I've wanted a Schwinn Madison since I first saw one. Just my luck - Schwinn is reintroducing the model next year. It even has a straight bladed fork! I'd have a very hard time deciding between a Madison or an all-chrome Bianchi Pista. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed may make that decison much easier, though. When I started getting a bit giddy over the idea, she started growling.
Anyway, besides the nuvo-retro appeal of a fixed gear bike made with butted steel tubing, there's the anti-tech aspect of having a simple bike that's easy to maintain. Sure, a 10 speed cluster, narrow chain, and compact gearing has it's own appeal, but when the time comes to repair any of the high-zoot stuff, it gets to be a real pain in the wallet.
Ok, fine, well maybe they're both technically new, but one of them at least looks old. Schwinn takes a short ride on the retro bandwagon for its new '07 Madison fixed-gear/singlespeed rig. The intentionally simplistic and classically-styled bike features 'old school' butted chromoly frame tubing as well as a brazed chromoly fork with straight blades. High-flange flip-flop Formula hubs are equipped with both an ACS freewheel and a fixed cog for versatility, and a mix of parts from Schwalbe, Selle San Marco, Alex, and Tektro round out the parts mix. MSRP is said to be a very easy-to-swallow US$529.
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I sold lots of Madisons when I worked for a Schwinn dealer in high school in San Diego. I loved those simple, ugly machines. They aren't the prettiest bikes in the world, but they are damned cool. (You should still buy the new Masi coming out though...)
Ahh, the Madison memories. I used to like Madisons too, mainly because they were cheap and simple. I knew a guy in college who rode a nasty looking one on long group rides and was able to still put a little hurt on plenty of guys with nice road bikes. He is the one who influenced me to buy my first track bike (which happens to be the Pinarello that I still own) and to take it on hilly road rides.
Lately, I have been thinking about replacing that old track bike. As cool as the new Madisons are, something more like the new Masi track bike would be right for me. I’ll still have my beater fixed gear road bike, so I am interested in something a little racier (and a lot stiffer) that still takes a front brake. A Masi would be cool, but I’ll just have to see what the old school Pinarello brings on eBay.