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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 12-28-06, 04:47 PM   #1
therealsybarite
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single speed with front brake only?

good idea or bad?

i'm thinking about getting a flip flop. most of the time i'll be fixed and would like to avoid adding another brake just for those few times when i'm going SS. i think front only should be ok but i remember someone here saying it's not a good idea.
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Old 12-28-06, 04:55 PM   #2
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I would say bad idea. It's too easy to get going faster with a freewheel (no back pedal on the downhills) especially since for me personally it's easier to run a higher gear ratio freewheel... I find I need the extra stopping power. Especially in winter.
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Old 12-28-06, 04:56 PM   #3
bonechilling
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I've seen a few people around town doing this and
yeah, I have to say it's probably not a very good
idea, although maybe no smarter than running
brakeless and fixed.
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Old 12-28-06, 04:59 PM   #4
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I used to run a front brake only on my single speed MTB. I run front and back now, and couldn't be happier.
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Old 12-28-06, 05:05 PM   #5
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yeah, you're safe riding fixed i think than riding ss with just a front. you can very easily over hit the front and fly over.. not to mention it'd be harder to stop with the front rather than a rear.
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Old 12-28-06, 05:34 PM   #6
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who cares? whatever makes you happy.
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Old 12-28-06, 06:15 PM   #7
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Actually, the front brake alone if appropriately configured applies all the stopping power you can use. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

The only use of the rear brake (if you're on the road, with reasonable traction, and not braking into turns) is with a light application - most of your braking is with the front brake. The rear wheel skidding (owing to the rear wheel braking) is the sign that you're unweighting the rear wheel too much and are about to go over. But really, that's the only purpose of the rear brake. This situation is why you shouldn't rotate tires on a bicycle, since you need the tread on the front wheel to be good because you can't recover easily from a front wheel skid.
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Old 12-28-06, 06:20 PM   #8
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From my personal SS'ing.. I'd go with a full brake set, I like the control. But that's just me, do what makes you smile.
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Old 12-28-06, 06:22 PM   #9
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If you read Sheldon's article (linked above) he makes a pretty good list of instances where the rear brake is good to have... among them, failure of the front brake or its cable, wet weather conditions, road surface, etc.
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Old 12-28-06, 06:24 PM   #10
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..and when you want/need to break the arse end out to carve around something.
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Old 12-28-06, 06:46 PM   #11
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I rode a SS front brake only for about 3.5 years and counting as a messenger off and on mixed with fixed gear riding too. I had the brake cable snap while I was riding twice, both times I wasnt going very fast and managed ok. Now I change that thing at regular intervals, problem fixed.

As far as slick conditions, dont jam on the brake when in a turn, but hey, when its slick going round turns real fast is a good way to do a pavement density test anyway isnt it?
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Old 12-28-06, 06:51 PM   #12
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I only ever used my front brake when riding a geared bike. I would occasionally use my rear, but only for fun (skidding or goofing off).
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Old 12-28-06, 09:43 PM   #13
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yeah..for singlespeed i would have to say bad idea. ive seen people do it, but they just look like they dont know what they are doing. rear brake helps just so you have braking control over both wheels. plus its more symetrical and takes less getting used to.
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Old 12-28-06, 09:59 PM   #14
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SS is gonna make you want to see how fast you can really go, flat-out, teeth gritted, no other thought. Especially since slowing/stopping is not an issue. Unless your single break fails, then issue. Get both, it's a nice symmetry. Kind of like the human face, prior to being made one with the back of a truck.
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Old 12-28-06, 10:47 PM   #15
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Go 70's. Banana seat, front brake and rear coaster. Don't forget the sissy bar.
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Old 12-28-06, 10:56 PM   #16
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you only need one. prefferably the front. there's a lot of safety weenies on this list. they'd run a third if there was room. i ran only a front of 3 or so years with no issue, and that was on a total scrap bike i never once took a wrench to. maintain your **** and one is fine. if it fails ****ing jump off or run into something that won't kill you for ****s sake.

ps- of course, i don't ride like a complete ******. if you have a propensity too, by all means use two brakes and may god have mercy on your soul.
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Old 12-28-06, 11:35 PM   #17
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I do it but I wouldn't say it is safe
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Old 12-29-06, 01:47 AM   #18
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Never mind the idea of a "backup" brake (if all else fails there's always the ol' shoejam), the possibility of losing the front wheel in bad traction braking is the best reason for running some kind of back brake. Going down lowside on your hip is a relatively mellow way to crash but it still hurts.
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Old 12-29-06, 02:21 AM   #19
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Front only with a freewheel is fine.
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Old 12-29-06, 05:27 AM   #20
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Are you sure most of the time you will ride fixed? Are you sure your SS activity will only be those few times. Otherwise is unacceptable you know. You flip that hub and you might ruin everything. Another brake and you're lost. Please think about this. We are here to help.
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Old 12-29-06, 05:41 AM   #21
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Heel of your foot makes a good rear brake.... don't do it too much or you'll get hot foot.
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Old 12-29-06, 07:03 AM   #22
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I'd go for it. No real need for a rear as long as you know what you're doing.
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Old 12-29-06, 01:17 PM   #23
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You'll be fine. I did this for longer that I'd care to admit and I'm still here. DO WHATCHA WANT

Just make sure your break pads aren't ass-old. That screwed me over once.
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Old 12-29-06, 01:48 PM   #24
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the front break has something like 75% of the bikes stoping power. in a bad jam you could throw your foot on to the rear wheel and slow it down that way. but on the other hand iv seen a few bad crashes with guys who were just rocking the front break. look inside yourself and ask and feel out what your more comfy with.
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Old 12-29-06, 02:20 PM   #25
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Get a rear brake for God's sake. You're not any less of a man if you do, I promise.
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