Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Newbie: Fixed gear/freewheel?

    I am a very fit 61 year old. My bicycling will be limited to level-ground rides to and from work (eight city blocks each way) and to and from the local shopping street (twelve city blocks each way. I have not ridden for 40 years. I was interested in a Bianchi Milano, but they look clunky. How about a Bianchi Pista for freewheeling first and fixed gear once I am more comfortable with bicycling again? Thoughts? Opinions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,441
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There are many fixed-gear enthusiasts who will be glad to extol the virtues of such machines.

    I am not one.

  3. #3
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Milledgeville, Georgia
    My Bikes
    2014 Specialized Crave Pro 29, 2014 Specialized Crux EVO Carbon Disc, 2012 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross, 2011 Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert Compact, 2009 Salsa Casseroll, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB
    Posts
    12,789
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sounds like a great way to make a ride fun. Who needs gears for those conditions?
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    S.E. Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    1,737
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    How they look would be the least of my considerations. If you've not ridden in 40 years, I'd get to a shop and test ride as many different bikes as they'd let me. Technology has changed so much in 40 years that anything you used to ride simply can't be used to make an informed decision today.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  5. #5
    hello roadfix's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles
    My Bikes
    thank you for asking
    Posts
    18,502
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you're talking fixed gear nothing much has changed in the last 100 years.

    Most street fixies do not use exotic materials. Almost any steel frame conversion can be equally as good or even better than some off the shelf complete fixed/singlespeed bikes.

  6. #6
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Miles from Nowhere, Columbia County, OR
    My Bikes
    1980 Schwinn World Sport, 1982 Schwinn Super Le Tour, 1984 (?) Univega Single Speed/Fixed conversion, Kogswell G58 fixed gear, 1987 Schwinn Super Sport
    Posts
    1,111
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
    There are many fixed-gear enthusiasts who will be glad to extol the virtues of such machines.

    I am not one.
    I am one. For a ride such as you describe, I say go for it. First with the freewheel and then when you're ready (you will know), just flip that wheel. You should probably start out with 60 to 70 gear inches, depending on your fitness level. Try to keep the cadence above about 75 or so to avoid over stressing the knees.

    The stock gearing on a Bianchi Pista is 48x16, which gives you 80 gear inches. This is a little too high unless you have very strong legs or are a testosterone poisoned teenager with an image to protect. I would suggest 40x16 (66.9 GI) or 42x16 (70.2 GI) to start with.

    "Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a dérailleur?
    We are getting soft.... As for me, give me a fixed gear!"

    -- Henri Desgrange, in L'Auto-Velo, 1902
    Last edited by Dogbait; 09-10-07 at 07:07 PM.

  7. #7
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    My Bikes
    Cannondale T800
    Posts
    1,080
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Fixed gear? Are you crazy? If you really want to make life difficult, consider visiting a dominatrix. Gotta be more fun than a fixed gear.

  8. #8
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
    My Bikes
    Europa, Hillbrick, Road Chief, Repco Superlite (Ol' Rusty)
    Posts
    3,207
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Go for the fixed gear bike - you'll love it. Gear it down to start with, right down, not only will it be easier on the legs but easier to learn the techniques for backpressure.

    One thing to consider is that you may not be physically able or overly comfortable in a racing crouch. Being able to maintain one requires a lot of core strength and flexibility. You say you are very fit, but it's not 'cycling fitness', we use a different set of muscles to runners for instance. To be honest, I'd start with something more moderate and cheap just to get some miles in your legs and back, then look at where you want to go with your 'good' bike. The old eighties roadie is a good start. Cheap. Easy to find. Not bad to ride and make a great base upon which to build your own fixed gear bike.

    Richard

    obligatory picture of fixed elegance

    Last edited by europa; 09-10-07 at 08:16 PM.
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  9. #9
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
    My Bikes
    1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;
    Posts
    15,185
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
    There are many fixed-gear enthusiasts who will be glad to extol the virtues of such machines.

    I am not one.
    I am solidly in your camp.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  10. #10
    It's all about the Ort. TrackGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Western Queens
    My Bikes
    Centurion Trac; Carnielli; Ross Mt Hood; TREK 5200.
    Posts
    269
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Go for the fix. You can't do all those cool tricks that earn you street cred on an SS. This is my rig for riding to work:


    http://velospace.org/node/4449

  11. #11
    It's all about the Ort. TrackGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Western Queens
    My Bikes
    Centurion Trac; Carnielli; Ross Mt Hood; TREK 5200.
    Posts
    269
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here's my commute:


  12. #12
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you for all the good advice, which I shall consider carefully. One thing I did not mention is that in '96 I herniated a lumbar disc (after 4x180 mile treks to Mt. Everest base camp). Therefore I do not think I should be hunched over drop bars. What configuration would you suggest, whether I go fixed, s/s or geared?

