The first thing you need to do is buy yourself a frame. A lot of bicycle shops are now catering to that particular market. My LBS - My Road, near Akihabara - has also started to sell fixed-gear bikes. The only negative thing I've noticed about them is the "stigma" effect, whereby the guys (girls too) who ride them seem too clique-ish. Last year, I went on one of those night "Alley Cat" races that they do every now and then, and despite being able to hold my own through the night-time traffic, I still felt like the odd-man-out because my bike has gears. It's like you need to be part of the club - like break-dancing in the 80's, Skateboarding in the early 90's, and base-jumping a few years later. That said, Philip spoke about his early days on a "fixed-gear" bike, and said that once you get used to it, it really is a fun way to get about town - and not nearly as dangerous as one might imagine.... once you get used to it
The up-side to fixed gears are that after the initial purchase of the frame, they are dirt cheap to look after! And because they are designed for "around-the-town" riding, the wheels can be heavier & sturdier than the super-light hill climbing set up.
I actually have a steel frame that I want make into a fixed-gear bike, and I'm sure I will have a lot of fun on it - but I reckon it'll take a bit of practice first.
As for buying "on-line", I can only suggest e-bay for the frame, and then find a bike shop to put it together for you. Rubber Down! T
Pretty cool stuff. I remember back in my youthful days all those tricks were the norm on a tricked out bmx bike...heck even push scooters. I will give them props for doing it on a fixed gear...alot further to fall to the ground. I know here in San Diego, CA there are more and more fixed gearheads riding around town. But, the roadies far outnumber the fixies.
I would agree that it is a culture similar to the skateboarders etc. and new entrants will always be kept to the perimeter until you prove yourself worthy...this is how it was when I used to skateboard.
I have a Pearson Touche which I ride fixed around Tokyo. It's really enjoyable and not too cliquey as it's basically a road bike with trackends. They sent it here to me and the fact that I didn't have to pay UK VAT offset the postage. Here's a link to the site:
The first link is not working - I think you need to remove the "www". The next one also. But you can follow them on the blog (front page). London Fixie has changed name.
Another webshop for fixed gear (or fixie ) bikes is the shop at www.fixedgear.dk. Currently only selling double straps, double toe clips, locks - but more products are comming. I know since I am involved with (web-coding and stuff) with the project.
These aren't too bad. I saw one on a ride today and got a quick spin on it. For the price (<$500) you get a decent Reynolds frame, decent wheels and the rest is just bling anyway. For a city fixie I give it a thumbs up. Also, Y's Shibuya has a ton of new fixies in there.
If you wanna go upscale then there's F.I.G, etc. But at that point - better to just buy online at Wiggle or Chain Reaction. People will get picky about their builds and bling when the bike gets above jyu man or so.
From what we see, Japan prices are about double the EU or NA. And especially in the wheelsets you see big price differences. So - you could just get the frame you want here and then order the wheels, crankset, seat , etc from EU.
I certainly wouldn't buy anything in Japan right now. The pound is close to worthless, and the dollar isn't too far behind. At Wiggle you're gonna get free postage on anything over 7000 yen to Japan.... which is just about everything you can think of