Museeuw Flax FixedComments
by Byron on Sep 19, 2009 at 6:46 AM
This Museeuw Flax bike is an orphaned demo bike that Road Bike Action didn’t want anymore and offered to us to test ride. We said "hell yeah" and converted it into a fixed/free with an Eccentric Eno hub.
Why not equipped with SRAM Red and destined for the cobbles? It’ll do that too in the Spring. For the Fall, like other cyclists, we want a fixed/free bike for just riding and spinning the legs. We’ve also been wanting to ride carbon fixed since seeing the District Carbon at Trek World (and before that in Lance’s twitter stream). So we converted a flax/carbon road bike and you can do it too for a few hundred dollars.
- Eccentric Eno Hub – fixed-free-flopping, eccentric thing of beauty
- Long-pull rear brake – rotating the elliptical axle ends up and back in the dropouts and adjusting for chain tension, required a longer brake drop.
- Pulled cables.
- Replaced big ring with Salsa bash guard.
- Removed derailers.
- Couple hours of shop time.
“Who am I to argue with Johan,” I said after meeting him at Interbike last year. He was excited about the frame and told me it wasn’t another spec’d bike with his name on it. From the first ride impression, it’s not. It doesn’t accelerate like the Scott rocketship and conversely that means I wouldn’t hesitate to spend all day riding it. Most noticeable was the front end stiffness. Stand up, go, and the bike doesn’t dive. Without an engineering degree, you can get an idea of the ride by looking at the massive head tube lug and wavy fork.
… with its flax composite frame the bike will glide effortlessly and with far greater control, over the bump and grind of Belgian PavÃ©.Â That in turn, leads to less physical demands on the rider - and increases their ability to stay with the pace.
In context to my ride, I stood up to show Mark V how stiff the fork was, forgot I was riding fixed (eventually this will happen), and was able to control the bucking bronco rear end with body english. I was right back on pace in a pedal stroke and the bike didn’t seem to care. In a thick Flemish accent, the bike was asking me, “that all you got? Hit a giant pothole next time!”
Later in the ride came the 1,000 ft of climbing up to Hugga HQ with a 39 x 17. I wasn’t exactly spinning, but the bike kept moving upwards.
Conclusion: the Flax Fixed looks badass and the 50/50 mixture of carbon fiber and flax isn’t gimicky. The Eno Eccentric is a bike engineering marvel. If I was tired and no other bros present to impress with my climbing form, I could stop, flip the hub, and have two more gear choices: two free or one fixed.
I had the bike, wheels, rear brake, bashguard, and only spent on the Eno Eccentric for the conversion. At an MRSP of $160.00, that’s an inexpensive fixed or single speed. Total conversion cost is about the same as a good fixie frame.
A conversion benefit is the bike is your road bike fit and setup. You can convert it back by connecting the cables, rehanging the derailers, switching wheels, and putting the big ring back on.
I also believe in mixing up what you ride. I enjoy the freedom of urban riding without power or any computers or “training.” It’s just me, the bike, and the road.
I’ll report back after a few more rides and with the bike switched to single. The flax frame is a Euro-style, flat-on-the-top-tube fit and isn’t exactly dialed in for me. As a demo that’s ok, but a 56.5 top tube with a 130 stem has me rather stretched out.
Updating this post because I get asked about this bike so much. After a Fall riding fixed, returned the bike to geared mode, built it up with SRAM Red, added race blade fenders, and have been riding it ever since as a Winter bike. It’s a favorite of mine and the reason is the ride. Flax or not, the way the engineers laid up this bike has the best all-day ride quality of any carbon bike I’ve ridden. It’s flaxy vertical stiffness and horizontal compliance is made for the rouleur.