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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-12-12, 09:52 PM   #1
Ronius_Maximus
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Scored me a Fixie

Hi ya'll. I told myself I was done with bike purchasing but found a Fixie/SS on craigslist that caught my attention. At first, I thought I had no chance and knew that the seller would not take my offer but the seller indeed took my offer so now i'm a new owner of a 2011 Specialized Langster in Steel. What worried me at first was that this was an XL 58cm frame, per the seller (and on the original receipt), so I had my doubts that I would fit this bike. I gave the bike a spin and it was just so comfortable and felt like it was a perfect match. I tried the whole Fixie thing before with a Nashbar Hounder (in 63cm) and had to sell it immediately due to some financial situation at the time. Although this is only 58cm, it appears to be a very tall bike for a 58cm and was perfect for me.

I live at the top of a culdesac so I quickly learned my lesson riding fixed gear down the hill. When I had my Nashbar Hounder, I kept it at single speed and never got the opportunity to try a Fixed Gear. This bike didn't come with brakes and was in Fixed Gear mode. I know this isn't the Fixed Gear forum but i'm a Clyde at 6'4" and 250 pounds. Again i'm surprised this bike fit me very well and is the same height as my 62cm Gunnar Roadie. I have comparison pictures below as well.

Pictures of the Specialized Langster after cleaning it up, installing foam grips (came with bare drop bars), and after clyding it out with 700x28c replacing the 700x23c's that came with it:



Heres a comparison of the 58cm Specialized Langster vs. my 62cm Gunnar Roadie:
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File Type: jpg Langster4 - Copy.jpg (43.5 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg GunnarLangster1.jpg (51.5 KB, 36 views)
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Old 07-15-12, 05:55 AM   #2
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I understand single speeds. I don't understand the appeal of the fixie. Especially the no brakes part. How do you deal with stopping, especially on an emergency basis?
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Old 07-15-12, 07:28 PM   #3
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At the price I got it for, it was a bargain. I have deemed it my somewhat of a workout bike. When I take my daughter to the park, I will use this bike since she goes super slow and I can ride it around the play ground and/or track as she plays with her friends. For me, its just adding something different to my stash.
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Old 07-15-12, 07:38 PM   #4
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From a now disappeared Craigslist ad:
Stop sign? Fixie don't care. Car coming turning in front of you at a three-way stop? Fixie laugh. Want Chipotle? Nope. Fixie want protein powder/beet/purple carrot/bee pollen juice and won't stop till he gets it. Fixie has a mind of his own.
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Old 07-15-12, 08:16 PM   #5
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That's awesome!
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Old 07-17-12, 03:19 AM   #6
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Goldfinch: I'm no fixie guy, but no one else has endeavored to answer your question so I'll take a shot. I believe the fixie panic-stop goes kinda like this: you lean your weight on the bars so that you unload the rear wheel just enough to be able to stop the cranks with your legs (often standing with the leg doing most of the stopping straight, knee locked). This puts the rear tire in a light skid (light because of the load balance) , which will begin to slow the bike. Then you can begin to shift your weight back and re-load the rear wheel to get additional stopping power.

I'm certain it all takes a good bit of practice every step of the way. Furthermore it suuuuuure ain't for me!
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Old 07-17-12, 05:32 AM   #7
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Thanks Squee!
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Old 07-17-12, 02:27 PM   #8
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Or you could mount a front brake (minimum) and/or a rear brake on your fg if you want to brake. FG panic stops are where you forget you can't stop pedaling, try to stop pedaling, and get thrown off the bike. Skipping's a good way to scrub speed and keep from shredding your tires. Skidding's a good way to go through tires really fast. As for why anyone would want to ride a fixed gear, different strokes for different folks.
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Old 07-17-12, 09:27 PM   #9
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Sweeeet. Nice score.

As a clyde who until a few weeks ago rode only a fixie, I have to say installing a front brake -- which IMO is mandatory on a road bike -- might very well destroy the fine lines of that one. If you decide to, go to a shop with a fixie specialist who knows about drilling.
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Old 07-18-12, 09:03 AM   #10
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Nice ride!
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Old 07-18-12, 09:41 AM   #11
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Yeah, I'd put brakes on it. Otherwise, pretty sweet.
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Old 07-18-12, 09:52 AM   #12
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Looks like there's a hole on the fork for mounting a brake. No drilling needed. The bridge in the rear looks to have a hole too for a rear brake.
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Old 07-18-12, 11:43 AM   #13
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I love my fixie (06 Langster Comp) - I always run a front brake, but try to only use it when it is really needed. I don't think I'd ever consider riding it on a road without a front brake in place.

