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  1. #1
    Hey let's ride. pathdoc's Avatar
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    Dumb fixed gear question

    How do come to a quick stop if you don't have any brakes on your fixed gear bike? I've seen some of you guys have a front brake but plenty of the bike don't have any brakes. Is this safe?
    I see people talking about riding fixed in NYC and I can't see how they could ride in that tough environment without brakes.

  2. #2
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    If you resist the pedaling motion hard enough, you can stop the rotation of the rear wheel, effectively using your legs as a brake. If you stop the rear wheel and keep it stopped, so it skids across the road, that's called a "skid". If you make a bunch of mini-skids by stopping the rotation until it skids, letting it roll more, skidding, etc, that's called "skipping". Skipping works better for stopping that skidding. Do a search and find hundreds of threads about skidding and skipping.
    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.

  3. #3
    blah onetwentyeight's Avatar
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    also if you get good at it you can start a skid and then swing the back out to the side. its a hockey stop. The trick with riding breakless is you have enough control that you never need to stop that fast. if you think things are getting dangerous slow down. admitedly i still haul ass across the city so I might be a little suicidal/********. its fun though, and a good way to wake me up fast in the morning. I'm pretty alert and focused about my surroundings and situation when I'm riding.

    read this: http://63xc.com/gregg/101_1.htm

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE]How do come to a quick stop if you don't have any brakes on your fixed gear bike? [QUOTE]
    you can't stop as fast

    Is this safe?
    compared to having a brake, it is not safe

    I see people talking about riding fixed in NYC and I can't see how they could ride in that tough environment without brakes.
    by riding slower or more recklessly and claiming to be able to predict the future.

    thanks for trolling.

  5. #5
    don't pedal backwards... MacG's Avatar
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    First the disclaimer: Some people ride without a brake, some prefer to have one. It's all based on how experienced and confident you are and personal preference. I, personally, perfer to have a brake at the ready even if I can do most of my riding without touching it. Call it unmanly if you must, but I also haven't been to the emergency room as a result of biking yet, and I've put on about 1800 miles so far this year.

    Since the drivetrain is rigid (so to speak), the rider can slow the bike down by fighting the pedals with his/her feet. It sounds inelegant, but just think about how you "fight" the pedals to speed up a bike and imagine having the ability to slow down the bike by resisting the pedals' rotation. Stopping faster without using a brake usually involves locking up the rear wheel using the pedals. If you stand up and more or less lock your knees rigid the correct way, you can have enough force to make the rear wheel stop turning and skid along the pavement.

    This stops you pretty quickly, but it is still nowhere near as effective as a good front brake, since the bike tends to lift the rear wheel off the ground under deceleration forces until the wheel doesn't provide much deceleration anymore. The front wheel is pressed harder against the pavement when the brakes are applied and will bit in harder and harder until you flip the bike over forwards. Even with the best skid and a skilled rider, a brakeless fixie can stop no sooner than a cruiser bike with a coaster brake (remember that coaster brake bike you had as a kid?) for these reasons.

    In short, brakeless is nice on the track and for show, but it is much easier to get yourself into spooky or dangerous situations where a front brake would be a tremendous help. Now a certain population of the board gets to flame me for my views...
    from Minneapolis, with bike love

  6. #6
    antiquarian
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    christ, you have more questions than pistaboy

  7. #7
    blah onetwentyeight's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=dutret][QUOTE]How do come to a quick stop if you don't have any brakes on your fixed gear bike?
    you can't stop as fast


    compared to having a brake, it is not safe


    by riding slower or more recklessly and claiming to be able to predict the future.

    thanks for trolling.
    you're the one doing the trolling. my worst accident on a bike was made worse by the brake. Just saying. im totally in favor of people who are new to riding fixed having brakes. i don't mostly because theres nothing for me to attach one too and i feel comfortable without it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jandops's Avatar
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    the best way to stop fast on bike without brakes is to run into something.

  9. #9
    Cornucopia of Awesomeness baxtefer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onetwentyeight

    you're the one doing the trolling. my worst accident on a bike was made worse by the brake. Just saying. im totally in favor of people who are new to riding fixed having brakes. i don't mostly because theres nothing for me to attach one too and i feel comfortable without it.
    explain please
    {o,o**
    |)__)
    -"-"-

    O RLY?

  10. #10
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    how was your accident made worse? Did you endo becuase you have poor bike handling skills or did you stop to fast only to be rammed by someone behind you. If the former I suggest you use your brake more often if the latter then I suggest you avoid letting incompetent riders on your wheel.

    Its kinda hard to argue that you can stop just as fast without a front brake or that ability doesn't make you safer. The ONLY way to ride as safely brakeless is to ride slower. The last bit was intended to be tounge in cheek.

  11. #11
    blah onetwentyeight's Avatar
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    going down a steep hill, was cut off by a very stoned mountain biker. i initiated a skid and was lightly squeezing the front brake to slow down faster. however when i ran into the other cyclist my hand instinctively squeezed and my front wheel locked up. i was still going fast enough that it caused my back wheel to lift and me flying down the hill. i snapped my arm in half. had i not done that i probably would have pushed through him and fallen on my side. part my own error, but thats what happened. this was at critical mass so incompetent riders on your wheel is kind of inevitable. needless to say i dont do critical mass anymore.

    i just think that if you're in a situation where you have to slam on your brakes, you're probably ****ed anyway.

    when i ride i am not going as fast as i can and then stopping as fast as i can. i am trying to pace traffic, stop lights, etc. speed in city riding is not soley determined by how hard you push the pedals, but how well you ride in traffic. i know the timing of the stop lights on my commute from work by heart and can often get home without ever having to stop.

