5 Stars By MWK on 2016-09-30
Awesome daily commuter
I recently moved to an area where daily bike commuting has become an option for me, so I'm only just getting back into riding a bike - My review is written from that frame of reference. Also, I'm rating it 5 stars based on value (obviously there are better bikes, but none that can even remotely compete at this price level). I've been using this bike as a daily commuter for about five months now. This bike is AWESOME for $199. I challenge you to find another bike remotely close to the quality of this one for the same price (besides used/self-built). I wasn't ready to invest the time/effort into hunting for a used bike (with potential issues) nor do I have the expertise to comfortably build a bike from the ground up. My goal was to find an affordable, decent quality, good-looking, simple and comfortable daily commuter for a relatively flat area. Critical totally delivered on every front.
Unboxing/Assembly:The bike came well-packaged and assembly was EXTREMELY straightforward. All necessary tools are included (though a phillips screwdriver is required to adjust/remove the reflectors). No, the tools aren't great quality, but you're buying a bike, not a tool kit. The brakes needed some adjustment to get the wheel clearance right (easily done with a single nut). Unboxing to road-ready was probably a 20-30 minute process at most, and would be intuitive to anyone who's ever assembled a piece of IKEA furniture. One key item that is not included is a bicycle pump to inflate the tires. If you don't have one, be sure to order one. Also, as others have said, if you're not experienced with bikes, take it by a shop/professional to have your work inspected.
Material Quality/First Impressions: The bike frame is solid, has clean welds, and actually doesn't have much plastic on it at all. In fact the only plastic parts are the rings that attach the front and rear reflectors to the bike, the wheel reflectors (obviously), the brake-line clips and the pedals. I saw in other reviews that the pedals felt cheap to some, so I ordered an aluminum set for $12. Link here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XIZTGRW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I mounted the metal pedals, but upon seeing the included plastic ones, I have no doubt that they'd be totally adequate. Also, with reference to what some have said about the bike's weight: I don't have a good frame of reference here, but it's certainly not cumbersome. The whole package feels solid, reliable and trustworthy. It definitely "feels expensive," AND it looks AWESOME - It's really a fantastic looking bike. I went with "Sangria," which is a little more muted than it looks in the picture - closer to a faded crimson or maroon.
Ride Quality: The ride is great, but it's definitely a road bike. The thin tires definitely let you know if you're on a poorly paved street and you do notice every bump. That's fine for my purposes, but if you're in an area with lots of cracked pavement and pot holes, this will shake you up. It took me a few days to work through the "saddle soreness," and the bike feels awesome now: It's quick, stable, easy to control, and the gear ratio is perfectly balanced for speed/ease of start/small hills.
Overall: If you're in a similar position to me, and want something of decent quality that is handsome, simple, safe and great-looking, I would highly recommend this bike. The price is unbeatable, and the assembly is super easy, and the ride rocks. Happy riding!
2 Stars By Benjamin Apple on 2018-01-13
Your bike may arrive broken!
Warning! I bought this bike last week (January 2018 - went for the green color in a large size) and am already having huge problems with it due to a manufacturing issue that it had right out of the box.
Two days ago my chain started falling off (five times in a single trip) so I googled why that might be and started learning a little bit about bike mechanics. I discovered that my “chain line,” i.e. the angle that the chain takes from the front gear to the back one, was crooked. It should be in a straight line due to perfectly aligned gears — but instead, the front gear (“chainring”) is like half an inch to an inch farther out from the bike frame than the rear gear is. I took it to a bike shop and a mechanic confirmed this for me.
Unfortunately, he also told me that my bike was assembled in the factory with the incorrect bottom bracket (the thing the front gear attaches to), and that the bracket is not adjustable, so my bike’s issues are actually NOT FIXABLE with its current parts.
In other words, I just spent $200 on a brand new bike that was basically broken right out of the box :( He already told me my chainring is bent as a result of the misalignment, and that the problem will only get worse until I replace the bottom bracket and chainring (no idea how much that will cost).
I’m emailing Critical’s support team now in the hopes that they’ll sort this out for me. Would love to recommend this bike to my friends but there’s no way I can do that right now knowing there’s a chance their bikes will arrive broken.
OTHER THAN THAT HUGE ISSUE, it’s a very nice bike.
