Clean, simple design, with no shifters and cables, and one coaster brake and two gears. This Sturmey Archer hub, quite different from the SRAM 2-speed hub on the GT Meatball, shifts from "low" to "high" gear and back when you kick the crank back halfway, not far enough to activate the brake. This technology has actually been around for generations (I put one on my Schwinn Stingray as a kid) but is rarely seen today. Too bad — it works. For normal braking, apply normal backward pressure. There's a very short learning curve. Other features include rack and fender mounts, a see-through chain guard, an attractive crystal-red paint job and a far lower price than the Meatball.
Dislikes: No quick-release hubs and no fixed gear. Also, it changes gears every time you brake, which can be annoying at first.
$429. (800) 283-2453; http://www.torkerusa.com
Caraci Fixed-Gear F5.0: Aluminum-framed fixie with front and rear brakes and aero wheels.
Likes: Striking looks, with matching neon green paint on the hubs and grips, white tires, deep rims, bladed spokes and a unique frame design with an internally run cable. Includes a flip-flop hub for freewheel coasting. Steel-framed model is $30 less.
Dislikes: No water bottle hardware or quick-release hubs.
Price: $335 to $420; available in late November. (626) 213-1318; http://www.caracibike.com
Wallack is coauthor of "Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100" and "Barefoot Running Step by Step." email@example.com
[Correction 6:38 p.m., Nov. 9: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the Pure Fix Cycles Kilo is $325. The correct pricing is $399.]
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