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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 05-22-05, 10:21 AM   #1
Zuliah Ningsih
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Fixed vs SS

Hi people.

I'm working in Stockholm, Sweden as a messenger and I'm riding a SS mtb. The thing is, I think I'm the only one, in Sthlm anyway. But there are a bunch of fixies rolling around.

I've never tried fixed besides one time for 20 seconds before I hit the ground. And I do agree a fixie would be a bit more cool, if not alot, specially if not having any brakes anyway.

Also I can really appreciate the ultimate simplicity of a fixed bike. Even if I did had an even more simpel bike when I was about three or four years old, namely the good old threewheeled, it had no chain and you cranked directly on the front wheel. Maybe that'd be a nice messaging bike. It even had this nice flake on the back too.

Anyway, what I'm aiming at: Can the fixie really be as good as a freewheeled SS disregarding the coolfactor in terms of getting from A to B in a highly trafficed cityenvironment?

I'm thinking even if the fixie has a frontbrake and a experienced driver. To me it just doesn't seem really practical.

Ooops, am I gonna get my head ripped off now?...
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Old 05-22-05, 11:11 AM   #2
powerjb
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Originally Posted by Zuliah Ningsih
Ooops, am I gonna get my head ripped off now?...
yes
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Old 05-22-05, 11:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuliah Ningsih
Hi people.

I'm working in Stockholm, Sweden as a messenger and I'm riding a SS mtb. The thing is, I think I'm the only one, in Sthlm anyway. But there are a bunch of fixies rolling around.

I've never tried fixed besides one time for 20 seconds before I hit the ground. And I do agree a fixie would be a bit more cool, if not alot, specially if not having any brakes anyway.

Also I can really appreciate the ultimate simplicity of a fixed bike. Even if I did had an even more simpel bike when I was about three or four years old, namely the good old threewheeled, it had no chain and you cranked directly on the front wheel. Maybe that'd be a nice messaging bike. It even had this nice flake on the back too.

Anyway, what I'm aiming at: Can the fixie really be as good as a freewheeled SS disregarding the coolfactor in terms of getting from A to B in a highly trafficed cityenvironment?

I'm thinking even if the fixie has a frontbrake and a experienced driver. To me it just doesn't seem really practical.

Ooops, am I gonna get my head ripped off now?...

If you take away the cool factor, for urban riding I'd like to ride a hardtail mountain bike frame. It would have a rigid 1 1/8th inch threadless fork. Mechanical discs front and rear. Dual purpose 2" tires (slick in the center, knobby on the sides). In the winter I'd ride 1.5" studded tire in the front, 1.5" knobby in the back... And most importantly, it would be single speed, with a reasonable gearing allowing a max speed (at 110rpms) of about 23-25. A nice road saddle, and low-rise bars with comfy grips and beefy brake levers.
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Old 05-22-05, 11:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuliah Ningsih
Can the fixie really be as good as a freewheeled SS disregarding the coolfactor in terms of getting from A to B in a highly trafficed cityenvironment?
Turn the question around and here's the answer. No, SS's are no match to riding fixed under any circumstance.
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Old 05-22-05, 11:38 AM   #5
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Ride what you like to ride, not what other people like to ride. Nor do you have to ride something just "to fit in".
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Old 05-22-05, 01:46 PM   #6
Zuliah Ningsih
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbhowat
If you take away the cool factor, for urban riding I'd like to ride a hardtail mountain bike frame. It would have a rigid 1 1/8th inch threadless fork. Mechanical discs front and rear. Dual purpose 2" tires (slick in the center, knobby on the sides). In the winter I'd ride 1.5" studded tire in the front, 1.5" knobby in the back... And most importantly, it would be single speed, with a reasonable gearing allowing a max speed (at 110rpms) of about 23-25. A nice road saddle, and low-rise bars with comfy grips and beefy brake levers.
Well, ok...! That was about exactly the setup me myself is leaning towards. Though I'm now riding the continental sport contact, a 1.3" pure slick and I haven't got a flat since I put it on a couple of mounths ago. Before that I had about 20 flats in one month on a pair of schwalbe slicks. Boy was I getting tired of that!
Also don't you like the bullhorns? I've never tried them but they do seem sweet in close traffic.


