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  1. #1
    Some Guy mister_hl's Avatar
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    Why single speed?

    Hello:

    I'm new to biking and curious as to why people ride the single speed bikes? What is it about single speeds that makes them interesting? Is it b/c of the lighter bike? A better workout?

    Just curious!
    Thanks!

    -----------------------------------

  2. #2
    Kev
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    Why ride a Singlespeed?
    Modern 24-27 speed bikes are marvels of technology, and allow a cyclist to select the gear ratio that will make the most efficient use of his/her energy. If what you're after is getting the maximum possible speed/distance for the minimum effort (and there's nothing wrong with that!) a multi-speed bike is what you need...but, efficiency isn't everything!
    If you're riding for sheer pleasure, or for exercise, you don't necessarily place that high a premium on output results, as measured in speed, distance or vertical climb. Instead, you may care more about the actual experience of riding your bike. In this case, you may be a candidate for a singlespeed bike.

    Riding a singlespeed can help bring back the unfettered joy you experienced riding your bike as a child. You don't realize how much mental energy you devote to shifting until you relinquish your derailers, and discover that a whole corner of your brain that was formerly wondering when to shift is now free to enjoy your surroundings and sensations.

    Paradoxically, a singlespeed is, in another sense more efficient than a multispeed bike! While the single gear ratio will not be the "perfect" gear ratio for all conditions, in the conditions which fit the single gear, it is considerably more efficient mechanically than the drive train of a derailer bike.

    A singlespeed bike dispenses with the weight of the derailers, shifters, cables, extra sprockets and longer chain. In addition, a singlespeed gear train runs the chain in a perfectly straight line from sprocket to chainwheel, and avoids the serpentine wind through the pullies of a derailer. You can really feel the difference! A singlespeed is noticeably quicker and easier to pedal than a multispeed bike in the same gain ratio.

    Singlespeed bikes are also considerably more sturdy and reliable than multispeed bikes. There's no derailer to catch on the underbrush or to get overshifted into the spokes. The rear wheel itself is a lot stronger than one made with off-center (dished) spoking to make room for a whole bunch of sprockets on one side.
    ---

    Thanks to sheldon brown for this write up, he explained in better then I could.

  3. #3
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    For the love. I don't own one and have inclination but in the end every single speeder I know just loves its simplicity as well as the physical strain it creates.

    I am starting to ride bmxes...does that count

  4. #4
    Senior Member Inoplanetyanin's Avatar
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    Yeah, Kev provided all the necessary information to answer the question.
    I would also highlight that the reliability is SIGNIFICANTLY higher of a single speed bikes.
    In my childhood, singlespeed was the most common and nobody was even thinking about getting anything else as it was enough. However, single speed might even have to be walked if you have to climb up the hill and your bike is heavy...
    It's a compromiss, hope you get the point, and I didn't miss.

  5. #5
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    Simplicity,reliabilty,and feel.....own a redline SS mtb,its a big ugly heavy brute of a bike@32lbs,but it feels like its carved out of one big chunk of steel,very solid goes where you point it ride and almost bulletproof.If I break that bike it means Im prob dead from the accident LOL,thats why I ride SS.Once your used riding one hills actually become more fun I think,you stand up and pedal....and you get good at body english,brings the finesse vs brute strength back to the riding experience.I thought it would be a big handicap,it isnt,you can be faster on one gear than many gears if you know what your doing and your strong.I learned that on the trail trying to keep up with a group of guys riding them while I was riding a geared mtb......they dusted me w/o even breaking a sweat.They are also usually a tad lighter in the rear,makes bunnyhopping easier.Ive done 2 centuries on mine w/slicks,and ride it for work sometimes....they are pretty versatile.

  6. #6
    Zippy Engineer Waldo's Avatar
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    Because I can...it makes for a light fun bike that you get a heck of a workout on. I don't know that I would enjoy it as much if I were in a hillier region but it works pretty well for me. It also is nice for riding in the winter or muddy conditions. My converted Homegrown weighs a tick under 21 lbs and is a blast.

  7. #7
    road siklista dexmax's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maelstrom
    For the love. I don't own one and have inclination but in the end every single speeder I know just loves its simplicity as well as the physical strain it creates.

    I am starting to ride bmxes...does that count
    Yahooooooo!!!! Bmx's are fun to ride. Not to mention the jumps and the wheelies...

  8. #8
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dexmax
    Yahooooooo!!!! Bmx's are fun to ride. Not to mention the jumps and the wheelies...
    I am basically riding it to learn balance points and control over the bike which I can take to mtb. That and it sure is fun

  9. #9
    Lady Cyclist! carlee's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maelstrom
    I am basically riding it to learn balance points and control over the bike which I can take to mtb. That and it sure is fun
    i started out with a bmx, it is where i learned the basic skills of hovering, manuevering, bumping, and a lot with tumbling. .
    got scars to remember it by.

