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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 06-30-03, 02:33 PM   #1
stewartp
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This is all WRONG!

My LBS finally finished building a fixed gear rear wheel for me, and its installed with a chain tensioner.

I've never ridden a fixie before, and I plan to do the daily commute on it. THe plan is it'll help in the build up for PBP in August.

I just tried a quick practice on it and it is so weird and plain wrong!

Normally, when mounting a bike you swing the pedal round to bottom, or maybe a bit higher so your weight gives it al a push, and coast for a bit as you swing your leg over the saddle. Then you frewheel for little bits as you click your shoes into the cleats.

But how the hell to you get going on a fixie? You either have to lift the back wheel to get the pedal to a sensible place, or just damn well push off in whatever unfortunate pedal position you stopped in.

And you have to keep pedalling while battling with cleats.

I also never realised hat when if I've been standing to pedal, I freewhell for a fraction as I get back down to the saddle. No can do on a fixie!

I'm full of fear for tomorrow's commute! I'm going to see my ringpiece a few times I reckon. I'd better leave earlier and take it nice and slow.

Any top tipes for a fixed gear newbie?

Thanks

Stew
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Old 06-30-03, 02:38 PM   #2
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first of all, chain tensioners do not belong on a fixie. They're not designed to take the back pedal pressure that you're bound to use on the bike. Bad idea.

Second, you'll get used to it. I take off like you would on a normal bike, then sit and clip the other foot in as the cranks turn. You'll get the hang of it.
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Old 06-30-03, 02:43 PM   #3
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Originally posted by LA Law
first of all, chain tensioners do not belong on a fixie. They're not designed to take the back pedal pressure that you're bound to use on the bike. Bad idea.
You now, I've discovered that already on the little practice ride. I gave it heaps of resistance to test stopping power and the chain jumped off the front ring.

I requested a chain tensioner because when I had this bike as a single speed freewheel, I couldn't clamp the rear whel on tight enough. I thought that a chain tensioner would allow me to put the wheel right at the back of the dropouts & so make it easier to clamp.

This new hub tho doesn't have quick release so I can probably get the wheel much tighter with the nuts & spanners.
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Old 06-30-03, 03:03 PM   #4
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If your chain is popping off just from resisting, you have some problems. Check you chain line and chain tension. Did you eat sh1t when the chain popped off? I haven't had that problem on my fix yet, but it used to happen on my BMX bike all the time and it was never pretty.

Hang in there. You will love not coasting.
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Old 06-30-03, 03:40 PM   #5
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Stewart.........a chain tensioner is not necessary if you have horizontal or semi-horizontal dropouts. Get rid of it if you can.......
Believe me, in a couple days, you'll be completely accustomed to the feeling of being fixed and your pedal click-in problem will be long gone. I use eggbeater MTB and Speedplay road pedals on my fixies for the ease of clicking in.... You will automatically learn to time your pedal position when you come to a stop. When you're at a stoplight, grab the back of your saddle and lift your rear wheel and backpedal to your desired pedal position and you're ready to go.... Or better yet, you'll eventually learn to trackstand. All these things will come naturally the more you ride. Welcome to the club.
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Old 06-30-03, 06:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by stewartp
I just tried a quick practice on it and it is so weird and plain wrong!
heh, you'll get used to it. and when you do, you'll hate your geared bike.
Quote:
Normally, when mounting a bike you swing the pedal round to bottom, or maybe a bit higher so your weight gives it al a push, and coast for a bit as you swing your leg over the saddle. Then you frewheel for little bits as you click your shoes into the cleats.

But how the hell to you get going on a fixie? You either have to lift the back wheel to get the pedal to a sensible place, or just damn well push off in whatever unfortunate pedal position you stopped in.
well, it sounds like you've been mounting the bike wrong. you're not supposed to throw your leg over the saddle. you're supposed to straddle your bike, clip in your forward foot, and bring the forward pedal to 1 o'clock. when taking off, the force you put on the pedal will help you get your butt into the saddle as well.

there are other fixed/track things that you do, like instead of straddling the bike by throwing your leg over the saddle, you throw it over the bars, since the bars are typically much lower than the saddle, on a fixed/track bike.
Quote:
And you have to keep pedalling while battling with cleats.

