Fixed gear bikes are taking the world by storm, especially here in Taipei where bicycle culture is strong in a city that values aesthetics. There are tons of shops popping up all around the city, from customizable shops like Nabiis to off the rack styles in designer shops. But for those in the fixie scene with a somewhat more feminine side, there is Argot.
Hanging around a highly stylized modern-industrial studio in Shida, the crew of Argot are busy creating new fixed-gear bikes, designing new clothing, connecting with Taiwan’s riders and generally just having an awesome time at work.
Pedals & Pantaloons
Started by a bad-ass Taiwanese chick named Kris, Argot was created for the purpose of adding something to the fixed gear scene that was very much lacking: a girl’s touch. While it can’t be said for all female riders, Kris did notice that for most girls, the biggest hurdle in entering into the scene was too many options to choose from, all of them being fairly similar (i.e. multi-color bikes with different choices for detailing, materials, chains, grips, pedals, seats, etc.).
I started making bikes for girls because I saw that most of them didn’t want so many choices. They don’t need to customize their bikes. They only want something that looks nice, is easy to ride and that fits them.
So Kris set out on a mission to create a style of her own. Argot, which means “slang” in French, makes bikes that are retro-modern, using classic colors such as creme and maroon, pleather bike seats, and have a feminine quality to them. Customers can pick from one of the premade styles they like, and change out certain components to mix and match colors/styles, but all other technical choices are already taken care of. They have also made sure that the bikes include two features that make it easier for beginners to get used to riding:
One is the ability to add brakes to the bike, which may be cause for seasoned fixie riders to scoff, but for those who don’t feel safe at first, this is a huge benefit.
The second goes inline with the first. For those that do add brakes, the back wheel is set up to allow a rider to switch to a freewheel style (this is what all non-fixed gear bikes have), which allows you to coast without pedaling, or keep it on the fixed-gear in which you can feel more at one with the road, but has to be pedaled constantly and uses your legs to brake.
The bikes are also the only ones in Taiwan to use Japanese pipe and tubing TANGE manufacturing, so the quality is some of the best you can get.
If The Fashion Fits
In addition to the bikes, Argot also has a range of clothing for both men and women on the way. I had a chance to look at the new designs coming out for the next couple of seasons. All designed in house by the art director Jonny, the clothes will be pretty damn cool. Although currently there isn’t a lot, if you want to get a look at what’s available now, you can visit the website here.
(I have to say that they are really creative, and I know exactly which one I’m going to order. But I can’t reveal them just yet, so you’ll just have to wait!)
Free to Ride
Though the bikes are currently catering to a girl’s sensibility, Argot has plans to expand in the future and is already taking steps towards being a major player in Taiwan’s fixie scene. But for now, its unique sense of style and easy of entry into fixed-gear bikes is a perfect match for Taipei’s women who need a comfortable, good-looking ride, but don’t want to deal with the details.
For those who are interested, you can purchase the bikes from many different bike shops around Taiwan, as well as order directly on the website here.
To keep up to date with new styles and events, “like” the facebook fan page!