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  1. #1526
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    AJ, I do not know very much about riding fixed gear bikes on the road or lower priced fixed gear bikes. Today, I went to the track and used a 47/17 combination. I cruised around with my buddies. It is a nice warmup gear and off season training combo. I have the flip/flop axles on all my wheels (not discs). I go to the track with two rear wheels. One with a 16t cog and the other with a 15t and 14t.

    For chain rings, I have 47/48/49 and 50. I think for road riding with grades, you may need smaller chain rings but maybe not.

    I will offer one cautionary note to new fixed gear riders on the road. Be very careful pushing the fixed gear with too big of a gear and/or spinning too fast downhill. I know of a couple of our club racers who eff'd up their knees riding fixed on the road. And the other very important matter is not to stop pedaling. If you stop pedaling when you are at a high speed and cadence the bike will face plant you into the ground. It is all bad from there.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  2. #1527
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    tony2v, Hermes and any one else,

    A few questions if you don't mind. I'm in the market to buy a fixe/SS and am looking at bikes like the Raleigh Rush Hour and others in the $600-700 price range. I intend to ride the bike with others during the off season to gain the benefits of fix gear riding. We don't have any velodomes in our area so track racing will not be a factor. Some of the bikes have steel forks and others have CF forks. Would a steel fork be suitable, or should I lean toward a CF fork? I'm also leaning toward the flip/flop hub. Is my budget reasonable for a decent bike?
    You might have a look at a Kona Paddy Wagon. I bought in the Uk but paid the sterling equivalent of about $700. If you are buying now you should get excellent deals onthe 2011 model.

    It isn't the lightest but that really doesn't matter, and it is kitted out with flip-flop hub and Both front and rear brakes for road riding. Steel frame and forks, it's a nice bike. And I do find it useful for training. Makes for a good workout on moderate hills (I ride it fixed, in 42/16) and spinning down the hills definitely improves my suppleness and pedal stroke. Most of all, it's quite a lot of fun.

    With regard to Hermes warnings about your knees, having brakes helps! What really tests the knees, in my experience, is slowing the bike from highish speeds just by resisting the pedals. Use the brakes as you would on a road bike and this isn't a problem. The only other change to one's riding style is to be a little less aggressive in the corners. Obviously, because you can't stop pedalling, the risk of pedal strike is increased if you lean the bike very hard.
    Last edited by chasm54; 10-05-11 at 02:11 AM.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #1528
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    There are the Bianchi Pista bikes, Specialized Langster (heavy, by all accounts), the previously mentioned Felt TK's, and even an older Fuji Track Pro might work for you, AJ. Look on eBay (of course) - $700 is an easy threshold on which to find a decent bike.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  4. #1529
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  5. #1530
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Most of the racers who ride fixed on the road use a front brake only. Keep in mind that no matter how much you think you will use the brake, your legs will take the first hit of a slow down. The instinct to any slowing is to stop pedaling and brake. At the track, we do drills where we practice slowing rapidly by using our legs but we do not do this too much. The track offers the perfect venue for fixed gear due to the banking. One can always go up track and kill speed and there is the apron where we can exit and slow down over a long distance.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  6. #1531
    Senior Member
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    I have found that slowing down quickly is a challenge but once you have integrated the technique into your riding, it becomes much eaiser. I think that it is just a question of getting used to riding in a different way. Of course having to stop in traffic could be dangerous, so planning ahead is essential.

  7. #1532
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Most of the racers who ride fixed on the road use a front brake only.
    True. I make very little use of the rear brake myself, but it's convenient to have it there, if only for riding on the hoods.

    Keep in mind that no matter how much you think you will use the brake, your legs will take the first hit of a slow down. The instinct to any slowing is to stop pedaling and brake.
    Honestly, this isn't necessarily the case when you are used to riding fixed on the roads. One gets used to having a brake, and it's perfectly possible to relax the legs and brake first, rather than impose the burden on your knees.

    As for stopping in traffic, this is what brakes are for. There's no need to be a hipster and skid stop.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  8. #1533
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice from your experiences on the FG/single speed bike. My coach wants us to have brakes or at least a front brake due to area we will ride.

    Here are two more questions: Do you use cages or cleats? For frame sizing should I find one that matches my road bike or a little shorter since the drops are lower than the road machine. I am flexible and don't have trouble in the drops or on the TT bike.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  9. #1534
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    My wife and spent the past 3 days in W. PA at my parents home. My mother got a pacemaker and we took care of my father while she stayed overnight at the hospital. Per my insistence my parents did make up a "jobs list" and I got them all done plus a few others. I did get out riding on the local roads around my home town and finding it very hilly compared to my home roads. On Tuesday I rode 28 miles with my brother and yesterday I got in 40 miles. Later I plotted the routes on Ride With GPS and found the I averaged nearly 100' of climbing per mile of riding. There are no straight roads in W PA and it seems that I was always riding up, down or around. I don't think drivers see many cyclist as they would give me a lot of space or would follow me for a long time waiting to pass, or maybe just were checking me out? On one 1.5 mile 400' climb along a highway with a 4' shoulder, which I was riding in the middle, cars would slow up to pass me. My PT file indicated that I rode up the hill at 9.5 mph so I don't think the car drivers were leery that I was ready to fall off the bike into their lane.

