A Single-Speed, Single-Question Personality Test

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on two single speed bikes, and the two couldn’t be more different. Loyal readers have seen these bikes before.

One is the Critical Cycles bike that Pete Prebus reviewed here, but with an E-Bike Kit. The other is my grandfather’s Murray Montery, which has finally started to receive my fix-up attention.

Single Speed Times Two
Critical Cycles (L) and Murray (R)

The Critical Cycles bike has a pretty high gear. I’m not sure I’d like it on the hills around here. I’m a fan of multiple gears, and hell yes I’m going to use that motor on the uphills of my commute. I’m not hauling 25 pounds of battery and motor around for a workout.

The Murray bike is old and even without a motor and battery it’s almost as heavy as the other bike. The gear is pretty low. I can climb the local hills if I stand on my pedals and huff it. But I spin out when I get in the neighborhood of 20 miles per hour.

The other day, Dara Marks came by and asked me some good questions about the demographics of Commute by Bike readers, like, Where do you people live?

I didn’t have an answer, so I looked it up on Google Analytics. The top 20 cities that visit this Web site are:

  1. New York
  2. London
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Chicago
  5. San Francisco
  6. Seattle
  7. Toronto
  8. Portland
  9. Montreal
  10. Washington
  11. Sydney
  12. Melbourne
  13. Denver
  14. Singapore
  15. Phoenix
  16. Minneapolis
  17. San Diego
  18. Vancouver
  19. Austin
  20. Boston

Well Selamat tengah hari Singapore! Nice to see you here.

So what this really tells me is… not much.

Densely-populated, North American, English-speaking cities are well represented in the top 10, followed by more densely-populated, English-speaking cities from everywhere. (Singapore, with a population greater than Los Angeles, probably has just as many English speakers as L.A., so I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised.)

So what are you people really like?

Looking at these single-speed bikes, I think I see a single-question personality test. (e.g. Favorite Beatle?, Grumpy genius or a happy idiot?, Crowded party or quiet library? Ginger or Mary Ann? Presta or Schrader?)

I think the answer to this question will tell me a lot.

Here goes:




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18 thoughts on “A Single-Speed, Single-Question Personality Test”

  1. BluesCat says:

    The sloth in me tempts me to vote for the Critical E-Bike, but my love of classics forces me to vote for the Murray Monterey.

    Oh, and, BTW: Stuart Sutcliffe, I AM a grumpy genius, finding a date to spirit away from a crowded party to a quiet library, Ginger was hot and Mary Ann wouldn’t know what to do when you got her to the quiet library, and I always forget how to work Presta valves.

  2. Rick Arnett says:

    Heavy steel, durable, fat-tired, fat seated, coaster braking no-nonsense retro that’s built for everyday use without pretense. Sure, it weighs 19 lbs more, but that extra mass makes it feel all the more graceful–like those dancing hippos in Disney’s FANTASIA!

  3. Ted Johnson says:

    I have to admit that the Critical Cycles bike feels more efficient to me when I’m in the saddle. The longer cranks are much closer to to what I’ve become used to.

    I had to buy an extra long seatpost for the Murray just to get my saddle the right height, and still it doesn’t feel quite right. More comfort and accessory tweaks to come, and then I’ll write up a post about this bike.

  4. listenermark says:

    I wish the Critical Cycle without a motor was a third choice in the poll. The benefits of an e-bike are obvious and I can completely understand why others would choose to use the technology but I just can’t imagine ever riding one myself. Maybe I will change my tune in a few decades….

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      Aha! You see. Struggling with that dilemma is why this is a “personality test.” So you voted for the Murray?

  5. James Reeck says:

    If it was just riding around, not going anywhere really, I would take the Murray. But I like to move when I commute to and from work. Going to town for an ice cream though Murray all the way.

  6. Mike says:

    I like a classic, but I had to vote for speed.

  7. Brian says:

    Afternoon Tropical Monsoons in Central Florida require fenders. Hip. Hip. Murray.

  8. switters says:

    Friday for me is take the cruiser to work day and leave the geared commuter at home. 45lbs. of Felt steel rolling smooth and steady. Casual dress and a casual bike.

  9. Bikey Larry says:

    I’m using the Critical Cycles fixie but I would leave the battery at home and put a set of dropbars on it.

    I started commuting about 15 months ago and my favorite commuter bike these days is my Trek Carbon District single speed belt drive. My only wish is that it had enough clearance for a set of fenders.

  10. Lance says:

    The motor disqualifies the Critical Cycles bike so I voted for the Murray. Like others, I would chose the Critical Cycles without a motor over the Murray.

  11. listenermark says:

    Yep, I proudly took the Murray.

  12. Goodwheel says:

    There are no less than 18 cities and communities called ‘London’ in the USA.

    So it is not clear whether London UK is second on the list or ‘London – somewhere in the USA’ is second.

    If the former, then that is a good placing as we edge out Los Angeles with a population of 9 million against London’s 8 million.

  13. Shanna Ladd says:

    The Murray. Someday the snow will melt and then the Murray would be nice to ride.

  14. Tina says:

    Hi Commute by Bike,

    I really like this review on two different single speed bikes. They look so retro, but beautiful too. I appreciate the details you’ve gone into comparing them. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing such great advice and stories on your blog!

    I’ve taken a look through your website and we think you’ve done a fantastic job in covering topics that our brand’s active audience would be interested in reading about, such as walking, running, hiking, mountain climbing, etc. It would be great if you could join our community to feature your blog entries.

    If you would like to learn more about this, please send an email with “outdoors” in the subject line to info at atomicreach.com.


  15. Larissa Seda says:

    Today I commuted to work for the first time. Being in South Florida, weather is always a consideration but today’s weather was plain perfect so I didn’t give it any more thought. I LOVED IT! ..and now people at work are getting excited about it. I’m a recreational bike rider so I use a one-speed cruiser. I have yet to learn how to use the gears and hand breaks. I also like having the handlebars at a slightly higher position because of shoulder pain. Love cruisers!

  16. Cruisin' says:

    I am a recreational bike rider and I love my cruiser. Comfortable, single speed, pedal brake, wide, higher handlebar easy on my neck and shoulders and ideal for my “around town” rides. I have tried a more sporty kind of bike but struggle with the gears and hand-brakes.

  17. NYCeWheels says:

    That Critical is way too beautiful for my vote not to go its way. Plus, we love e-bikes, so there you have it.
    It is amazing how much your preconceptions and subjective feelings about the aesthetic of a bike can affect your impressions of its performance! Last month road a two speed on an 8.5 miles commute and felt convinced that it was a smoother, faster ride than a 9 speed commuter I road the next week. Objectively I know that isn’t the case, but I just loved the way the two speed was put together.



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