I also never realised hat when if I've been standing to pedal, I freewhell for a fraction as I get back down to the saddle. No can do on a fixie!
yep. imagine having toeclips! (i do)
i get the bike going, and when my unclipped pedal rolls around by 12 o'clock i flip it and clip in. this is the ideal way to do it. if you catch speed and start pedaling fast, you'll have a much harder time clipping in. however, since you have clipless, this shouldn't even be an issue. just get double sided pedals or something.
Quote:
I'm full of fear for tomorrow's commute! I'm going to see my ringpiece a few times I reckon. I'd better leave earlier and take it nice and slow.
you should ride around your neighborhood a bit more and practice clipping in and taking off before you take it in heavy traffic...
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Old 06-30-03, 07:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by stewartp

Normally, when mounting a bike you swing the pedal round to bottom, or maybe a bit higher so your weight gives it al a push, and coast for a bit as you swing your leg over the saddle.
Now, that is an old traditional (and formal, I might add) method of mounting a freewheeling bike. I have not done that since the 60's......that's how I was taught to mount.
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Old 06-30-03, 10:49 PM   #8
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Start with the pedal kind of high to give you more of a chance to pedal with power before calling on your other(unclipped) foot to power you forward.
Learn how to track stand, very useful for brief stops. Easy(ier) on fixed bike.
If you have never noticed that you pause as you drop back into the saddle, then you must not have ridden in a pace line( and listened to all the yelling when you did it and "stumbled the line".
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Old 07-04-03, 12:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by LA Law
first of all, chain tensioners do not belong on a fixie. They're not designed to take the back pedal pressure that you're bound to use on the bike. Bad idea.

Second, you'll get used to it. I take off like you would on a normal bike, then sit and clip the other foot in as the cranks turn. You'll get the hang of it.
when you say "chain tensioners" are you talking about the kind that use spring tension on the chain itself to take up the slack? because THOSE are definitely a bad idea on a fixie. or the kind that pull the rear wheel back and hold it in place by tightening screws against the dropouts? these wouldn't have any problems taking the back pressure because they aren't acting on the chain itself, but rather, pulling the wheel back by the axle and tightening agains the dropout. i've used that kind of tensioner for years and never had a problem, and i know tons of kids who use them and never had any problems as well.
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Old 07-04-03, 02:53 AM   #10
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Originally posted by OneTinSloth
when you say "chain tensioners" are you talking about the kind that use spring tension on the chain itself to take up the slack? because THOSE are definitely a bad idea on a fixie.
Yep that's the type. I'll take it off this weekend.

Stew
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Old 07-04-03, 03:37 AM   #11
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Is your axle fitted with over-sized track nuts, with built-in washers? These are much more effective than standard bolts which come with cheapie bikes. Use a ring spanner (whats that in the US) to get it really tight.
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Old 07-04-03, 09:59 AM   #12
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So Stewart.......how's being fixed thus far? Hope you're getting the hang of it...
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Old 07-09-03, 09:20 AM   #13
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http://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed/index.html
http://www.63xc.com/gregg/101_1.htm

both of those guys do more justice to the subject than i ever could. the tips they provided got me up to speed much faster than if i'd done it all alone. have fun.
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Old 07-09-03, 09:40 AM   #14
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Stewart, nothing to contribute here except I notice reference to PBP. I take it that is Paris Brest Paris.

The guy I cycle with did this and said he had pins and needles in his hands for days afterwards.

Use well padded bars and good gloves.!! You have my admiration - what a feat (even qualifying)
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Old 07-09-03, 10:36 PM   #15
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Stewart, how'd it go? I hope it turned out cool for you. My advise would have been start out riding with platforms before you go to clipless, it is a lot easier to learn, and offers you better foot positioning. All the things you said are true, we've all experieinced them, and still do. I made the mistake one day of building a new fixed gear, and didn't lock the chain, stood on the pedal to take off and snaped it open and fell over hndle bars. A tensioner is something useful for a single speed, a fixed gear needs to keep the chain rather taunt, glad you were replacing it.
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