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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 03-13-09, 09:35 PM   #1
sam83
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Fixed Faster than SS?

Long time roadie...

I got a Salsa Casseroll last year and have only ridden it FG. I'm pretty amazed at the speed I can maintain and my impression is that it is easier to carry a higher speed on the flats on a FG than on a similarly geared road bike or SS with a freewheel. Perhaps due to the "help" from the rotating wheels?

Maybe it's in my head.

Comments?
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Old 03-13-09, 09:42 PM   #2
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I know what you're saying..... I think it just feels that way...
Same reason FG's seem to be easier to pedal up hill...
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Old 03-13-09, 09:43 PM   #3
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That does sound reasonable. I've been riding fixed for last 4-5 months now and I feel like I lose a little traction or feel more play in my geared bikes now.
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Old 03-13-09, 09:55 PM   #4
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There's a reason that the hour records are sometimes (perhaps even mostly?) set on FG's
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Old 03-13-09, 09:55 PM   #5
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Why do you think these bikes are ridden on the track?
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Old 03-13-09, 09:59 PM   #6
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The "help" is arguable... but I agree 100% with you. People argue the rotating "help" is technically impeding on your energy. Physics says its bad. Real life practice says its good. In theory, there shouldnt be a "dead spot" when riding a freewheel bike but in reality, there is a spot at near 12 and 6 where your upper and lower leg has very little power to help turn the crank. That same spot on a fixed gear bike is kinda superficially enhanced by the cranks momentum driven by the rotating wheel.

It's kinda like saying running on a treadmill is easier than running on a real road because the momentum of the rolling treadmill helps move your legs.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:55 PM   #7
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Under ideal conditions (on a track for example) a fixed gear has some real advantages over a geared bike, and is probably about the same as a SS. The problem is that if you're riding in the real world, about 0% of your riding is under ideal conditions.

All I know is that on a longish ride, my average speed on my fixed gear is always slower than a similar ride on either my SS or geared bike. Most of that is probably about the ability to coast/not coast going down hills.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:56 PM   #8
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Why do you think these bikes are ridden on the track?
Because of rules based on convention. Otherwise the records would be set by people riding geared recumbents.

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It's kinda like saying running on a treadmill is easier than running on a real road because the momentum of the rolling treadmill helps move your legs.
Because the treadmill draws energy from the electrical cord plugged into the wall, not because of momentum.
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Old 03-13-09, 11:49 PM   #9
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remember back when this conversation would happen once a year and dutruet would get really angry and start copy pasting out of wikipedia articles?

those were awesome threads.
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Old 03-14-09, 12:48 AM   #10
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Why do you think these bikes are ridden on the track?
tarckstands, duh.
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Old 03-14-09, 12:53 AM   #11
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On a short run, with hills, or a straightaway YES. On city traffic, downhill, or with turns NO.

by short I mean less than 10 miles.
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Old 03-14-09, 01:08 AM   #12
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In most cases, the only difference I notice in speed over a distance is due to spinning out on a fixed gear. Even on flats, if I am booking on a single speed, I can spin like crazy and then coast for a second to regain myself, which I cannot do in fixed mode.

However, I do notice the even pedal stroke that tends to happen on a fixed gear.
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Old 03-14-09, 01:09 AM   #13
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Nope, unless you are running a ( weighted ) disc wheel.

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Old 03-14-09, 07:22 AM   #14
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you can't coast...of course it's faster...

you are encouraged to keep pedaling...then you get used to doing it

and when you're being lazy...the pedals help you pedal
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Old 03-14-09, 07:54 AM   #15
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same thing has happened to me, I thought riding geared would show a drastic improvement since I have been riding fixed 100% for the past 2 years. I felt like I couldn't maintain the same average speed as on my fixed. I also got lazy from being able to coast which is what I attribute to my slower speeds.
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Old 03-14-09, 08:13 AM   #16
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I don't get the argument about dead spots. If the bike is "carrying you through," then you're using momentum to move your legs that could be used to move your bike. That may make riding feel easier, but I don't see how it can make you faster.

I enjoy riding fixed, but I don't find it any faster. Maybe it compels some people to ride faster. But honestly, this question kinda confuses me every time it comes up. If it's about speed, use gears. If not, use what you like.

P.S. "Feeling" faster and being faster aren't the same thing. Do folks who find fixed offers a speed advantage ride with a computer?
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Old 03-14-09, 08:18 AM   #17
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its not about dead spots, its about riding fixed gear and noticing a difference in performance from a bike able to coast. with fixed your body gets used to pedaling one way but introduce a freewheel and things change dramatically. Its not really an argument either just a basic observation.
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