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Old 01-14-07, 11:50 PM   #1
Briareos
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Fixed Gear Time-Trialers

Are there any time-trialists here who run their bicycle in fixed gear? My "get in shape" bike is fixed gear and I love it. I feel like trying time-trialing this spring/summer and I think it would be fun to do it in fixed gear.

What sort of bicycle setups do you use? I'm mostly curious about crankset choice (road or track) and chainline, especially on bikes that are meant for cassettes. I'm guessing body position and clothing/helmet choice would be the same.

I hear this is popular in the UK? So any Brits that could pipe up would be dandy!
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Old 01-15-07, 07:37 AM   #2
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I ran in a TT seris last year fixed. I rode a track bike though with track cranks and a 1/8" chain.

gearing with 52*15. It was a 10 miles perfectly flat TT I did it in about 25 minutes, I was also in horrible shape. a teamate of mine did it in the 23s and the record is somewhere around 22.
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Old 01-15-07, 07:45 AM   #3
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Based mostly on stuff I've read TTing in GB with fixed gears and Sturmey-Archer internal geared 3 speeds used to be common. This would be pre-WWII through the 50s or so, I guess. Something about mass-start races being illegal on public roads. Have no ideas if they still fixed gear TT there though I'm pretty sure they don't use the S-As for that anymore. Kinda shame in some ways b/c now with Nexus hubs you could put together a pretty sharp roadie.



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Old 01-15-07, 08:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recneps
I ran in a TT seris last year fixed. I rode a track bike though with track cranks and a 1/8" chain.

gearing with 52*15. It was a 10 miles perfectly flat TT I did it in about 25 minutes, I was also in horrible shape. a teamate of mine did it in the 23s and the record is somewhere around 22.
Did you ever do the same TT on a geared bike. I'd be curious, the time difference in any, under similar circumstances. My guess is that even on a flat course the geared bike would be a little faster.

However, the momentum effect, might help, particularly when you're about to die, so its possible, a fixed gear bike with comparable aerodynamics could be faster, but I doubt it.
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Old 01-15-07, 08:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter
Based mostly on stuff I've read TTing in GB with fixed gears and Sturmey-Archer internal geared 3 speeds used to be common. This would be pre-WWII through the 50s or so, I guess. Something about mass-start races being illegal on public roads. Have no ideas if they still fixed gear TT there though I'm pretty sure they don't use the S-As for that anymore. Kinda shame in some ways b/c now with Nexus hubs you could put together a pretty sharp roadie
iirc it wasn't just mass starts that were illegal, riding side by side was also illegal. that's why the UK is known mainly for TT's.

the racing scene is full of colorless TT riders, or nutters like Obree.
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Old 01-15-07, 08:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Did you ever do the same TT on a geared bike. I'd be curious, the time difference in any, under similar circumstances. My guess is that even on a flat course the geared bike would be a little faster.

However, the momentum effect, might help, particularly when you're about to die, so its possible, a fixed gear bike with comparable aerodynamics could be faster, but I doubt it.
The geared record is about 2 minutes faster than the fixed record, this may also be because the fast guys are riding gears.

But I agree that the geared bike is probably faster, Its a speedway and there is typically a headwind on the back stretch and a tailwind on the front stretch, plus the front is a little bit up hill (a few feet of gain) so you might want gears.
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Old 01-15-07, 09:44 AM   #7
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I've done time-trials on my fixed-gear LeMond that I outfitted with bullhorns and with an undergeared 42x15 gear ratio. I originally had my bike setup as a general trainer/hipster machine, with a ratio that would be able to get me up and over the steep hills here in Cincinnati. As a time-trial machine, it did quite well, especially in the time trials that are held on very rolling terrain in my neck of the woods. I would find myself spinning out a bit, but for the most part, I was able to keep my legspeed up and turn in some solid times.

