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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 02-19-07, 12:43 AM   #1
pivoxa15
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What's it like riding on those single speed bikes?

I have never ridden on those bikes before, what is it like compared to a normal road bike? Are they hard to stop? Does the gears limit somewhat as you can't go very fast at times and can't peddle up steep hills. What are usually the price range for these? Where can they be bought?
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Old 02-19-07, 12:58 AM   #2
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price range for new entry level is 600-800 fully equipped, if you get a cheap bikesdirect or ebay bike you can have it for 300+shipping but they usually don't have singlespeeds, only fixed gears. you can build a conversion for cheaper but not much cheaper, depending on the kinds of deals you get. like any other bike, the better the parts and craftmanship, the higher the price goes. a nice one is probably going to be 1200 or more.

as for what it's like to ride- well i've only ridden one once ever so take my comments with a grain of salt- but it's definitely a different experience. with a single speed you have just that, one speed, but you can stop peddling and you still get the weight benefits of having no deraileurs or freewheel/cassettes. you can change out the cogs for a good gear ratio for wherever you ride, so if you have a lot of hills you can have a low ratio and get up hills no problem, but that means your cadence will be ridiculous if not impossible for going fast.

there are tradeoffs.

since you mentioned not being able to stop- well, you can run a brake on a ss/fg just like any other bike. if you run brakeless then you have to learn to skid because you just simply can't slow down your peddles fast enough to avoid obstacles by slowing to a stop. however, it is a hell of a lot of fun. whether it's worth it to you is your own choice, but there is a significant weight difference and depending on the type of riding you do and your own strengths and weaknesses as a rider, well- no one can tell you what's better for you except yourself.

if i were you i'd find one and ride it- some lbs's don't carry them so it might be hard to get one to try out, but if you look hard enough i'm sure you can find one if you're willing to travel a bit. or just take the 400 dollar plunge and get one on ebay or bikesdirect. that's up to how much money you can spend and if you think it's a good economic decision. i'd try it out for yourself, no one will be able to tell you what you'll like and dislike about it- just expect a difference.
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Old 02-19-07, 01:05 AM   #3
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A single speed still coasts and has brakes so stopping isn't a worry. A fixed gear doesn't coast and may or may not have brakes. I have a front brake, I don't like skidding to stop, it's a slower method of stopping and IMO there is less control when stopping. S/S is fairly close to a road bike, just no changing gears for different conditions. Fixed is different, no coasting and going down hills is bizarre at first. I have a fairly steep gear setup and find I can make it up every hill save one. I find when I ride my geared bike it takes a few minutes to remember I don't have to spin my legs decending hills. For prices I would search the budget bike thread, and the ebay/craigslist thread, and seach the SSFG forum in general. Same for buying one.
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Old 02-19-07, 01:05 AM   #4
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The best way to get an answer to your first three questions is to try riding a normal road bike around without shifting gears. Assuming you have a 52-42 chainring setup, try something in the neighbourhoood of 52*20 or 42*15 first, then twiddle around from there until you find something that will get you up hills and still be fast enough on the flats. You'll be surprised how quickly having only one gear ceases to seem like an inconvenience. Although a geared bike is often faster if you are pushing yourself to the limit, and generally more efficient over varied terrain, still a fit cyclist can easily get around on an appropriately geared road ss/fg. The biggest difference from a regular road bike is, it's just fun to turn off the part of your brain that thinks about gears, and it's fun to torque up hills and over long distances you thought couldn't be done on a ss.

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Old 02-19-07, 01:25 AM   #5
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and we must mention

the conventional wisdom

that riding a single speed bicycle

will made you stronger efficienter and faster
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Old 02-19-07, 01:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadeux
efficienter
even if you spelled right

"efficienter" ain't a word

and your logic sucks.
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Old 02-19-07, 01:33 AM   #7
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i have made note of this personal attack
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Old 02-19-07, 01:33 AM   #8
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Yes! You make my day, Gadeux.
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Old 02-19-07, 01:39 AM   #9
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Riding a trackbike makes you a better lover.
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Old 02-19-07, 01:48 AM   #10
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Riding a trackbike makes you a better lover.
way better way way better the poser in the quads is all I have to say and my wife will happily agree
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Old 02-19-07, 02:04 AM   #11
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I played soccer for 12 years. I've ridden a single speed to and from work for 2 weeks... a nice downhill one way, a ***** of an uphill the other. At the rate I'm going, I will be in better shape from commuting than I ever was playing soccer, and I was a decent soccer player.
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Old 02-19-07, 02:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapeworm21
I played soccer for 12 years. I've ridden a single speed to and from work for 2 weeks... a nice downhill one way, a ***** of an uphill the other. At the rate I'm going, I will be in better shape from commuting than I ever was playing soccer, and I was a decent soccer player.
but were you a good lover?
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Old 02-19-07, 02:21 AM   #13
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rhetorically, you should have replaced the 'those' in the title with 'these'
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Old 02-19-07, 05:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarchocyclist
"efficienter" ain't a word
yeah, it AIN'T a word!
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Old 02-19-07, 07:18 AM   #15
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Personally, I think of it like this:

fixie:geared bike::manual transmission car:automatic transmission

Riding my fixed gear makes me feel more connected to the terrain I'm traversing, and it makes the bike feel more like an extension of my body. I feel more in control of my machine, and more connected to the road.
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Old 02-19-07, 08:07 AM   #16
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to the OP:
it's very much like riding a beach cruiser, or BMX bike. I will assume that you have ridden one or the other.
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Old 02-19-07, 09:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exfreewheeler
yeah, it AIN'T a word!
What, they don't have irony in Philly?
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Old 02-19-07, 09:57 AM   #18
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What, they don't have irony in Philly?
I heard bout that jaunt one time.
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Old 02-19-07, 09:59 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anarchocyclist
even if you spelled right

"efficienter" ain't a word

and your logic sucks.

"ain't" ain't a word and i ain't gonna say it.
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Old 02-19-07, 10:49 AM   #20
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Ain't is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, so it is a word now.
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Old 02-19-07, 11:37 AM   #21
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if any of you had taken the time to look up efficienter in the dictionary youd see that is also is a word
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Old 02-19-07, 11:42 AM   #22
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Saw at my local Performance a single speed for $240. Too cheap to NOT try it out...
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Old 02-19-07, 11:47 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by anarchocyclist
"efficienter" ain't a word
It's a perfectly cromulent word
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Old 02-19-07, 11:54 AM   #24
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That is funny, because I can't seem to find it.
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Old 02-19-07, 12:13 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinnyland
Personally, I think of it like this:

fixie:geared bike::manual transmission car:automatic transmission

Riding my fixed gear makes me feel more connected to the terrain I'm traversing, and it makes the bike feel more like an extension of my body. I feel more in control of my machine, and more connected to the road.
nope fixed gear is more like a car with a single gear ratio, and no clutch, or a "suicide clutch" at best

a singlespeed bike is like a car with a busted transmission where only 2nd gear and neutral work

a geared bike is like a car with a manual transmission

and autoshifting bikes exist, but they suck, so they are really not analogous to cars with automatic transmission. Then again a good singlespeed might be more similar to a car with auto trans.
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