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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 03-24-04, 01:12 AM   #1
lucklust
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Free Falling

Tomorrow is the first day without brakes (brake-caliper-less for you WK)! I dropped from a 48-16 to a 42-17 to make it easier to stop (and so I'm not tempted to go too fast). I'll have to but the brake back on for the LifeCycle ride because of their rules, but I'm free falling until then.
I know there have been random posts about going brakeless, but do you have any tips, hints, etc. for someone riding without brakes for the first time?
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Old 03-24-04, 02:53 AM   #2
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be careful going down hills. be DAMN careful. a tiny gear ratio can get away from you real fast.

you rode my bike for a little bit, i like to have it easy, but not too easy because spinning out on a fixed gear, to me, is about as near to losing control as it can get. 42/17 is really tight. skids can slow you down a little bit, but it's better to just resist. i avoid big hills on my track bikes, just because i don't have the stamina to resist with my legs the whole way down most hills, and skidding doesn't help much once you hit a certain speed downhill.
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Old 03-24-04, 06:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucklust
Tomorrow is the first day without brakes (brake-caliper-less for you WK)! I dropped from a 48-16 to a 42-17 to make it easier to stop (and so I'm not tempted to go too fast). I'll have to but the brake back on for the LifeCycle ride because of their rules, but I'm free falling until then.
I know there have been random posts about going brakeless, but do you have any tips, hints, etc. for someone riding without brakes for the first time?
Just remember that "gravity rules" when you are descending hills. When you come to a hill "SLOW DOWN" before you start descending. If you get going to a greater speed than you are comfortable with, then it it's a little late to try to stop. All you can do at that point is slow down. If you have to stop, you are out of luck. That is why it is so important to start off slow and keep your speed under control while on hills.


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Old 03-24-04, 09:14 AM   #4
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Why not have the brake and just no use it unless in an emergency?
If you're going downhill off Mt. Tam, backward resisting at 200rpm
is nearly impossible.
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Old 03-24-04, 10:15 AM   #5
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I'm going to be using the bike mainly to commute, which is almost completely flat. There aren't even that many cars... I've been doing it for the past week or so without touching my brake, and haven't had a problem yet.

p.s. honestly, I need the brake for another project, and really really like the look of the Bianchi sans brakes
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Old 03-24-04, 10:46 AM   #6
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Also, what is the thinking about gearing on a brake(caliper)less bike? Higher or lower?
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Old 03-24-04, 11:01 AM   #7
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Make sure your pedal straps are in good shape!
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Old 03-24-04, 11:13 AM   #8
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Old 03-24-04, 11:16 AM   #9
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if you're used to 48-16, i think 42-17 is a pretty drastic change.
i'd think that 48-17 wouldn't be too bad... almost the same gear ratio that i started off with (42-15). plus, you can actually get places!

one note: don't ride brakeless with something like 48-16 (where the front is divisible by the back), because when you skid stop, you'll be wearing the tire down in only 3 spots.

Dennis
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Old 03-24-04, 11:19 AM   #10
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I don't know if you've seen this already or not, but it has some good basics:

http://www.63xc.com/gregg/101_1.htm
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Old 03-24-04, 12:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryhood
one note: don't ride brakeless with something like 48-16 (where the front is divisible by the back), because when you skid stop, you'll be wearing the tire down in only 3 spots.

Dennis
or six spots if you can skid with either foot forward....either way, it's bad news.
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Old 03-24-04, 12:28 PM   #12
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hahah. and guess who rides brakeless at 48-16????

but i don't skid anymore and usually just ride slower and resist earlier. sometimes i'll hop skip but my kness were acting up so i need to behave now.
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Old 03-24-04, 12:40 PM   #13
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as onetinsloth said, i would definitely ride with a higher gear ratio. i ride 48:16 brakeless myself. i never skid stop; i just slow down earlier than i would with brakes. you'll have to pay even more attention to your ride. when going down steep hills i will go at a walking or jogging speed.
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Old 03-24-04, 05:51 PM   #14
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Well, my commute to school was so enjoyable that I ended up skipping all of my classes today. I took off my everpresent headphones and just F***ing rode my bike. It was the greatest day. I wasn't gawking at hot chicks or getting pissy with cars, because I was so busy paying attention to everything. I'm not to trying get all zen-like, but it was this weird, flowing vibe.
I liked it.
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Old 03-24-04, 05:59 PM   #15
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welcome to enlightenment country. population: you.
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Old 03-24-04, 06:04 PM   #16
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Old 03-24-04, 06:27 PM   #17
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I just got into the same boat - my new bike doesn't have the option for a brake untill I get a new fork. Not too big of a deal - the last time that I used the brake it stuck in place (too much winter salt or something) but the higher gear ratio I'm working with now means I can't skid it...

Definatly take the hills slow - I try to keep the same speed the whole way down the few I have on the way to work. Luckily going up the hills nearly stops me

Also one thing that I've noticed in the last couple of days with streetlights, and I'm not sure if it's the best thing to do or not....

I started out slowing way down on all the intersections, and trying to stop for all of the yellow lights. But there's been a couple times that stopping was worse than speeding up and blowing through the light. What ended up happening is that I stopped 3-6 feet into the intersection, which gives you no momentum to avoid the cars that are now moving. Being right past when the light turns red or having it change halfway through but still moving seems to give you the ability to swerve around any cars that start moving...

Probably not the safest, but something makes me think that it will work...
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