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Old 06-24-08, 10:07 AM   #1
taxi777
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Single speed Review for over 50

I posted this on fixed gear forum...but I think pertinent to this forum...so scuse the cross posting...also I never get over here enough, and should start acting my age with you really old people...


Hey you guys, I'm an Old Fart from the NorCal forum and I bought a Langster for a fun bike. It turned into a really fun bike! I thought you might be interested in an old dudes perspective on a single speed. I had a really bad experience on a fixed gear awhile back... http://taxi777petesblog.blogspot.com...o-regrets.html I swore I'd never own one, but I bought this bike cause of it's theme (taxi) and am really happy I did!

Well I got my first solid ride in with my New York Taxi themed Langster. I am truly enjoying this bike! I did an out and back from downtown to the beach and back up through GG Park with a modest amount of climbing on some of the hills. My legs were still pretty shot from a weekend on Tam so I skipped the Legion of Honor climb.

The Langster come with the option for running in the fixed or freewheel mode. I’ll simplify the explanations’ for those who don’t have the gear head knowledge…Like me. The back wheel can be flipped or turned around so that one side is fixed (keep pedaling) and the other side is freewheel (backpedal/coast). I really like this option, especially on long rides or shooting down hills a plus 35 mph. I’m not at brave as some who like it in the pedal mode. My knees are in disagreement with that setting and I’m not comfortable with it in the city in that mode.

This bike has personality. I feel like the bike and I are very compatible. With a couple of small tweaks it has become the most comfortable bike I’ve ever owned. It is probably due to the compact geometry. My top end size is 60 cm, but this frame is a 61 and it feels perfect. I switched out the 110 mm stem for a shorter stem and flipped it (down). The bike comes with a very compact messenger bar. I switched it for bull horns. I’ve never used bull horns, but man Ramon was right, they are great for climbing! I feel like I’m on one of those goofy cross country ski machines at the gym. It’s giving me a well needed arm and shoulder workout. I have those Olive Oil stick arms and can’t seem to build muscle. I got home feeling like I had been working out on the Nautilus all day.

The no hands tracking on this machine is fantastic. Again probably due to the compact frame, and precise factory tube alignment. The ride is a little bit lively compared to my other bikes and she lets you know what kind of pavement you’re going over. The bars really absorb a lot of shock though. I tend to like peppy, nimble bikes and this is the perfect ride for me. I’m a big fan of aluminum…Call me crazy! I’m very relaxed and have a perfect balance of pressure on my butt and hands. No numbness (on any appendages) after 20 miles.

The 42X16 is a little tough on the city hills, but I’ll stick with. It will build up my strength. I have a naturally very high cadence (100 to 110) so the bike tops out on me at about 23 mph which is a nice pace line speed.

Specialized did a great job on the design and the paint is striking. I get a lot of looks from the local MILF’s! Nice! Bling and Pose factor is 10.
Seat feels great! I run all my bikes with Fizik Alliantes. The stock Specialized saddle is awesome and comparable to mine. Black and Yellow too.

I upgraded the brake levers to Cane Creek TT 200. Calipers are a little messy. The front tends to pick up grit for some reason. Hey…who needs brakes, they only slow you down anyway.

I love this bike, although the London, Vegas were stunning…but New York, with taxi theme? Fugetaboudit!
My goal next year is to ride it for the Davis double, unless I get to stoke a tandem with somebody… (anybody? Hello? )Also to do the Aids ride to L.A. Seriously!

• Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum frame, fully manipulated tubing, compact design, integrated headset
• Specialized carbon fork, carbon fiber legs, aluminum steerer
• Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum flat bar, 400mm width
• Specialized Sport stem, 3D forged alloy stem and Specialized Comp, 6061 alloy
• Avid FR-5 brake levers
• Shimano 16t freewheel plus 16t fixed gear cog
• 42T CNC Zen Messenger chainring
FRAME Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum, fully manipulated tubing, compact design, integrated headset

REAR SHOCK N/A

FORK Specialized carbon fork, carbon fiber legs, aluminum steerer

HEADSET Specialized Mindset, 1 1/8" integrated threadless, sealed bearings, alloy 20mm cone w/ one 10mm and two 5mm alloy spacers

