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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 06-22-03, 10:02 PM   #1
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What's the diffirence?

What is the difference between a single speed and fixed gear? From my understanding they both can't change gears, so what is the difference?
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Old 06-22-03, 10:11 PM   #2
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A fixed gear can't freewheel.
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Old 06-22-03, 10:19 PM   #3
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Meaning when the wheel turns so do the pedals?
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Old 06-22-03, 10:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuvak
Meaning when the wheel turns so do the pedals?
Exactly. You cannot "coast" on a fixed gear in the same way as you would any bike that has a freewheeling hub. There are singlespeed bikes that are not fixed gear but all fixed gear bikes are singlespeeds... well unless you've got flip-flop hubs but that's a technicality.
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Old 06-22-03, 10:47 PM   #5
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That's interesting! Doesn’t that mean that to stop you have to "force" your legs to pedal slower? Now that I know the difference I can say that I had a single speed. All though I had one of the old ones where you have to turn pedals backwards in order to stop. The brake mechanism was in the rear hub. Do they use this method in single speed bikes now or rim brakes are used?
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Old 06-22-03, 10:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuvak
That's interesting! Doesn’t that mean that to stop you have to "force" your legs to pedal slower?
Yep. Many fixed gear bikes are used just for tracks like in a velodrome. There was recently a thread on the movie Breaking Away. The bikes they rode in the Little 500 were fixed gear.

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Originally posted by Chuvak

Now that I know the difference I can say that I had a single speed. All though I had one of the old ones where you have to turn pedals backwards in order to stop. The brake mechanism was in the rear hub. Do they use this method in single speed bikes now or rim brakes are used?
I think it depends on the application. And yes, most of us started out riding single-speed. If you've ever ridden a Big Wheel then you've even ridden a fixed-gear.
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Old 06-22-03, 11:29 PM   #7
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Originally posted by khuon
all fixed gear bikes are singlespeeds
nope.

sturmey-archer made a 3-speed fixed gear hub. very rare, difficult to find, and expensive when one is found, but they do exist.
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Old 06-22-03, 11:33 PM   #8
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Originally posted by fore
nope.

sturmey-archer made a 3-speed fixed gear hub. very rare, difficult to find, and expensive when one is found, but they do exist.
Ahh I forgot about that. I remember reading about it on Sheldon Brown's site a while back.
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Old 06-23-03, 12:45 AM   #9
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Mr. Chuvak...... now that you know the difference between a single speed and fixed gear, here are their most common applications... Practically all BMX bikes are singlespeeds. Most all kids' bikes and beach cruisers are singlespeeds. Most all one-geared mountain bikes are singlespeeds. Fixed geared mountain bikes, in most cases, are not practical. All track bikes are fixed. Some racers train on fixed gear road bikes or track bikes during their off season. Track bikes are popular on the street and many are equipped with front brakes. Many road bikes are converted to either fixed or singlespeeds, or are set up for both, using flip-flop hubs. Messengers you see on one-speed bikes are usually fixed, either on track bikes or road bike conversions. And so on....and so on....

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Old 06-23-03, 04:16 AM   #10
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Singlespeed and fixed gear MTBs are eminently practical if you live in flatland, esp if there is lots of mud. They are light, simple and dont get gummed up with pounds of sticky clay mud.
Some fixed gear road riders only use the pedals to brake with, like on track racing bikes, but for safety (esp on decents) you should fit a front brake.
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Old 06-23-03, 10:19 AM   #11
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Fixed gear MTBs are fine on flat trails.......but they are definitely not practical on technical single track due to obstacle interference against cranks. Also, you wouldn't be able to scream down that fireroad on fixed gear!......that's half the fun!
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