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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 01-23-08, 02:18 PM   #1
skott
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Dangerous test ride?

Sorry if this has been covered before. My search for “retention” turned up nothing like this.

So I went out shopping with a friend recently. She decided that she wanted to get herself a fixed gear bike so went out to test ride a few. We went to the shops (2 of them that will go un-named for now) and explained to the folks there that my friend had never ridden a fixed gear before and would like to try a few out to see what would be best for her. The folks at the shop were friendly and happy to oblige. So Far so good. Here’s the part that I’m having trouble with.

They sent her out for a test ride on a brakeless bike with no pedal retention whatsoever.

I asked for the rationale behind this and got the explanation that most people already have their own pedals , or have some in mind when they buy a bike. Ok, fair enuff, the pedals that come with most otr bikes are pretty crappy and will most likely be one the first upgrades made. But doesn’t it make sense to just throw a pair of crap clips on there too. I mean, sending people who have just told you that they’ve never ridden a brakeless bike before out on a bike with no retention system just seems like a really bad idea…..

Is it just me?…Is this standard practice?

Just curious

Thanks
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Old 01-23-08, 02:21 PM   #2
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That sound pretty dumb, simply from an insurance perspective. I'm no legal scholar, but I would imagine that you could get some legal action going on if your friend was hurt when riding the bike.

Also not to bright from a sales perspective. Riding brakeless isn't exactly the most comfortable first experience on a fixed gear, so why would you want to buy something that scares you. I mean, unless you're that hip.

As to it being standard practice, I know the shop by me has two brakes on all the otr fixed gears they sell.
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Old 01-23-08, 02:33 PM   #3
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That seems nuts to me. The pedal situation is not as bad as the bike being brakeless. If someone told me they have never ridden fixed before and I had to choose between the right pedals or a front brake Im definitely sending them out on a bike with a brake. Its not like they can skid stop so the pedals are not going to save them. Ideally the bike should have toe clips and a front brake.
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Old 01-23-08, 02:36 PM   #4
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Dude is SF. Theyve been riding fixed gear bikes brakeless since Teddy Roosevelt was in office.
Its Mash country.
Its Arrospok country.
Its risers and skids up your freewheel having asses.
DuH!
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Old 01-23-08, 02:42 PM   #5
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What sort of test ride did they send her on? Did they push her down a hill? If she was just cruising around a parking lot or some non-threatening environment, then it really wouldn't be an issue. What type of bike was it? Street fix or a track bike?
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Old 01-23-08, 03:25 PM   #6
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i know what bike shops you're talking about...it's basically all of them in sf.

pretty ******** that they don't put clips on when you try out a bike. yeah i get that it's a pain in the butt for a bike shop to put them on just for a test ride...but how else you supposed to get a real feel for a brakeless bike?
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Old 01-23-08, 03:36 PM   #7
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it's not a pain in the ass, we change pedals for almost every test ride.
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Old 01-23-08, 03:37 PM   #8
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If she'd never ridden fixed, maybe platforms in the parking lot would be the safest thing for her anyway.
Did you ask them to put some clips on before she went out?
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Old 01-23-08, 03:43 PM   #9
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Did you ask them to put some clips on before she went out?
Exactly, if instead of stopping her you let her scoot out of the shop, and probably pin-ball off everything outside trying to stop, while you talked to the workers then thats just as foul.
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Old 01-23-08, 04:01 PM   #10
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My first (and only) test ride on a fixed was where the shop owner asked if I had ridden a fixed before and when I said no, he said "you break it you buy it" half joking. It was a Pista with no breaks and regular pedals. I'm glad it was a wide empty street.
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Old 01-23-08, 04:20 PM   #11
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It reminds me about a certain scooter shop that refused to stock protective gear because they were selling "the scooter lifestyle" which apparently means that scooters must be ridden in shorts and t-shirts.
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Old 01-23-08, 04:36 PM   #12
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Exactly, if instead of stopping her you let her scoot out of the shop, and probably pin-ball off everything outside trying to stop, while you talked to the workers then thats just as foul.
No. I didn’t ask them to put clips on. I assumed that my pointing out that there were no clips and asking why, before the test ride, might lead to the offer. I do my best to not be the guy that tells people how to do their job. I didn’t let her “scoot out of the shop” I stayed with her the whole time making sure we rode really slowly down the block to the parking lot.
Maybe the way sent her out was the best way to go for a first timer. And maybe it’s simply how it’s done. I don’t know. Hence, my stating what happened and that that it “seems like” a bad idea…to me… and asking the opinions of others instead of simply posting a rant accusing anybody of “foul” behavior.

