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Old 09-08-08, 03:14 PM   #1
RVH
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What's the attraction of a fixed gear bike?

As I look through the posts and see pictures of folk's bikes and the "Malachi" post, I see a lot of fixed gear bikes. Not having ridden one since I was 12 (45 yrs ago) I am having trouble understanding the attraction. Can someone explain it to me?
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Old 09-08-08, 03:20 PM   #2
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What's the allure of fixed gear bikes?
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Old 09-08-08, 03:28 PM   #3
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Simplicity. No brakes, no shifters, no derailleurs. Nothing but you connected to the bike. Course, I don't have one....yet
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Old 09-08-08, 03:31 PM   #4
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I've never quite understood the attraction either. However, in fairness I must admit I've never riden one (except tricycles when I was a kid). I think it has alot to do with the "minimalistic" nature. One of these days I'll give it a try, I'm sure.
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Old 09-08-08, 03:51 PM   #5
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As I look through the posts and see pictures of folk's bikes and the "Malachi" post, I see a lot of fixed gear bikes. Not having ridden one since I was 12 (45 yrs ago) I am having trouble understanding the attraction. Can someone explain it to me?
They're "cool". Same reason people wore polyester leisure suits in the 70s. Makes about as much sense. There's a reason people stop riding them when they move to bikes with two wheels, instead of three.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:02 PM   #6
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When you were 12, was it a fixed gear bike or just a single-speed that you rode? (fixed gear can't coast, single speed with coaster brake can).

I have been assured in all sincerity that with a fixed-gear bike, zen and perpetual motion will pull you up the hills. I am skeptical, as it doesn't seem to do that on a unicycle.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:18 PM   #7
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either its because you are young and think it's trendy or its mid life crisis...
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Old 09-08-08, 04:26 PM   #8
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They're "cool". Same reason people wore polyester leisure suits in the 70s. Makes about as much sense. There's a reason people stop riding them when they move to bikes with two wheels, instead of three.
People can have different tastes. It happens. Is it so inconceivable that someone might prefer to ride a different kind of bike than you?

Yeah, fixed gears are trendy now, but people have been riding them for a long time. There's a niche for FG, some people honestly like them, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:40 PM   #9
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I don't have a fixed gear bike either, but a guy I know just bought one. He said that there's a lot of training value in riding a fixed gear because you have to pedal constantly. It helps build your power up hill, and your form going down hill. I've also heard people say that it's fun - you just ride (you don't have to think about shifting and breaking), and you feel more connected to the road.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:43 PM   #10
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Well, might as well contribute something to the thread...

http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html

I do not myself ride a fixed gear bicycle, but I understand why some may like it.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:45 PM   #11
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so how do you control speed going down hill, just keep pedalling?
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Old 09-08-08, 04:57 PM   #12
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I use my front brake, or back pressure on the pedals. As to why I like fixed.....it's fun, it's minimalist, simple abd hard to break. No one wants to steal it, because of it being fixed, with egg beater pedals, and I get better training from it, since I have to pedal all the time. Also, try a trackstand with a freehub.
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Old 09-08-08, 05:04 PM   #13
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so how do you control speed going down hill, just keep pedalling?
Put back pressure on the pedals...push on the rearward pedal rather than the front. The crank and pedals keep moving, of course, but you slow them down. If you push hard enough, you could lock your rear wheel, I guess, and wouldn't that be fun?
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Old 09-08-08, 05:21 PM   #14
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Or, if you forget and try to coast, you can also get tossed over the bars.
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Put back pressure on the pedals...push on the rearward pedal rather than the front. The crank and pedals keep moving, of course, but you slow them down. If you push hard enough, you could lock your rear wheel, I guess, and wouldn't that be fun?
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Old 09-08-08, 05:27 PM   #15
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Or, if you forget and try to coast, you can also get tossed over the bars.
That's the kind of fun I'm talkin' bout
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Old 09-08-08, 06:05 PM   #16
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I wouldn't mind a cool fixie.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:09 PM   #17
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I ride fixed because it's fun and I like skidding. I have learned to control my urge to skid when I am in a close group though. People tend to overreact a little.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:23 PM   #18
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As I look through the posts and see pictures of folk's bikes and the "Malachi" post, I see a lot of fixed gear bikes. Not having ridden one since I was 12 (45 yrs ago) I am having trouble understanding the attraction. Can someone explain it to me?
It's retro, but then a car with a stick shift and no synchromesh would be as well, until you miss a shift and drop the tranny in the middle of the street.

Pros: Simpler mechanically, cleaner look.
Cons: Hard on the knees, no breaks from pedalling, much easier to turn your shin in hamburger if you slip off a pedal. No ability to downshift on hills.