Quote:
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Ride what you like to ride, not what other people like to ride. Nor do you have to ride something just "to fit in".
Hmmm. No I have no issues with fitting in, if I had that I'd already be riding a fixie and feeling really hardcore.
I just don't have the money for trying everything and, while the fixie really appeals to me, when I'm thinking about it, the fixie just don't seem like the most practical messagingbike. I'm pretty convinced though you are better of without the gear.

But then as I said I don't see any SS messaging, only some fixies. Then as the humble guy I am , sitting with this clearly very odd opinion, I have to give you fixies a chance to convince me I'm wrong. And it would be really good if you could do that before I went on buying a Chris King SS hub.
..... Or more like pleace don't do any convincing it after I bought it!!!

Last edited by Zuliah Ningsih; 05-22-05 at 01:48 PM. Reason: only editing little bit
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Old 05-22-05, 02:03 PM   #7
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i agree with operator. if a fixed gear bike isn't your thing that's ok. i for one, perhaps like others feel more confident on a fixie. i enjoy the flow, the reliability and most important (for me) the simplicity.
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Old 05-22-05, 02:19 PM   #8
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Agreed, ride the bike you are most comfortable with. Aside from coolness, fixie might give you better control and traction during winter months, or when the roads are wet, but the difference won't be gigantic. Just wanted to offer an actual practical reason, if only a small one.

If you really wanted to go against the grain you could get a 30 speed Trek roadie and messenger on that.

peace,
sam

PS The other day I rode a kids tricycle around the local REI bike section. I had my helmet on, gloves, my cuff rolled up, and looking every part the hardcore biker kid, as I squeaked around on the tiny tricycle that I could barely ride. Got quite a few looks. I did just get a ratcheting hub from a tricycle that actually lets you coast, I'm going to lace it into a 26" wheel and make myself a 'grown up' tricycle, just like a kiddie one, but bigger.
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Old 05-22-05, 02:25 PM   #9
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Just pick up a fixed/fixed hub and lace that up to a nice rim. If you like riding fixed, you're set. If not, you can just throw a freewheel on and all will be well. Either way will be quieter than the swarm of bees that lives inside a king hub.
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Old 05-22-05, 04:34 PM   #10
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Either way will be quieter than the swarm of bees that lives inside a king hub.
the thought of my boss getting attacked by bees in the woods while freewheeling on his king hubs is quite hilarious.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phidauex
Agreed, ride the bike you are most comfortable with. Aside from coolness, fixie might give you better control and traction during winter months, or when the roads are wet, but the difference won't be gigantic. Just wanted to offer an actual practical reason, if only a small one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by travsi
i for one, perhaps like others feel more confident on a fixie. i enjoy the flow, the reliability and most important (for me) the simplicity.

I guess this is what it comes down to. I've also heard the expression "become one with the bike", like a samuraj with his sword or something.

And that's cool! I'm only little bit scared of trying. The cornering issue freaks me out a little bit and I also think it seems kinda hard with the breaking. Is it?

And isn't it uncomfortable never to be able to coasting? Like downhill.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:07 AM   #12
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I guess I've never understood single speed. It's not like I'm the most experienced fixed-gear rider on earth (in fact, I'm probably the least experienced!) but it just seems to me that a single speed misses the point, you don't get the fixed-gear experience and you don't get a geared-bike experience, you get an experience similar to riding a geared-bike that has a broken derailer and won't shift.

At the risk of pissing off the hardcore fixies, if it's at all possible I would say it's best to have a dedicated fixie and a dedicated geared bike. I wouldn't want to ride my fixie on a long sightseeing ride on hilly terrain as the coolness factor means nothing to me, but I love riding the fixie in the city to get groceries and barhop. Of course, that's just my opinion. Riding any bike whenever is possible is better than driving a car.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:12 AM   #13
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Oh, and as one that has only been riding fixed-gear for a month, it is harder at first, but not much. The rewards of fixed-gear riding are obvious the first time you do it. You learn to anticipate and ride smoother, not just sprints from stoplight to stoplight.

