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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 10-03-08, 07:13 PM   #1
prach138
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Fixed gear-Question about brakes.

I have a frame that I am going to use for my fixed gear. The front brake hole has been terribly disfigured and I will not be able to mount a front brake on the bike. Are there any draw backs to only having a back brake on a fixed gear? Thanks.
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Old 10-03-08, 07:21 PM   #2
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You don't need brakes on a fixed gear. Don't worry about you will do fine. But to answer your question your legs are your back brake, you don't need a weighted down substance to add to that.
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Old 10-03-08, 07:25 PM   #3
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From Sheldon Brown (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html):

Braking

Some fixed-gear riders ride on the road without brakes. This is a bad idea. I know, I've tried it. If you do it, and have any sense of self-preservation at all, it will cause you to go much slower than you otherwise could, everytime you go through an intersection, or pass a driveway. The need for constant extra vigilance takes a great deal of the fun out of cycling.

You really should have a front brake. A front brake, all by itself, will stop a bicycle as fast as it is possible to stop. This is true because when you are applying the front brake to the maximum, there is no weight on the rear wheel, so it has no traction.

One of the wonderful things about fixed-gear riding is that the direct feel you get for rear-wheel traction teaches you exactly how hard you can apply the front brake without quite lifting the wheel off of the ground.

This is a very valuable lesson for any cyclist who likes to go fast; it could save your life.

There is really no need for a rear brake on a fixed-gear bicycle. By applying back-pressure on the pedals, you can supply all the braking that the rear wheel really needs. In fact, it is fairly easy to lock up the rear wheel and make it skid, unless you are running a rather high gear.

Some fixed-gear fans make a point of not using their brake except in an emergency. I am not sure that this is a good idea. Heavy duty resisting is widely reputed to be bad for your legs, and to be counterproductive for building up muscles and coordination for forward pedaling. Google for "eccentric contraction" for more on this topic. Eccentric contraction is reputed to cause micro-tears to your muscle tissue, so it actually weakens your muscles, unlike other forms of exercise.

This is a lot like car drivers who use their transmission and clutch to slow down, even though the car has a special set of parts made for the exact purpose of slowing down. Brake shoes are cheaper to replace when they wear out than clutches are.

Skip Stops

Brakeless riders generally need to master a technique called the "skip stop." This is a way that you can actually lock up the rear wheel using your legs alone.

* If you lock one leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke, as the pedal rises it will start to lift your body upward.

* When the cranks get horizontal, pull up on the front pedal, while pushing down on the rear one.

* Because your body will have acquired upward momentum, when you yank up with the front foot this will temporarily partially unweight the rear wheel, making it possible to initiate a skid.

Since sliding friction is less than sticking friction, once the tire starts to skid, you will generally be able to maintain the skid until you've stopped or at least slowed down as much as you want to.

You have to really want to do it, you can't be tentative! It's easier when you're going faster.

The lower your gear , the more effectively you can "brake" by resisting with your legs.

Despite what some folks will tell you, you can not stop nearly as short this way as you can by using a good front brake.

See my article on Braking and Turning for a detailed explanation of this.
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Old 10-03-08, 07:33 PM   #4
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Riding brakeless is not nearly as dangerous for the average strapping young lad as it would have been for sheldon I imagine, but yeah this is bf brakes are mandatory etc etc.
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Old 10-03-08, 08:05 PM   #5
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If you've never ridden a fixed gear before, please put on a ****ing brake. That's break, for this forum.
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Old 10-03-08, 08:20 PM   #6
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To summarize this thread:

The majority of people will say that you should run a front brake.

There will be a few people who will defend brakeless riding.

There will be a long argument about the pros/cons of riding brakeless.
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Old 10-03-08, 08:25 PM   #7
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Riding brakeless is not nearly as dangerous for the average strapping young lad as it would have been for sheldon I imagine, but yeah this is bf brakes are mandatory etc etc.
I believe that up until Sheldon could not ride a bike he would have ridden most, if not all of us into the ground.

If you have ever looked at his personal gearing charts and choices you would know he was an exceptionally strong rider.

And +1000 to what edw said.
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Old 10-03-08, 08:26 PM   #8
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How about a picture? I would be worried that any damage that makes you unable to mount a brake could mean that the fork isn't safe to ride on.
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Old 10-03-08, 08:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by prach138 View Post
I have a frame that I am going to use for my fixed gear. The front brake hole has been terribly disfigured and I will not be able to mount a front brake on the bike. Are there any draw backs to only having a back brake on a fixed gear? Thanks.
Get a fork with brake posts, get a canti and good to go. Back brake on a fixed gear is basically pointless.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by prach138 View Post
I have a frame that I am going to use for my fixed gear. The front brake hole has been terribly disfigured and I will not be able to mount a front brake on the bike. Are there any draw backs to only having a back brake on a fixed gear? Thanks.
Ride with a brake. Get a kit for undrilled forks...