UPDATE MARCH 26 2018: When I contacted Critical about this, they told me I could return the bike to them for a replacement. I did this, and had to handle disassembling and packing up my first bike, then lugging it to a UPS Store, which was a huge pain. Then guess what - the replacement bike had the SAME EXACT PROBLEM! I contacted them again to tell them and asked if I could just bring my (second) bike by their headquarters (about 10 miles from where I live in LA) to get it fixed. They said I should definitely bring it in because it would be extremely unlikely for two different bikes to have that same defect. Well, I rode an hour one way to their offices to show them, and they confirmed that the bottom bracket had been inserted backwards, pushing the chain out of alignment and resulting in damage. They replaced the broken parts and inserted a new bottom bracket correctly then reassembled it.
From then on it rode just fine, which I appreciate - it just sucks that it took such a hassle to get it sorted out.
Unfortunately, the way this story ends is that my bike was stolen two weeks ago while locked up in front of where I was freelancing. For 40 bucks more I replaced it with a Fuji Sagres instead, which has thicker tires and 7 gears. I love. This. Bike. It’s beautiful, light, fast, and feels tight and reliable. I ordered it from Performance Bicycles, they delivered it to their Pasadena store and assembled it for me, both free of charge.
Best of luck on whatever you end up purchasing!
5 Stars By Gil on 2017-01-11
Best Single Speed/Fixed from Critical Cycles to date!
We received this bike yesterday afternoon, I purchased it for my girlfriend who stands at 5'0 tall. This bike is a perfect fit, we purchased the 43cm and there is about an inch clearance when standing over the top tube. This is an excellent starter bike for under $200, this is the 5th Critical Cycles bike I've built from shipment and has to be my absolute favorite. Front and rear brake, 2' risers, large bmx style pedals that are open for straps, eyelids for front and rear rack, the list goes on! Beautiful accents showing off "Harper", "Critical" and "Critical Cycles" on the frame and wheel set, it looks great. I love the dual water cages, perfect for a long commutes! (Sold separately) We will be adding a front rack soon. This does have 700c tires with Schrader valves! a bit unusual for 700c usually come Presta. This does come with a flip-flop hub for those who enjoy riding fixed or single speed (arrived with chain side on freewheel). I believe the gear ratio is standard at 46 x 16, perfect for city riding.
Yes you do compromise when you purchase such an affordable bike, this is made from hi-ten steel, loose ball bearing hubs and generic components. Definitely not a reason to deter from purchasing this bike. Box arrived intact with no holes, the bike arrived 85% complete, you also receive a guide to build the rest, along with some allen keys long with 15mm open wrench to complete the built. If this is your first bike ever or haven't built a bike, I strongly recommend visiting your LBS (Local Bike Shop)! If you plan ahead you can contact your LBS, have your CC bike shipped there and they can do the rest! You won't have to worry about theft and your handy LBS will take care of you, just remember this is not a free service! A LBS can charge anywhere from $25-50 for the build FYI.
Overall, this has to be the best Critical Cycles single-speed bike I have seen yet. Critical has been around for a handful of years and the quality seems to get better each year. The first two I built were the fixed bikes with BMX risers, the second two I built were the pista bikes with the drop downs handle bars. The fixed/BMX came with rear brakes only (I found that to be really strange due to the fact most of your momentum 70%+ is in the front), the pista/drop downs came with front brake only. With that said, both of those models always seem to have something missing. The Harper seem to close the gaps for what those models missed!
2 Stars By Handro on 2018-04-24
Worth Spending a Little More Money on a Better Bike
What can I say, this is the cheapest bike you can get on AlumiGogo.
Rides pretty well
Hand Grips are comfortable
Self assembly is not the easiest AND if you mess something up, Critical Cycles will not help you fix it. Mis-assembly buy the customer is not covered under warranty. The customer service rep was very rude and 'from my photos' could tell that I had installed something incorrectly. After 3 repeated attempts the customer service rep stood strong and didn't help me replace an easy part.
CHEAP - super cheap parts, generic, feels like $170
Stickers wont come off - this thing is covered in stickers and they do not seem to want to come off. Really annoying. I bought this thing literally for the looks, and the stupid stickers won't come off.
Resale value of this bike is nothing, even in brand new conditon, why would someone buy a used bike off me, when they can get it on AlumiGogo new for the same price.
1 Stars By BiggDawg on 2018-02-06
The bike arrived with scratches and the box looked abused ...
