Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Senior Member eric1508's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Excited about SS/Fixed and have some questions.

    I ride road and mountain bikes and have been riding consistantly for about 7 years now. But today was the first time I ever really noticed these purist bikes. I spent the better part of the day reading up on them and then when I went to the post office I saw a track bike on a bike rack in the parking lot. (Is'nt it funny how we don't notice details until we know the details. I would have normally seen that as "some kind of road bike".) Anyway, I am really excited about the idea of a clean, light single speed road style bike that I can 'Purely' enjoy! So today, just to try and get an idea, I took my Trek road bike out and made myself stay in a gear that would be common on a SS. I instanly found myself focusing on making the bike go instead of "what would be the best gear right now". Some hills were a little tougher and some downhills I found myself wishing I could gear up and go faster but overall I felt more focussed on the ride itself and less on gadgets on the bike. Now don't get me wrong, I know the gears were'nt fixed (which of course would feel completely different) but it's all I had to work with. The main thing I wanted to figure out was wheather or not I would get frustrated not being able to use different gears. And I must say that overall I enjoyed the ride very much.
    But here's my question. Should I go fixed or SS. (I am assuming that Single Speed implies coasting ability). Now I know that many in here are purists and would say that fixed is the only way to go. But my concern is that I would miss being able to coast down a big hill (my reward for rocking up it) and just enjoying the wind in my face. I would think that having to pedal REALLY fast down the hill would be distracting from the pure enjoyment from the decent. But at the same time it seems like SS is just that one step away from being a PURE bike and that might feel lacking. (Aleast that's the sense I get from reading other posts). I guess I'm getting this from the fact that it seems that fixed gears are 99% of what's talked about here. And since I haven't actually tried it I have to assume that becuase it's the way to go. But I also understand that everybody's different so I just want YOUR opinion.
    And the other question is if I did go with a fixie, should I have a front brake or not. I live in a hilly town and can't imagine trying to stop at the bottom of a hill with just my leg power. And yet the bike I was in the parking lot today didn't have any breaks and I am sure that person rides around here. So my question is, can you ride safely in a hilly area without a front brake? And will I miss coasting if I go all the way with a fixie?
    Thanks for any input, Eric.

  2. #2
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,615
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Start out fixed- fixed is fixed. I've never understood single speed- seems to me to be the worst of both worlds- neither fish nor fowl. Just what kind of hills are you talking about anyway? Mountain descents? If they are just hills, you get to soft pedal all the way down-


    use a brake. You really shouldn't go brakeless as a beginner- IMHO- until you've ridden with a front brake that you never use. You need to know HOW to stop before you can stop.

    BTW- there is no comparison between riding a geared bike without shifting (a fake SS) and riding fixed. The feeling of the pedals moving on their own beneath your feet cannot be described.
    Last edited by filtersweep; 09-15-05 at 08:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member eric1508's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've never understood single speed- seems to me to be the worst of both worlds- neither fish nor fowl.
    That's the impression I've gotten and it seems that's the way to go (fixed).
    Just what kind of hills are you talking about anyway? Mountain descents? If they are just hills, you get to soft pedal all the way down-
    Mostly hills I can agressively tackle in 42/14 or so. But some seem like mountain descents. But its the downhills I am concerned about. I don't know what soft pedaling is exactly but I tried keeping up with my pedals as if they were in cadence with the wheels and I felt like I was going to bounce off my seat. Now I know that a fixie would maybe be slower down the hill becuase of resistance you could create with your legs but I just don't know if that would be an issue.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Chi-troit
    My Bikes
    [2004 Bianchi Eros] [1988 Colnago XL Fixed Gear Conversion]
    Posts
    577
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I enjoy riding down hill fixed (I have a brake). You really just let the pedals spin your feet around. You probably will bounce a bit, but not as much as if you were pedaling rather than coasting in the same gear on a freewheel bike. (Because you are letting the bike pedal you, rather than you pedal the bike.)