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Old 10-03-08, 11:58 PM   #11
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If ur tryin to save a buck, then throw on that rearbrake. It just wont be as sexy as a wireless bike would be!!
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Old 10-04-08, 01:00 AM   #12
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^ ugh, ignore this

get a new fork if the frame is worth it. if it's a piece of hi-tensile junk, then go looking for a new frameset, 'cause there's no reason to dump money into a turd.
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Old 10-04-08, 09:28 AM   #13
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^ always with the nonsense about not dumping money into a hi-ten bike

You can get a cheap fork online for about $20.That's cheaper than a new frame,even a ****y one.
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Old 10-04-08, 09:38 AM   #14
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You could try face braking but the full-body brake stops you even faster.

Alternatively, carry an 18-inch length of rebar and shove it into the spokes of your front wheel in an emergency or if you see a hot chick walking down the sidewalk.

bf
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Old 10-04-08, 10:59 AM   #15
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It it makes you feel more comfortable to ride with a brake, please do. Nothing sadder than somebody doing something for the sake of appearances only.

A rear brake is less effective than a front brake, but a decent rear brake can be effective.
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Old 10-04-08, 11:12 AM   #16
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Cars and other bicycles have brakes, which is like herd immunity. Don't sweat it.

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Old 10-04-08, 12:58 PM   #17
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^ always with the nonsense about not dumping money into a hi-ten bike

You can get a cheap fork online for about $20.That's cheaper than a new frame,even a ****y one.
Fair enough

But I do think it's fair to reiterate that a seriously crappy frame is usually not worth the effort. And it is not nonsense at all to reiterate that.
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Old 10-04-08, 01:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by pyze-guy View Post
Get a fork with brake posts, get a canti and good to go. Back brake on a fixed gear is basically pointless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam G. View Post
You don't need brakes on a fixed gear. Don't worry about you will do fine. But to answer your question your legs are your back brake, you don't need a weighted down substance to add to that.
unless you've ridden a rear brake, don't say that. Rear brakes don't make as much of a diff as a front but it is not pointless.
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Old 10-04-08, 04:33 PM   #19
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Bottom line is: if you think you need a brake, then you do. BUT, (I think) this should simply be a precursor to eventually not having to have a brake.

I don't have a problem with people who ride FG with a brake. My problem is the people who never aspire to ride without one in the future & then make excuses to make themselves feel better. Train yourself. Be safe in the process. Graduate to the point where you are confident riding without a brake. Period.
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Old 10-04-08, 04:48 PM   #20
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I don't have a problem with people who ride FG with a brake. My problem is the people who never aspire to ride without one in the future & then make excuses to make themselves feel better. Train yourself. Be safe in the process. Graduate to the point where you are confident riding without a brake. Period.
I have absolutely zero interest in riding brakeless. I'm not even really interested in owning an actual track frame right now as the miyata conversion I'm riding is built around a nicer frame than a kilo or hour or whatever, which are the only "track" frames I could afford right now. I don't make any excuses as to why I'm not riding sans brake, either to myself or to idiots that feel that I should conform to their opinions by removing my brake. Why am I a problem to you?

back on topic, what frame do you have prach?
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Old 10-04-08, 05:16 PM   #21
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Bigbris is the reason I pretend I run a brake on bfssfg.
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Old 10-04-08, 05:25 PM   #22
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Bottom line is: if you think you need a brake, then you do. BUT, (I think) this should simply be a precursor to eventually not having to have a brake.

I don't have a problem with people who ride FG with a brake. My problem is the people who never aspire to ride without one in the future & then make excuses to make themselves feel better. Train yourself. Be safe in the process. Graduate to the point where you are confident riding without a brake. Period.
you are such a tool
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Old 10-04-08, 05:28 PM   #23
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It takes ten seconds to add anyone to the ignore function. Highly recommended for tool avoidance on BF.
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Old 10-04-08, 05:57 PM   #24
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I have absolutely zero interest in riding brakeless. I'm not even really interested in owning an actual track frame right now as the miyata conversion I'm riding is built around a nicer frame than a kilo or hour or whatever, which are the only "track" frames I could afford right now. I don't make any excuses as to why I'm not riding sans brake, either to myself or to idiots that feel that I should conform to their opinions by removing my brake. Why am I a problem to you?

back on topic, what frame do you have prach?


My problem with you is why did you convert the frame? Why not set that up as a proper roadie, then?
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Old 10-04-08, 05:59 PM   #25
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you are such a tool
Explain why.
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