A(nother) rear brake always seemed silly on a fixed gear - I always took any rear drilling to be utilized only if someone was wanting to use it as a singlespeed (or flip their flip flop hub on a regular basis).

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Old 07-18-12, 11:50 AM   #14
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I regularly use both front and rear brakes. I don't skid.
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Old 07-18-12, 08:52 PM   #15
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I understand single speeds. I don't understand the appeal of the fixie. Especially the no brakes part. How do you deal with stopping, especially on an emergency basis?
Why in the world do people think that fixed gear must = no brake. Why? Fixed gear is but one aspect of a bike.

I was talking to a coworker about cycling and trying to get them to ride to work. They rode a SS and I said I ride a FG. His response? Oh, I don't like the no brake thing.... Um, who said anything about brakeless?

I ride a FG with front and rear brakes. Why FG over SS? Several reasons: brakeless to save your pad & rims when you want, more efficient spinning, more durable than a freewheel, teaches you how wasteful coasting is, and ...... it is more fun!

FG does not mean brakeless, try FG people.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:08 PM   #16
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Your first time downhill on a suicide-style fixed gear bike is always a learning experience. I just keep an eye on my speed and put pressure on the back-pedal all the way down (I didn't want brakes because my reason for building a fixie was for the full-leg workout (pedaling and braking)).

I'll never skid stop, that's just for show-offs and people with cheap tires. My fixie is only used for neighborhood rides, anyway. If you are going to be riding near automotive or pedestrian traffic, you'll definitely want to get a front brake.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:13 PM   #17
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Your first time downhill on a suicide-style fixed gear bike is always a learning experience. I just keep an eye on my speed and put pressure on the back-pedal all the way down (I didn't want brakes because my reason for building a fixie was for the full-leg workout (pedaling and braking)).

I'll never skid stop, that's just for show-offs and people with cheap tires. My fixie is only used for neighborhood rides, anyway. If you are going to be riding near automotive or pedestrian traffic, you'll definitely want to get a front brake.
Neighborhood rides only? Why even own a brakeless FG then? Do you ride FGFS? If not, what is the point? Why not ride one of your other bikes and thin the herd? Curious...
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Old 07-18-12, 11:09 PM   #18
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I ride a FG with front and rear brakes.
Why the rear brake? If you are always running fixed, why bother with the rear brake? (Just curious)
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Old 07-19-12, 12:57 AM   #19
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I love my Langster steel, I think you will too.
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Old 07-19-12, 06:51 AM   #20
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Why the rear brake? If you are always running fixed, why bother with the rear brake? (Just curious)
I look at it like this:
What advantage does no rear brake give you? A little lighter bike, one less component to maintain, right?
What advantage does a rear brake give you? Extra stopping power in an emergency, redundancy if your front brake fails.

I commute with my FG, 20 miles a day. Sometimes the legs get worn out and another brake is just nice to have. I don't think having it slows me down at all so I see no reason to take it off.
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Old 07-19-12, 11:36 AM   #21
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I look at it like this:
What advantage does no rear brake give you? A little lighter bike, one less component to maintain, right?
What advantage does a rear brake give you? Extra stopping power in an emergency, redundancy if your front brake fails.

I commute with my FG, 20 miles a day. Sometimes the legs get worn out and another brake is just nice to have. I don't think having it slows me down at all so I see no reason to take it off.
All good reasons. I applaud the OP's entry into FG riding (it's great!), but strongly agree that a front brake should be added.
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Old 07-20-12, 09:07 PM   #22
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On my motorcycle sometimes using a rear brake while allowing some push on the drivetrain by modulating the clutch allows for more control during slow speed maneuvering. I know big difference between 550 pound motorbike plus rider and a fixed gear pedal bike.

I wonder, would a rear brake make slow speed turns ( u turns) more manageable with a fixed gear? Keep forward pedaling while lightly dragging rear brake for example. Of course the same rear braking force could be applied without a rear brake, but is it as easy to modulate? Also, can you maintain forward push while rear wheel braking on a fixed gear?


