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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 02-06-02, 08:05 AM   #1
RainmanP
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Observations of a fixed gear newbie

Yesterday I rode my regular commuter after 4 straight days on my new fixed gear rig. I thought something was wrong with my bike! I missed the smooth, quiet, real time feel of the fixed gear, being able to slow down without having to reach for the brakes every time. It's amazing how quickly you get used to the feeling.
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Old 02-06-02, 08:31 AM   #2
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I haven't been able to ride my fixie lately because of weather and darkness, but your comments are making me anxious to get back on it. Maybe this week when it warms a bit. I concur on your observation on the smoothness of the fixed-gear. I really love the connected feel. I try to explain it to my road bike riding friends and they just don't get it. They just think I'm crazy.

I did notice one thing about my setup. I have the front brake only that is recommended by many. Don't really need the rear, right? Well I think I'll put mine back on soon.

This is why. When commuting on the bike of course you can use your legs to slow down the bike and the front to help bring it to a stop. I found that using the front last year caused me to use my left hand so much that I developed a terrible pain in my forearm and wrist. Using only one hand even with my the legs as backpressure was putting too much strain on the arm. I thought I had arthritis or something. As soon as I stopped riding it during the winter it went away. Think about how much strain your fingers, wrist and forearm muscles are taking. I have a lot of stop-n-go in my commute and therefore don't get much rest for the arm. I may try adjusting the brake for a bit more travel on the lever and see if that helps too.

Have fun on your fixie commuter
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Old 02-06-02, 02:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by RainmanP
Yesterday I road my regular commuter after 4 straight days on my new fixed gear rig. I thought something was wrong with my bike! I missed the smooth, quiet, real time feel of the fixed gear, being able to slow down without having to reach for the brakes every time. It's amazing how quickly you get used to the feeling.
Oh yeah! I don't have a fixed-gear road bike, but I am a trackie, so I know the fixed gear feeling. If I spend a couple days on the track w/o hitting the road, I always find myself trying to put pressure on the pedals to stop. Let me tell you, that doesn't work on a regular road bike!

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Old 02-06-02, 05:49 PM   #4
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In th UK, riding fixed gear is well accepted as part of training for road riders. Long winter rides on a fixed gear are the traditional way of building aerobic fitness. Some very successful road time trialists use fixed gear to compete and win.
The standard fixed road bike has both brakes, it is definately a road bike with fixed gear, rather than a track bike let out on the road.
Fixed gear is more commonly used in winter and bad weather, often with fenders, because of its reliability and low maintainance. London bike couriers are esp fond of fixed wheel road bikes.
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Old 02-08-02, 07:07 PM   #5
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This may be a "loaded" question, with a million answers depending on personal preference...but since I don't have any idea I am going to ask. What is the typical gear ration for a fixed gear bike. I may build one on this "new" frame I got. I have heard they are great for training and good for an "around town" bike.
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Old 02-08-02, 07:44 PM   #6
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Well, it depends on your strength and style and what you are looking for. I THINK that most people riding a fixie for training go with a lowish gear (for the particular cyclist) and use the fixed gear for cadence building. Or you can use a higher ratio and build strength. I'm not a strong cyclist so I started with a 42/18 and try to keep my cadence in the 90-100 range. A young friend of mine, who is a VERY serious racer, also has 42/18 on his because it forces him to spin like crazy to go fast. Today I put on a 17 because, as I explained to my LBS buddy, I am sneaking up on myself one tooth at a time. 18 felt pretty easy so I take a baby step to the 17 until that feels easy. I want to condition myself to gradually higher gears while maintaining cadence. I picked 42/18 to start with because I knew I could spin it 90-100 comfortably. I was concerned about the learning process and didn't want the extra stress of a higher gear.

I was ordering something from Harris Cyclery the other day and happened to get Sheldon Brown on the phone. He told me he mainly uses 42/15 and he has some hills to contend with.

Hope this gives you some ideas. It's really a personal thing. You can always change the gear. To me it seems more convenient to go with a larger chainring, ie 42 vs 39 for instance, and sprocket at first. That way you can increase the gear by using a smaller sprocket and you are always shortening the chain. Horizontal dropouts make chain tensioning easier but are not mandatory. You just may not be able to get the chain quite the tension you want. Have you read Sheldon Brown's articles on fixed gear?
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Raymond
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Old 02-12-02, 10:18 PM   #7
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I've got 40 x 16 and I find it's too light for this flatlander. Maybe 42 x 16 (which really wouldn't be much of a change). I ride 46 x 18 on my singlespeed which I think is perfect.

I used to use only one brake, but as I like to ride on the hoods, I hooked up the rear brake for symetry. Now I find that I like to slow down with the rear brake and stop with the front.
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Old 02-13-02, 01:16 AM   #8
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Possibly a silly question but still who cares...

Can you pedal backwards on a fixie, or rather can you cycle backwards?

Richard
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Old 02-13-02, 01:59 AM   #9
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Yes, you can. (soon to be fixed!)
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Old 02-13-02, 05:33 PM   #10
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I am the proud owner of a fixed gear bike, sans wheels. I've been building it up from junk parts over the last month or so, and it's all finished, except for the wheels.

But, I phoned an order in to QBP today for those very same wheels that my bike is missing. With any luck, I'll be 'fixed up' by the weekend!
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Old 05-20-03, 01:13 PM   #11
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Anyone have any information or updates on fixed gears?
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Old 05-20-03, 01:19 PM   #12
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William, we now have a fixed gear forum, infact, i just moved this thread to the forum after your reply. Feel free to ask any fixed gear questions you may have.
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Old 05-20-03, 02:46 PM   #13
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Richard D, if you watch the movie Quick Silver you can see Kevin Bacon riding a fixed gear backwards in a circle. It is an interesting movie to watch and see how many times the bike changes gearing or goes to a coaster brake. There is also a good scene of some guys do circus or cycloball style tricks.
It is easiest to ride backwards with a 1 to 1 gearing.
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Old 05-20-03, 04:54 PM   #14
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William, we now have a fixed gear forum, infact, i just moved this thread to the forum after your reply. Feel free to ask any fixed gear questions you may have.
Sorry. I did a search for Fixed gear and ran accross this thread and BTT to find out more.

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Old 05-20-03, 05:07 PM   #15
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I have not seen that movie Quicksilver in years, I vaguely remember him riding backwards though. How hard is that to do in reality? Only thing I can think to relate it to is driving backwards which is more completely different then driving forwards.
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Old 05-20-03, 09:30 PM   #16
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With one to one gearing it is not to hard, with a good road gear stuff happens to fast for me.
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Old 05-20-03, 09:40 PM   #17
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When I was a kid I learned to sit on my handel bars, and pedal backwards on my BMX bike. The bike would move forward, and I would move backwards. I was able to do this for miles at a time. It only took a few trys to get it right.
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Old 05-21-03, 04:54 PM   #18
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Its different,I can go backwards in circles easier than in a straight line...takes some practice just like trackstanding.Hardest part I have is getting my right foot over the top of pedla stroke....its a mental hangup Im sure.
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Old 05-21-03, 08:12 PM   #19
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If Kevin Bacon can do it how hard can it be?
I want to build up a circus bike with the right geometry and gearing to play around with this kind of riding.
Something else to watch is Libor Karas The Bouncing Czech(sic?) There is about four minutes of cool cycloball competition, like soccer on bikes.
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Old 05-27-03, 10:45 PM   #20
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I love commuting on the fixed gear. I have several to choose from. One thing I found that helped with the change back to a road bike is a different cassette. I was riding a standard cassette, I think it is like a 12 x28 or something like that, I replaced it with a 12x21 and man can I flat out fly now, and I'm not waiting for the bike to slow down to be able to engage, it's right there all the time. I still love the fixies, now I can ride the roadie and on the flats get 30+ miles and hour.
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