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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 04-24-08, 10:09 AM   #1
dave.henri
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Fixed to singlespeed

Ok, yesterday I took my fixie out for it's inaugural spin. It's an old 1985 Gitane Tour de France frame that I put some Mavic Open Pro rims on with updated headset and Cinelli bars. looks good. Anyway, I have no problem with one speed, seems so easy to ride, but boy did I miss coasting, especially at intersections. When I approach an intersection, ,with pedestrians and dog walkers, joggers, little kids wandering around, I instinctively stoop pedaling and scope out the intersection looking for a clear path. I almost got bolted out of my saddle several times when I stopped pedaling.

I'm seriously thinking of changing out to a single speed freewheel instead. Any thoughts on this?
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Old 04-24-08, 10:10 AM   #2
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It's up to you.

I usually run freewheel nowadays, but I will say that you get used to the whole not coasting aspect of running fixed.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:10 AM   #3
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keep riding a little longer and you'll get the hang of it. but if you want to go ss, nothing wrong with that.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:13 AM   #4
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You'll eventually get used to it. I had the same issue when I first started riding a fixed gear, and it only took a few rides to really get it drilled into my head that I can't stop pedalling.

The worst for me was forgetting when I'd reach for my water bottle. Reach down, forget, try and coast, nearly go arse over elbows when the cranks don't stop moving... It really only takes doing that once or twice to pound it into your head.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:14 AM   #5
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yea it's something to get used to if you aren't yet. i've only been on for like 2 weeks and i already am comfortable. that and i still haven't put on my brake yet since i need to order my brake lever.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:17 AM   #6
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When I first tried fixed I had the same near-bolt experience you described, then I kept on riding and started liking the constant pedaling quite a lot.

I then tried freewheel as new wheelset was being ordered, and found the ability to coast quite strange.

I really like having the ability to slow myself with the legs, especially on rainy days when brakes don't work that well and pads wear fast, but going SS is cool too. The simplicity of having one gear is still there.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:17 AM   #7
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You've only been out once. How about giving fixed a few more outings before you scrap it? You'll get the hang of it in no time...
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Old 04-24-08, 11:28 AM   #8
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yeah stick with fixed for a month or so, if you dont like it switch.

dont mean to hijack the thread but which is a better exercise workout ss or fixed for losing weight/toning up? I've heard conflicting views. thanks

tx_what_it_do, you should get a brake on there asap if you're riding on the road.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:30 AM   #9
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Takes a bit of time to get used to, but you will.
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Old 04-24-08, 12:11 PM   #10
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Flip flop hub.
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Old 04-24-08, 12:16 PM   #11
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Flip flop hub.
multiple bikes...
I always feel a bit weird when I hop on my geared road bike, and find myself with the ability to shift to 12 whole gears AND coast. It's like a kid in a candy shop. Then I try and backpressure to slow down and get a firm scare back to reality. Likewise after working on/riding a geared bike I feel really at ease when I hop back on the fixed gear.
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Old 04-24-08, 12:18 PM   #12
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I would try to ride on some open roads until you feel a little more comfortable. Jumping into traffic before you are a little more at home on your bike isn't doing anyone any favors.

I actually prefer a freewheel for commuting around town.
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Old 04-24-08, 12:53 PM   #13
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I have a flip flop hub, but got it built up as a ss. Since I use it for commuting, I'm a little nervous about going fixed. I've only ridden fixed on a track, not so sure about in traffic.
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Old 04-24-08, 12:56 PM   #14
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I have flip flop hubs but I prefer dedicated fixed and ss bikes.
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Old 04-24-08, 01:07 PM   #15
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happens to everyone on their firt ride, just try it out a couple more times before switching
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Old 04-24-08, 01:11 PM   #16
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Fixed and a front break, the only way to ride. You'll get used to the not being able to pedal - I think we all have a story or two about when we forgot.
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Old 04-24-08, 01:13 PM   #17
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^^^ I'm not so sure about riding with a broken front end.
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Old 04-24-08, 01:44 PM   #18
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I have flip flop hubs but I prefer dedicated fixed and ss bikes.
Why so, good sir?
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Old 04-24-08, 08:32 PM   #19
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Because 2 bikes is better than 1 bike!
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Old 04-24-08, 09:08 PM   #20
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and flipping the wheel around is a pain.
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Old 04-24-08, 09:37 PM   #21
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I have a flip flop hub, but got it built up as a ss. Since I use it for commuting, I'm a little nervous about going fixed. I've only ridden fixed on a track, not so sure about in traffic.
I like riding fixed in traffic better - the ability to modulate your speed with your legs, without constantly reaching for the brake lever, is something you'll really enjoy once you get used to it. And the ability to trackstand makes getting around a city smoother - don't need to step off the pedals at every intersection.

IMO there's no point to a freewheel unless you're riding down big hills and don't like pedaling at a fast cadence.
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Old 04-24-08, 09:43 PM   #22
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LOL, I just flipped my flip-flop hub to the fixed side last week and for the first ride, I could totally relate to the OP.

Suggest going out for a longer ride, or maybe try what I did: that night, I rode figure eights and circles for about an hour in my apartment's parking area. Just super low speed, feeling the flow of the pedals. I started to get really used to it, and really like it. For comparo, I then took out my singlespeed and did a few laps with it... and was really uncomfortable, because the pedals weren't moving!!

I've of course stuck with the fixed side since then and today I started to really get the hang of skid-stops. Very cool stuff! I can tell I won't be going back to a freewheel any time soon.

Give it a little time, this is what I think they mean when they say "it felt weird at first." Weird meaning: WTF! But just a little more time, and all the sudden you're hooked!

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Old 04-24-08, 09:50 PM   #23
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I never had that problem. From day one, fixed gear was as natural as any other bike I'd ridden. Occaisionally, I'll be on my fixed gear after riding my 27 speed Surly for a few weeks and I'll forget and try to coast.

I've never had a problem as stops, though. How are you attaching your feet to the pedals? I've found dual-sided SPD to be the easiest.
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Old 04-24-08, 09:52 PM   #24
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Flip flop hub.
+1
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Old 04-24-08, 10:03 PM   #25
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try what I did: that night, I rode figure eights and circles for about an hour in my apartment's parking area. Just super low speed, feeling the flow of the pedals. I started to get really used to it, and really like it.
+1

this is one of the first things i did after getting on a fixed gear, and it got me hooked right away. slow speeds are when the advantages of one shine through the most.
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