Our Reader’s Rig of the week comes from Johannes in Austria, who shares his fixed gear 1993 Bianchi Meta mountain bike with 700c wheels. Learn more about Johannes and find out how this unconventional rig became his favorite bike to ride here…

Words and photos by Johannes Ambrosch

Hey, my name is Joe, and I am living in Austria. I’m happy to present you with my cheapest yet most favourite bike. I got obsessed with mountain biking at age 12, which was 10 years ago now, and I have been riding all the time ever since—mainly enduro and big full-day alpine rides. But, a couple of years ago, I went for a bikepacking trip on the French island of Corsica, which kind of started my love for riding on roads and traveling by bike.

1993 Bianchi Meta

Since then, I have gone on a bikepacking trip at least once a year, getting more experienced and obsessed every time. Two years ago, I started working as a bike messenger at Veloblitz in my hometown of Graz, which quickly introduced me to fixed gear riding. Not long after, a new two-wheeled obsession started. My enduro bike has gotten a bit rusty over the last two years as I’ve fallen deeply in love with riding fixed geared bikes.

  • 1993 Bianchi Meta
  • 1993 Bianchi Meta

Riding fixed, everything comes easy and naturally. You don’t need to think about anything more, and the bike kind of moves more dynamically and with you. Your riding changes. I feel you ride more thoughtfully and efficiently, and you tend to look further ahead. The energy you put in directly comes back because nothing separates you from your bike (no freewheel).

  • 1993 Bianchi Meta
  • 1993 Bianchi Meta

But enough about my fixed gear addiction. I bought this bike because I wanted to bring together my love for mountain biking, bikepacking, and fixed gear riding. The product is what I call a bikepacking-fixie. I use it for messenger work, commuting, alleycats, and all-day rides. Of course, you could call it a tracklocross or cyclotrack or ATB fixie or whatever! Whatever it is, it’s absolutely freaky and seems to make no sense, but it produces the biggest grins.

  • 1993 Bianchi Meta
  • 1993 Bianchi Meta
  • 1993 Bianchi Meta
  • Frame 1993 Bianchi Meta 26″
  • Fork Cheap 28″ steel replacement
  • Rims Reynolds EA 70 SL (front) / Mavic (rear)
  • Hubs Miche FlipFlop
  • Tires Maxxis Rambler 700 x 38mm
  • Handlebars Easton Monkeybar 25mm rise
  • Grips Sensus Meaty Paw
  • Headset Something cheap
  • Crankset Sturmey Archer 170mm
  • Pedals Tatze Mc-Fly
  • Cassette Miche
  • Brakes SRAM Avid bb7
  • Saddle Something from Specialized
  • Seatpost Generic
  • Stem Generic
  • Front bags Freitag Messenger M
  • Frame bags Woho X-Touring
  • Accessory bags Bagaboo Messenger Hip Bag on a Blahol U-lock Belt
  • Front Rack Italian-made no name pizza rack
  • Other accessories SKS strap-on bottle cage

The frame is a 1993 Bianchi steel MTB, originally based on 26″ tires but built up with 700 x 38mm wheels. In the back, they barely fit, and in the front is an aftermarket 28″ steel fork. That produces a really high BB, which is perfect for off-road fixed gear riding since you have to pedal all the time over roots or through turns. The high BB helps. In fact, it’s so high I can still run 170mm cranks. That makes the bike a bit wobbly at low speeds, but who cares?! At high speed or in turns, it’s an absolute beast.

  • 1993 Bianchi Meta
  • 1993 Bianchi Meta

My latest upgrade was the front pizza rack. It fits the bike perfectly and is put to use when hauling stuff through the city. I also recently used it for carrying snacks and clothes on a two-day ride with nearly 300 kilometers and lots of climbing. And yes, stuff like that is fun and possible with only one gear!

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