Okay, I've never had a fixed gear bike before and I just took up cycling seriously about 18 months ago. I'm mainly cycling for exercise but have been kicking around the idea of commuting (at least 2-3 days a week). I would like to enter some sort of race this spring. I'd consider a road race or a criterium, I'm not sure mainly I just want to give it a try to see what I like. Also I like to take rides with my kids (ages 4 and 6) around the neighborhood.
It seems to me that a fixed gear bike would be the best fit for most of these activities and I really like the way they look :-)
Now for the questions. I realize that some of these are "typical" questions and often talked about so I apologize for that. I've been reading the forum and other sites on the web for a week and can's seem to find definite answers. So please bear with me.
1. I read somewhere that a track bike fits different than a road bike. Is that true? None of the shops around here carry any fixed bikes in stock so if I can't really test it myself. If it is the same as a road bike then I'm already set.
2. Question #1 is probably irrelevant because I also would like to do this on the cheap so I'll probably be doing a conversion. I used to have a steal road bike that weighed about 40lbs. I now have a Trek 1000 that probably weighs in the low to mid 20lbs range. On a fixie I'd like to keep as high a gear as possible because I like to go fast and don't want to spin out going down hills (also there are relatively few hills around here). It seems to me that having as light of a bike as possible would allow me to climb better and thus run a larger gear, so about how much weight is typically dropped by converting an older road bike into a fixie? Say I get a 35-40lbs steal road bike and convert it to a fixie with a front brake and a brooks saddle. I don't know if it would then be a 30lb bike or a 20lb bike.
3. Gear choice: If I treat my road bike like a fixie and stay in one gear while I ride around for the next few rides, is that a good way to figure out the gearing that I'd want on a fixie? If not should the fixie end up being a bigger or smaller gear?
4. I've noticed that 90% of roadies ride with their hands on the hoods 90% of the time. I ride a decent mix of drops and hoods. Do most fixie riders use the drops or do you put your hands on the top of the bar? (obviously this is for fixies that don't have hoods). I've seen brake levers mounted next to the stem which makes me think that a significant number of people have their hands up there.