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Thread: SingleSpeeds?

  1. #1
    Senior Member lin_kieu's Avatar
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    SingleSpeeds?

    With the cold weather coming soon (you know it'll be here before we know it ), and after watching the Sundance film "Pedal", I've been thinking about getting a singlespeed to start commuting on. Does anyone else ride these on their commute? The lack of brakes is kinda scary, but intriguing.
    My mom has my dads old road bike, some old Sears bike from the early eighties, and I was thinking about turning it into a single. It has a little rust on the frame, and it would need new wheels and tires, but otherwise looks ok. Whats your opinion? Should I convert this thing, or look for a cheap used bike around the neighborhood?
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


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    Do not be intrigued by lack of brakes on a commuting bike - be very, very scared. You cannot stop a track bike from speed fast enough to avoid urban type accidents. The bikes were not designed for that.

    There are brake kits for track bikes. You can use brakes and still get the benefits of a singlespeed.

  3. #3
    aka Sir MaddyX MadCat's Avatar
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    I met several messengers in Edmonton and Calgary who ride fixed gear bikes without brakes. I think they're nuts and many will admit to being nuts. The scars and scabs tell much of the story and their tales of broken bones tell the rest.

    I'm pretty set on building a fixed gear for the winter coming up but I won't be giving up brakes even though the damn things aren't all that useful in the cold snow. My preferred breaking method on ice it so put all the weight on the front studded tire and hammer a cleated shoe down on the road. Works faster than any iced over break pad. I had a driver once tell me he saw sparks coming off my feet doing that. I wear cleated bmx shoes as opposed to those fancy pants roadie shoes I see everywhere.

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    Why wait for the snow to ride a single speed? Get rid of those gears and get down to a true simple ride. I have a Single Speed shop in New Orleans, no gears for me.

    PHK
    Racing BMX seperates those who think they can, and those who do? Racer's ready? Watch the lights!!

  5. #5
    BFSSFG old timer riderx's Avatar
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    Originally posted by lin_kieu
    The lack of brakes is kinda scary, but intriguing.
    Single speeds have brakes, fixed gears can be run without brakes but a front one is a good idea for emergencies (you don't need a rear brake).

    I have a Single speed commuter, a fixed gear (use it for commuting sometimes) and a single speed mountain bike. Great bikes for winter, but you don't need to wait for then to start having fun. If you convert the old Sears bike, it will probably be easiest to make it a single speed. If it has horizontal dropouts or semi-horizontal dropouts, it will make it easier and also allow it to be a fixed gear candidate.

    Don't delay, convert today!!!
    Single Speed Outlaw
    Riding Bikes and Drinking Beer.

  6. #6
    Fool O' crap sscyco's Avatar
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    I ride a SS commuter/cyclocross/road bike. It has a flip-flop hub with a fixed gear on one side and a free wheel on the other. I have not used the fixed gear yet, even though the bike has over 4K miles on it, however, I plan on using fixed this winter. I would recommend a SS to any experienced rider. I'm not giving up my geared bikes, but I put more miles on my SS than all my other bikes combined.

  7. #7
    Friend of Jimmy K naisme's Avatar
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    I have been commuting on my fixie for two weeks now, 20 miles a day. It is a blast. I plan to have a *commuter* by the time the snow flies here, with studded tyres.

    I don't know what it is about the fixie that makes it seem like I am flying, but it has definately put the fun back into my cycling.
    "I will remain the stranger who came from a faraway land." Lance Armstrong

    "The more you drive, the less intelligent you become." Miller "Repo Man"

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    Senior Member knobbymojo's Avatar
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    I have used my ss for about 4 months to commute the short ride to school everyday, and I love it. My leg strength has increased significantly from riding tall gearing up the big hills everyday. The best thing about it is the trouble free aspect of it, no derailleurs or shifter cables to fuss with.
    I have gone looking for myself. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait for myself.

  9. #9
    Canadian eh?
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    If I put a front brake on a Fixed Gear bike will I flip (if I use it properly) or will I actualyl slow down like normal or will i suck up all the chain slack or something?

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    All my bikes a Single Speed. My favorite is my Surly Steam Roller. It started off fixxed, but one to many bad parachute landings have ruined my knees. So threw on a freewheel and hit the road.

    I am the proud owner of the only Single Speed shop in the New Orleans area.
    Racing BMX seperates those who think they can, and those who do? Racer's ready? Watch the lights!!

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    I have been commuting to school on a single speed for a few months and I wouldnt have it any other way. Gears are such a pain to work on and I never used em anyway. Go single speed youd be suprized how much stronger your legs will get.

  12. #12
    poser/hipster/whatever xthugmurderx's Avatar
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    man i wish people wouldn't say fixed gears don't have brakes...it's false. they do have brakes. just not the conventional type. you actually have to put some effort into riding. I've yet to be hit where having a handbrake would have helped. that said...I'm nuts.

    -jason

  13. #13
    Bike Evangelist Boss Hogg's Avatar
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    Go ahead and build a single speed to get you started. Typically on an older road bike with a multi-speed freewheel you can use just about all of the bike's current parts to do the conversion. Some folks use just junk the derailer and shorten the chain using the multi-speed freewheel on one gear. I like to set up my wheels with a single speed bmx freewheel and a cro-moly axle with track nuts for max strength. Going fixed would require getting a new rear wheel and hub set to take a track cog and lockring (assuming you want to be safe), which can cost some cash.

  14. #14
    I bet
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    You can ride a fixed gear without brakes, i mean when i ride fixed i use my front brake like never. But it's nice to know it is there.

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