    Definitely go fixed, it's a lot of fun.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Surferbruce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles/Aveyron France
    Posts
    5,308
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    if you've got the tickle already- GO FIXED!
    definitely start out with a brake. i can tell already by reading your post you're gonna like it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member wesburt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    san francisco
    My Bikes
    katakura silk track, de rosa primato 10spd
    Posts
    84
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    you could go with a flip flop hub and have both. i have that set up on my bike, one side freewheel cog and the other side fixed, you can try out both and switch whenever you like.

  7. #7
    I like turtles mascher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Philly
    My Bikes
    Pink Nightmare (RIP), Kona Smoke fixed conversion, Surly Steamroller, Schwinn hardtail, Raleigh singlespeed mtb conversion (soon to be RIP), Green Road Biest
    Posts
    898
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I can't remember what site I read it on, but someone said:

    Singlespeed: like hearing your favorite song on the am radio
    Fixed: like your favorite band playing your favorite song live and inviting you onstage to play the guitar solo while the crowd goes wild

    I'm a beginner, but I don't find freewheeling onespeeds to be anywhere near as satisfying as fixed ones. I use the handbrake.

  8. #8
    Senior Member eric1508's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't think there's any doubt that I'll love it. The questions is, how much? Unfortunately I have a tight budget right now and the only way I could get one anytime soon would be to sell my 2005 Trek 1200. It's only about a month old and I figure I could get about $600 for it (it has less than 200 miles). This would give me about what I would need to get an IRO track/road fixie.
    The olny reason I would even consider this (I really like that 1200) is because it is my experience with the road bike that has me excited about a fixie. When I got my 1200 (My first real road bike. Before that I road my moutain bike.) I fell in love with the charactreristics that you guys have described about the fixies: Extremely smooth, efficient, quiet and quick. Oh and did I mention the simple, light weight design. And it seems that a track style bike encapsulates these characteristics even more than a conventional road bike.
    So the question is, do I trade my 1200 for something like an IRO or wait a WHILE for a fixie? I know I havn't acutally riden a fixie so this may seem drastic. Do you guys have both raod (geared) and track (SS) bikes or do you ride SS exclusively. Either way I still have my geared mountain bike which would be sort of a safety net no matter what I do. What to do, what to do?

  9. #9
    LF for the accentdeprived
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Budapest, Hungary
    Posts
    3,550
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If I were you, I'd tear stuff off of that trek, and have a SS/fixed rear wheel laced for it. You could probably find a gear ratio that works with your chainstay length, and you'd be able to try the fixed/ss experience, spending only what the rear wheel costs, without losing your road bike.
    Possibly, you could have a 110mm trackhub, put a longer axle and extra spacers in it. Then if you decide to take the plunge, you have a track wheel, or you can sell it for a decent price.

    This site tells you all you need to know about conversion etc, and this will help choose a gear combo that works on you bike.

    (IMHO, SS has the best of both worlds: simple, light, efficient, but you don't have to spin like mad on downhills and you can get up curbs or over potholes without special ninja tricks. Plus riding fixed is really tiring. Cool if you want to get a good workout, not so cool if you want to get to places fast. The only thing fixed has over SS for me is trackstanding and going backwards.)
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    Do you deny that you are clueless or do you just think that "moron" didn't need to be tacked on there?
    Bike on flickr and on FGG

  10. #10
    Senior Member Surferbruce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles/Aveyron France
    Posts
    5,308
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    i assume you've seen www.fixedgeargallery.com
    theres literally tons of fg's put together for very little $. you can get an iro rear wheel for like 100$ and, with some looking around at thrift shops and garage sales, find an old road bike with horizontal dropouts for cheap and you're in there. as much as i love my fixed gears i need at least one bike with gears for training on hills.

