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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 02-20-08, 09:21 AM   #1
Elderberry
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Is This Ridiculous or Genius?

So, I've been curious about the fixed thing for a while after reading Sheldon Brown's articles and various other documents that have stressed the many benefits and challenges of riding fixed. I wanted to give it a try, but no friends of mine ride fixed and I thought it'd be kinda ridiculous to ask the folks at the LBS if I could take a Pista Concept around the slushy, nasty parking lot to get a feel for it.

Here is my temporary, and I stress TEMPORARY solution.

I didn't want to spend the money on a whole new rear wheel, cog, etc, so what I've done is basically tied the bigger cogs on my 7 speed freewheel to the hub with an elaborate system involving a weave of stainless steel bass guitar string and a few reinforcing pins. I'll try n' post some pics of my handywork when I get the chance.

I've taken it out for a few slow, easy rides, have slowed myself with pedal resistance, and haven't noticed any damage to the cogs, spokes, or anything else.

So, am I being an absolute moron or does this seem like a rational way to try a fixed gear on for size without dropping major dollars? Has anyone else tried anything similar?
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Old 02-20-08, 09:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Elderberry View Post
So, I've been curious about the fixed thing for a while after reading Sheldon Brown's articles and various other documents that have stressed the many benefits and challenges of riding fixed. I wanted to give it a try, but no friends of mine ride fixed and I thought it'd be kinda ridiculous to ask the folks at the LBS if I could take a Pista Concept around the slushy, nasty parking lot to get a feel for it.

Here is my temporary, and I stress TEMPORARY solution.

I didn't want to spend the money on a whole new rear wheel, cog, etc, so what I've done is basically tied the bigger cogs on my 7 speed freewheel to the hub with an elaborate system involving a weave of stainless steel bass guitar string and a few reinforcing pins. I'll try n' post some pics of my handywork when I get the chance.

I've taken it out for a few slow, easy rides, have slowed myself with pedal resistance, and haven't noticed any damage to the cogs, spokes, or anything else.

So, am I being an absolute moron or does this seem like a rational way to try a fixed gear on for size without dropping major dollars? Has anyone else tried anything similar?
Damn! Don't get used to it, I don't know how safe I'd feel on this... we need to see some photos here. I'm pretty sure riding an actual fixed wheel vs. one rigged with bass strings will be two different sensations... I break bass strings all the time from playing, I can't imagine using them to tie something together. Be careful, and get a proper fixed wheel soon!
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Old 02-20-08, 09:27 AM   #3
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bomb the biggest hill you can find
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Old 02-20-08, 09:30 AM   #4
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What is the guitar string attaching the sprocket to?

Please don't say 'the spokes'
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Old 02-20-08, 09:34 AM   #5
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What is the guitar string attaching the sprocket to?

Please don't say 'the spokes'
I shall not say 'the spokes'. I've got it laced tightly around the hub, putting minimal pressure on the spokes.

I know I've gotta get a proper setup soon. This isn't on my daily commuter, either, so I'm not hurling myself into traffic or anything.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:36 AM   #6
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Why would you use bass strings? Wouldn't zip ties be much stronger?

PS I don't consider $20 for a DA cog and some loctite to be "major dollars", especially when you can ruin the wheel with your method.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elderberry View Post
So, I've been curious about the fixed thing for a while after reading Sheldon Brown's articles and various other documents that have stressed the many benefits and challenges of riding fixed. I wanted to give it a try, but no friends of mine ride fixed and I thought it'd be kinda ridiculous to ask the folks at the LBS if I could take a Pista Concept around the slushy, nasty parking lot to get a feel for it.

Here is my temporary, and I stress TEMPORARY solution.

I didn't want to spend the money on a whole new rear wheel, cog, etc, so what I've done is basically tied the bigger cogs on my 7 speed freewheel to the hub with an elaborate system involving a weave of stainless steel bass guitar string and a few reinforcing pins. I'll try n' post some pics of my handywork when I get the chance.

I've taken it out for a few slow, easy rides, have slowed myself with pedal resistance, and haven't noticed any damage to the cogs, spokes, or anything else.

