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Thread: Riding fixed??

  1. #1
    not the hair stuff rogaine's Avatar
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    Riding fixed??

    Out of curiosity how many of the Fifty Pluses are riding fixed??

    With a potentially false belief that I will improve spinning and overall capabilities and maybe recapture some of my youth I am looking at converting a Peugeot PX10 (variant not the real thing) to fixed.

    Undecided on gearing but it will be conservative, hilly around here and knees are getting on perhaps 42X18; any opinions?? And, yep, will be keeping at least the front brake!

  2. #2
    Jim Shapiro
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogaine
    Out of curiosity how many of the Fifty Pluses are riding fixed??

    With a potentially false belief that I will improve spinning and overall capabilities and maybe recapture some of my youth I am looking at converting a Peugeot PX10 (variant not the real thing) to fixed.

    Undecided on gearing but it will be conservative, hilly around here and knees are getting on perhaps 42X18; any opinions?? And, yep, will be keeping at least the front brake!
    I converted a Centurion to a fixed/single-speed and am running 52 front and 17 on both rear cogs. This is admittedly high, a little over 6 gain ratio and 84" inches, but it works for me, as long as I stay out of the mountains here. I had never ridden a fixed gear before, so I am very cautious when it comes to braking (at 64 I'm no messenger). In fact, I replaced the original brakes with Shimano 105s, front and back, then added in-line levers so I don't have to go into the drops to brake. Also, I use toe clips, but without the straps. This keeps my feet in a good riding position, but I can't "pull up". On the other hand, I can bail out of the pedals easily and have had no problems. Your 42X18 should work fine as long as you don't encounter any long downhills, in which case you'll find yourself working like heck to "keep up" with the pedals. Good luck.

    Jim

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    I ride fixed with Speedplay clipless pedals and haven't had a problem.

    As far as gearing is concerned, the easy way to determine what you need is to ride a geared bike on a few rides that you'll do fixed and see what combo will work for you. Remember an easier gear for climbing spins faster going down.

    I recommend keeping the rear brake initially. You don't have to use it and can always take it off later.

  4. #4
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    I ride fixed as well, I'm geared at 46X18 and it's difficult climbing at times. I would use a front brake for sure and maybe a rear until you get your feet wet, better safe than sorry. I really like fixed when I'm short on time, I can get a pretty good workout in without spending too long in the saddle. Good luck

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    2 years now on fixed after being inspired by Sheldon Brown's site.
    Converted both bikes, both 80's vintage steel-one racing and one touring, to fixed.
    I interchange one fixed back wheel between both bikes, with a 19 tooth cog.
    Chainring on one is 50, on the other 49.
    Observations:
    1-I expected the legs to tire more, but they don't. I attribute this to fatigue effect of stopping and starting on a geared bike.
    2-Flatland riding is easier and overall faster. Brown refers to the geared habit of pedaling/coasting/pedaling as "pernicious"; by eliminating the coasting phase, riding technique improves.
    3-It is alot quieter since the freewheeling chatter is eliminated.
    4-Climbing is not necessarily harder. You have to choose the combination to be both sustainable on the uphill and the downhill. The approach to the hill is more proactive; you tend to size up the hill as you approach it, and take a run at it, knowing what you have in the bank, instead of aiming at maintaining cadence by gearing down at the base of a hill. Some prefer the non-mechanical approach to a problem.
    5-Downhills completely change. Rather than being a time to reward yourself for completing a hill, you instead have to increase focus to maintain control. In most cases you loose some speed on most of the downhill, but come off the bottom a little faster since you are already at wheel speed on the pedals. The downhills are the biggest change which could be considered negative. You do not get the reward for doing the hill, by the extended buzz on the way down.
    6-Riding against the wind is much better on fixed. The pedal/coast/pedal negative habit is accentuated in this situation on a geared bike. That feeling of stopping pedaling and then falling back, and then expending energy to catch up again is gone.
    7- Pay attention to the moving chain, especially when cleaning on a stand. The chain, chainring and cog should be considered one piece of machinery, without the intermediary of freewheel which allows the chain to stop with pressure. Your fingers can be carried into the chainring by the moving chain. The chain should be cleaned when stopped in most cases. And do not clean a moving chain in the nude-this is especially important for men.

  6. #6
    Newbie bikevangelist's Avatar
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    Oftentimes, the best gearing is 42x16T. Always use the narrowest bottom bracket possible, and if you're able, swap out the crank with a 110BCD, which allows more choices in wider, stronger chainrings.

    http://www.gaansari.com/scorcher.htm

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    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnaby
    ..And do not clean a moving chain in the nude-this is especially important for men.
    OUUUUUCH! Is this a recommendation from experience, or just common sense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    OUUUUUCH! Is this a recommendation from experience, or just common sense?
    Not from experience, I am whole enough to report. What brought me to this realization, was when cleaning my chain with a cloth just before the chainring, I managed to get the cloth pulled into the ring, and twice nipped fingers as well. On a fixed-gear site, someone mentioned that you could identify old track guys by their nipped off tips of fingers due to this practice. Someone as well posted a picture of a severed thumb lying on a white and red cloth that were the result of chain cleaning a fixed. One reply to this grizzly picture was that we should avoid cleaning a moving chain in the nude. I think this would have great resonance for men since the jeans zipper is already given great respect, but in comparison to this the chainring on a fixed would be likened to a wolverine. I guess though if you like to run a chain through a cloth, you could do it at the bottom of the ring instead of the top, and the chances of the cloth carrying your hand to the cog would be lessened.
    Of course there would be one advantage of the mishap should it happen-it would enable you to stand alot closer to the urinal. So there are always pluses and minuses.

  9. #9
    not the hair stuff rogaine's Avatar
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    Thanks all. I will keep the back brake for a while. Need to spend a bit more time as "ss" to select gearing - the downhills concern me more than up, dunno how
    I'll resolve that - still leaning to the 42 X 18.

    Currently travelling so it will be a few weeks before I get at it.

  10. #10
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    I converted an old, light-weight steel Nishiki criterium bike to a fixed gear last year after reading Sheldon Browns articles on the benefits. However, I only ride it weekends on the flat roads of Delaware and take it on vacations to relatively flat areas. At 57 I'm a little concerned about overstressing my knees on the short-but-steep hills around here in SE Penna. However, I do enjoy the change and agree with most of the reasons that others give for riding a fixed. I especially love the quiet ride and the feeling of being one with the bike. Also, I hadn't thought about it before, but I certainly agree with what was said here about riding more efficiently into the wind. The seemingly ever-present winds on the Easten Shore can make you long for windless hills, even mountains! If you have the opportunity to try a fixed for at least a few weeks, I would highly recommend it.

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