STEM Specialized Sport, 3D forged alloy, 31.8mm split clamp, 7 degree

HANDLEBARS

TAPE/GRIPS Body Geometry Bar Phat, cork ribbon w/ 2.5mm gel padding

FRONT BRAKE Dual pivot, forged alloy w/ cartridge multi-condition pads

REAR BRAKE Dual pivot, forged alloy w/ cartridge multi-condition pads

BRAKE LEVERS Tektro short reach for drop bars

FRONT DERAILLEUR N/A

REAR DERAILLEUR N/A

SHIFT LEVERS N/A

CASSETTE FREEWHEEL Shimano 16t freewheel plus 16t fixed gear cog

CHAIN KMC Z-510HX

CRANKSET Sugino Comp, five arm, polished arms

CHAINRINGS 42T CNC Zen Messenger

BOTTOM BRACKET Sport cartridge, square taper, 68 x 103mm

PEDALS

RIMS Alex R500, 700c, alloy double wall, machined sidewalls

FRONT HUB Specialized forged alloy, 32 hole, double sealed w/ chrome track nuts

REAR HUB Specialized, 32 hole, forged alloy, double sealed w/ chrome track nuts

SPOKES Stainless 14g

FRONT TIRE Specialized Mondo Sport, 700x23c, wire bead, 60TPI

REAR TIRE Specialized Mondo Sport, 700x23c, wire bead, 60TPI

TUBES Specialized standard presta tube

SADDLE Specialized Comp Road, full padding

SEAT POST Specialized carbon fiber wrapped, 27.2mm

SEAT BINDER Specialized CNC, alloy, 31.8mm clamp

NOTES Chain stay protector, clear coat, owners manual
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Old 06-24-08, 10:26 AM   #2
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Great review. Sounds like a fun bike.

A friend and I both have early 80s Fuji road bikes that we want to convert to fixies. We are planning a "Fuji-Fixin' Friday" some day soon to make the conversions.
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Old 06-24-08, 10:50 AM   #3
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Great review. Sounds like a fun bike.

A friend and I both have early 80s Fuji road bikes that we want to convert to fixies. We are planning a "Fuji-Fixin' Friday" some day soon to make the conversions.
I wish you guys we're near me, I'd bring my old Peugeot. I'm trying to convert it. All this fixie stuff reminds me of all the years I played guitars, then I hit 50, now it's only old Les Pauls and Strats...Must be like a born again thing...mid life crisis. I find myself hanging around with 20 something girls, but unforntunately they think I'm a Daddy object
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Old 06-24-08, 11:02 AM   #4
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Nice review.

I enjoy riding both my fixed and single speed bikes. I run my single speed as a dedicated single speed. My fixed bikes run fixed cogs on both sides of the hub for occasional flipping.
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Old 06-24-08, 12:18 PM   #5
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Whoah. That bike surprises me a little bit (http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=32826). I'm in the process of restoring an old french tandem and have nearly finished it in the theme of a "checker cab" in bright yellow with almost identical color scheme. Ouch. Scooped again. At least mine will have a CaptBike headbadge.
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Old 06-24-08, 01:04 PM   #6
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Whoah. That bike surprises me a little bit (http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=32826). I'm in the process of restoring an old french tandem and have nearly finished it in the theme of a "checker cab" in bright yellow with almost identical color scheme. Ouch. Scooped again. At least mine will have a CaptBike headbadge.
Picts when you're done!
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Old 06-24-08, 02:10 PM   #7
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Sorry, but you have not convinced me at all. For me, a fun bike is one with plenty of gears, to permit me to accelerate quickly in traffic, to accommodate hills and headwinds, and to spin at an efficient cadence under most conditions. Gear mapping and gear changing are an integral part of the fun of cycling.
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Old 06-24-08, 06:52 PM   #8
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until you try riding fixed (at least three times-- the first two times are a little intimidating), you won't understand the allure. My fixed is a KHS Flite 100 with a 48x18. It's in its 5th season, and I've put close to 18,000 miles on it. I LOVE IT!!! It is loads of fun. I do have 2 brakes on it, and have been able to climb every hill around here on it (although a couple of them have been pretty close to standing still...). I always thought fixies were not practical--that I would miss the gears. I find I am much more efficient at riding hills because of the fixie--regardless of which bike I ride.

train safe--
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Old 06-24-08, 09:04 PM   #9
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Sorry, but you have not convinced me at all. For me, a fun bike is one with plenty of gears, to permit me to accelerate quickly in traffic, to accommodate hills and headwinds, and to spin at an efficient cadence under most conditions. Gear mapping and gear changing are an integral part of the fun of cycling.

Ok?
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Old 06-24-08, 09:05 PM   #10
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Sorry, but you have not convinced me at all. For me, a fun bike is one with plenty of gears, to permit me to accelerate quickly in traffic, to accommodate hills and headwinds, and to spin at an efficient cadence under most conditions. Gear mapping and gear changing are an integral part of the fun of cycling.
Because we all know there is only one way to have fun.
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Old 06-24-08, 09:17 PM   #11
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I tried the fixie thing and after a couple of hours of doing fine for a while and then suddenly out of the blue trying to coast I gave up and went single speed.

Hell, I LIKE to coast downhill.... so sue me...

I also found that single speed can be a lot of fun. The bike is simpler and actually a noticable bit more efficient. I had not realized just how much of my hamburgers were going into running that chain past those jockey pulley wheels. My SS project taught me that pretty darn quickly.

