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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 11-29-08, 09:59 PM   #26
uke
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In addition to a computer, lights have also improved my game. Being able to see at night is a good thing.
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Old 11-29-08, 10:00 PM   #27
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My Selle Titanio saddle. I kept forgetting to check & see if it's comfortable when I first put it on.

Also, elkhide bar wrap. I went through like 10 rolls of bar wrap before this & now will use nothing else.
Elk hide ay? i just found them on velo-orange but i dont think i would be able to stitch them myself. how long did it take you??
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Old 11-29-08, 10:02 PM   #28
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Going clipless. Getting new rims/wheels.
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Old 11-29-08, 10:33 PM   #29
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a quality wheelset that is built or at least properly tensioned and trued by a pro goes along way.
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Old 11-29-08, 10:33 PM   #30
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Gear ratio - going from 52/18 to 45/18. SPINZ 4 LIFE!!
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Old 11-29-08, 11:11 PM   #31
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Elk hide. I don't understand the benefits of this. Ten rolls? What were you doing - wearing it out? tearing it? I have had elk hide on toe clips but regular old Cinelli cork tape has held up for over five years on one of my bicycles. Elk hide is nice to squeeze, but I don't understand how it is superior in terms of lifespan.

Bibs. They are nice. It also depends on how fat/skinny you are. If you have any sort of gut, bibs are nice as they don't get rolled down when you get into the drops. Any sort of shorts with a chamois are a major upgrade for people riding in pants and boxers. Shorts are nice, bibs are better because they don't cut you in half. Bibs are also great in colder weather because they offer more coverage and you can tuck in/wear a longsleeve underneath and pull the shoulder straps on.

Tires. The single biggest change you can make, in my opinion. Kendas are TERRIBLE. I have a pair on my commuter (trying to save some money, really stupid) and they give me an up/down ride and I crashed on them in moderately wet weather the other week. I have some Continental Grand Prix 4000s and they are far and away the nicest tire I've ever ridden. No flats, great cornering, great wear. They are a great balance of flat protection and ride quality. I sometimes ride Gatorskins in the winter (more debris in the road) and when I switch to nicer tires in the spring I always have to check to see if I've flatted because the ride is so much smoother. I like Vittorias as well, but have had bad luck lately with them. Apparently some are made in Italy and some are made in Thailand. I'd suggest Conti GPs in 700x25.

Clipless. Any switch to them is a major upgrade, regardless of pedal/shoe combination. As for not wanting to use them for short rides, check out some Shimano recessed shoes. I was reluctant to give up my clips/straps on one of my bikes because I liked being able to wear whatever shoes I had on. First, I generally wore one or two pairs of shoes, as they fit into my clips the best. Second, I picked up some older Shimano shoes for $2.13 that have recessed cleats. They look like hiking shoes and I can walk in them, but can ride clipless. All the benefits, none of the drawbacks. I do know the annoyance of walking around in road cleats/shoes.
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Old 11-29-08, 11:15 PM   #32
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Elk hide ay? i just found them on velo-orange but i dont think i would be able to stitch them myself. how long did it take you??
Not long to stitch, about 1.5 hrs, since I did a simple over & under stitch. It is really easy to stitch on.



It took me several months to pull the trigger, but boy am I glad I did! Well worth the $28, very well worth it. Plus, you'll have enough left over to make toe clip protectors.

Last edited by bigbris1; 11-29-08 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 11-29-08, 11:20 PM   #33
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Elk hide. I don't understand the benefits of this. Ten rolls? What were you doing - wearing it out? tearing it? I have had elk hide on toe clips but regular old Cinelli cork tape has held up for over five years on one of my bicycles. Elk hide is nice to squeeze, but I don't understand how it is superior in terms of lifespan.
Buy it & try getting the needle through it before you realize it has holes already in it for stitching. Then you'll know where the worth comes in. Plus it stitches on & looks awesome. Cork wrap just can NOT compare. Really.
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Old 11-30-08, 01:15 AM   #34
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its three things but whatever-

clipless- for me its all about time atacs, best option for skidding.

tires- continental gp 4000's, i ride them all year, good in wet. average puncture protection, but im willing to sacrifice that for a fast smooth ride.

water bottle- for a long time i never really bothered to carry fluid, and just ignored my thirst till i rolled past a shop. having a bottle with me allows me to ride further, and is a nice psychological boost.
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Old 11-30-08, 01:45 AM   #35
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what single part did you switch out or put on your bike
that made the biggest difference in feel or performance??
light, aero wheelset.
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Old 11-30-08, 02:13 AM   #36
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Just gonna echo what most people have said and say clipless, bike fit, tires and saddle. If those things aren't dialed in, riding a bike sucks (well, clipless isn't absolutely necessary...).
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Old 11-30-08, 02:24 AM   #37
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I am building a new bike right now, but since it's not yet complete I am not sure how much the components will change the ride. Small things I have changed in the past that all helped a lot were bar tape and saddle. If either of those aren't comfortable you won't even want to ride.

