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  1. #1
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    Let's Look at Fixed-Gear Again

    In the late 40s and 50s I rode the fixed gear. As you know they were not fixed-gear but one gear. I am perplexed at a fixed-gear bike not coasting. They certainly would coast, and had a kickstand, and you simply pedaled backwards to brake. Well I went and bought the 9-speed but have since considered a track bike with brakes for my second bike. I am not big on gears and would like to not bother shifting. Does anyone know if the newer bikes will take the strain, if any, of not shifting? I come from the school where if the hill was too steep you just walked the bike up it. With this in mind I am looking to replace my fancy clip-in pedals with rubber block ones, for an able platform up the hills especially. Anyone know why some of the pedals cost so much? I really do not believe such pricey expertise is necessary.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    On the pedal side of things -you get what you pay for. Many of the top end bikes supplied nowadays are sold without pedals. This is not only because of the choice of types of pedals, it is also the choice of quality of pedals.

    Not too many years ago, you bought a middle quality bike, and it had pedals. These were good enough for you to set the bike up, ride it a few miles and then throw them away. If you were foolish enough to keep them on the bike, within a couple of rides you were investigating the graunching sound, or the click that was on the bike.

    The quality of the pedals relies on several factors, quality of manufacture and build, quality of the bearings and axles, and the ease of any maintenance that may have to be done on them. This is why some apparantly very basic pedals cost a fortune. Then at the other end of the scale, I have seen some very cheap pedals that seem a good buy.

    I run SPD's and I use the cheapest Shimano pedal they make. Never had a Problem with them so why should I spend 3 times the amount for a pedal that works in exactly the same way. Easy. My cheap pedals have to be replaced about every 5 years wheras the top of the range would probably last me a lifetime

    On the fixed gear bike you had, it sounds as this was not a fixed gear bike but a single speed bike, generally temed as S/S bike.

  3. #3
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    Yes, stapfam, that was single speed and I suppose these aren't made now. Good info you provide on the pedals. I noted some of the bikes from the one I selected came without pedals. My new bike, a middlin-priced one, has m-wing pedals, with hardware for attaching to shoes, a system I'm not interested in. Five-year pedals you describe will do me. You cleared up the pedal mystery for me.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like you're describing a single speed with coaster brake, not a fixed gear. A fixie won't coast--if the back wheel's going around, the pedals have to be turning. You do help out with stopping by resisting their motion, and track fixies don't usually have brakes, but it seems sorta risky to me to run a street bike without at least a front brake.
    I turned an old Trek into a single speed a few years ago, and I ride it a lot. It lives under the stairs at work in summer so I can use it at lunch and for short trips around town, and in winter it gets fenders and goes out when I don't want to ride my "real" bikes. The conversion is easy--I just spun off the old freewheel, put on a one-gear BMX freewheel with a spacer and took off the big chainring and derailleurs. You can do the same thing with a cassette-equipped bike with about $10 for a cog and spacers (see www.sheldonbrown.com for more information).
    True fixies have fans, and the people who ride them really like them, but they're too scary and too much work for me. I'm an old man--I like to rest when I'm going downhill.

  5. #5
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    Well Velo Dog I'm no spring chicken as they say. Yes, of course it was single speeds we kids had. Regarding a track bike, I would put brakes on it. I looked at one hill where I would be riding it. At the foot of it is a single lane passage over a bridge. Were I flying down that hill without brakes, to miss a vehicle on it I would go airbourne out over and into a creek. No, I wouldn't convert my new bike to a track as it would be self-defeating to take it apart just after getting it. I am quite satisfied with it but as I say, I am interested in the track bike. Your bike hanging around reminds me of the Seinfeld Klein bicycle slung into many scenes, as an imbedded ad no doubt. Of course I then wanted a Klein for a while, but it's passing.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jimmat's Avatar
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    yeah the fixed/track thing esp w/o brakes is intimidating but once you get it the experience is unique. Im 53 and started riding a track bike only last year at first I used a break but no more. Ive been on the velodrome and raced crits, tts, hill climbs and point to point races...all fun. The trick of riding breakless is using your legs to resist and control speed, then skip stopping and skid stopping. aright

  7. #7
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    I see how you can get usually along without brakes but it seems you would be out of control going down steep inclines and maybe having to leap off the bike. I like the non-techical aspects of the track bike though, something that a novice like me could perhaps maintain without having to go to the LBS. One thing I object to is the quick-release wheels and would hope not to find them on any bicycle actually . . .

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