Now having said that while I'll happily take my SS for a run on near level ground this city has its fair share of hills. When my route insists it's the geared bikes always.
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Old 06-24-08, 09:57 PM   #12
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I think I'd like to convert my 70's Gitane to a fixie, but .... well....
Then again, it isn't doing a lot in the garage right now.
I just don't want to pen money and discover I don' like it. That and I don't want to give up my old rear wheel for a new one
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Old 06-24-08, 10:30 PM   #13
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The whole idea scares the bejeezus out of me.
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Old 06-24-08, 11:06 PM   #14
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The whole idea scares the bejeezus out of me.
First, don't let it scare you. It's not scary. Next, open your mind and try it. I started by converting my '77 MASI to a single speed (42 x 16), and loved that, now it's converted to fixed gear (42 x 15), and I like that even better.

Yes, I do have multi-geared bikes, and use them a lot. But for "fun" rides, and esp. for recovery rides, the fixed gear is nothing short of wonderful. Really.

So just try it. If you don't try it, you may never "get" it.

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Old 06-25-08, 12:36 AM   #15
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Sorry, but you have not convinced me at all. For me, a fun bike is one with plenty of gears, to permit me to accelerate quickly in traffic, to accommodate hills and headwinds, and to spin at an efficient cadence under most conditions. Gear mapping and gear changing are an integral part of the fun of cycling.
Modern 24-27 speed bikes are marvels of technology, and allow a cyclist to select the gear ratio that will make the most efficient use of his/her energy. If what you're after is getting the maximum possible speed/distance for the minimum effort (and there's nothing wrong with that!) a multi-speed bike is what you need...but, efficiency isn't everything!
If you're riding for sheer pleasure, or for exercise, you don't necessarily place that high a premium on output results, as measured in speed, distance or vertical climb. Instead, you may care more about the actual experience of riding your bike. In this case, you may be a candidate for a singlespeed bike.

Riding a singlespeed can help bring back the unfettered joy you experienced riding your bike as a child. You don't realize how much mental energy you devote to shifting until you relinquish your derailers, and discover that a whole corner of your brain that was formerly wondering when to shift is now free to enjoy your surroundings and sensations.

Paradoxically, a singlespeed is, in another sense more efficient than a multispeed bike! While the single gear ratio will not be the "perfect" gear ratio for all conditions, in the conditions which fit the single gear, it is considerably more efficient mechanically than the drive train of a derailer bike.

And that's from Lord and Master "Sheldon Brown" Take that to the bank : )
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Old 06-25-08, 12:41 AM   #16
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I think I'd like to convert my 70's Gitane to a fixie, but .... well....
Then again, it isn't doing a lot in the garage right now.
I just don't want to pen money and discover I don' like it. That and I don't want to give up my old rear wheel for a new one
I'm too old to enjoy crashing, so the one speed is fine. It's just kind of nice to not have to think about anything. Somtimes..
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Old 06-25-08, 12:46 AM   #17
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Paradoxically, a singlespeed is, in another sense more efficient than a multispeed bike! While the single gear ratio will not be the "perfect" gear ratio for all conditions, in the conditions which fit the single gear, it is considerably more efficient mechanically than the drive train of a derailer bike.
A poets answer.
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Old 06-25-08, 05:42 AM   #18
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The beauty of N+1 is that evry bike you own does not have to be ideally suited for every possible situation. You wouldn't criticize a bike made for riding centuries because it can't handle rough singletrack.
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Old 06-25-08, 10:32 AM   #19
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The beauty of N+1 is that evry bike you own does not have to be ideally suited for every possible situation. You wouldn't criticize a bike made for riding centuries because it can't handle rough singletrack.
Guess that's probably why I own seven bikes! No two are for exactly the same kind of riding.

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Old 06-25-08, 10:50 AM   #20
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Guess that's probably why I own seven bikes! No two are for exactly the same kind of riding.

Rick / OCRR
Yep I"m getting close to that number. I just bought one and I'm already thinking about the next bike!
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Old 06-25-08, 10:53 AM   #21
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I can see the merits of "single speed;" it's the "fixed gear" that scares me.

I recently got an old Univega that would be perfect for conversion to something interesting. I've been considering spreading the rear triangle and putting in a Shimano Nexus 8, and making this a low-hassle
commuter/grocery getter kind of bike.

The other possibility is to make it a single speed.

My hesitation is partly 'cause I live at the bottom of a hill, and every ride I take starts with a 0.35 of a mile climb that starts at 11% grade, includes sections of 16%, and levels out to abut 6%. Any gear that would allow me to grind up that seems like it would be too low for the rest of my ride.
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Old 06-26-08, 01:54 AM   #22
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My hesitation is partly 'cause I live at the bottom of a hill, and every ride I take starts with a 0.35 of a mile climb that starts at 11% grade, includes sections of 16%, and levels out to abut 6%. Any gear that would allow me to grind up that seems like it would be too low for the rest of my ride.
Walk it. There is no shame in preserving knees and getting off to walk when the hill becomes too steep for the fixed or single-speed gearing you have.
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