    It was also pleasing to ride the roads that I grew up on and seeing how things did and did not change in 35 years. I'll be taking my bike back home any time we visit from now on.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  10. #1535
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Thanks for all the advice from your experiences on the FG/single speed bike. My coach wants us to have brakes or at least a front brake due to area we will ride.

    Here are two more questions: Do you use cages or cleats? For frame sizing should I find one that matches my road bike or a little shorter since the drops are lower than the road machine. I am flexible and don't have trouble in the drops or on the TT bike.
    I have used both, but I reverted to cleats because I find I'm less likely to have trouble clipping in than in catching the pedal to get into the cage. YMMV, and either is perfectly practicable. As for frame size, I'd normally take a 60cm or 61cm frame but on the FG I take a 58cm, just because on this particular bike I like the more aggressive position. Again, YMMV and I guess that much will depend on the precise geometry of the bike you choose.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  11. #1536
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    AJ, It sounds like you are going to use the fixed gear bike to work on pedal stroke and leg speed. Sizing of track bikes is tricky in that we ride and race in the drops. There is no top position per se. So we set the drop position so that we can breathe and use our forearms parallel to the ground while in the drops as the off the front position.

    Sprinters use special pedals with double toe straps and the foot is locked into the pedal until the racer releases it. If we use standard clipless pedals then it is typically something very solid and no float. Spinning fast, you do not want your foot moving around on the pedal.

    The key point is you do not want your foot coming out of the pedal at high rpm. I have seen this happen on the track and fortunately the racer was able to keep control of the bike and his leg away from the spinning pedal.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  12. #1537
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I'm thinking using my regular Look pedals with limited or 0 degree float cleats, I’m using 9 degree cleats currently. The intention of the bike is to develop pedal stroke and leg speed as Hermes suggests. I think that I should also work at those skills while in a position they would be utilized and will base the bike sizing while being in the drops.

    Could I get a flip flop hub with a 15 on one side and a 16 on the other and the cogs being interchangeable with the freewheel and lock ring? That would give me 4 combinations with 2 fixed and 2 SS gears ratios. Boy, I am quite the newbie at this.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  13. #1538
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    AJ, My rear track wheels are fixed on both sides but have threads for both a cog and a lock ring on both sides. So when I regear a bike, I typically flip the rear wheel from a 15 to a 14. If you are going to get an axle that has a free wheel on one side and a fixed on the ohter, that is okay too. Make sure you get a very good Park Tool rear cog chain wip to remove the cogs and lock rings. The cheaper ones do not have enough leverage to get the cog off and if it slips, you knuckles get skinned. It is incredible but I have several hundred dollars in chainrings, cogs and tools for the fixed gear bikes.

    Also, watch which handlebar is provided with the fixed gear bike. Many times the bike is supplied with sprint bars. These bars have a deeper drop for sprinters who basically go around the track 3 times and sprint for the last 200 meters. There are endurance track bars that have a shorter radius and less drop.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  14. #1539
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    With the off season under way, I was back in the gym starting my leg workouts. After legs and core in the gym, I went home to my road bike waiting for me on the trainer for some lower cadence intervals. The first couple feel awful after the weights. Now this is fun.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  15. #1540
    Senior Member tony2v's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Also, watch which handlebar is provided with the fixed gear bike. Many times the bike is supplied with sprint bars. These bars have a deeper drop for sprinters who basically go around the track 3 times and sprint for the last 200 meters. There are endurance track bars that have a shorter radius and less drop.
    I use sprinter bars and the top section of the bars have a lot smaller area to place your hands. There's just enough room for your hands before they drop off. Most endurance riders (points and madison) use road bars that are taped all the way to the top. Most trackies only tape the drop section.
    If your SS doesn't have a front brake, don't forget to tape a cushion section on your top tube where the bars hit or you'll have a dent in that location.

  16. #1541
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Boy, I am quite the newbie at this.
    I've only been at it for a little over a year, myself. It's a lot of fun, though. Spinning down the hills is the great skill, for the first few days I was like a demented hamster on acid. But after a while you learn to relax enough to pedal in circles.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  17. #1542
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Here are two more questions: Do you use cages or cleats? For frame sizing should I find one that matches my road bike or a little shorter since the drops are lower than the road machine. I am flexible and don't have trouble in the drops or on the TT bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Could I get a flip flop hub with a 15 on one side and a 16 on the other and the cogs being interchangeable with the freewheel and lock ring? That would give me 4 combinations with 2 fixed and 2 SS gears ratios. Boy, I am quite the newbie at this.
    Hi AJ,

    Hopefully I can add to the good advise so far rather than repeat it.

