advice on pista vs surly for commuter

Hey y’all,

I’ve been riding a frankenstein of a single for about a year now but recently ate pavement and bent the forks out of whack. Instead of salvaging again what has been a labour of learning and love, I am dying ot get back on the road and am going to buy a new bike. Good looking, old 60 cm track frames are proving difficult or expensive.

I’m pretty fickle and am looking for something that looks good so I’ve been considering the Surly Steamroller (sans decals to look really simple) or the Bianchi Pista, which with front brake fitted is only an extra $300 to the Surly at $1050. I totally know I’m selling out and buying a built bike but I was wondering if anyone had any advice on pros and cons of these models.

The chrome pista looks hot and might hold more value but I’m considering the surly because it is cheaper and has flip flop hub, possible rear brake mount, and if I de-badge it I wont be as worried about leaving it tied up out the front of the pub. This is quite a big investment for me but I love cycling - would be worried that the pista would catch the eye of thieves. Could always carry a motorbike lock…??

Any help on my indecision would be much appreciated.


If I were in your position I wouldn’t buy any of those bikes. If I had to buy a complete of the shelf thing with $1000, it would be a KONA paddywaggon or that new Specialized cyclocross singlespeed thing and fix that.

That’s right, you heard me … I’d buy a Specialized.

Flame away


Yeah thanks, I’ve looked at the Kona. It does seem a bit safer with both brakes as standard but I don’t love the look of it as much. As I said, I am fickle. And I do like to buy good looking things. The 07 model is a bit better but I prefer the plain maroon surly (would be good with a brooks saddle and some brown bar tape) or the pista. I might look like an absolute knob on the blingy pista though. And people might hate me for spending that much on a fixie and not being a track rider. Pista does seem more geared towards track than the Surly, which I think can fit bigger wheels and has the option of rear brakes. Plus I hear people chucking around the word geometry, in saying that the Surly is more street.

Oooh and the soma rush frame is purty but I don’t know where to get it in Melb. SUrly is $1050 from BSC. Spoke(n) have the Cannondale Capo for 1600 (bit out of my price rnge for a fixie) but no Kona’s or Surly’s in large sizes.

based purely on looks I would go the surly over the pista, I think the pista looks ( I am ducking my head here) pretty cheap and when you look on fgg a while back eeeevvvverrryyoonnne had, has one so I would be half inclined to think the Surly might hold its value a bit better, also has much better shaped forks.
I must admit I dont know too much about the rest of the build kit on both though and this may be a consideration as well.

for surly and soma - for soma you’ll get a frameset landed for about half local prices.

Don’t buy the pista unless you have budget for a pair of white oakleys to go with it :roll:.

You have to paint the Surly immediately if you get it. The brown is seriously ugly as fuck. Nice bike apart from that though, but definitely a street machine rather than track.

Don’t be too concerned with what other people will think of your bike purchase. There’s nothing embarrassing about buying an entry-level bike for your first fixed gear. Once you figure out what you like and dislike, you can upgrade pieces as needed.

Yeah, gross, I’ll definitely pass on the white Oakleys. I have similar concerns with the Bianchi. Though I think a chick would look hott on it. I think that pista will keep it’s retro appeal long into the future. By then the chrome would be all dinged up and pitted from being tied to poles anyway.

I actually don’t mind the maroon of the Surly. It’s not great but I’d maybe match with brown bar tape and a saddle to get some kind of colour scheme going. Or maybe white. I do prefer the older matt black Surly (or is it a MTB frame?), I’ve seen a courier on a massive black Surly frame pummeling down St Kilda Rd.

Anyways, I might give some bike shops a call and see what kind of deals they can offer. I really need to get back on a bike stat. Means I can wake up at 8.20 in the morning and leave my house at 8.30, speed past the trams on Nicholson St. Trams are so tedious. I’ve been getting to work at 9.30 for the past week. Grrr.

i’d go surly for sure, for the fork as SD75 pointed out and i absolutely LOVE the brown.
if someone says to me “i ride a surly” i think of all the bikes that could mean, and i like what i think of. someone says “i ride a bianchi” i roll through my rolladex of bikes in my head, i flip past every one of them and thank god that i dont own one.

if you get a pista bin the entire driveline immediately, if you see my courier hack pista locked up around the city (one of the down tube decals has been modded to read ‘hipster’) wait for me to walk out the building and ill show you the original cog thats missing 4 teeth! :smiley:

another vote for the surly.
i’m in the middle of getting one myself for my work bike.
brilliant frame, strong as hell, great geo for street, and while there are a few of them about, they don’t have the strong wannabe hipster flava that the pista does.
also has a massively better parts spec on it for the price.
you’ll see quite a few messengers around the world working on them because they are cheap and do the job better and longer than most other out of the box bikes.


Well well… this thread seems to have an outright winner. People hate posers and poor drivelines. Only problem is that the Surly is apparently on backorder in Australia until mid jan. Grrr. No immediate gratification. Bah. Santa steals all the bikes.

I wonder if there’s going to be an 08 model in another colour?

Am going to check out human powered in Brunswick as a last ditch attempt to find a largish SS frame.

If no good I’ll bite the bullet and just order a Surly. Had no complaints when I gave it a test run.

Another vote for the surly.
Ive been commuting everyday on mine in all kinds of weather since early august and havent had any issues with it.
The only obvious negative is the colour, but with some spray paint thats easily fixed.

i love my cross check but am investigating an on one il pompino… price is nice

Hey ChrisH, I have owned both frames, save your money and stick with the Cross Check. The Pompy frame is fucking awesome, but doesn’t have as many options as to set-up. I had the 135mm rear Pompy, but got rid of it because I wanted gear options.

Cheers Craig

The pompy is planned as an internal hub commuter… would that work?

FYI: The Nexus 8sp is 130mm OLD, and if you ditch the rollerbrake you can respace down to ~126mm with a thinner locknut, or add 2.5mm spacers either side and bring it out to 135mm.

The track ends will make fenders annoying if this is a commuter (LWaB will be in shortly to advise of some quickrelease mounts for fender stays.)

You’ll have to ziptie the cable housing on, but better to have it sealed away instead of running a bare line in all kinds of weather.

Yep, I had the same thoughts when I had the Pompy. I was going to go a Rohloff 14 speed, but the monezzz that was going to be spent was unjustifiable. The path that you are planning to take is an expensive one IMO. Even if you got a Nexus 8 speed (or SRAM equivalent) you are still investing some dollars. I still think that putting an internal hub on the Cross Check is better (plus you already have the frame).

"The track ends will make fenders annoying if this is a commuter " (quote Blakey)

Blakey hit the nail on the head, the Pompy frames have really long track ends and trying to get the rear wheel off with fenders is pain in the arse.

I told y’all fenders are no good.