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Old 04-11-07, 07:40 AM   #1
superslomo
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Equipment/history question: fixed vs. geared racing?

I was just checking for something and noticed a photo of Fausto Coppi climbing Alpe D'Huez on a fixed gear...

When did racing switch from fixed gear to geared bikes? Did everyone convert at about the same time in the professional ranks, or did it transition slowly?
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Old 04-11-07, 07:56 AM   #2
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Off the top of my head, I seem to remember that when derailleur's were first invented, there were still die hards that raced on single speeds in the TDF. After the guys with ders starting winning, then I think most guys started using ders.
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Old 04-11-07, 08:34 AM   #3
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Its common for racers to just fixed gear bikes specifically for climbing.

Most common on uphill time trials, its easier climb on fixedgears, granted you have the right gear.
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Old 04-11-07, 12:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
Off the top of my head, I seem to remember that when derailleur's were first invented, there were still die hards that raced on single speeds in the TDF. After the guys with ders starting winning, then I think most guys started using ders.
They were also banned from le Tour for some years. Guys would flip the rear wheels for a more generous cog on the other side.

TT's on fixed are not that unusual even today, no?

There's a guy in the NYC area who rides hilly brevets fixed. Dude is amazing -- don't think he even flips the wheel.
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Old 04-11-07, 12:18 PM   #5
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I'd read somewhere that quite a few riders on the Mt. Washington race use fixed gears.
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Old 04-11-07, 12:19 PM   #6
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I'd love to see that photo of Fausto, if it's possible to post.
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Old 04-11-07, 12:55 PM   #7
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I don't think multiple geared bikes were permitted in the TDF until the mid-late 1930's.
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Old 04-11-07, 01:19 PM   #8
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Actually there was a time in the TDF where there were different classes of riders. During that phase what we would call pros had to ride what was basically a fixed gear (2 gears as mentioned). However tourists were allow deraillers.
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Old 04-11-07, 05:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
I don't think multiple geared bikes were permitted in the TDF until the mid-late 1930's.
correct.

While freewheels were in the first TdFs, they were banned early on and it was fixies until the 30's. flip-flops were allowed, though.
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