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Bike Ark is the latest brand to enter the Indian bicycle market. Born at Indian Institute of Technology Madras and built by bicycle enthusiasts these bicycles are slowly becoming famous mainly because of their impressive aesthetics. With the popularity of fixed gear bicycles slowly increasing this is a good time for an affordable fixed gear bicycle to hit the market. We got the opportunity to test ride the Bike Ark Exo (2017) and here is what we thought.
The Bike Ark Exo (2017) is built using a Hi-Tensile steel frame. Steel is the most commonly used frame material on bicycles. This steel frame was molded perfectly and the tube welds at the joints are impressive. The tubes are all thin but being made with steel, this automatically makes the frame stronger and capable of handling bumps and speed breakers on city roads. The frame geometry was a good mix of comfort and aggressive which helps acceleration. The rigid steel fork is thin and did not add any extra weight to the frame.
Fixed bicycles have always had a reputation of having great design. This has become a norm around all fixed bicycles across Indian and International brands. The Exo which we test rode came in a full black frame. The gloss paint job was neat. The highlight of the Exo’s design was the Tri-Spoke design on the front wheel. This black Mag wheel design made the bicycle look aero. The bull born handlebars added an extra style quotient to this bicycle.
The Exo is single speed fixed gear bicycle. The rear flip-flop hub makes this bicycle roll on both free wheel and fixed gear modes. This flip-flop hub was easy and quick to remove and turn. The fixed gear mode felt smooth to pedal but the first few pedals felt like it slipped a bit but that was just the new chain getting used to the rotations. After the initial few meters the ride on fixed gear mode was safe and balanced. That being said, one needs to get used to not having a free wheel pedal rotation before starting to accelerate.
The basic V-brakes on the Bike Ark Exo (2017) wasn’t the most balanced and accurate when it comes to halting amidst traffic. Usually fixed gear bicycles come only with a front brake but to add extra safety and easy riding, the brand decided to provide rear brakes as well. The brake levers were not accessible from the bar ends of the bull horn handlebar and required us to come to the straight bars to apply the brakes.
The bull horn handlebar on this bicycle was perfect in length and the bar tapes were padded well to provide a good grip. The bull horns made the riding posture aero and thus assisting in acceleration.
The 700C x 28C Compass hybrid tires were well supported by the spokes and tri-spoke alloy rims. These tires rolled fast on city roads. While not the most well-treaded tires, they were enough for flat urban streets.
The stock saddle was perfectly shaped and padded to keep the rider sore free on daily commutes. The overall ride quality was comfortable and fast on urban roads.
This fixed gear bicycle had an easy to flip rear hub and a strong steel frame. With fast rolling 700C tires and a sporty bull horn bar, commuting amidst traffic was a breeze. This bicycle comes with 2 frame colours and 3 rim colour options making it a stylish fixie bicycle. Priced at Rs.10,999 the Bike Ark Exo is best suited for fast commuting and experiencing the joy of fixed gear cycling.