  11. #11
    knucklehead roscoenyc57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    East Village, NYC
    My Bikes
    Rocky MT Track, Vivalo, Pista Concept, De Bernardi Track
    Posts
    520
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ieatrats
    I can't remember what site I read it on, but someone said:

    Singlespeed: like hearing your favorite song on the am radio
    Fixed: like your favorite band playing your favorite song live and inviting you onstage to play the guitar solo while the crowd goes wild

    I'm a beginner, but I don't find freewheeling onespeeds to be anywhere near as satisfying as fixed ones. I use the handbrake.


    that is damn good!

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    997
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    "I've never understood single speed"

    some people like to coast...SSs make sense to me (though not for me)

  13. #13
    Senior Member eric1508's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I went to my local bike shop to see if there was any way to turn my Trek into a SS and the onwer said "Just don't shift." I guess they're not big fans. Anyway, one of the bike mechanics said they have a SS kit that has uses a chain tensioner and a single speed cog that would do the trick. But it's $150. And it doesn't REALLY use the bare minimum like I would prefer (simplicity). But I know that the vertical dropouts are the issue here. So I went to a small bike shop who do unique builds and the owner had his bike in the window and it was a track bike. So I figured I had come to the right place. They said they could do a basic fixie build for $300 and then the price goes up from there depending on components. I am going back this afternoon to see what kind of builds they have to offer but this gives me some other options.

    It sounds like some of you guys prefer SS and even more of you say if it's not a fixie then it's like chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. LoFarkas says that SS is the best of both worlds and I can see his point. Coasting and cruising around seem to go hand in hand. And I can also see where coasting would enable you to travel more frequently and greater distances. But I just can't deny the passion that SO many of you have about a fixie. And I know I won't know until I try but it just seems that there must be something about that direct connection to the road that a free wheeler wouldn't allow. Maybe I'll be able to try one out this afternoon.

  14. #14
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Suburbia, CT
    My Bikes
    Old-ass gearie hardtail MTB, fix-converted Centurion LeMans commuter, SS hardtail monster MTB
    Posts
    5,636
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Some people here might be a little fanatical about it, but riding a fix is a very different experience from riding singlespeed. I wouldn't say one will be better than the other for you, but it definitely is an apples and oranges comparison.

    Maybe you should ask that small shop if they will let you ride around a little bit on a fix first. At the very least it will help remove any doubts you may have.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  15. #15
    Senior Member eric1508's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Maybe you should ask that small shop if they will let you ride around a little bit on a fix first. At the very least it will help remove any doubts you may have.
    That's what I hope to be able to do. We will see. Unfortunatley, nothing allows you to know for sure without being able to go for a long ride, if not a few long rides.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    2,209
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You'd be suprised how easy it is to stop without a brake once you get used to it. I was able to skid stop after a week and after 4 mo, i am able to skip my back tire just by lifting my arse and stiffening my leg. That said, i do use a front brake purely for emergency purposes--like when a car cuts in front of me or a little kid runs out on the path at the last second. I was in your exact same position this last spring. Since i've gotten my fixed gear, i never ride my other bikes. I do miss the long coasts downhill, but if you control you speed at the apex of the hill, you dont need to spin like a madman-you'll learn to do controlled descents. Also, you can slow yourself down just by letting the wieght of your legs slow the bike. And besides, once you start riding fixed you'll notice how often you used to needlessly coast on your road bike--you'll get a lot better workout.

    One word of caution: i know a few people who got a fixie b/c it was the new "in" thing, and after a few weeks, they stopped riding b/c they thought it was too difficult. Borrow a friend's fixie if you can or testride as many track bikes before deciding to buy. If you like the way the bike rides, i'll guarantee you wont be unhappy with a purchase and/or conversion. The riding experience gets more enjoyable everyday. Think about why you want one. I could give a sheet of lambs wool (as the romans used to say--flocci non facio) about image or some mystical zen experience. I went fixed b/c i found the ride truely enjoyable, and the bike is a lot easier to maintain. If you get one for the right reason, you wont look back.

