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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 06-11-05, 01:17 PM   #1
lemurhouse
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Does riding a fixie help your stroke?

20+ years ago, I set up an old road bike of mine as a fixed-gear. Did it because I'd heard that riding fixed would help smooth out my pedalling action. I gave it a few weeks, decided that it was messing up my legs instead of helping 'em, so I switched the bike back to standard and gave it away. (This was back in the days of slotted cleats and toe clips....so when you were strapped in, you were really in.) I guess I didn't give it a fair shot, but I was riding/racing a lot and so wasn't really motivated to experiment. Noone outside of a velodrome was riding fixed back then.

Now I'm back riding again, and I've got an old bike that would be easy to convert to fixie. I'll probably do it just for fun, if nothing else. I've heard a lot of good reasons for riding fixies, now that they are all the rage, but I've not heard the old argument that it will improve your stroke.

So the question is: Does riding fixed gear improve your pedalling action?

OK, another question: Do fixie riders normally use toeclips, clipless, or ?

Thanks.
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Old 06-11-05, 01:26 PM   #2
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Well, it has improved my pedalling form.

As for my stroke, I don't see how any bike would help that. Seems like wrist exercises would b more effective ...




(Sorry. It had to be done.)
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Old 06-11-05, 01:40 PM   #3
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My son rides with clips and straps; and I ride clipless in order to make it easier to clip out.

My spin has improved enormously by riding fixed.
I don't like riding a geared bike, now that I have learned to ride fixed, but when I do get on a geared bike I FLY.
However, I find the lack of control on a geared/coasting bike icky.
I mean, geared bikes give me the creeps now that I know what it means to have total control over a bike.
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Old 06-11-05, 01:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SSSasky
As for my stroke, I don't see how any bike would help that. Seems like wrist exercises would b more effective ... (Sorry. It had to be done.)
agreed
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Old 06-11-05, 01:45 PM   #5
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This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.
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Old 06-11-05, 02:03 PM   #6
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"They" say it does lots of good things for the road racer: improves spin, improves power and ability to generate it in a range of cadence (necessitating fewer shifts), develops technique for pedaling and powering through corners.
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Old 06-11-05, 03:11 PM   #7
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It works for me and I usually only ride on platform pedal without straps.
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Old 06-11-05, 04:55 PM   #8
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I dunno. As much as I like riding fixed, I don't think it did anything for my pedal stroke. On a fixed gear, the cranks push your feet around in a smooth circle. On a freewheeled bike, you have to do that yourself.

In fact, after riding fixed for a while, getting on a geared bike is tough because the pedals aren't forcing my legs around anymore. Fixed gears let you get away with some bad pedaling habits.
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Old 06-11-05, 05:03 PM   #9
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I have found the opposite. I know all about sloppy technique from personal experience. That's the stuff that saps your power and makes your knees hurt. A fixed gear really helps you understand it because there's no dead part of the stroke at the pedal end of things--if you try to go slack the cranks will push back. If you want to be able to ride without knee pain, you develop a good spin. I definitely sense this when I'm riding my roadie.

I finally got a proper ride in today on the geared bike, 2.5 - 3 hours in the saddle and who knows how many miles. I was definitely much more conscious of "spinning circles" than I was the last time I rode a bike with gears. Another data point: my straps on my roadie don't cinch or hold as tight (I figure since I can't trackstand it for crap, this is probably ok) and I really notice because I can't pull as effectively on the upstroke. The fact that this is a problem tells me that my pedaling technique is good.
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Old 06-12-05, 08:52 AM   #10
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Thanks for the responses
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Old 06-12-05, 10:02 AM   #11
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at veloswap they had a computerized trainer that could measure the
power output on each pedal. the women said she'd never seen a more
even pedal stroke. 50% exactly on each side! that's all fixie.

going downhill really helps.

jeff
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Old 06-12-05, 10:06 AM   #12
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Lots of us champion fixed riding as the cure-all to many bike problems (strength, stroke, knee probs, etc) and I'm always a little dubious. I have definitely noticed that my stroke has seriously improved riding fixed. I live in the sf bay area and ride fixed on lots of hills, and I think that being forced to push up to super high cadences several times per day helps smooth out the stroke.
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Old 06-12-05, 01:54 PM   #13
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My LBS (a pretty good shop) is telling me that they really really don't like people puttin a fixed cog and a locking ring onto an old freewheel-style hub. This is what I did years ago, and its what I was planning on doing again. I'll keep at least the front brake so that its not all on the chain and locking ring. They want to sell me a $200 rear wheel, which is way more than I'm willing to put into this. Are they full of BS, or should I be listening to them. Thanks.
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Old 06-12-05, 02:01 PM   #14
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Listen to them at least as far as the ill advisedness of your plan. But you can get a rear wheel that's quite nice for less than $120 or build one yourself for under $100.
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Old 06-12-05, 02:18 PM   #15
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With front and rear brakes there's nothing wrong with just using a cog and BB lockring on a freewheel hub.
Just make sure to get the cog and locking ring real tight, spinning a cog off can be really suprising/frustrating at the least.
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Old 06-12-05, 02:22 PM   #16
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get yourself a vintage bolt on rear wheel, buy a tube of JB weld, apply to hub threads, spin that cog on, torque it down as hard as you can with either a chain whip or using the chain and crank arm (pedaling) and that cog will NEVER come off... works great, costs 180 dollars less than a new rear wheel.

also, what hub/rim are they trying to sell you for 200? knowing LBS's it's probably a suzue, shudder.....

i rode a conversion around for so long, leaving a body trail of spandex warriors everywhere, they work great.
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Old 06-12-05, 02:32 PM   #17
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That sounds like a winner to me.

I was on the phone with them. Didn't get into the specifics of the wheel.
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Old 06-12-05, 08:08 PM   #18
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The first few times riding my fixie almost gave me a stroke.
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Old 06-12-05, 11:08 PM   #19
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Sure helps my stroke.
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