^ ABOVE : The State Bicycle Co. Contender right out the box.
V BELOW : How my State Bicycle Co. Contender has evolved over the years.
The Contender is a blank canvas. A chameleon.
Leave it stock, race it out, rack it out. It can take it all.
This review was originally posted in 2013. Before owning this bike, I had only ridden BMX bikes, and aluminum road bikes. The State Bicycle Co. Contender is my first steel bike and right off the bat, I could not believe how cushy the ride was. The comfort of a steel frame is undeniable. I completely understand it now why people say, “steel is real.” Compared to aluminum frames, this bike almost felt like it had a bit of suspension.
And the way this whip handles is fantastic. The geometry isn’t too steep, nor too mellow which is great for a point A to B bike.
I look at my bike as my car. I haven’t owned a car for several years, so this bike is my main source of transportation. I’m not looking for the lightest, most high-tech components, and I’m not looking for a showstopper that could get picked off when I leave it locked up somewhere. I’m just looking for a solid bike that can handle daily abuse and the Contender completely meets these needs. It’s even drilled for a rear rack, which would come in handy if you ever feel that need.
All in all, you really can’t go wrong with the Contender (MSRP $649). I’d recommend this chariot to anyone looking for a sturdy single speed / fixed gear that won’t break the bank. All the components are top notch (sealed everything + carbon fiber fork) but easily upgradeable to anything you want. This bike would make a great daily cruiser or even a decent track bike.
It’s all up to you and your style.
Check out the State Bicycle Co. Contender
HERE : http://www.statebicycle.com
So I’ve had this bike since 2013 and I stiiiiill can ONLY speak the utmost highest of this whip.
This bike has been on EVERY ride hosted under The Awarewolfs name as well as almost ALL my daily rides. This bike even made it through a 227-mile-in-one-day ride I did with Ride4Water. I’ve upgraded a lot of parts on this bike since I got it. Some upgrades were for aesthetics, some were for performance. I’m so happy to report that this bike, while it was entirely stock, had ZERO major break downs / catastrophes.
Here’s a few photos of this bike’s phases :
PHASE 1 :
^ That megaphone idea was intended for when I lead the Fullmoon Bikerides. The megaphone broke before I could use it though hahah You’re probably noticing the suicide brake lever – YES it works GREAT. Would I recommend using a suicide brake lever? Not really – unless you have good bike handling skills or simply want to avoid getting a ticket.
I rode the bike completely stock for about a week or so and after a few days, I switched to the parts you see above. The first changes I made were Hold Fast straps to Fly Bikes Pedals, ThickSlick tires, and Profile Design bullhorn bars.
PHASE 2 :
^ Phase 2 – I decided MTB bars and a basket are what I prefer for city smashing. The comfort of MTB bars is GREAT + it allows for easy hopping up curbs or over train tracks. The basket is obviously great for grocery shopping and beer runs.
PHASE 3 :
^ Phase 3 – After riding the stock wheels / crankset for two years, I wanted to switch out some parts strictly for aesthetics. With Retrogression‘s help, we decided to lace the Contender up with an IRD Crankset, H+Sun TB14s laced to All-City Sheriff hubs, a Cetma 5 Rail Rack and a Selle Italia Saddle. I’ve also got a Quadlock for my phone, and Knog lights front / back.
PHASE 4 :
Currently, I’ve converted the Contender in to a all-terrain shredder. Light trails and dirt conditions are not a problem now. I swapped out the fork and the tires are 32c Kenda Small Block Eights. I’ve had this set up since 2016 and don’t see me really changing it any time soon. For more on the conversion, follow this link HERE.
Check out the State Bicycle Co. Contender
HERE : www.statebicycle.com/collections/contender
Photos / words : Charlie Sears
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.charliesears.co
what frame size is the bike in the picture?
which front cargo rack was your favorite? i can’t decide on which to buy!
CETMA. Without a doubt.
Can anybody tell me which handlebar is used in the first pictures?
Those are Profile Design bars with brown Deda tape.
I have a state contender frame with the state carbon fork, she’s a bit heavy with the shitty stock rims, and that s100 crank/ power spline bottom bracket is crap.
So I upgraded to an omnium crank, kmc half link chain, dura ace cog, FSA sealed headset, cinelli DNA seatpost, stem, and bars, thickslick tires, and a fizik saddle.
Honestly this bike turns heads and breaks necks. It’s fast and smooth as hell, and she seems to be really holding up. I’d reccomend buying the frame, as the geometry is nice, the paint is good, and it’s durable. Just don’t buy the complete bike, you’ll end up replacing everything but the frame and fogrk. Next thing to buy is a new set of wheels..
Scott, you’re describing EXACTLY what this bike is MEANT to be – upgrade-able. It’s a blank canvas. A great bike for the price. A great bike to for someone new to riding and a great bike for some one to build up how they want. Sounds like you’re happy with it, you just want ‘premium’ components. xoxo
Hi, awesome review. Totally want one of these. What is the stock weight and what is yours weighing in at now? I’m looking into getting the large 59cm frame.
Thanks! The Contender has been suuuuch a great bike. The large size weighs about 21 pounds. Mine can’t weigh much more/less as I’ve only swapped a few parts out.
Hey thanks for the awesome review, I’m definitely considering grabbing one of these for myself. I have a question about the original Pursuit Handlebars. If wrapped in grip tape, can they be used in an upright grip near the stem? Or do you still have to lean forward and hold the handles at the end of the bars?
Hello Nolan! Yeah absolutely you can tape all the way to the stem and then ride with your hands on the top. If stock, you’ll just be holding bare metal which I personally feel is super uncomfortable but some kids ride their bars untaped all the time. Hope that helps!
How’s the bike holding up? I’ve ordered one in red, trying to read as much as possible until it arrives. Great review btw.
Also, what models are your lights and that seatpost looks rad!
It’s holding up GREAT. STILL. I’m moving soon and will be selling my other bike cause I ride the Contender all the time! Those are Knog Skink lights and thanks yeah I wish that seatpost megaphone woulda worked out haha
One thing I can’t tell from your photos, or those on the State website, is whether the bike is painted or is brushed chrome. Could you let me know?
Totally painted Dave!
what manufacturer is your suicide lever? I’m thinking I want to put one on mine, how do you like it compared to a traditional brake?
Eh its just some cheap mountain bike lever. Its for oversized bars. I had to put a little shim in between the lever and the frame to make it work but it holds just fine. It def takes a second to get used to but its really not that bad. I don’t really like things on my bars or cables looking all gross on my bike so I def think that it covers fashion and function. I totally recommend it if you got pretty good bike control.
What size thickslick tires are on your bike? 23c or 25c?
They’re the 25c and I really dig them.
Cool. I rode with you guys once before I left San Diego. Was one of the best nights of my life.