    Your choice of pedals will really come down to how explosive you will be on the bike. Sprinters use traditional cleats, toe clips, and (two) straps to make sure that their feet won't come off the pedals. (I have still witnessed a sprinter pulling their foot out even with two straps.) I am guessing that on the road you will be OK with clipless pedals if you set the release tension relatively high since you appear to be a strong guy.

    Regarding frame size, if you really are only going to ride this bike on the road, then I would get a frame that puts you in the same position as your road bike. That may or may not be the same size frame as your road bike depending on the stack height of the frames, top tube lengths, etc. The old (steel frame days) rule of thumb was that a track bike should be 1-2 cm smaller than your road bike assuming you were going to race on the track. This would allow you to get the deepest tuck possible for sprinting or even for pursuiting.

    Regarding flip-flop hubs, I think that most are fixed on both sides. What I have seen is you can get a freewheel cog if you don't want to ride fixed. Here are some examples of freewheel cogs: http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?m...h=188_333_1445

    If you are only going to ride on the road and since you will be using brakes, you probably need to get road bars and tape them normally. BTW, Roger Young has said more than once that even sprinters should tape their bars all the way to the top, not just into the drops.

    Of course I am providing of of this advice from the perspective of riding fixed only on the track and having a single-speed (freewheel) bike for riding in the rain.

    One last thing that I read last year was that riding a fixed gear doesn't really smooth out your pedal stroke because the momentum of the bike moving forward smooths out the dead spots in your stroke. I can see that point but I think that riding fixed is a good supplement because it makes you pedal in a way that helps keep your legs from working against each other as can happen on a road bike.

    Hope this provides additional help.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  18. #1543
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Okay, for everyone who asked for proof that I actually get on the bike now and then:

    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  19. #1544
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Finally... nice pic.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  20. #1545
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    AJ, IMO, clipless pedals with the tension set high will be fine. Riding fixed is like most everything else in sport, you will need some time to adapt. So take it easy for a few rides until you get used to the inability to coast.

    I have a funny story. When my wife and I first went to the track to learn to ride fixed, I was training with the Russians. The one guys said to me, "get ready to catch your wife the first time she tries to stop." I said, "fine, I will catch her but who is going to catch me"? No one had to catch either of us but some riders the first time on fixed have a problem learning how to stop and start. That will not be a problem for you especially with brakes.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  21. #1546
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Okay, for everyone who asked for proof that I actually get on the bike now and then:

    Get a smaller jersey that fits! Nice photo BTW. It's good to be able to put a face on the person.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  22. #1547
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great advice and suggestions Hermes, Cleve, Tonyv2 and chasm54. One thing great about BF is that when someone needs advice or opinions regarding buying something there is plenty of great advice dolled out.

    After looking at various bikes and set ups I'm leaning to the Raleigh Rush Hour available at my LBS. My intention is to ride with my coach and others on the road and specific workouts and that bike seems to meet the objectives. This may be the first bike purchase at the LBS that is so good to me every time I bring broken things in. Next up is a few test rides to find the right size.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  23. #1548
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Get a smaller jersey that fits! Nice photo BTW. It's good to be able to put a face on the person.
    It fit when I got it!
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  24. #1549
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I went climbing with my wife last night. We did 1.25 hours after work on the local hills around our house. We do a warmup and then start up a 7% 12 minute climb. I was feeling the weight workout a little from the previous night. However, I am cruising along trying to keep the cadence high. I look down at my power meter and on the steeper sections I am 300 to 325 watts and it seems hard but okay and I am spinning 85 rpm. I have done this power level before but not self selected.

    I am holding the 165 to 166 pound weight. It seems like the more weight I lose the more power I can produce. Clearly, there is a point of diminishing returns. I am coming off the track camp and elite natz but I noticed this effect before.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  25. #1550
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I went climbing with my wife last night. We did 1.25 hours after work on the local hills around our house. We do a warmup and then start up a 7% 12 minute climb. I was feeling the weight workout a little from the previous night. However, I am cruising along trying to keep the cadence high. I look down at my power meter and on the steeper sections I am 300 to 325 watts and it seems hard but okay and I am spinning 85 rpm. I have done this power level before but not self selected.

    I am holding the 165 to 166 pound weight. It seems like the more weight I lose the more power I can produce. Clearly, there is a point of diminishing returns. I am coming off the track camp and elite natz but I noticed this effect before.
    That's a nice power-to-weight ratio. You're down what, about 5 pounds from what you were averaging before?
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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