A practical urban bike with plenty of street cred

The latest bike to arrive for review here at road.cc is the Parser Express from Fairdale, an urban singlespeed machine that’s designed to be super-strong and durable.

Fairdale? That’s not a brand I’m familiar with; could you tell us a little bit about Fairdale, please, road.cc? Well, seeing as you asked so nicely, yes we can…

Fairdale are from the US of A – Texas, if you want to be more specific. Austin, if you want to narrow it down even further. The brand was set up by pro freestyle BMXer Taj Mihelich – a former world champion who used to be part owner of Terrible One BMX brand.

That BMX background has certainly had an influence on the Fairdale bikes – not that they come with 20in wheels or anything like that, but they’re not straight, mainstream bikes. There are a few touches here and there that mark them out as different.

There’s a big emphasis on practicality. According to Taj, “My BMX career was focused on finding bikes and parts that would simply ‘just work’. Gimmicks and unproven technology were put aside for simple, reliable parts that weren't going to break and kill me. The more simple and straightforward the bike was the more time you could spend riding it.”

So, if there’s an overall philosophy behind the range, maybe it’s that the bikes are designed to be practical without being, you know… dorky.

Six bikes from the Fairdale range are now being brought into the UK by Triton Imports www.tritonimports.co.uk, the Parser Express being the most expensive of them at £799.99. The cheapest bike in the range, by the way, is the £399.99 Coaster.

The Parser Express is designed to be a simple, strong singlespeed/fixed bike for getting around town. The frame is 100% cromo steel, double-butted with a 120mm rear hub spacing. You get built in chain tensioners at the rear dropouts, rack and eyelet dropouts and an integrated headset. The fork is cromo too, with a built-in headset race, and you get a Campag-spec bearing in there.

The wheels are built to be sturdy with 28mm tall rims, sealed cartridge bearings in the hubs, and 32 spokes each. They’re held in place with nuts rather than quick release skewers, which makes them more difficult to remove if you lock your bike in a public place.

Rather than using a cheap and nasty freewheel at the back, Fairdale have gone with a Shimano model that should prove dependable. The 28mm Conti tyres should be able to handle rough roads easily enough and they come with a Kevlar belt underneath the tread to help avoid punctures.

The aluminium handlebars come in a traditional bend although Fairdale also do a riser-barred version of the Parser if you’d rather go down that route. This Parser Black has a few other spec differences too, and it costs £649.99.

The brake levers are SRAM’s 500 Single Speed levers linked up to medium-reach callipers and the chainset is from SRAM – an S300 GXP. It’s 48-tooth while the sprocket is 18-tooth.

What’s left? Oh yeah, if you were buying this bike in the US, you’d get a Selle Italia Turbo saddle, but in the rest of the world you get a Turbo-type saddle. We’re not sure why that is, to be honest, but we’re trying to find out.

The Parser comes in three different sizes. We have the medium model with a 54cm seat tube, a 56cm top tube and a 12cm head tube, so it seems quite long and low. We’ve not ridden it yet, though – we’ll comment on the ride position properly in our full review. The complete bike weighs 10.24kg (22.5lb).

If you’d like more info on the bike before our test is complete, check out the Fairdale website

Also, here’s a video that tells you a bit more about the Parser. It’s not a road.cc video, it’s a promo vid from Fairdale.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.