So, am I being an absolute moron or does this seem like a rational way to try a fixed gear on for size without dropping major dollars? Has anyone else tried anything similar?
This falls under the category of "If you have to ask, its probably a bad idea."
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Old 02-20-08, 09:37 AM   #8
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Why would you use bass strings? Wouldn't zip ties be much stronger?
Because it adds an aire of industrial uber punk nostalgia
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Old 02-20-08, 09:37 AM   #9
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my sense is that more could go wrong than right with that setup
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Old 02-20-08, 09:43 AM   #10
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I'm guessing that because guitar strings break because people pick and strum them, they will break if you try to use them on your bike.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:45 AM   #11
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i can't say i've ever tried this. what kind of tones are you getting out of your string?

do you think you could turn your cycling computer magnet into a decent pickup?

i'm not gonna condone this until you turn a set of rollers into a recording studio.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:51 AM   #12
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awesome.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:51 AM   #13
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This doesnt sound like a good idea to me. But if youre not hurting anyone then keep riding it.

Just pony up and make a fixed sooner than later before you break something.

Post pics.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:51 AM   #14
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I have seen a similar setup to this. It was on this crazy full suspension mountain bike. It worked, but was not practical beyond any sort of "getting a feel for fixed gear" or "WTF is that a crazy full suspension fixed gear?" experience.

When I rode it around for a second it felt solid, but I wouldn't put any sort of faith in it to keep me alive.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:57 AM   #15
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Dude. This is stupid. Read the "Fixed-Gear On The Cheap" article on Sheldon's site. It will tell you all about converting your freewheel to a fixed-gear. It works fine. If you get hooked, then spend the dough for a track hub, but the suicide hub is a perfectly reasonable way to convert your bike. It will cost you maybe $20 for the cog, another $20 for a chain, and at that point if you ask the bike shop for an old bottom-bracket lock ring, they'll probably throw it in for free.
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Old 02-20-08, 10:47 AM   #16
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Pics.
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Old 02-20-08, 10:54 AM   #17
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Dude. This is stupid. Read the "Fixed-Gear On The Cheap" article on Sheldon's site. It will tell you all about converting your freewheel to a fixed-gear. It works fine. If you get hooked, then spend the dough for a track hub, but the suicide hub is a perfectly reasonable way to convert your bike. It will cost you maybe $20 for the cog, another $20 for a chain, and at that point if you ask the bike shop for an old bottom-bracket lock ring, they'll probably throw it in for free.
You're probably correct. When I've got the funds, I'll probably do something such as this. Thanks to all for your concerns and I'll probably be letting the freewheel do its natural thing soon. The bass string was used because it's what was laying around - no "industrial uber punk nostalgia" here. And again, the setup was ridden around the block, not through an urban warzone.

Quote:
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i'm not gonna condone this until you turn a set of rollers into a recording studio.
An interesting idea...
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Old 02-20-08, 10:56 AM   #18
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this sounds like a horrible idea.
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Old 02-20-08, 10:58 AM   #19
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Everything about this is horrible and wrong. I'm tempted to call the police.
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Old 02-20-08, 11:16 AM   #20
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Everything about this is horrible and wrong. I'm tempted to call the police.
Don't hold back. What are you REALLY trying to say?
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Old 02-20-08, 11:30 AM   #21
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ridiculous? or genius?

i say, ridiculously genius!

seriously... it's not a terrible idea if you're going at very low speeds. i think when first learning to ride a fixed gear, there's a little more to learning the nuances of riding at slow speed instead of learning to ride at speed. (imo, like learning to drive a car. driving on the road comes fairly easy, whereas it takes more 'nuance' to park and drive the car at low speeds in confined spaces.)

but for anything other than messing around at low (read: walking) speed... if it fails on you, you could seriously **** your **** up.

(also, this is entirely pending on how you've rigged everything up. if it's relying on your spokes, it's probably not a good idea, period.)
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Old 02-20-08, 11:34 AM   #22
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I'm assuming when you did this the chain is not running through the rear derailleur.
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Old 02-20-08, 11:39 AM   #23
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We're all missing the point here.

Your LBS has a Pista Concept? What size?
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Old 02-20-08, 11:44 AM   #24
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We're all missing the point here.

Your LBS has a Pista Concept? What size?
what size indeed!
think they have a frameset?
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Old 02-20-08, 11:54 AM   #25
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i can't say i've ever tried this. what kind of tones are you getting out of your string?

do you think you could turn your cycling computer magnet into a decent pickup?

i'm not gonna condone this until you turn a set of rollers into a recording studio.
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