The bike arrived with scratches and the box looked abused - this bike had clearly been used before I got it.
AlumiGogo convinced me to keep the bike as returning would have been too much of a hassle. I wish I had just returned it.
Less than a month into riding this bike the rear hub is completely shot and needs to be replaced. The labor and parts to do so are worth more than the bike.
As with anything you get what you pay for. Don't buy this bike. Spend a little more for quality and peace of mind.
1 Stars By Andres on 2018-02-28
Cheap Bike for Expensive Price
This isn't my first bike so I know what I'm talking about.
Bought this bike because mine got recently stolen. It has been a shit bike (note: my previous one was $250 and was far superior with only a $50 additional cost). The brakes are squeaky even after "breaking them in" as said from customer support on their official website. Also, the seat is constantly getting unscrewed even after multiple times of screwing it very tightly. The overall quality seems very cheap. I would chose a different bike to save you the trouble. The only good thing this shit is for is uncomfortably taking you from point A to point B with squeaky brakes.
4 Stars By Mike Yarbrough on 2016-07-05
Great bike, spotty customer service
I live in Brooklyn and commute over the bridges to work every day in Manhattan and this bike is light enough, smooth enough, and reliable enough to get the job done. You won't find a better deal for $200. It's very maneuverable, too, which is great since it seems like 50% of all drivers in this town are purposely trying to run cyclists over.
Why is this just a four-star review, then? Because the customer service department is seemingly nonexistent. I put the bike together myself and took it to my local bike shop for an initial tune-up and they noticed a clearly defective part. I contacted customer service about a replacement and put them in touch with my bike shop so they could speak further... and the shop never heard from them again.
To be fair to Critical Cycles, the part *may* have been damaged by some rough handling by UPS or whatever company delivered it. But, if you purchase this bike, be prepared to pay out of pocket if something is damaged.
5 Stars By NiaH on 2017-06-24
Awesome commuter bike!
Really great bike for the price. I use it to bike to work, so I bike about 10 miles a day on it and it has been great so far. Really sturdy. Some people complain about how thin the tires are, but they haven't been a problem for me (I went from a cruiser to this one, so I was a bit nervous myself, but it's been all good.). I do live in flat central Florida so I'm lucky that my rides are pretty smooth. I assembled the bike myself and then took it to my local bike shop to have it checked out. He didn't even have to adjust anything, just gave me a bit more air in my tires, so it is really easy to assemble yourself (I assembled my cruiser as well, but that's the only other bike I've assembled). I'm 5' 6", 170 lbs, and I got the small. The bike fits well.
4 Stars By Clayton L. on 2017-08-13
Love the frame, but you get what you pay for.
I love my bike, been riding it to and from work for the past couple weeks, but already my chain broke. Other then that I'm super happy. The bike is sturdy and pretty quick. I'm used to 5 ish mile commutes, but now I'm riding 17.5 miles each way and cruising around 15 mph. I bought the single speed because of the price and ruggedness of this type of bike. Really disappointed about the chain though. I just had a link fall apart. I guess I should have done a better job inspecting all the parts. Chains should last more then 300 miles.
4 Stars By Bast on 2017-08-29
So far so good on this front
Writing as of having built sub 24 and have out about 15 miles or so on the bike. This bike was purchased to be a starter polo bike until something pops up used or I can piece together a dream bike. So far so good on this front.
Things to know: If you don't have the tools don't build it yourself. I, thankfully, had a friend who has been working on bikes for 20+ years with a near complete shop of tools in his basement.
Fork was slightly out of wack, which we adjusted. Head tube needed milling. The seat tube was not the size it was supposed to be. Therefore the lost rattled inside like the organs of a freeze dried turtle.
I can certainly order a replacement seat tube (it ended up being a standard size but not something most shops carry at 25.8), we worked around this and fixed a different way.
Truing and dishing the wheels was a fun task as well. At the end of the day we didn't perfect them as I will be knocking this bike around quite a bit and why bother.
I changed out the chain ring and freewheel based polo. Also, front break was the only install. I have yet to change the cog for fixie and so have not ridden as fixed yet.
All in all... I do NOT recommend building this yourself. Have a shop do it, if you have your LBS work through these kinks you will have a great bike for under 300 plus labor (you may want to leave wiggle room for swap outs of grips, saddle, chainrings and such.)