    Happy hunting

  17. #17
    Senior Member eric1508's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    More than anything I would prefer to convert my Trek 1200 into a SS/Fixie. It sounds like this is doable with a chain tensioner if you are going SS. But I have yet to see a way to go pure fixie. Is this accurate. Or is there a viable way (worth the trouble) to convert my 1200 or should I just go with a complete build.
    I would love to find an old 10 speed with horizontal dropouts and just convert that but finding one might be easier said than done.

  18. #18
    Slower than you Judah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SF, CA
    My Bikes
    IRO Mark V & Don Walker Custom
    Posts
    1,800
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Do not convert your 1200. It most likely has vertical dropouts, it's aluminum (sorry aluminum fans, but yuck), and that tensioner would give you that same ugly non-pie shaped chainline, and it would introduce more noise into the drivetrain. Wait a while, and while you're waiting, test ride a bunch of track bikes. When you have the money saved up, then buy yourself either an inexpensive track bike (IRO, KHS, Bianchi, etc.), or convert an old inexpensive frame (ebay, craigslist, but get something with long dropouts). Once you've fallen in love, then buy that blingin bike you want.

    In the meantime, train your legs.

    My $0.02

    Edit: I would go the IRO route personally. Conversions aren't my cup of tea.

  19. #19
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Suburbia, CT
    My Bikes
    Old-ass gearie hardtail MTB, fix-converted Centurion LeMans commuter, SS hardtail monster MTB
    Posts
    5,636
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by eric1508
    More than anything I would prefer to convert my Trek 1200 into a SS/Fixie. It sounds like this is doable with a chain tensioner if you are going SS. But I have yet to see a way to go pure fixie. Is this accurate. Or is there a viable way (worth the trouble) to convert my 1200 or should I just go with a complete build.
    If there's a will, there's a way. The White Industries ENO Eccentric Hub was made for this situation. If you build a wheel around it, all you have to do is take off derailleurs and shifters. However, it is somewhat pricey. But, it is less than a new bike, and you can be sure that the bike will fit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    2,013
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'll toss in my 2 cents. I built a road bike up as a single speed and loved it. I mean really REALLY loved it. My geared bike got no use! A few months later I bought a track cog and lockring, and threaded them up on the other side of my flip/flop hub, and I never ONCE switched back to the freewheel. In fact, that road bike broke at the seatstays, and I hung it up and then took my geared bike apart and built it with a wheel from IRO into a fixed gear, and ride it everywhere. Its my only bike. I also designed it to be versatile enough to be used as my winter commuter too.

    So, in my opinion, fixed is the way to go. What people don't realize is that if you are running dual brakes, and you have a SUPER long downhill to do, and you MUST coast, you can always move the chain off the cog in the back or take the chain off, but you won't really want to be doing that. Once you go fixed, its a whole new dimension of riding. I've been riding fixed about 5 months now and I can't imagine anything else.

    All that being said, If I were to go geared again, it would be with a high-end setup, to me low end shifting gear stinks.

    Oh, and I love the simplicity of fixed gear. Although you can get that same simplicity in single speed, most of the time.

  21. #21
    Senior Member eric1508's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA
    Posts
    53
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well, I just finished working with the bike shop owner and we successsfully converted my Trek 1200 to a fixie! We used that imfamous HTML fixie gearing calc to get some gearing options. Fortunately my prefered gear setup was right on. We kept the front 42 and added a 14 tooth fixed gear on the IRO hub we put on the back wheel. Perfect setup for me because it allows good speed on the flats and still allows me to mush up most hills. And it keeps the pedals from spinning too fast on the way down a big hill. The chain, by the way, ended up being PERFETLY tight and PERFECTLY strait without too many modifications. And nothing permenant was done to the bike so it's all irriversable. But I might not ever want to go back. We will see, Eric.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •