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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 07-25-08, 02:32 PM   #1
illadelphia esq
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Benifits of Leg Braking

I donít want to get into a philosophical debate on here. I have found much discussion on whether or not to go brakeless and those discussions are not always civil. I know I will never go brakeless so please donít worry about preaching from either side. I also find many discussions on how to brake with your legs (e.g. skid, skip). I currently rely heavily on my brake since hills and traffic are a part of my daily biking experience.

I understand the point of view that there is a level of zen described by some but such a quality is intrinsically impossible to communicate with words which make a online forum the improper venue to discussion such a benefit. I have experience some level of the self-gratification from controlling my speed with my legs but have never really tried to teach myself the skid/skid methods. However, I would like to hear some objective arguments on the practical benefits of leg-powered breaking.

My first impression is that it would build leg strength. Second, I would assume it would put less wear on the front rim but this wear would be displaced to the drive train and tires. Third, for the aesthetically minded you complete the fixie rider imageóthis is not meant to poke fun but simply point out a factówhich is arguably a benefit for some people. Lastly, leg braking would be a safety net if the front brake failed but my thoughts are that drive train failure is more likely that brake failure.

I want to reiterate that I my experience with mechanics is limited, I tinker with bikes but have a limited skill set, and have not been riding fixed for much more of a year. I may have been motivated to go fixed by the image but if questioned in person would likely deny it. I may or may not try and learn to skid/skip but am interested in finding the objective facts about it.
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Old 07-25-08, 02:35 PM   #2
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I fail to see the point of this post other than to increase post count. We already know the pros and cons of leg braking and the whole debate of riding a brakeless fixie so why waste your time and others with a meaningless post? I mean that sincerely in a pleasant manner, you're asking to get flamed is what I'm saying.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:11 PM   #3
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It makes you look cool and it ensures that your LBS will have a steady flow of your business since you burn through tires.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:15 PM   #4
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I fail to see the point of this post other than to increase post count. We already know the pros and cons of leg braking and the whole debate of riding a brakeless fixie so why waste your time and others with a meaningless post? I mean that sincerely in a pleasant manner, you're asking to get flamed is what I'm saying.
x2.

and, we have a post count? where is that located? our profiles?
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Old 07-25-08, 03:21 PM   #5
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I think he was referring to the graduation from "Member" to "Senior Member," but I may be wrong.

Anyway, it seems to work the "opposite" muscle groups that "forward riding" work. Beyond that, yeah... this thread is pointless.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:21 PM   #6
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do you mean leg breaking?
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Old 07-25-08, 03:32 PM   #7
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U forgot about teh barspinz
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Old 07-25-08, 03:52 PM   #8
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do you mean leg breaking?
Last time I did that people kept bringing me books and food and video games which was cool, but the costs still outweighed the benefits. It's probably a lot cheaper with NHS.
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Old 07-25-08, 04:20 PM   #9
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U forgot about teh barspinz
i lol'd
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Old 07-25-08, 04:29 PM   #10
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Do a search?
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Old 07-25-08, 04:36 PM   #11
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-1 for using "zen" cliche to describe riding brakeless.
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Old 07-25-08, 04:44 PM   #12
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I fail to see the point of this post other than to increase post count. We already know the pros and cons of leg braking and the whole debate of riding a brakeless fixie so why waste your time and others with a meaningless post? I mean that sincerely in a pleasant manner, you're asking to get flamed is what I'm saying.
This coming from a "Member since April 2008".
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Old 07-25-08, 04:48 PM   #13
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It looked like a really good question to me. So when I read the replies, all I found was a bunch of useless crap answers.
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Old 07-25-08, 04:50 PM   #14
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A member since October '03 should well know that it is possible to browse the forums without registering and/or posting. Then again, I've only been around since September '07, what could I know?

Last edited by cizzlak; 07-25-08 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 07-25-08, 04:53 PM   #15
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It looked like a really good question to me. So when I read the replies, all I found was a bunch of useless crap answers.
As for THIS, ignoring the fact that the forums have a very useful feature called "Search The Forums" right up at the top of the page, is pretty short sighted for EVERY user, regardless of their "Join date." While educators will say "There is no such thing as a stupid question" in response to "Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer;" asking a stupid question in lieu of using the search function or even Google first, is rather stupid. While most folks around here do their part to be helpful, beating a dead horse is not really anyone's high priority. Chill out, mang.
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Old 07-25-08, 05:15 PM   #16
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I'll steer clear of the usual BS replies this board seems to get, and try to offer something of value...

Benefits of leg braking:

It's pretty obvious, but you dont have to use brakes.
no brakes = less weight, less parts, less cost, less things to go wrong.

I can see the point of using a brake if you're starting out, or for emergencies, but if you're always going to use a brake, what's the point of riding fixed?

Fixed gear bikes are simple machines. you pedal forward to go forward, you pedal back/resist/or lock up the rear to slow down. I'm sure I'll get flamed, but i like skidding around turns and keeping my speed in check down a hill by locking up the rear from time to time. It can feel a bit like "controlling the chaos", but that's what I like about it. At first I was really sketchy on fixed gear bike, I could only skid by concentrating really hard and I felt wobbly and out of control. But over time, it's gotten a lot easier, i'm getting to where I can skid just as easily with either leg and I just feel like i have a lot more control over the bike if needed. kinda like driving a stickshift, at first you have to concentrate really hard on what gear you're going into, and not stalling, but over time it becomes second nature...
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Old 07-25-08, 05:59 PM   #17
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but if you're always going to use a brake, what's the point of riding fixed?
This is utter BS. A product of urban track/fixed gear herd mentality. This goes up there with the "zen" connection people always spew when they show off their new "fixies". Fixed gear does not equate to riding without brakes. It only means that you can't coast.

When someone suddenly opens their car door 8 feet in front of you, a skid stop is not going to save you.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:02 PM   #18
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I understand the ability some have to control their speed very well with their legs but what happens if you need to stop very quickly? That said it is rare that I need to stop very quickly. I guess a front brake could be like insurance, sure you may not need it all the time but it's nice to have when you need it.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:07 PM   #19
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I'll steer clear of the usual BS replies this board seems to get, and try to offer something of value...

Benefits of leg braking:

It's pretty obvious, but you dont have to use brakes.
no brakes = less weight, less parts, less cost, less things to go wrong.

I can see the point of using a brake if you're starting out, or for emergencies, but if you're always going to use a brake, what's the point of riding fixed?

A properly set up brake doesn't really "go wrong." You can ride it for thousands of miles before you need to change the pads or cable and then ride it thousands of miles more. The weight is negligible especially for kids who ride around in street clothes and carry locks and fanny packs. And, as for cost, a decent brake and lever isn't anymore expensive than a couple of tires that you would otherwise skid through.

The only good reason I can think of to not have a brake is that you are riding on the velodrome or it gets in the way of your fixie trixx.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:27 PM   #20
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This coming from a "Member since April 2008".

What does it matter when I signed up for this forum? It doesn't say "Riding since April 08" does it? Even if it did I know better than to make a post about something so stupid as what we're discussing right now!
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Old 07-25-08, 06:34 PM   #21
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duhh everyone knows signup date = maturity, age, experience, coolness, bar spin skillzz, areospoke skillz, riser skills, pseudo tark skillzzz . . . . . .
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Old 07-25-08, 06:34 PM   #22
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When someone suddenly opens their car door 8 feet in front of you, a skid stop is not going to save you.
it's called swerving... it's even faster than braking
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Old 07-25-08, 06:39 PM   #23
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A properly set up brake doesn't really "go wrong." You can ride it for thousands of miles before you need to change the pads or cable and then ride it thousands of miles more. The weight is negligible especially for kids who ride around in street clothes and carry locks and fanny packs. And, as for cost, a decent brake and lever isn't anymore expensive than a couple of tires that you would otherwise skid through.

The only good reason I can think of to not have a brake is that you are riding on the velodrome or it gets in the way of your fixie trixx.
it's all negligible... yeah you're not saving much money, you're not losing much weight, and it's not that hard to replace things that go wrong with brakes... like i said I was stating the obvious. I'm not sure of any other benefits.

However I do stand behind the fact that I get a better feeling of slowing the bike down with skids than with brakes... argue all you want, it's just more fun.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:40 PM   #24
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huerro is right. the only reason not to have a brake is for the velodrome or for tricks.

i think "building leg muscles" is a weak argument because it does just as much cartilage-destroying as it does muscle-building.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:43 PM   #25
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huerro is right. the only reason not to have a brake is for the velodrome or for tricks.

i think "building leg muscles" is a weak argument because it does just as much cartilage-destroying as it does muscle-building.
Yeah but I half-read and quarter-understood an article on Sheldon's site which said fg is good for your knees therefore I am impervious to any argument to the contrary.
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