1 thing for sure though that helps a lot is nicer cloths. I just got some pearl izumi sleeves/ arm warmers for only $20 and they are fantastic. It is getting cold now (usually around 50 degrees at night) and my arms would just freeze. I found a jacket was no good though cause my back would get too hot. Sleeves were perfect since they are thick, soft, and kept me warm without being hot.
Also just got some cycling pants from performance bike for $60 (wind and waterproof front panels) and they are really nice instead of baggy jeans, which would start to rub after more than 10 or so miles. They are really soft, supportive, and again warm without being hot.
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Old 11-30-08, 02:48 AM   #38
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Girl jeans.

Properly set up loose ball bearing bottom bracket.

Intel i7 processor.

Male anatomy.
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Old 11-30-08, 03:00 AM   #39
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I am building a new bike right now, but since it's not yet complete I am not sure how much the components will change the ride. Small things I have changed in the past that all helped a lot were bar tape and saddle. If either of those aren't comfortable you won't even want to ride.

1 thing for sure though that helps a lot is nicer cloths. I just got some pearl izumi sleeves/ arm warmers for only $20 and they are fantastic. It is getting cold now (usually around 50 degrees at night) and my arms would just freeze. I found a jacket was no good though cause my back would get too hot. Sleeves were perfect since they are thick, soft, and kept me warm without being hot.
Also just got some cycling pants from performance bike for $60 (wind and waterproof front panels) and they are really nice instead of baggy jeans, which would start to rub after more than 10 or so miles. They are really soft, supportive, and again warm without being hot.
50 degrees is cold? man, I wish it were 50 degrees here.
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Old 11-30-08, 03:36 AM   #40
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so far two recomendations on the continental 4000's. any other recomendations for other brands of tires? seems like the continentals are a favorite.

Also, if i go with the conti GP's would the lower chance of getting a flat justify taking out my tire liner? or would the extra weight from the tire liner not make much of a difference anyways?? i HAD to get the tire liners with my kendas, i got 2 flats in the first 2 weeks of riding.....glass and thorn. yesterday i checked my tires and found another thorn in the front but my tube didnt lose air so i know the liners were doing their job.

Last edited by td.tony; 11-30-08 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 11-30-08, 06:03 AM   #41
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You guys make good points about riding clipless. I hadn't considered running clipless on a fg or track bike, mostlly because I can't be bothered to change shoes for my 3-mile commute. But for longer rides, I can see how it'd make a substantial difference.
Yeah. I used to have a 24 mile round trip commute. Plus, anywhere else I wanted to go was 12-15 miles away from my house. I rode clipless all the time. Now, I live a lot closer to stuff I do, and I want to wear sneakers more often. So I picked up some clips and good straps and put them on my daily, and I'm a happy camper.

Clipless pedals are my best performance upgrade.
A good saddle is my best comfort upgrade.
More subjective is, handlebars that are right for the bike's purposes (including Crit drops and B125s instead of deep track drops).
I'd also add, proper maintenance, clean/lubed chain and properly inflated tires.

The basics.

The cool thing about fixed gear bikes is that it doesn't take a whole lot to make them go. They're the ****ing Flintstone cars of bikes.
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Old 11-30-08, 07:08 AM   #42
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spoke cards
hahahah aero
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Old 11-30-08, 08:50 AM   #43
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Stuff that roadies use translate well into long fixed gear rides: brakes, clipless, bibs, proper fit and water bottle cages.

Ironically, my next fixed gear will likely have none of these things.
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Old 11-30-08, 09:35 AM   #44
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50 degrees is cold? man, I wish it were 50 degrees here.
I was just thinking the same thing.
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Old 11-30-08, 09:38 AM   #45
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any recomendtions on a specific brand or type of tire?
The important thing is threads per inch (TPI) - it will make the casing more solid which will dramatically improve the cornering and generally under high-stress situations. The downside to this is cost and to a lesser extent durability (most cheaper commuter type tires are 60 TPI or thereabouts, which is fine for normal riding around situations). max PSI is also important if you're looking for speed, although it'll make for a harsher ride. I would recommend Continental Gatorskins as the best of both worlds - they're 170tpi, can go up to 120psi (well, the 25mm ones can, anyway), have flat protection, and you can get them for $40 or less.
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Old 11-30-08, 09:50 AM   #46
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getting a super high TPI tire on a brakeless track bike is a waste of money unless the bike is actually being used for racing. (gatorskin in the front, randonneur in the back)

clipless would be my suggestion, followed by a well built, lighter set of wheels on good hubs.
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Old 11-30-08, 11:18 AM   #47
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Continental's TPI count is a count of all three layers of their 60 TPI overlapped casing. It's misleading because most other brands count the TPI of a single layer.
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Old 11-30-08, 12:02 PM   #48
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So I got a Michelin Orium for the rear because I wanted a red tire to match the front Forte DC pro.
Michelin is a whopping 33 TPI and the Forte is 120 TPI.
I was about to go get me some Vittoria Pro at 120 TPI since it comes in red, (that's another subject)
Lot's of conflicting info here so my confusion persists.

I have Gatorskins on my other ride and they seem to roll just fine although I have had one get a giant gash in it.

Is there a definitive word on the tire subject or will it remain at_ your mileage may vary?

I gave up the Velocity deep V's and now have a Campy road hub up front to open pros and a LF Dura Ace in the rear to OP's so I have light strong wheels.
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Old 11-30-08, 12:11 PM   #49
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Pbr
this fella has the right idea!
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Old 11-30-08, 12:14 PM   #50
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that and time atacs. so sick of tearing threads off hubs
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