  12. #12
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    So it was the former then.
    There will be unexpected crap that you have to stop for. To ride safely you need to be able to stop in time to avoid it. Therefore if you stopping distance is lenghtened you must ride slower to maintain the same level of safety.

    If riding brakeless gives you a sense of accomplishment or makes you feel more manly fine. It is either slower or more dangerous however. There is no way around it.

  13. #13
    blah onetwentyeight's Avatar
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    *combs chest hair* i do it cuz its fun and im comfortable with it. and i dont wanna drill holes in some very nice forks.

    okay fine. its more dangerous. but most people who are doing it are probably more technically proficient riders who are more aware of their surroundings and more comfortable with riding in the city. which makes them safer riders.

    Not saying i dont know some very skilled riders who have brakes, because I do.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by onetwentyeight
    going down a steep hill, was cut off by a very stoned mountain biker. i initiated a skid and was lightly squeezing the front brake to slow down faster. however when i ran into the other cyclist my hand instinctively squeezed and my front wheel locked up. i was still going fast enough that it caused my back wheel to lift and me flying down the hill. i snapped my arm in half. had i not done that i probably would have pushed through him and fallen on my side. part my own error, but thats what happened.

    Thats what happend to me but with a car cutting me off. I still use a brake but i am a lot more selective of when and have it set up so it doesnt get tight till its nearly pulled all the way in.

  15. #15
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    you know until somebody starts collecting data on the number of bike accidents involving handbrakeless track bikes, we can't say that it's more dangerous*. we're just going to have to say that some people are completely competant at riding without a handbrake, and other people will throw rocks at those people, and there are going to be a whole lot of people caught in the middle who say "do what you want to, just be safe."

    *what we can say is that encouraging people who aren't skille riders to ride without a handbrake would be dangerous. good thing that's not done, and for the most part, the only people i know or have seen riding without a handbrake have been fairly experienced and skilled riders.

    and so, pathdoc, since you're new, i and many others would suggest you ride with a brake. keep it on and learn non-handbrake stopping methods, and when you realize that you haven't touched that brake in a few weeks, then say, "huh, i haven't used it." and then go where you feel like going from there.

    damn. why does this conversation always come up?
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  16. #16
    we're here, we steer!! mrRed's Avatar
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    From my personal opinion, as I ride with and without a brake depending on mood nowadays.

    1) brakes: great for really aggresive riding. The extra comfort of having an "oh ****" lever is really nice when pushing really hard, or on longer rides where about 30 miles your legs don't want to do all the work on a steep downhill with little or no runout.

    2) no brakes: what can I say that already hasn't been said. Its a beautiful thing. It feels amazing only relying on your body's own strength for acceleration and deceleration, and is incomparable to any other biking experience. You can stop well enough, and I'd say that starting off you should definitely use the brake until you get your feet and legs under you and are confident enough to ride without brakes.

    I don't want to get into safety issues, as everyone's experience is different, but be careful if you go brakeless as a small mistake can get you in real deep **** you might be able to get out of with one.
    Culture? Art? Making a difference? Hey, go **** yourself. We're too busy drinking, doing drugs, trying to **** random people and you want us to make money on top of all that? Really?

    Well, ****. I don't give a ****.

  17. #17
    Hey let's ride. pathdoc's Avatar
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    I don't have the guts to try riding without hand brakes. I really was just wondering how anyone could pull that off.

  18. #18
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    You can, but it requires a lot more skill and practice, and is very hard on your body and the bike.

    So, no, it's not a dumb question. People that think 'brakeless is just as good' are dumb, or omitting critical information to further the inflation of their egos.

  19. #19
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    Brakes
    Helmets
    Lights
    Reflectors
    Beer
    Clothing
    Pizza

    None are 'necessary', but all have intrinsic plusses and minuses.

    Do what you want, suffer the consequenses.
    "Where you come from is gone;
    where you are headed weren't never there;
    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

  20. #20
    KombuchaCHIC Shadiyah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG
    If you stand up and more or less lock your knees rigid the correct way, you can have enough force to make the rear wheel stop turning and skid along the pavement.

    Does that have a lot of impact on your knees? If you were going fast, it sounds like that would hurt.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    A skilled rider without handbrakes is far safer than an unskilled rider with.

  22. #22
    blah onetwentyeight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadiyah
    Does that have a lot of impact on your knees? If you were going fast, it sounds like that would hurt.
    Depends on your gearing. If you're leaning forward enough you are shifting your weight off the rear wheel which makes it easier to skid. admitedly the more weight you have off the back wheel the longer the skid and thusly, more impractical. i skip and backpedal for 90% of my stopping, which i dont think is very bad for the knees.

  23. #23
    KombuchaCHIC Shadiyah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devolution
    A skilled rider without handbrakes is far safer than an unskilled rider with.
    You can only get skilled by practicing. Better to be safe while doing so.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadiyah
    Does that have a lot of impact on your knees? If you were going fast, it sounds like that would hurt.
    it is alot less hard on your knees then stopping without skidding would be but harder on them then using a brake.

  25. #25
    blah onetwentyeight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    it is alot less hard on your knees then stopping without skidding would be but harder on them then using a brake.
    Yes but think of the impact on your knuckles that is caused by stopping with handbrakes! Carpal tunnel omg!

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