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One of the reasons we love Critical Cycles is their dedication to putting out very affordable fixed gear bikes that far outperform with price range. We aren't sure how they keep doing it, but we're definitely okay with it.
The Pursuit is one of their more popular bikes, and it doesn't take long to see why that is. This bike offers a true fixie experience, and even has the cool bullhorn look that was initially very common on home-converted fixed gears on old road bikes.
The Pursuit has taken that approach and mastered it, combining a track-style frame with solid components and a minimal aesthetic. There isn't a lot going on with this bike, but what the aspects that are there have been done very well.
It's obvious that Critical Cycles has catered this bike to those who may just be getting into fixie riding, but there is no reason why a true fixed gear enthusiast can't enjoy the Pursuit just as much if not more. That's why we are so into it.
INTRODUCING THE CRITICAL CYCLES PURSUIT FIXED GEAR BIKE
FRAME: Steel frame
BREAKSET: Promax brakes
SIZE: 43-60 cm
TIRES: Kenda 700c 28 inches
EXTRA FEATURES: Flip-flop hub
When ones first sees the Pursuit on the road, it's easy to initially assume that this is a bike some fixie rider spent time putting together themselves. It's got that vintage road bike frame look, basic colors, and of course, the bullhorn handlebar.
Indeed, this bike has been made to blend into the fixie world, balancing out a blend of style and performance, while keeping the price accessible to those who might otherwise be tempted to get a bike off Craigslist and try to do the whole thing themselves.
There's a better way, and it's the Pursuit. With a maximum price staying below $250, there's no reason why a rider with a limited budget can't get themselves a high-performing fixed gear that will get the approval of seasoned riders you encounter on the streets.
It starts with the frame. Hand-built using high-tensile steel, it has a track-influenced design, with horizontal dropouts and a very solid fork. Despite being steel, the Pursuit still manages to keep its weight in the low 20s, depending on frame size, of course.
A pista-style saddle with steel seatpost handles the seating aspect, adding a little to the racing feel the bike gives off. The 25.44mm bullhorn handlebar encourages a more aggressive riding style by leaning forwards. The extended stem places the handlebar even further out, although the angling places it a little higher for a more relaxed position. A 1" thread quill headset provides seamless turning.
The Pursuit offers both fixed gear and freewheel riding all made possible with a sealed cartridge hub and 16T rear cog. This is paired with a Protek 46T crank, which uses a KMC chain.
The freewheel hub side is made by Sunrun. 9/16" low profile BMX-style pedals come via VP, offering plenty of surface and durability.
For those who are wanting to stay street legal, or have an aversion to brakeless riding the Pursuit comes with a single rear handbrake that is well-placed on the handlebar. The simple caliper brake provides accurate braking in tight scenarios, and controlled slowing with ease.
The Pursuit's wheelset is very solid. 43mm deep V double wall rims are light, quick and durable, and help contribute to a smooth and agile ride. Wanda City 700 x 23c further the bike's quality ride feel, and help withstand the minor inconsistencies on city paths and roads.
Critical Cycles includes a bike multi-tool that can be used on all of the Pursuit's components with each bike order, offering you an easy way to do maintenance and make emergency repairs when needed.
WHAT WE LIKE
Overall, we love the value of this bike. Critical Cycles gives you a price range that's more common in big box retailers, but gives you a legitimate and reliable fixie that performs twice its price.
The frame is steel, but the weight is not not unreasonable. Since the biggest strike against steel frames tends to be weight, the Pursuit manages to sidestep this, while still offering the stability and rigidness of steel.
The included bullhorn handlebar setup is great. This gives the rider plenty of variance with their positioning, without feeling like you are bent over too much. The extended and angled stem has a lot to do with that. It's a good balance.
The wheelset helps to ensure a smooth and stable ride on the Pursuit, while also giving you confidence to ride aggressively in urban areas without worrying about trashing your rims. Bending is at a minimum, and the Kenda tires are very tough.
Let's not leave the looks out of it. The Pursuit looks awesome, and has an authentic fixie aesthetic to it, regardless of what colors you go with.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
This is a minor complaint, but it'd be nice if the center section of the handlebars was a little longer. The size basically forces you to use the bullhorns for steering, although there is a little room in the center. Adding some handlebar tape would likely help.
Also, as a whole, it's important to remember that this is not exactly a workhorse kind of bike. Yes, you can ride it frequently, but if you are needing something for serious daily commuting in a demanding environment, you may find yourself disappointed
This restricts the Pursuit's usage somewhat, but it shouldn't be a problem, especially for more casual riders .
If you want to add a bit of flair to your bike, or make the handlebars more usable, we recommend getting a fresh roll of handlebar tape in your color of choice. This will extend your hand positioning options and ,make the bike stand out more -- if you'd like.
As always, we suggest professional assembly too, although those with a little bike maintenance experience will probably be just fine.
The Critical Cycles Pursuit makes it easy to get into fixie biking. The price is very low, but the Pursuit still offers much in the way of quality, durability, and overall riding performance.
If you’ve been looking for the most economical way to get into fixed gear riding with a dependable bike, this should be at the top of your list.