I had some of the faster times among all the racers, with only a few riders faster than me, but one of them was the master's 50+ state champion and he had full aero kit and a geared TT bike. So what I'm trying to say, is that a fixed-gear is quite capable and competitive, as long as you have a decent amount of fitness. Just pick a good ratio for the terrain - a 48x15 or 48x14 should suffice, and get out there.
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Old 01-15-07, 03:57 PM   #8
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A friend of mine won the Colorado state TT championship on a fixed 54 or 56x14. That was about 6 years ago or so. I don't think I'd do that, but he saw what Obree and the others were doing with fixies in time trial mad Britain and felt it worked well for him. Still don't understand why.
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Old 01-15-07, 04:01 PM   #9
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Still don't understand why.
Go ride a TT fixed.
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Old 01-15-07, 06:14 PM   #10
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Stuart O'Grady has ridden a prologue at the TdF on a fixed wheel bike.
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Old 01-15-07, 08:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilchemy
Stuart O'Grady has ridden a prologue at the TdF on a fixed wheel bike.
Yeah I've seen the pictures on CyclingNews, very interesting. They sure went all out on that bike, and it was only for the prologue!

But who am I kidding, I would have done the same thing.

As for Nexus or SA internally geared hubs, I don't see why the Nexus 3-speed wouldn't be helpful. It'd be awfully fun to try as well. I'm unsure whether or not you can make them fixed gear, or are they all freewheels?

Someone mentioned the momentum aspect of fixed gear, and that's one of the reasons I've been investigating this. I find that I'm more apt to pedal more on my fixed gear trainer than if it had a freewheel, its like a little tiny "coach" reminding you not to stop pedaling.

Not that I really need any mechanical reason to do this; fixed gears are just plain fun.
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Old 01-15-07, 09:21 PM   #12
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SA 5 speed hubs can be locked with a steel block into a 3 speed fixed. not sure whether you can shift while riding or not.
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Old 01-16-07, 11:45 AM   #13
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it's clear the trick with TTing fixed is knowing the course. i was at the sonoita TT in southern arizona last year (a long, downhill TT with pretty roaring speeds) and a guy came out on a fixed bianchi with aero bars and a disc rear wheel. i don't know the gear he was running but it looked pretty massive. in any case, this year there was a good headwind on the normally fast downhill course and the guy on the fixie couldn't have been happy.
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Old 01-16-07, 01:55 PM   #14
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I did one last year and I think I took 8th place out of quite a few riders. It was a rolling short course out and back into a head wind. I am quite sure I would have done better on my road bike with gears for this TT but my road bike's seat collar broke so I was forced to ride my fixed wheel bike. I think I ran a 46x15 which was actually quite a good gear for the rolling terraine and was using bullhorn bars. The 180 degree turn around can be a little tricky too.

I always bring my fixed gear bike to TT's but if there is a bad wind or hills in the course I will opt for the geared bike.
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Old 01-17-07, 06:42 PM   #15
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There was a discussion in the Tri forum about running an FG for the bike leg. There's a local race that's really flat where I think it might be a real advantage.
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Old 01-17-07, 07:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilchemy
Stuart O'Grady has ridden a prologue at the TdF on a fixed wheel bike.
From cyclingnews.com:
The prologue of this year's Giro d'Italia is 1,150m long, straight and flat.
The story. More Photos.
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Old 01-17-07, 10:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recneps
The geared record is about 2 minutes faster than the fixed record, this may also be because the fast guys are riding gears.

But I agree that the geared bike is probably faster, Its a speedway and there is typically a headwind on the back stretch and a tailwind on the front stretch, plus the front is a little bit up hill (a few feet of gain) so you might want gears.
The USCF Men's 40 K record was set on a fixed gear.
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Old 01-17-07, 11:43 PM   #18
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Years ago former world pursuit champ Tony Doyle broke the hour in a 25 mile TT on a 72 inch fixed gear. Very impressive leg speed.
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