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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 08-09-08, 08:09 PM   #1
thegreatcr
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My experience: The Dawes SST vs. The Windsor Hour

Recently I spent some time with some friends in Costa Mesa, CA (I had to attend two weeks of special seminars for grad school). These good hosts provided much entertainment and general hospitality, as well as the use of the 61cm Windsor Hour from BikesDirect. This was my first experience on a fixed gear and I thoroughly enjoyed it for a few central reasons:
-It helped tremendously in rehabilitating my knee: I had torn my meniscus a month before while surfing.
-It was really fun, especially the track stands
-It was quite convenient and conducive to me staying in shape while I was estranged from surfing

At the end of my stay I decided that I must have one of these; but at the same time, Costa Mesa is different from La Jolla (where I live). La Jolla is very, very hilly, and the Windsors I rode were geared very, very high. And they were 61cm and I am only 5'10, while both my friends are over 6ft. So after much research, I decided on the Dawes.

After a couple of days of riding the new Dawes, getting everything adjusted, getting conditioned, etc., I kinda miss the Windsor. I am not sure exactly why, but my suspicions are that I am currently riding free wheel, while I only rode fixed on the windsors. I just haven't had a chance to get a fixed cog yet, but I plan on doing it. Although this, rather obviousl, will significantly affect my perspective on the bikes, here are a few points that I have noticed:

-The smaller frame is definitely a different feeling, one that I am not sure I like. I am more of a cruiser, although I do like to go fast. But I don't need to weave in and out of cars, dodge things, or make gnarly turns; and I don't want to. So for me, the Windsor was kinda nice.
-The geometry is different, not as track like. Not sure what to say about this.
-I prefer the flat bars to the bullhorns (the Windsors I rode had flat bars). The bullhorns aren't bad, but probably just are not much my style.
-I miss doing track stands.
-I really like having brakes, and I know I will maintain this preference when I get the fixed cog. My area is just too hilly to not have them. So that was a nice advantage over the windsor, getting brakes with the bike.
-I miss the higher gearing, but I know that it would kill me on the hills.

So my feelings are a bit ambiguous, but they usually are, so whatever. I hope that the write-up is informative for somebody; either way, it was a nice way for me to unwind after reading philosophy all day.
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Old 08-09-08, 08:18 PM   #2
patrickgh
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I know what you mean about the higher gearing.. but believe me, it helps on hills I was using a 15t cog at first (48x15) and I loved how fast I could go.. but climbing was painful. I switched to an 18t cog and it has been wonders on the hills around here..but I miss that crazy speed I could get on flats
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Old 08-09-08, 11:29 PM   #3
bryyando
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I have the windsor, my cousin has the dawes. you can always get flat bars onyour dawes no problem. but honestly I like how the windsor handles compared to the dawes. I always felt like I could act just a little more reckless
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Old 08-10-08, 10:56 AM   #4
thegreatcr
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Yeah, that is a good way to put it... the Windsor just feels like you can do anything with it... be a little reckless.
But apparently the Dawes is just begging to be stolen. I have had it for three days and I have locked it up out of my sight once, at the beach, with tons of people around, for about 3 hours. This morning I noticed a giant crease in my lock cable where somebody failed to get their bolt cutters through. I am tempted to set up a stakeout down there and take vengeance on these fools. And I am tempted to get a U-lock... the cable makes me nervous.
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Old 08-10-08, 12:52 PM   #5
ZiP0082
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gotta rock chains and u-locks, nyc style
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Old 08-10-08, 01:04 PM   #6
jimisnowhere
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Originally Posted by thegreatcr View Post
the cable makes me nervous.
It should. Buy a U lock.

Also I set my SST up fixed and its good fun.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:32 PM   #7
TempeRider
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Originally Posted by bryyando View Post
...I like how the windsor handles compared to the dawes...
Makes sense. The Hour is 73.5* head angle in mid sizes, and the Dawes is 72. My touring bike is 72* so it will be stable under load; my road bike is 74* for quick handling.

Neigher is bad, just different. Based on the geometry, I'd say that for nice easy rides, the Dawes is good. If you want to squirt in and our of things, the hour.
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