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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 08-03-07, 10:30 PM   #1
skanking biker
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I finally get it

---the whole fascination/ zen thing with riding brakeless. I am awaiting a replacement brake for my recently completed IROSE. However, after waiting 6 months and spending way too much on parts, i couldnt help but take it for a long maiden voyage after work.

I had never done a long ride brakeless before and always thought people who rode brakeless were crazy. While I still dont think it is necessarily safe, boy is it fun. I truly felt like a little kiddie on my first BMX bike again. With 48 X 19 gearing I had no problem stopping. I think it was the best bike ride of my life. I rarely use my brake on my Pista (except for big descents), but there is just something inherently different about NOT having that backup. It FORCES you to be more aware, anticipate movements, and constantly be engaged to make adjustments.

By the way---I absolutely love this bike. It rides soooooo smooth and there is so little rode vibration as compared to my Pista. Everything purs like a kitten, smooth pedalling, great steering, and a stealthy ninja drivetrain. I spent 2 years trying to configure my Pista to be comfortable but my new steed fits like a charm after a few minor adjustments and swapping mustachio bars for drop bars. Everything just "clicked" and I truly felt "one with the bike," rather than feel like I was trying to "control" the bike. Oodly enough, the silver WTB a$s hatchet saddle that came with my Pista is actually comfortable on this ride.

Sorry for the rambling, but were it not for the fact that I needed to eat, I would have kept ridingoff into the sunet until my legs gave out. While I probably won't be riding brakeless on a daily basis when I commute in traffic, it is absolutely wonderful for a casual after work ride.
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Old 08-03-07, 10:31 PM   #2
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ninja drive chain

lol
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Old 08-03-07, 10:54 PM   #3
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Yeah, that's the problem, most of the fun things are neither very safe nor acceptable to general society
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Old 08-03-07, 10:59 PM   #4
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like jailbait?
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Old 08-03-07, 11:12 PM   #5
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The same situation happened to me, but I never ended up getting a brake.

I still have some "oh ****!" moments occasionally. I think a brake will go on my IRO.

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like jailbait?
That sounds like a familiar Vortex meme...
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Old 08-03-07, 11:20 PM   #6
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Ride brakeless with a $$$ frame over your shoulder. Now that's awareness...
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Old 08-03-07, 11:29 PM   #7
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yeah.. i was in almost the same camp.. i got my new frame.. and wanted to ride.. so i went out sans break.. was nice.. i mean hell, i've rode fixed for a little now.. so no big deal.. UNTIL the other night.. you all know the story.. drunk dude in car pulls out/makes turn/stops/something real fast like.. and you have to go into 'oh crap' mode.. well yeah no big deal.. but today i threw a break on.. much better.. can top out speed with out worry.. nice to have.. breaks are good
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Old 08-04-07, 07:05 AM   #8
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Thanks for the review on the ride quality. Grasschopper practically described the ride similarly. True Zen.

And that makes me happy because I have a CX-Track custom hybrid made of Deda Zero Uno and Long Shen lugs that I'm building up also. Ahhh.
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Old 08-04-07, 09:57 AM   #9
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It is fun for a little while but then the same thing occurs when you first add a brake. It is a relief, easier on your legs, safer, and more enjoyable in my opinion even if your bike looks uglier. If I didn't live in a city I wouldn't have any brakes however.
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Old 08-04-07, 10:20 AM   #10
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Just slightly ot but I have a geared road bike, a fix, and a long commute, and lately I notice that every time I switch to a different bike for a bit, I kind of fall in love with what it has to offer, again. I love the simplicity, the beauty and the "i dont need no steenkin gears" independence of the fix; i love the power, versatility and efficiency of the geared bike. And it seems like I don't fully appreciate either bike until I ride around on the other one for a bit.
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Old 08-04-07, 10:35 AM   #11
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Just slightly ot but I have a geared road bike, a fix, and a long commute, and lately I notice that every time I switch to a different bike for a bit, I kind of fall in love with what it has to offer, again. I love the simplicity, the beauty and the "i dont need no steenkin gears" independence of the fix; i love the power, versatility and efficiency of the geared bike. And it seems like I don't fully appreciate either bike until I ride around on the other one for a bit.
Yep. I got back on my road bike for the first time in a few weeks, and as I was flying down hill at 30 mph, I remembered why the good lord gave us freewheels.
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Old 08-04-07, 11:24 AM   #12
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Though it's totally stereotypical, I would love a brakeless track bike with risers and a lower gearing. There's something about the simplicity of it all.
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Old 08-07-07, 06:13 AM   #13
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I just bought a Kilo TT which is my first road or fixed gear bike. Last night I rode it for the first time while waiting for a front brake to arrive.. I took it across town (washington dc from U Street to Georgetown) sans brake. It felt good except for the downhills, where I was nervous to go too fast. I was actually looking forward to the uphills where I knew I could just pedal away.
Definitely a workout on the knees, I'll be glad to put the front brake on.
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Old 08-07-07, 08:02 AM   #14
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like jailbait?
*guffaw*

