- Simple to maintain
- Clearance for up to 32mm tires
- Brakes and tires need replacing
Price as reviewed:
A little over 10 years ago State bikes was born. Over the years the brand has made a name for itself making fixed gear bikes. In the beginning those bikes were all about style. The frames were steel, the builds were simple, and the style was undeniable.
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That’s not to say that State wasn’t building a quality product designed for performance. A year after the first State bikes hit the market in the US is when State formed its race team. It’s just that alongside the performance and racing that was a core part of the brand there was a distinct style that was equally core to the brand. Collaborations with Wu-Tang Clan and the Simpsons resulted in special edition bikes meant for collecting as much as riding.
As these two threads played out in the brand State also began to add to the types of bikes it was making. In 2013 a more upright city bike showed up in the lineup. Still a steel framed bike there are options for 3 speeds or single speeds and plenty of racks. In 2019 State added the 4130 Road steel 8 speed bike to its growing collection of options.
State bikes’ roots grow from frames built of 4130 steel alloy and that’s exactly what the 4130 road has at its core. 4130 is an easy to work with, exceptionally stiff, variation of steel. Considered an off the shelf variety it’s a smart choice to keep the price down. Given that steel can be a heavy choice, State does a good job keeping it in check. 22lbs 10oz for a size 55 is reasonable given the price point and build.
The geometry that State uses on the 4130 road feels aggressive and the numbers confirm it. In size 55 the stack is 532mm, reach is 396mm, and the wheelbase is 977mm. As a point of comparison, the Cannondale CAAD13 is a bike often praised for its aggressive geometry that’s perfect for crit racing. The State 4130 Road has more reach, less stack, and a shorter wheelbase in a comparable size. It’s low enough that wearing a commuter style helmet with a brim makes it impossible to see.
The drivetrain on this steel framed racer is impossible to compare to nearly anything else on the market. In the rear is an 8 speed 11-28 cassette and a Sunrace derailleur. It’s an unremarkable spec at this point. As you move forward things start to get a bit more interesting. The front chainring is a 44 tooth unit that is absolutely gorgeous. The crank is a full CNC unit and I said it once, but it’s worth repeating just how good it looks. Shifting the rear cassette happens via a classic downtube mounted friction shifter. This is very much “retro cool” – it’s not something we tend to see on modern bikes, and that’s because shifting at the handlebars is just easier – but that’s not to say some of don’t enjoy the throwback approach.
The rest of the finishing pieces are a mixed bag. The handlebars are a classic shape and while not sporting any notable details they work well enough. The hoods are comfortable on your hands even though the materials don’t feel especially premium. The included saddle, and flat pedals, are both decent options given the price point. The brake pads and tires are unfortunately a bit of a letdown. I’d recommend changing them both right away. A nice consideration though is that there’s clearance for up to a 32mm tire. Switch things out to a higher quality tire and better brake pads and things will feel a lot better.
Keep in mind when looking at the picture the State Bikes 4130 Road presents it is an exceptional value. At $550 for a drop bar geared bike it’s in rare company. There are a few other options that compete on price but they are a very different experience. Most in this price range are poor copies of more expensive models. State takes things in a completely different direction with the 4130. Instead of making a cheap bike they have made a different kind of bike that happens to be inexpensive.
The story of this bike is all about fun. I wouldn’t recommend anyone mount a bike computer on the State Bikes 4130 Road and go out looking for Strava segments. It’s not that kind of bike. Instead it’s the kind of bike that brings a smile every ride and looks amazing doing it.
The downtube friction shifter is a bit of a throwback – and won’t be to all tastes. It makes it more like a geared single speed than a typical, modern, geared bike. It has gears and it shifts fine but I tended to not shift all that much. Put it somewhere in the middle of the cassette and it’s a joy to race around town with. Or take it out of town. I do think the State 4130 is capable of multi hour rides.
The geometry of the State 4130 might be the most aggressive bike I've ever ridden. It's all about fun and style but State has managed to hold onto performance by being creative with the design. For a lot of people in a lot of situations this is a bike that could last for years and do everything they ever ask of it.
Frame: Double-Butted 4130 Grade Chromoly Steel Frame ft. Seat Stay Rack Mounts and Cable Stops
Pedals: Wellgo Alloy Flat Pedals
Gearing: 44T Chainring w/ 11-28T Cassette
Wheels: Light-Weight 'Lo-Pro' Wheels w/ Sealed Bearing Hubs and Quick-Release Levers
Bar: Aluminum Drop Bars
Saddle: Synthetic Leather Saddle w/ Steel Rails
Sizes available: 52 cm, 55 cm, 59 cm, 62 cm
Weight: 22lb 10oz in size 55