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  1. #1
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    What's up with fixed gear commuting?

    Pardon my ignorance. I live in NYC and have noticed fixed gear bikes becoming increasingly trendy. I must say, I don't get it.

    I mean, the bikes look great in all their minimalism, but why would you want a fixed gear for commuting? Is it faster? Easier somehow?

  2. #2
    King Among Runaways hyperRevue's Avatar
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    Far less maintenance = better for everyday, street riding.
    "I owe everyone an apology" - hyperrevue

  3. #3
    Banned. boroSS's Avatar
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    it's absolutely painful = better training.

  4. #4
    King Among Runaways hyperRevue's Avatar
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    Painful?
    "I owe everyone an apology" - hyperrevue

  5. #5
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    wow, you guys really are minimal.

  6. #6
    Me talk pretty one day. eyefloater's Avatar
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    Whole lot of fun too.

  7. #7
    King of the Hipsters
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    More precision and control in traffic.
    I have a 30 mile round trip commute and consider my time on my fixed gear bike the best part of the day.
    In the winter I switch to a geared commuter (ice, snow and high winds require gears) and find it sloppy and vague compared to my fixie.
    I don't understand why anyone would commute on a geared bike if he had a choice.

  8. #8
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    more fun.

  9. #9
    Senior Member morbot's Avatar
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    they probably dont really have jobs

  10. #10
    i believe in me evanyc's Avatar
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    i dont understand what doesn't make sense about fixed gear commuting, especially in NYC. NYC is the perfect city for fixed gear. it's incredibly flat and what inclines there are are easily doable in one gear. there are stop lights every block, which prevents you (generally, unless you're having fun) from being able to hit top speeds that might call for a higher gear. track geometry is extremely well suited for tight handling in traffic and the short rides involved in most NYC commuting. the simplicity and minimalism of a fixed bike makes maintaining it for daily commuting very easy.

  11. #11
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    more seriously though, riding fixed feels completely different. Some people hate it, many people love it. You pretty much can figure out which way you fall if you just ride a fixie for 5 or 10 minutes. In that regard it has nothing to do with commuting at all, if you love fixed you'll want to ride it every day.

    There are some benefits too, less stuff to steal, less stuff to fail. In NYC there are very few hills worthy of gears anyway and those are pretty far from the center of things. The shorter wheelbase of track bikes (which is just a subset of fixed) makes for very maneuverable machines, which is great for weaving through traffic. That part is proven, what is still partially unproven but which a very good case can be made for is that fixed gear gives you much better feedback about what is going on as you ride. Weaving through manhattan traffic, you need as good feedback as you can get as to what is happening around you...

  12. #12
    we're here, we steer!! mrRed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evanyc
    i dont understand what doesn't make sense about fixed gear commuting, especially in NYC. NYC is the perfect city for fixed gear. it's incredibly flat and what inclines there are are easily doable in one gear. there are stop lights every block, which prevents you (generally, unless you're having fun) from being able to hit top speeds that might call for a higher gear. track geometry is extremely well suited for tight handling in traffic and the short rides involved in most NYC commuting. the simplicity and minimalism of a fixed bike makes maintaining it for daily commuting very easy.
    Exactly.
    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 ****.

  13. #13
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    Cool. Maybe I'll try one out this summer. Still can't figure out how you guys brake on those - but I guess it's not too hard.

  14. #14
    dig dig dig Moximitre's Avatar
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    Fred flintstone style. Barefoot too.
    Sucks to your ass-mar!

  15. #15
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    I didn't get it at first. I could see singlespeed -- low maintenance, fewer parts to get stolen off of bike etc. -- but fixed gear just seemed wrong and dangerous anyplace but on a track.

    However, I learned after building a conversion myself, that fixed gear gives you a sense of control especially at low speeds, that you don't have with a bike that can coast. And if you HAVE AT LEAST ONE BRAKE on your bike, it's every bit as safe as any other bike. Safer, in fact, because you have another option besides brakes for stopping.

    I got flamed (slow cooked actually) for posting this on the Advocacy and Safety board, but with a fixed gear bike, you can ride very comfortably at low speeds. Very low, slow enough that you can "pace" a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk. Therefore, if you need to leave the street for any reason you can ride the sidewalk without endangering pedestrians. Of course, being able to ride very slow also makes it easier to take the lane in slow moving traffic as well.

  16. #16
    griffin_ griffin_'s Avatar
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    in the winter your legs stay warmer if they are always moving

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffin_
    in the winter your legs stay warmer if they are always moving
    Just because a bike can coast doesn't mean you need to...

    If I'm cold and on my geared bike I can just shift and start spinning more. If I have a headwind and I'm on my fixed gear, I can't increase my cadence that much.

  18. #18
    monster
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    Man, I got tired of carrying my heavy MTB up and down 4 flights of stairs every day. I throw my fixie over my shoulder and I am out the door. Maintenance is a snap and my commutes are a lot more enjoyable on a bike that is more fun to ride.

  19. #19
    Senior Member iamtim's Avatar
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    I used to commute on a... *blink, blink* gearie (?) just under 10 miles per day. I *wish* I would have had a fixie then. I'm one of the people that within the first five minutes of riding fixed loved fixed and now I want to ride fixed all the time. Now I live too far away from my office to commute for a 7-4 shift, but I keep a fixie at the office for lunchtime or after-work rides.

    Please note I live on the other side of the country from NYC; Southern California.

  20. #20
    perspective distorts killsurfcity's Avatar
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    i commute fixed every day, and it's less about it being good for commuting (even though i think it is) and more about having forgotten completely how to ride anything else. not being able to control my bike solely with my feet feels very scary now. seriously though i couldn't see riding any other way, it just feels too right.
    the sound of life

    "I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry." - John Cage

  21. #21
    flaneur boots's Avatar
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    someone mentioned this, it is much easier to ride slowly on a fixed gear. i know it's illegal, but i don't feel bad about riding on the sidewalk on my fixie because i can ride as slowly and with as much control as a pedestrian.
    give me war redder than blood and fiercer than fire!

  22. #22
    dig dig dig Moximitre's Avatar
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    speaking of fixed gear commuting, does any company make a clip-on FRONT fender? Kinda like the cheap plastic rear ones? (which I love) My rear clip on is great, but some ******bag stole my old rusty front one.
    Sucks to your ass-mar!

  23. #23
    i believe in me evanyc's Avatar
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    the pro-fixed argument i don't hear enough but was definitely one of the reasons i went fixed is i'm to lazy to use a hand brake. i got so sick of having to change hand positions while riding to brake. it's so much nicer to just be able to skip/skid/resist and leave your hands where they are.

  24. #24
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    OK, So then, how do you stop short with a fixed? I have to stop short at least 6 times/week on my commutes to avoid hitting doors opening, strollers, elderly people, rats and a number of other things.

  25. #25
    <3s bikes Re-Cycle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boots
    someone mentioned this, it is much easier to ride slowly on a fixed gear. i know it's illegal, but i don't feel bad about riding on the sidewalk on my fixie because i can ride as slowly and with as much control as a pedestrian.
    I hate it when people ride on sidewalks.

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