With their stripped-down, messenger vibe, fixed and single-speed bikes have been making a hipster statement on the urban landscape for some time now. Big Shot Bikes puts its own spin on the trend by allowing shoppers to customize and order models online. The American-made, $429 bicycles can be tricked out by choosing among five different handlebar styles and choosing rim, wheel, crank, seat, and frame colors. Orange tires with a green frame and blue seat? No problem.
What you get is a one-of-a-kind bike in a box ($34.95 for shipping) with some basic assembly required when it arrives. It will take neophytes less than an hour to put the bike together and make sizing adjustments (including the time it takes to hunt for the right tools: Phillips and blade screwdrivers, an adjustable open wrench, and several Allen wrenches). More thorough instructions could streamline the process, but it's straightforward enough.
The bike isn't the lightest at 23 pounds, but with the right color scheme, you'll turn plenty of heads. And the simple, no-hassle, shut-up-and-ride-it bike achieves a more important goal: It's fun. Concrete canyon commuters who don't want to futz with 27 gears (or the infinite adjustments that go along with it) will appreciate the simplicity. Sure, you'll have to get up out of the saddle and stomp it to get up hills, but that's all part of the pure bike joy. Is it cool? Definitely. Is it for everyone? No. But if it were for everyone, well, then it wouldn't be cool. [$429; bigshotbikes.com]