State Bicycle Co Massacre
State Bicycle Co is a web based, mail order fixed gear bicycle company offering bikes in the competitive $430-$650 “serious entry level” category. Their bikes are most likely going to people putting real money down on a bike for the first time after deciding that bikes are for them and they want something reflecting the current urban cycling trends. We’ve had the pictured State Massacre FGFS in for a couple of months, with plenty of time to write up some thoughts on this $580 complete bike.
At under $600 as shown, including USA shipping, the State Massacre bike is not only one of the few complete fixed trick bikes out there, it is also has one of the lowest barriers to entry. In my opinion it’s quite the looker too—I’m into the stark and simple color scheme. In a realm where the norm is framesets alone that cost as much as this bike, let alone the proliferation of high-end, heavy-duty rims, hubs and cranks out there is it important to remember the price tag and judge the bike accordingly.
The heart of any bike is the frame, in this case a one-size-fits-some welded chromoly steel tubeset with a matching chromoly fork. The State FGFS is available in one size only at this point, with a 57.5 cm long toptube and 50.5 cm seattube, providing a pretty long cockpit and a measured 32” standover requirement in the center of the toptube. While State claims this fits riders from 4’11” to 6’6” tall I would narrow that range considerably—the frame is arguably a tad small for my 6’2” self, and definitely too large for someone near the 5’ mark. The rest of the geometry comes together with a 73° head angle, 74° seat angle, longish 43.5 cm chainstays and 3 mm of bottom bracket drop. I do wish the frame and fork had matching brake mounts—as it stands the frame has welded on brake mounts and the fork is drilled for a long reach caliper brake. While most fixed freestyle riders aren’t using rim brakes anyway, the option makes the bike that much more beginner friendly or versatile as a burly city or polo bike, and matching brake mounts be that much more attractive to riders wanting to run brakes. In my perfect world the bike would have removable canti studs front and rear, or at the very least use the same long reach caliper on the frame and fork.
The parts build is made up of mostly house brand parts—cruiser BMX bars and a short stem fill out the cockpit, 32h triple wall V-section rims and “standard” street fixed hubs make up the wheels, with a plain square taper crank finishing out the drivetrain. The Animal pedals and Hold Fast straps stand out in a world of garbage plastic pedals included with complete builds. The bike ships with a tall 36 x 13 gear ratio (74.8 gear inches) and Kenda 35c tires, though it has clearance for all the way up to 50c front and rear. As shipped, with pedals, the bike weighs a respectable 25 lbs.
While I put a lot of time in on fixed gears, trick riding really isn’t my forte, so I handed off the bike to a local friend Devin T for some riding input, and a report. “After some getting used to really loving the State Massacre, as a commuter/city or even polo bike, I feel it has a lot to offer. As for tricks, even on an entry level, the bottom bracket and cranks and also the gear ratio is something I would change up. The chainstays are rather long, hard to wheelie, but once achieved it is stable and doesn’t loop out. Furthermore, entry level tricks are wheelies, barhops, hops in general but this bike seems much more suited for flatland style tricks, sliders, Keos, fish and chips etc. Brake studs on the rear triangle but not on the front fork? Brake studs in general on a fixed freestyle bike? Overall, whether you are commuting or tricking this bike can get the job done.”
The parts concerns brought up by Devin are much the same as what I saw out of the box—inconsistent brake mounts f/r, and square taper cranks with a pretty high gear ratio. The gear ratio is higher than what I ride on my track bike for fast-guy alleycats, let alone tricks or polo use, and a stronger bottom bracket and crank combo is something most any trick rider would appreciate though it would likely add very real dollars to the bike’s bottom line. The square taper crank is fine for the rest of us that aren’t regularly shearing off bottom bracket spindles however.
Practicing tricks on your commuter track bike and want something dedicated to further learn on? Want to give this whole fixed freestyle thing a try without spending really big money, or thrashing your everyday bike? Just like the trick bike style and want an overbuilt bike for getting around town? The Massacre might be what you’re looking for. More serious trick riders may scoff at the cranks, people outside of the most average height range will likely find it doesn’t fit, people looking for dual rim brakes have some compromises to make. No bike is perfect for every rider out there, but this one might be what you are after. See more color options from State along with their more traditional street track bikes and parts at www.statebicycle.com