I don't feel it as necessary a technique (rear wheel braking to assist stability in low speed turns) on a pedal bike vs a motorbike, I am just playing devils advocate.
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Old 07-21-12, 11:21 AM   #23
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On my motorcycle sometimes using a rear brake while allowing some push on the drivetrain by modulating the clutch allows for more control during slow speed maneuvering. I know big difference between 550 pound motorbike plus rider and a fixed gear pedal bike.

I wonder, would a rear brake make slow speed turns ( u turns) more manageable with a fixed gear? Keep forward pedaling while lightly dragging rear brake for example. Of course the same rear braking force could be applied without a rear brake, but is it as easy to modulate? Also, can you maintain forward push while rear wheel braking on a fixed gear?


I don't feel it as necessary a technique (rear wheel braking to assist stability in low speed turns) on a pedal bike vs a motorbike, I am just playing devils advocate.
Not sure about the turning but rear brake is the stable brake so good for poor (rainy) conditions. Tough to skid stop/resistive pedal when the weather is poor. You will have a hard time maintaining balance. I've seen a few FG cyclists with front brake only take a spill in rainy weather.
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Old 07-22-12, 12:00 AM   #24
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Especially at low speed, a rear brake would be completely redundant on a fixed gear - your pedaling already gives you full control. At higher speed - esp given the % of braking power at the front wheel (http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html, etc), I just don't see what a rear brake adds that the nature of a fixed gear doesn't already give you.

I'm certainly not suggesting you take your rear brake off, but I'm still not seeing any logic that would recommend anyone else add one, which is more what I was looking for.

I suppose I could see a valid argument for a rear brake if you were not using proper foot retention - but in that situation, I don't see the rear brake as any more than a band-aid over the real root issue.

I'm guessing that the examples of riders hitting the deck you reference don't provide a complete picture - a FG rider already gets a great feel for their level of traction on a wet surface. Hard time maintaining balance? No idea what you'd mean by that, especially regarding anyone that has that properly set up front brake.
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Old 07-22-12, 01:59 PM   #25
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Especially at low speed, a rear brake would be completely redundant on a fixed gear - your pedaling already gives you full control. At higher speed - esp given the % of braking power at the front wheel (http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html, etc), I just don't see what a rear brake adds that the nature of a fixed gear doesn't already give you.

I'm certainly not suggesting you take your rear brake off, but I'm still not seeing any logic that would recommend anyone else add one, which is more what I was looking for.

I suppose I could see a valid argument for a rear brake if you were not using proper foot retention - but in that situation, I don't see the rear brake as any more than a band-aid over the real root issue.

I'm guessing that the examples of riders hitting the deck you reference don't provide a complete picture - a FG rider already gets a great feel for their level of traction on a wet surface. Hard time maintaining balance? No idea what you'd mean by that, especially regarding anyone that has that properly set up front brake.
I'm not suggesting that people need to have a rear brake, it just works for me for reasons I made above. Saying I use front and rear was mostly to dispel the concept of 'fixie' riders/bikes all being the same, that is all.

Noting SB, read the section about when to use just the rear brake and when to use both. Two major points: poor conditions (rear only) and leaning in a turn (both). Now read again and replace rear brake w/ skid stop.

Dry pavement and dry tires = coefficient of friction of 1.0, wet pavement and wet tires = coefficient of 0.2. Meaning, it could take you 5 times the distance to stop when it is wet out. I believe that you can stop much faster modulating your rear brake in rainy/snowy/icy weather compared to skid stopping a FG or resistive pedaling (could modulate if experienced, can be tough if an emergency).

Now consider commuting through downtown Chicago instead of Independence. Traffic is dense and drivers (cabbies) are maniacs. It is raining. You are taking a left turn when a car in an alley crossing the street you are turning on unexpectedly cuts you off. Will you have the reaction time to skid and maintain balance and control through your turn safely?

It is in these 'oh Shhh____!' moments commuting in traffic when I have seen FG riders with front brakes only eat it in the rain. It is easy to maintain balance skidding in wet conditions if you only intend on riding in a straight line, it gets a little harder in practice.

I agree with you that 99.9% of the time that a rear brake is not necessary on a FG, but it can come in handy once in a while and it doesn't hurt to have it....

This is of course all moot if your FG is only a fair weather bike or you only intend on riding slow enough in poor conditions that you can have total control in an emergency.
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