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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-05-05, 10:39 AM   #1
sucka free
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Single speeds in Europe

So on my way to work today, another bicyclist stopped me to ask me a question. Turns out he is a German visiting and wanted to know why people in SF ride around on single speeds. So I gave him my reasons for it (simplicity, less parts to work on, etc.). He just shook his head and said that in Germany, he normally doesn't see a lot of single speed/fixed gear bikes. I had a hard time believing this and, since I haven't been to Germany, I wouldn't know if this was true or not.

Anyway, any thoughs on single speeds/fixies in Germany to satisfy this curiousity?
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Old 05-05-05, 10:44 AM   #2
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sounds suspicously like another unscrupulous German trying to mislead the American cycling public to me.


i think i need to take a vacation from this place...
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Old 05-05-05, 11:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by sucka free
So on my way to work today, another bicyclist stopped me to ask me a question. Turns out he is a German visiting and wanted to know why people in SF ride around on single speeds. So I gave him my reasons for it (simplicity, less parts to work on, etc.). He just shook his head and said that in Germany, he normally doesn't see a lot of single speed/fixed gear bikes. I had a hard time believing this and, since I haven't been to Germany, I wouldn't know if this was true or not.

Anyway, any thoughs on single speeds/fixies in Germany to satisfy this curiousity?
I've never been to Germany, but have been to several other european countries and can safely say that bike culture is very different in much of europe. There are countless "commuter bikes" with enclosed drivetrains that are built like tanks. I've never seen a fixed gear bike in europe, but have seen the odd SS bike. Most bikes are either geared or are 3-speeds.
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Old 05-05-05, 11:52 AM   #4
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The only people in Germany who ride fixed or single-speed are messengers. and among them it is not a majority.

i mean on the street, of course. this doesn't account for club track riders, professional/team riders, road riders training/trialing, etc...
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Old 05-05-05, 01:33 PM   #5
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The only people in Germany who ride fixed or single-speed are messengers. and among them it is not a majority.

i mean on the street, of course. this doesn't account for club track riders, professional/team riders, road riders training/trialing, etc...
And a few older people. My uncles used to ride old single speeds. My cousins all ride Mt Bikes that arent single or fixie. But thats exactly right, fixies arent big over there like they are here. My hats off to SF fixie riders.....bunch of maniacs! I cant wait to bring mine there some day!
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Old 05-05-05, 04:15 PM   #6
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You should have asked him if Germany had hipsters. If no, that's your answer right there.
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Old 05-05-05, 04:47 PM   #7
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hip-sters? hmmm, I guess it would've made sense to ask him that.
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Old 05-05-05, 05:20 PM   #8
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i rode a single speed all over berlin last summer.. but it was a total granny style.. does that count? i saw no teched out fixed, singles though.. im always amazed at places where everyone bikes.. like copenhagen or japan.. what a small percentage tech their bike out.. lots and lots of working mans rigs.. (which is totally hot when ridden by the working woman in heels and skirt..rome is good for that style too)
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Old 05-05-05, 05:26 PM   #9
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i rode a single speed all over berlin last summer.. but it was a total granny style.. does that count? i saw no teched out fixed, singles though.. im always amazed at places where everyone bikes.. like copenhagen or japan.. what a small percentage tech their bike out.. lots and lots of working mans rigs.. (which is totally hot when ridden by the working woman in heels and skirt..rome is good for that style too)
Or Paris- it is amazing what some women wear on a bike.
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Old 05-06-05, 03:45 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by filtersweep
safely say that bike culture is very different in much of europe. There are countless "commuter bikes" with enclosed drivetrains that are built like tanks. I've never seen a fixed gear bike in europe, but have seen the odd SS bike. Most bikes are either geared or are 3-speeds.
Here in Germany, internal geared 7/5/3 speed and singlespeed bike are popular, mostly if not every one of them come with coaster brake. It's not fixed, but you can't coast back on it either, unless you intended to engaged the brake mechanism.

Your german 'friend' might be wondering why many people go fixed when it is easier to just use a singlespped coaster brake hub.

...and for the fun of it, go see Amsterdam (Netherland), a city full of singlespeed-coaster brake-ed 'beater' bike.
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Old 05-06-05, 04:01 AM   #11
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...and for the fun of it, go see Amsterdam (Netherland), a city full of singlespeed-coaster brake-ed 'beater' bike.
Those crazy dutch.
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Old 05-06-05, 04:31 AM   #12
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Coaster brakes wear out fast though from locking up the rear wheel and doing skid/spins uh, for fun.
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Old 05-06-05, 05:06 PM   #13
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i've been living in germany the past two years and am now in switzerland. the most single speed action is in the area of the street(mountain bike)/dirt jump scene. in bigger cities there are some fixie riders, but the trend is slowly invading. in some cities the police have even become wise to the illegal fixed action (in germany and switzerland you supposed to have lights and brakes and bells and whistles and what not on your bike). but its true almost all of the fixed riders are messengers. except me, i'm just an american hipster in europe.
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