My first fixed gear was a Leader 725.
It had the big thick aluminum tubing which is ALL I was concerned about. I, like a lot of kids who rush in to buying an aluminum framed fixed gear, paid way too much for it but I rode that bike in to the ground. The more I learned, the more I realized that there isn’t much which sets aluminum frames apart from other aluminum frames. So I started wondering why my Leader had cost so much compared to other aluminum bikes like the State Bicycle Co Black Label.
I was curious with the Black Label. Would I really notice a difference? It costs about $500 less than some other companies so where was I gonna loose out? So far, after heavy shredding, its really hard to see why other aluminum bikes go for so much more…
The Black Label comes about 90% assembled and took minutes to build up.
Right off the bat, I could tell that the Black Label has has a tighter geometry than my other bike, The State Bicycle Contender. The head tube and seat tube are both a degree steeper, and the chain stay is 2 cm shorter. This tighter geometry makes for a compact, nimble, and tight ride. Since the back wheel is more under your butt, whip skidding and wheelies are easier. Since the head tube is steeper, the steering is more responsive. The bottom bracket is a little higher than the Contender which allows for tighter cornering so your pedals don’t hit the ground.
GREAT geometry for fast corners, handling traffic, or racing.
The Black Label is a quality ride at an entry level price. For $759, you’re getting a lot of bike for your buck. Easily upgradeable, the Black Label is a blank canvas for you to turn in to a track beast or a city smasher.
State Bicycle Co. Black Label : HERE
State Bicycle Co. Contender Review : HERE
Photos by @fotophunk
Words by Charlie Sears – firstname.lastname@example.org | www.charliesears.co
Charlie, I’m looking for a bike for my daily commute (4.4mi, mostly flat, dry conditions) and am trying to decide between the Black Label and the Contender. Will likely freewheel it. I really like your review of the Contender (especially the evolution over time, including product links), but I don’t get as much of a sense for what the Black Label would be like as a daily based on this review. Which would you recommend? Or have you found a new daily I should check out?
Also, if your vote is still the Contender, what’s the tire setup you have on it? Thx man!
Yo! CONTENDER. The Black Label is definitely great but I feel the Contender is soooo much more versatile. Check out THIS link for how mine is currently set up. I added bigger tires which make it even more comfy + I’ve got a freewheel on one side and a fixed gear on the other. Some times I throw a Cetma Rack on it and some times I put regular BMX pedals on it. My vote is the Contender. Holler!
I’m going to get the black label but is there anyway to make your frame look good instead of just having a solid color like black?
I prefer to (and don’t do this if it’s uncomfortable for you) slam the stem and cut the fork’s steer tube. Always makes the bike look better no matter what color it is.
Thankks Charlie I really love your setup , it really suits the city 🙂 and i just started riding fixed is there any tips or tricks on how to ride better when riding fixed? For example stopping immediately , potential upgrades in the future, or what or what not to do? thanks !!
Hey thanks Samuel! Tips or tricks? Um, not really – just practice makes perfect. Potential upgrades? Clipless pedals. The reason I have a bigger back tire is for absorbing impacts riding over potholes and such. The thinner front tire feels more nimble.
ohh okay thanks Charlie !
I think i’ll get the same setup 🙂
I just got the black label too and I’m going to go with what you have on your bike 😛 !
Do you know the standover heigh on the 59cm by any chance?
Hey Ron! Yeah the standover height is about 33 inches. – Charlie
Nice bike, thinking of getting one. What kind of helmet are you wearing by the way? Cool lid.
Thanks Daniel! It’s a Protec Fullcut. LOVE IT. – Charlie
what width are your tires on there? can you fit a 25c or 28c tire without rubbing on the fork?
I have a 23 in the front and a 25 in the back. A 25 would more than likely fit in the front but I donnn’t think a 28 would fit in either the front or back.. It’d be incredibly close.
Why do you have 2 different sizes ? What does it do for you ?
The reason I have a bigger back tire is for absorbing impacts riding over potholes and such. The thinner front tire feels more nimble. – Charlie
Do you have that awesome AWLF decal that’s on the black label for sale?! Super dope.
Hopefully soon! Trying to work on something that would offer that.. STAY TUNED! 🙂
Hi, sorry for asking, but what is the size of the bike in the pictures?
My problem is that I am 6’2″ tall, and I don’t know if 59 or 62 I will feel more confortable with.
Thank you and great review.
Dude no problem Carlos! I’m actually 6’2″ and I’m riding a 59. I probably should be riding a 62 but the 59 is jussst fine. If you want to be able to throw the bike around quick, then the 59 would be fine. If you are more concerned with overall comfort, then the 62. Word.
I have been trying to figure out the weight of the Black Label, versus a steel bike like the contender, or the basic ones from State. Do you feel a dramatic change on weight perception? thanks!
I don’t feel a DRAMATIC difference in weight.. SLIGHT, but not dramatic. The Black Label definitely feels more ‘nimble’ though!