Plus, you learn real quick about things like "the pedals don't stop moving" the first couple of times you forget and stand up on the pedals to coast and adjust your underwear. The first time your pedals hit when you're turning hard also shake you up enough that the brain retains the message learned.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:42 AM   #14
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Well, I come from the single speed camp. I love the simplicity and reliability that my single speed road bike affords me. Having had some derailer specific problems with my geared bike over the past 3 months, I am sick of it. Right now that bike has a busted rear wheel and I've been commuting on my single speed. So to me, I get the best of BOTH worlds. Simplicity, reliability, and the ability to bomb down steep hills without beating myself to death.

Now, that's not to say that I won't try fixed gear. I do have a flip flop hub with the fixed side wide open. I would feel a fool for not trying it, if it is what everyone says it is. It might not be that big of a deal for me though. Maybe it will. But I am very happy with what I've got right now.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:12 AM   #15
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Thank you guys for the input. It has helped me, even if I'm not all ready yet to make the final decisions how to build my next superbike.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:31 AM   #16
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Freewheels scare me.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:36 AM   #17
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Talking about urban fixie riding, HOW DO YOU GUYS GET UP CURBS ON A FIXIE??? I could hardly handle even the lower ones when I fixed my mtb. (I ride SPDs) It seems it is not possible ever to become as smooth in those little jumps as on a freewheeler. Even if you can lift on front wheel, than rear, can anyone "bunnyhop" straight on up at 15-20mph? To me, that's the only, but _BIG_ drawback to a fixie. It's so much faster to jump on and off curbs, say, at some intersections etc.
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Old 05-24-05, 04:24 AM   #18
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I ride free and fixed,,,free is quicker down hill,,,,fixed is faster uphill,,,,both are single speeds---jj
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Old 05-24-05, 06:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LóFarkas
Talking about urban fixie riding, HOW DO YOU GUYS GET UP CURBS ON A FIXIE??? I could hardly handle even the lower ones when I fixed my mtb. (I ride SPDs) It seems it is not possible ever to become as smooth in those little jumps as on a freewheeler. Even if you can lift on front wheel, than rear, can anyone "bunnyhop" straight on up at 15-20mph? To me, that's the only, but _BIG_ drawback to a fixie. It's so much faster to jump on and off curbs, say, at some intersections etc.
hmmmm... where I come from, It's illegal to ride on the sidewalk. Besides, its been my experience, as well as that of everyone i know, that you are far more likely to be hit by a car if you ride on the sidewalk. Not that cars are going to jump up there and get you. Rather, unless you are some kind of ****** riding around the block, you have to come off the sidewalk at some point (you know like crossing the street). Additionally, swerving in and out of traffic via the sidewalk is probably the most dangerous thing. So what do i do with curbs? Avoid them like i do cars and ****.
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Old 05-24-05, 07:06 AM   #20
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yeah, tickets in NYC for 'operating on sidewalk' are $90.00.
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Old 05-24-05, 08:38 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junioroverlord
Freewheels scare me.
In that case, since I ride a freewheel exclusively, I am more hardcore than you.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:55 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LóFarkas
Talking about urban fixie riding, HOW DO YOU GUYS GET UP CURBS ON A FIXIE??? I could hardly handle even the lower ones when I fixed my mtb. (I ride SPDs) It seems it is not possible ever to become as smooth in those little jumps as on a freewheeler. Even if you can lift on front wheel, than rear, can anyone "bunnyhop" straight on up at 15-20mph? To me, that's the only, but _BIG_ drawback to a fixie. It's so much faster to jump on and off curbs, say, at some intersections etc.
you just have to learn to lift your legs regardless of where your pedals are, or learn to set it up so your pedals are where you like them in order to bunnyhop on a freewheeler.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:41 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by legalize_it
you just have to learn to lift your legs regardless of where your pedals are, or learn to set it up so your pedals are where you like them in order to bunnyhop on a freewheeler.
...but that's exactly the problem that i have. if one foot is fully extended, my butt in on the seat and i can't get the back wheel up; ergo, pinch flat.
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Old 05-24-05, 01:32 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsi
...but that's exactly the problem that i have. if one foot is fully extended, my butt in on the seat and i can't get the back wheel up; ergo, pinch flat.
See, this is why freewheeling is vastly superior.
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Old 05-24-05, 01:51 PM   #25
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I've been fixed for the past 3 months, and love it. Controlling your speed with your legs is a completely different feel than only using them to accelerate. I'm learning how to bunnyhop, and it's tricky, but I think I'll get there - the strangest part is pedalling while in the air.
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