I can see it having a big attraction for a teen to 20 something wanting to train for either professional racing, or Olympic cycling events. For an over weight, 40 something with questionable knees (like me), I can't really see it, unless the orthopaedic surgeon who is going to do your knee replacement is "hot".

If you have an old bicycle frame, then I could see doing a fixed gear, as parts would be cheaper, as you can skip the cassette, RD, FD, shifters, rear brake. Although a Single speed with a rear coaster brake would have much the same benefits, without giving quite as much knee trouble.... As for me, I like having multiple gears, being able to down-shift for ascents and up-shift for descents. Which I like to do for rollers, shift into a high gear, and pedal like mad going downhill, and let momentum carry you most of the way up the next one. Except in this city, some idiot traffic planner usually put an all way stop sign at the bottom, so you need to ride the rear brake all the way down, then use your 17 gear inch double granny, on the way up.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:56 PM   #19
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I tried it for about 10 seconds, did something weird to my knee trying to backpedal. I get it...I have enough trouble just staying alive everytime I ride - don't need another thing to think about
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Old 09-08-08, 07:02 PM   #20
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flat commute, form work, endurance work, quiet. Love your knees, use brakes. I also don't worry chaining up anywhere I want. As Tom said, most people won't far on clipless fixed.

as for the rumor you can just climb hills easier? It seems to be true, commuting anyway. I don't mind hills as much on the fixed ride.

...still waiting for my new crank/Chainring combo to come in. Blew a spoke on a 33 mph downhill descent(sp) and the BB needed work anyway.

I digress...
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Old 09-08-08, 07:11 PM   #21
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FWIW, I use it to commute around Campus, and frankly, I have a lot more control on the wet, for example. Absolute control and feel for the road, as well. If you ride a fixed correctly, with proper form, it will strengthen your knees and give you MAMMOTH quads and less underdevelopment of the adductors as a little fringe benefit.

The cardio benefits are incredible as well, since you can ride at a lower intensity and get the same cardio burn from not being able to stop pedaling. You can also kick the intensity up a LOT higher as well. It really doesn't take long to get used to, either. I'm already pretty confident, and am now quick enough already to outrun auto traffic through campus, and hold with the traffic on State Street. I'm developing a faster, smoother cadence as well and can hold a 120 or higher cadence for short bursts without bouncing in the saddle now. :ED
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Old 09-09-08, 12:54 PM   #22
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No value judgments here...

Quote:
When you were 12, was it a fixed gear bike or just a single-speed that you rode? (fixed gear can't coast, single speed with coaster brake can).
You're right, it wasn't a fixed gear, it was a single-speed Schwinn with a banana seat. It was awesome and I rode it everywhere and had a paper route for four years and rode it every day.

Quote:
People can have different tastes. It happens. Is it so inconceivable that someone might prefer to ride a different kind of bike than you?
I was not making a value judgment, I was trying to learn. Why do people around here have to be so condescending and nasty?
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Old 09-09-08, 01:06 PM   #23
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3 words: flip . . . flop . . . hub : )

really, it's fun to ride fixed, though i do it with brakes and a road geometry. for longer rides, i flip it over to the single speed

i think the only reason it helps me up hills is because i know if i loose cadence then i won't get it back!

a single speed mountain bike may just be the most fun you can have on 2 wheels! they are geared much lower than a road bike (obviously) and that usually means you pedal out shortly after a flat begins (or downhill) but i seem to enjoy the ride much more : ) not worried about gears
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Old 09-09-08, 01:24 PM   #24
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I tried it as a skeptic , but if Sheldon Brown said it was worth trying.....
Well I now have a dedicated F/G bike and built a beater one to loan friends willing to try. One short test ride is not enough to get over the strange feel. But after you ride one for a week, you find yourself hooked.
As for myself, I use brakes (my first one was set up with a suicide hub) . Riding fixed the first commute made me aware of how much I did just coast. I have also learned to keep myself smooth even at very high RPM. I now plan for upcoming hills and attack them with a higher cadance.
As to the Zen stuff, Mid life Crisis (tell wife at least its not a hot blonde), bieng a hipster comments. It probubly varies from person to person, but I am the squarest 41year old in Kansas.
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Old 09-09-08, 01:36 PM   #25
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They're "cool". Same reason people wore polyester leisure suits in the 70s. Makes about as much sense. There's a reason people stop riding them when they move to bikes with two wheels, instead of three.
I ride mine for cadence & strength training.
Yep, everyone on a fixed gear is all about the hipster 'cool' factor...

I've learned to smooth out my spin by riding fixed on downhills, which has increased my cadence and allows me to spin more efficiently when climbing steep hills on my geared bike. By not having the option for lower gears on hills, I find that I'm climbing in a taller gear when I switch back to my geared bike.
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