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Old 08-07-07, 08:25 AM   #15
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You have now truely found the path to nirvana. Now go zen yourself into a parked car.
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Old 08-07-07, 12:07 PM   #16
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Life > Zen

thus

Brakes > Brakeless
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Old 08-07-07, 03:27 PM   #17
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Just slightly ot but I have a geared road bike, a fix, and a long commute, and lately I notice that every time I switch to a different bike for a bit, I kind of fall in love with what it has to offer, again. I love the simplicity, the beauty and the "i dont need no steenkin gears" independence of the fix; i love the power, versatility and efficiency of the geared bike. And it seems like I don't fully appreciate either bike until I ride around on the other one for a bit.
So true. I have started riding my old rigid mountain bike to work once every couple of weeks so I can go play bike polo right after work. It's so fun to ride around jumping it, riding it down stairs and just generally beating on it. It's slower and more work, but fun none the less.
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Old 08-07-07, 03:30 PM   #18
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Though it's totally stereotypical, I would love a brakeless track bike with risers and a lower gearing. There's something about the simplicity of it all.
And aerobars?
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Old 08-07-07, 03:34 PM   #19
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Life > Zen

thus

Brakes > Brakeless
i will respectfully disagree. "life" as you imply in this context isn't nearly as important to me as the actual essense of being alive. life would be boring without zen.
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Old 08-07-07, 03:50 PM   #20
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Skanking Biker, is your sig the next line after, "What happens if we cross the streams?"
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Old 08-07-07, 04:05 PM   #21
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i will respectfully disagree. "life" as you imply in this context isn't nearly as important to me as the actual essense of being alive. life would be boring without zen.
HAHAHAHA! This place is always good for a laugh. That's some stoner metaphysical rambling right there. Pass the bong, brother. Pass the bong.
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Old 08-07-07, 05:28 PM   #22
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Skanking Biker, is your sig the next line after, "What happens if we cross the streams?"
You are wise grasshopper
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Old 08-07-07, 05:44 PM   #23
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HAHAHAHA! This place is always good for a laugh. That's some stoner metaphysical rambling right there. Pass the bong, brother. Pass the bong.
*passes*
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Old 08-07-07, 06:14 PM   #24
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It FORCES you to be more aware, anticipate movements, and constantly be engaged to make adjustments.
I've never really gotten the whole brakeless zen thing when the above is the argument - it seems to me that being aware, anticipating movement around you, and being constantly engaged to make adjustments is simply the way one ought to be riding a bike, period. In my humble opinion, a handbrake or lack of one should not be a factor in this, and riding without one can't make you "more" aware, and certainly doesn't force you to.

Perhaps it's that it could possibly make you realize things that you weren't paying as close attention to previously, presumably because you're riding slower and more cautiously, sure, but that's really something you could be doing with a handbrake on your bike. If the potential for increased danger were the only thing, you could try riding with a knife in your teeth, or carrying a baby or nitroglycerin or a six pack of 120 Minute IPA, or whatever would otherwise motivate you to not crash.
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Old 08-07-07, 06:15 PM   #25
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