To answer the other posts, yes there was a parking lot down the block and the bike was a Pista

Thanks for your input.
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Old 01-23-08, 06:23 PM   #13
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You should of asked them to install a front brake. If they refused, you should of moved on.
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Old 01-23-08, 06:29 PM   #14
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if I don't know how to ride a motorcycle, I'm not bout to go out and test ride one
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Old 01-23-08, 06:37 PM   #15
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Putting a first time fixed gear rider on a brakeless platform pedal bike is insane...The LBS here (guess which one it is) that sells the Windsor Hour will give out helmets if you ask, and their track bike offerings all come standard with clips+straps. My first fixed ride was when I took the Windsor bike out for a spin around the block, and even with the clips+straps (which I kept loose because I didn't want to be taken down with the bike should I fall) it was still scary riding around with no brakes.

Did the LBS even offer a helmet? I always ask one when I do a test ride, because the whole point of a test ride is to go fast, practice quick turns, stop quickly and in general do things that are dangerous, so that you can get a feel for the bike's capabilities.
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Old 01-23-08, 06:46 PM   #16
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You should of asked them to install a front brake. If they refused, you should of moved on.
They Happily installed a brake after she bought the bike.
It would be super if this didn’t turn into a brake vs. no brake “debate”
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Old 01-23-08, 06:55 PM   #17
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If she'd never ridden fixed, maybe platforms in the parking lot would be the safest thing for her anyway.
Did you ask them to put some clips on before she went out?
My thoughts exactly too, it would be much better imo for a test drive in the parking lot to just have platforms, unless she is used to clips, whhhhhiiiiccchhhh i doubt she is . Wouldn't want to have someone to learn how to ride fixed and used clips for their first time and on a test drive in a parking lot.


But yes, a brake probably should of been installed for a first time/test ride
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Old 01-23-08, 07:26 PM   #18
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my first fixed gear ride was at the parking lot of a shop and was also a pista.

no brake, clipless pedals, and me in sneakers (Ha--platforms would have been great). they warned me about pedal strike and not to get up to too much speed and let me have at it. I understood what I was in for and rode VERY cautiously, mostly checking out the fit and feel of the bike.

after I bought it they rigged up a front brake and I rode down a long long hill home, then put on some old mtb pedals.....

yeah, I can see how the shop was a maybe bit too hands-off, but I also like personal responsibility. we talked about the dynamics for a while before I rode. I wonder if they (the OP's shop) gave his friend the benefit of the doubt because she was with an experienced rider?
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Old 01-23-08, 07:33 PM   #19
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First time I rode fixed was on a Fuji Track that was too big(which i quickly found out) in the parking lot of the bike shop. It was brakeless, but the guy from the store came and watched me(maybe for his own entertainment).
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Old 01-23-08, 07:36 PM   #20
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What sort of test ride did they send her on? Did they push her down a hill? If she was just cruising around a parking lot or some non-threatening environment, then it really wouldn't be an issue. What type of bike was it? Street fix or a track bike?
Even low-speed parking lot rides can result in potentially lawsuit-worthy injuries. Any way you look at it, this is dumb.

Most every shop I've been to-- in three states, no less-- asks that you at least use a shop helmet for any test ride. I've also been warned about the superior stopping power of V-brakes...though that was a few years ago...

I once had a friend try my (brake-equipped) fixie in a parking lot, and he was so freaked out about pedal strike that he nearly panicked and crashed when it was time to turn. I could see that happening to a customer every now and then.
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Old 01-23-08, 07:46 PM   #21
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a while back a friend of mine bought his first fixed gear and was asking me about it.
i looked it over because he said he couldn't get the chain to fit on the fixed side of the flip-flop hub.
i checked it out, turns out it had a 3/32 chain ring, 3/32 free wheel and 1/8 fixed with a 3/32 chain.
to top it off the fixed sided had no lockring. he paid a few hundred dollars for the thing.
i went back and asked the shop and they didn't know any different. said that's how it came in.

i gave him an old lockring and cog , all is good.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:12 PM   #22
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Just my .02.. If she was interested in a fixed gear.. why not test one that comes with brakes already installed? Or.. since you are her friend.. has she test rode your fixed gear? It's good to have a heads up on what to expect before going to the LBS shopping for a fixed gear without brakes.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:23 PM   #23
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I think it seems a little silly to say that least that she decided that she had to have a "fixed gear" before ever riding one...

There are a lot of wonderful options out there for people and different cycling needs.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:25 PM   #24
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Just my .02.. If she was interested in a fixed gear.. why not test one that comes with brakes already installed? Or.. since you are her friend.. has she test rode your fixed gear? It's good to have a heads up on what to expect before going to the LBS shopping for a fixed gear without brakes.
Fair call. I see your point. She tried to ride mine, but as she's about a foot shorter than me it didn't work out very well. As for riding one with brakes...we were happy to find any 49cm bike in stock...I suppose we could have tested a different bike (i don't remember if they even had one), but that's not really test riding the pista. In a perfect world I would have found a properly sized bike, with brakes, and had her get comfortable on it first...unfortunately I don't live in a perfect world.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:46 PM   #25
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I think it seems a little silly to say that least that she decided that she had to have a "fixed gear" before ever riding one...

There are a lot of wonderful options out there for people and different cycling needs.
Duly noted. Any thoughts on the topic at hand?
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