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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 03-21-04, 08:39 AM   #1
fixedgearhead
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Touring fixed Gear Concept Bike

Here is an idea that I have been playing around with for some time. See what you think. What is the problem that most people think about when touring on a fixed gear bike, other than the long riding distances. Gearing choices. If you choose lower gears on a flip/flop you spin out on anything but climbs. If you choose high gears you can't climb. I came across a reference to something that might solve this age old dilemma. There was a solution available to this problem before the advent of Derailleurs.
What I am thinking about is having a fork with 120 mm drop out spacing made and then running a f/f rear wheel with 2 different sized cogs installed as a front wheel, along with the traditional rear wheel in the back. That would allow you to have 4 gear choices on one bike by not only flip/flopping the rear wheel but exchanging the front to back and then flip/flopping that wheel. This would be used for a truly long distance touring bike for cross country rides. Not for general around the town or local rides, unless the definition of local is Rocky Mountain towns. The other thing that would be necessary would be longer than usual rear drop outs to accommodate the extreme chain length variance due to the difference between largest and smallest of the 4 different cogs. The reference to this idea had 100 mm spacing on front and back that I saw. I guess you could do that if you used the appropriate length axles. I think it could be accomplished with Phil Wood hubs and 100 mm spacing end caps if that was your choice for spacing, but I would stay with 120 mm.
What you would do is use the wheel with the smaller of the two sets of cogs on the flatter sections of the cross country ride. 2 cogs can handle most circumstances that you would encounter in the majority of the country before you reach the Rocky Mountains. I know when I rode the Rocky mountains a couple of years ago I was forced to increase the cog size from my normal ones by a couple of teeth, and lengthen the chain, to accommodate the sometimes 5 mile long ascents. It almost defeated me, and if I had not brought along the other cogs, and chain and put them on when I started out from Colorado springs, where I was staying with some friends for a couple of weeks, I wouldn't have been able to ride the area at all. When you get to the Rockies, or some such demanding area, you move the front wheel to the back and take off. I know you can carry chain whips and extra cogs and chains and accomplish the same thing, but that is a lot of roadside mechanics that wouldn't be necessary with this setup. And, you wouldn't need to account for the extra chain length necessary for the newly installed cogs without some extra chain and the attendant changes that entails. This is just one of the things that I waste my time on during those long snowy winter days when I dream about being back on the road and riding long distances to adventure. Probably wouldn't cost to much if you consider the potential, if you were having a frame made or were willing to modify the forks on a frame you already possess. I had a Track fork made recently and it cost under 200 bucks color matched to the frame. I have had stainless steel dropouts made and installed for 35 bucks. So you see, not all that expensive. The cost of the rear hub would be greater than the cost of a front hub but I don't think that would break the bank. Once again, for long distance use, not local use although you could use it locally. What does anybody think?
Just thought I would toss this out.


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Old 03-21-04, 10:00 AM   #2
Leo C. Driscoll
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Sounds like an elegant solution! As you suggest, a test would be ascending Independence Pass heading eastward from Aspen.

http://www.altrec.com/published/cycl...ependencepass/

Since I had problems coaxing a friend's Toyota Corolla to reach the summit, there is (for some cars and road bikers) an added problem. "Oxygen is energy and there isn't much oxygen"

http://www.ubu.com/aspen/aspen1/skiRoaming.html

So cranking up the Continental Divide on a 4-gear fixie seems to call for an additional line in your "haiku".

One gear in front,
One gear in back,
No coasting.
No breathing.
What don't you understand?

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Old 03-21-04, 10:12 AM   #3
fixedgearhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo C. Driscoll
Sounds like an elegant solution! As you suggest, a test would be ascending Independence Pass heading eastward from Aspen.

http://www.altrec.com/published/cycl...ependencepass/

Since I had problems coaxing a friend's Toyota Corolla to reach the summit, there is (for some cars and road bikers) an added problem. "Oxygen is energy and there isn't much oxygen"

http://www.ubu.com/aspen/aspen1/skiRoaming.html

So cranking up the Continental Divide on a 4-gear fixie seems to call for an additional line in your "haiku".

One gear in front,
One gear in back,
No coasting.
No breathing.
What don't you understand?
You are right in that respect. I think that you need about 2 weeks to acclimate yourself to the effects of higher altitude. I guess hauling a Hyperbaric (sic.) chamber On a BoB trailer would solve that issue, but would detract from the "Elegant Simplicity" of the fixed gear concept.



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Old 03-21-04, 10:40 AM   #4
Jonny B
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If you're particularly poor, why not find some old steel forks, an old steel frame and a couple of 110mm flip flops. The forks could be spread, the frame could be pinched, and away you go. Maybe not the best option for heavy touring (or any riding come to that), but I guess it'd work.
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Old 03-21-04, 10:58 AM   #5
fixedgearhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny B
If you're particularly poor, why not find some old steel forks, an old steel frame and a couple of 110mm flip flops. The forks could be spread, the frame could be pinched, and away you go. Maybe not the best option for heavy touring (or any riding come to that), but I guess it'd work.
Of course that would also work. I tend to think from a "Clean Sheet' approach to engineering. I would like to build the frame with touring in mind. That would let me adjust the frame design to the rigors of touring, rather than making do with a regular frame that is made over to touring use. Obviously, your approach would get the same thing done without the added cost of designing and building the frame, but I fear that the adaptation might be compromised with the added weight of touring. Light touring might work though.

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Old 03-21-04, 11:08 AM   #6
Jonny B
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Exactly. If one was serious about riding the rockies, a strong, well-fitting, high quality frame would be a major advantage, not some cold-set (ie weakened) antique (ie rusty).
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Old 03-21-04, 12:28 PM   #7
fixedgearhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny B
Exactly. If one was serious about riding the rockies, a strong, well-fitting, high quality frame would be a major advantage, not some cold-set (ie weakened) antique (ie rusty).
I'm thinking Reynolds 531 ST. One of the all time great tube sets for touring. I have a friend who is a builder who has a set of Pacenti Stainless Steel lugs and Stainless Steel Flat Crown that he has been trying to get me to utilize on a project. These are truly elegant lugs with lots of swoops and points. Reminiscent of the old Nervex professional lugs that I have on my Peugeot PX-10. I think that would make up into an elegant and practical frame. Nice relaxed geometry with long chain stays. I am thinking of 40 tooth chain wheel and then 15-19 on one wheel and 20 or 21 and whatever the largest I could get from EAI I think a 23 or 24 is available. That would give you a 72 gear inch thru 47 or 45 gear inch on the 23/24 end. That is an 9 cog spread. Truly wide range gearing. That should enable you to climb telephone poles if you so desire. That is a lower gear range than even the standard 39/23 of road multi bikers. It is weird what foul riding weather can do to your mind. You can come up with some exciting ways to spend money. Then the weather clears and you are out riding and all is forgotten until the next snow storm.


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