  13. #13
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Miles from Nowhere, Columbia County, OR
    My Bikes
    1980 Schwinn World Sport, 1982 Schwinn Super Le Tour, 1984 (?) Univega Single Speed/Fixed conversion, Kogswell G58 fixed gear, 1987 Schwinn Super Sport
    Posts
    1,111
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Guzin View Post
    Thank you for all the good advice, which I shall consider carefully. One thing I did not mention is that in '96 I herniated a lumbar disc (after 4x180 mile treks to Mt. Everest base camp). Therefore I do not think I should be hunched over drop bars. What configuration would you suggest, whether I go fixed, s/s or geared?

    You don't have to set it up like a track bike. Here is my Kogswell with the seat just slightly higher than the tops of the bars. With my long arms, this gives me a very upright position.



  14. #14
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
    My Bikes
    Europa, Hillbrick, Road Chief, Repco Superlite (Ol' Rusty)
    Posts
    3,207
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you've got medical problems, go for geared. You can always build a fixed gear bike later. Maybe consider a recumbent - your back is supported there.

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  15. #15
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Milledgeville, Georgia
    My Bikes
    2014 Specialized Crave Pro 29, 2014 Specialized Crux EVO Carbon Disc, 2012 Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross, 2011 Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert Compact, 2009 Salsa Casseroll, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB
    Posts
    12,789
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Guzin View Post
    Thank you for all the good advice, which I shall consider carefully. One thing I did not mention is that in '96 I herniated a lumbar disc (after 4x180 mile treks to Mt. Everest base camp). Therefore I do not think I should be hunched over drop bars. What configuration would you suggest, whether I go fixed, s/s or geared?
    Only you and your doctors know what your particular situation will allow. My herniated lumbar disc thrives on my riding a drop bar bike. YMMV. The more I ride the better my back feels. But I'm not hunched over. My bars are about an inch below seat level.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Chili, NY
    My Bikes
    88 Fisher Gemini tandem, 92 Trek 970, 07 Nashbar Frame, 08 Gary Fisher Paragon
    Posts
    734
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You may want to look at the Bianchi San Jose instead of the Pista. A little better geometry for day to day riding along with having good brakes front and rear. Both bikes have a flip flop hub so you can try both Fixed and freewheel and see what suits you the best.

    I hope this helps

    Chris
    A Mess of old bikes...
    92 Trek 970
    08 Gary Fisher Paragon

  17. #17
    ********
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    My Bikes
    Bianchi, Trek, Another Trek, Raleigh, Fuji and Santana and another Santana
    Posts
    155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ang1sgt View Post
    You may want to look at the Bianchi San Jose instead of the Pista. A little better geometry for day to day riding along with having good brakes front and rear. Both bikes have a flip flop hub so you can try both Fixed and freewheel and see what suits you the best.

    I hope this helps

    Chris
    +1 on the San Jose. There are similar bikes from other vendors as well.

  18. #18
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, Canada
    My Bikes
    Rodriguez Shiftless street fixie with S&S couplers, Kuwahara tandem, Trek carbon, Dolan track
    Posts
    2,065
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbait View Post
    The stock gearing on a Bianchi Pista is 48x16, which gives you 80 gear inches. This is a little too high unless you have very strong legs or are a testosterone poisoned teenager with an image to protect. I would suggest 40x16 (66.9 GI) or 42x16 (70.2 GI) to start with.
    That 48x16 is actually a warmup gear for the track. On an outdoor track on a warm day, I'd likely warm up on the 48x16 (81"), then switch to the disk wheel with the 14-cog for racing on (48x14, 92.5"). The effect of the 81" warmup gear is to have you spinning at around 90 rpm's at about 37 kmh. This is clearly too fast for the road, so the gearing advice given above is quite appropriate. You want somewhere between 66 and 74 gear inches. I use 39x15 or 42x16 on my fixie, and Vancouver has varied terrain. If there are no hills, you could go with 44x16 (74"). If it's really hilly, go with 66" (42x17). Not as low as you'd go if you had the full complement of gears, but you have to compromise on a fixie. You'll be spinning like a fool on the descents anyway. But it is an elegant way to set up the bike (no unnecessary parts), and it will very definitely improve you cycling by smoothing out your pedal stroke and encouraging you to relax at high rpm's.

    And if you decide to go back to a multi-gear road bike with a freewheel, you'll be amazed at how much faster you can get it to move.

    - L.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •