, buyers should note whether a bike has been pre-owned or not.

​​What We Like

We like the fixed-speed of the bike as it relates to urban environments, especially commuting. The bike also offers more versatility than most competitors; riders have an efficient way to beat traffic, exercise, and casually venture through busy metropolitan areas.

Pros

  • ​The Harper SS is a comfortable bike, and its design encourages healthy body posture
  • ​Dual-breaking gives you more control of the bike
  • ​The flip-flop hub allows you to choose the type of ride you want
  • Directions for bike setup are easy to follow

​​​​What We Don’t Like

The Harper SS is a durable bike that is hard to dislike, especially if you live in a city. But at its core design, it is a commute vehicle.

Cons

  • ​The bike has limited off-road capabilities
  • ​Single-speed, fixed-gear design may be off-putting to those seeking a traditional shifter
  • ​The lack of toe-overlap could be problematic for some
  • ​The Harper is shipped in parts at a time
  • Some components may not fit modern standards, which can hurt quality

​​​​​Buying Advice

The Critical Cycles Harper Single-Speed is an excellent, comfortable bike for its price. It’s designed for frequent riders and offers a smooth traveling experience. If you’re looking for a dependable bike to help you with your daily commute, consider a Harper for the task.

Its durability makes it ideal for use in a major city. And its sturdy frame can accommodate heavier riders. The Harper’s customizable features offer a variety of riding styles, such as freestyle, for those that like to travel at one pace.

For those seeking to exercise more or ride at a consistent speed or force, take a look at our Hybrid Bike review, where we cover similar bikes but with geared systems.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to skip weekday traffic or upgrade your current bike to something designed for the urban sprawl, the Critical Cycles Harper is an excellent choice to consider. It’s not only affordable, but lightweight and comfortable, easy to dismantle, and gives the rider more control as they travel.

The Harper SS is a bike that every commuter will love. It can travel on smooth city blocks to rough terrain if need be. Its features also make for an exciting ride each time you are out on the town. So start riding with confidence -- get yourself a Harper!

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Last update on 2019-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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