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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 10-01-08, 10:40 AM   #1
jmberg
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Losing the faith

After exclusively riding fixed gear for about 5 years (it was my only bike), the appeal is seriously waning. My fixed gear has gone through many transformations, starting as stock 2003 fuji-track complete. I powder-coated it a lovely shade of kermit green after a year, at which point I also swapped the drop bars for straight bars, which I rode for another year or two. I went from toe clips to clipless and back to gr9s and clips. And now the bike has flat nitto promenade bars and cork grips to match the lovely nitto stem, and an excellent front basket that's large enough to accommodate a twelve pack and some groceries. And over the years I've upgraded just about all the other components too. It's a great bike and I really loved it. But then I purchased a complete Surly Cross-Check early in the summer, and now I find myself picking the Surly 9 times out of 10.

Why?
1. The ride is much smoother.
2. I'm able to ride faster. I realize that basket, promenade bars, cork, etc. won't help me set any speed records, but I can definitely push myself harder on the Surly.
3. It is far more versatile. Call me crazy, but having multiple gears make a lot of sense.
4. What about the Zen moments that supposedly come only with fixed gear riding? Bullsh!t. I find that escaping the city for a fifty or sixty mile ride through hilly farmland is far more enlightening and enjoyable than tooling around in urban traffic. (And relax, I'm not saying that people can't/don't go for long, hilly or mountainous rides on fixed gears. I am saying that for me, it's a far more enjoyable experience with gears.)
5. It's a better commuting machine in every possible way: rear rack mounts? check. full fender mounts? check? appropriate, comfortable geometry? check. multiple gears for varying conditions? check.
6. After many years of fixed-only riding, I'm always pedaling (as if there were no choice) with good rhythm and cadence, which makes me a better, stronger cyclist. But having the OPTION to coast when necessary is a great benefit too, particularly in tight situations, or on really ****ty road conditions.
7. I spend no more time maintaining the gears, brakes, and other additional components on the Surly than I did/do on the fixed gear.

Anybody else go through a similar phase or transition away from fixed? Sure, I still love the simplicity and aesthetic of my fixed gear, but I now struggle to find any other reasons to justify it. It just makes less sense to me these days.
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Old 10-01-08, 10:51 AM   #2
chris wielk
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i love riding fixed, i think it's a ton of fun and makes sense for my average daily riding. i really want to get a road bike though so i can get out and do some long rides on weekends. i'm also thinking of trying to get my parents to buy get me one as a graduation present in the spring and take a month or so right after i finish college to take a very long trip.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:01 AM   #3
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Limiting yourself to one style of bike in the first place is ludacris. I love riding my fix, but want to get another road bike soon, I have two mountain bikes, one is a single speed. I just love bikes in general, so yes riding one type of bike for many years will get boring. You need to spice things up once in awhile.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:03 AM   #4
Jabba Degrassi
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ludacris.
Has the whole world gone CRAZY?!

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO GIVES A **** ABOUT THE RULES?!?!
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Old 10-01-08, 11:05 AM   #5
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Geared bikes are awesome and they're much faster than fixed gears.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:05 AM   #6
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Just kidding....
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Old 10-01-08, 11:07 AM   #7
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ludicrous
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Old 10-01-08, 11:08 AM   #8
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Geared bikes are awesome and they're much faster than fixed gears.
No, they're not because [insert utter bull**** about fixed drive-trains "carrying" your legs through the rotation when climbing].
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Old 10-01-08, 11:16 AM   #9
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Has the whole world gone CRAZY?!

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO GIVES A **** ABOUT THE RULES?!?!
Sir, could you please just be honest and mark that frame as a zero? I would appreciate it.

And yeah. The dividing line between the fad guys and the actual cyclists is whether they continue riding after a few years of looking awesome in front of the coffee shop. Often, those people move on to geared bikes because they just make more sense in pretty much every aspect.

And for the people on here who talk about "control," get real. A real cyclist can control a bike with a freewheel.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:17 AM   #10
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bikes, in general, are fun
different bikes for different stuff at different times = lots of different kinds of fun
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Old 10-01-08, 11:22 AM   #11
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I say more power to you!
Fixed is great for urban commuting, but unless you're trying to up your "cool" points, fg bikes really have no practicality for longer, hillier rides.

Where I used to live, I commuted with an old myata ten speed. It was great for the area I lived in. But now living in more urban areas I prefer my fixed. But if I'm planning on doing longer rides outside of the city, it's the 10 speed for me.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:23 AM   #12
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I want so many different bikes. I love my fixie (sue me), but I really want something more versatile. I was thinking of making a geared CX or touring bike my next purchase. Something I can ride year-round and longer distances over more varied terrain.

Also, I'm dying for a niner. I want to hit the dirt so badly sometimes...
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Old 10-01-08, 11:29 AM   #13
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To me there is no riding that's better than riding a road bike on hilly, traffic-free, scenic roads. In second place is track racing, which nowadays is the only time I ride a fixed-gear.

My commuter bike started off as a fixed-gear, then became a brakeless fixed-gear and is now a single speed. It's set up so it's comfortable for short rides around the city and not much else (I shudder even thinking about taking it on a long ride in its current setup).
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Old 10-01-08, 11:29 AM   #14
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I want so many different bikes. I love my fixie (sue me), but I really want something more versatile. I was thinking of making a geared CX or touring bike my next purchase. Something I can ride year-round and longer distances over more varied terrain.
You should seriously consider the surly cross check. I was looking for exactly the same things as you, and that bike fits the bill. Check it out. It's like a swiss army knife of bikes: great for commuting, great for extended touring (full rack and fender mounts, and wide-wheel friendly), and good for racing too.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:33 AM   #15
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my single speed is great for around-the-city riding, cruising, and commuting. my geared roadie is great for long rides, out in the country, or a challenging workout.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:36 AM   #16
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there's a mutiny aboard this ship, gentlemen.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:39 AM   #17
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You should seriously consider the surly cross check. I was looking for exactly the same things as you, and that bike fits the bill. Check it out. It's like a swiss army knife of bikes: great for commuting, great for extended touring (full rack and fender mounts, and wide-wheel friendly), and good for racing too.
It's a contender. I love Surly, and was considering a Steamroller when I was building up my fixie. Decided on the Angus instead because of the price, tubing and colour. A great bike, but I find myself unable to subject it to the rigours of a Toronto winter.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:46 AM   #18
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ludicrous
ludicrous?
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Old 10-01-08, 11:46 AM   #19
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You should seriously consider the surly cross check. I was looking for exactly the same things as you, and that bike fits the bill. Check it out. It's like a swiss army knife of bikes: great for commuting, great for extended touring (full rack and fender mounts, and wide-wheel friendly), and good for racing too.
Not to mention the fact that you can throw some fat ass tires on there and take her down some single track. My CC loves 700x45's.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:53 AM   #20
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I think unless you're actually doing Cyclocross the Pacer is a better bet for touring/road riding, rack and fender mounts, and ability to use road brakes.
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Old 10-01-08, 11:59 AM   #21
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I was able to find a built Pacer and actually did a compare/contrast on the two. In the end, I still got a Cross Check. For me, the only big selling point on the Pacer was the road brakes. The Cross Check had better clearances, felt more comfortable, was actually available as a complete with warranty, and would have ended up cheaper since I wouldn't have had to buy all of the parts separately.

There's also the fact that the CC isn't really that great for cyclocross anyways.
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Old 10-01-08, 12:00 PM   #22
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Man, this thread makes me feel all backwards now. I like my fixed for commuting, but I'm jonesing for a more relaxed around towner. Oh well as far as I'm concerned the only way to truly lose the faith is to stop riding bikes...or switch to recumbents.
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Old 10-01-08, 12:01 PM   #23
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Recumbents are badass too. There's nothing like driving 35mph down a woodsy back road and watching a recumbent pass you like you're standing still.
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Old 10-01-08, 12:07 PM   #24
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I was able to find a built Pacer and actually did a compare/contrast on the two. In the end, I still got a Cross Check. For me, the only big selling point on the Pacer was the road brakes. The Cross Check had better clearances, felt more comfortable, was actually available as a complete with warranty, and would have ended up cheaper since I wouldn't have had to buy all of the parts separately.

There's also the fact that the CC isn't really that great for cyclocross anyways.
Well if you did a side-by-side comparo, then you've got to go with that. I had half the parts lying around so the build made more sense for me. Besides the weight, I've never heard anyone complain about any of their Surly purchases. I expect to be riding my Pacer into retirement age.
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Old 10-01-08, 12:08 PM   #25
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