  10. #10
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    Fixed wheel (no coasting possible) single speeds are elegant, light, athletically challenging, and sensually pleasing to ride--quiet, smooth, and even compared to a well-maintained geared machine amazingly free of drive train drag. Hope this doesn't sound like Shirley MacLaine-oid crystal jerking, but they connect you to your riding environment more directly. You feel and have to deal more immediately with changes in grade, wind, and even pavement quality. As a side attraction, they are of course much lower maintainance bikes than a contemporary geared bike with too many gears, ultrasensitive shifting, and rapid wear designed into parts with anorexically skinny chains and preworn, I mean ramped, cogs and chainrings. It is interesting that there is a small but growing market in dedicated single-speed bikes now--Surly and Soma, for instance--whereas 20 years ago the only interested parties were track racers and Schwinn balloon tire collectors. I absolutely believe that there's a link between a demand for simpler bikes and the excess of shifting technology in contemporary geared bikes. BTW, a super-bargain when you find one is a Schwinn Madison, a US-made entry level track bike from the mid-1980's. A friend of mine scored one for his wife for $75!

  11. #11
    Advertise here! Chuvak's Avatar
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    If you want a single speed just set your bike in to gear you like and DON'T shift on your ride, no matter how hard or easy it is to pedal. Or better yet, choose the size of the cog that is closer or the same size of that of a single speed bike. If you like it, get yourself a singlespeed.
    Last edited by Chuvak; 05-26-03 at 12:41 PM.

  12. #12
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    lighter bike, but also more balanced if there is no rear deraileur. less worry, less excuses- forget about shifting gears, just pedal harder. not as efficient but IMO a lot more fun. nostalgic of the days i first got my 20" wheeler.
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

  13. #13
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    Singlespeed or fixed wheel bikes are ideal for riding off-road in muddy, flat terrain. Not everyone lives in the mountains, but most off-road bikes assume you do.
    In sticky clay mud, a SS will keep running and not attract as much mud.

  14. #14
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    I have two ss, one an old Trek 10 speed set up with fixed gear, the other an old Schwinn 10 speed set up with single speed (BMX) freewheel. The Trek has a low-ish 39/17 gear for spinning while the Schwinn has a higher 48/18 for higher speed/slighty harder work. I love them both. Everything everyone has said is right. As Oscaregg says the fixed gear puts you firmly in touch with the road. It is hard to explain what that means until you try it.

    I got interested in fixed gear/ss from reading Sheldon Brown's articles which I highly recommend, especially for fixed gear. Learning to ride fixed gear is not hard, but it can dump you on your butt immediately if you don't have at least some idea how to start off.
    FWIW,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  15. #15
    flux capacitor Orikal's Avatar
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    Here in Boston you have a lot of messengers with single speed/fixed gears, which is how I originally got into it. I had (God rest her soul) an old Univega I converted to single speed, and not only are they more efficient, but they are very quiet, especially if you're used to a geared bike. I was amazed at how much more enjoyable not having to worry about gears and the sheer silence made recreational riding. And geez, the bikes are just oh so sexy....

  16. #16
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    why?

    why the hell not?

    it's as simple as that.
    i ride bikes.

  17. #17
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    Purity of form and function.

    Minimalist beauty.

    Subversive. Anti-consumerist.

    Durable.

    Visceral.

    Traditional.

    Addictive.

  18. #18
    Senior Member shrimpx's Avatar
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    whoa, nice summary, Flaneur.
    that about sums up my reasons for loving fixies.

  19. #19
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    When its f'n freezing out i can use big thick mitts and not worry about shifting levers

  20. #20
    Senior Member seau grateau's Avatar
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    I do it for the sqrls.
    Quote Originally Posted by adriano View Post
    thanckx.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagrom_ View Post
    "I made love to your mother dozens of times last week, and she doesnt know what a worn chain ring looks like"

  21. #21
    Senior Member seau grateau's Avatar
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    Also, OP is bike curious?
    Quote Originally Posted by adriano View Post
    thanckx.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagrom_ View Post
    "I made love to your mother dozens of times last week, and she doesnt know what a worn chain ring looks like"

  22. #22
    Veteran Mother****er Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    I ride fixed so I can post about it in ten year old threads on the internet.

  23. #23
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I ride fixed so I can post about it in ten year old threads on the internet.
    What is it with this forum and resurrecting ancient threads?

    For what it's worth, while all the justifications have merit, there's only one reason I ride fixed gear - I tried it once and fell in love.
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  24. #24
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I ride fixed so I can post about it in ten year old threads on the internet.
    I lol'd
    PedalRoom

    Hey I just met you,
    and this is crazy,
    but here's my Strava,
    follow me maybe.

  25. #25
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    Power, cycle and style in the simplest manifestation possible.

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