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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 06-15-09, 06:46 PM   #1
Go Go
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Uber Noob

My carbon roadie, which was constantly in need of a tune up, was stolen during shipping from LA to D.C. I'm excited about the simplicity of a single speed and I'm just about ready to pull the trigger on a replacement It's gonna be an SS (SE Lager, Steamroller, or similar...recs welcome) and potentially working my way to fixed.

I used to ride to work every day, and I'd like to get back to that. My legs, however, are not as strong as they were a few years ago - and my stomach is considerably larger.

The question is how much torture are my legs in for?

I don't mind a proper burn on a steep climb, but I would hate to find my self walking up every hill I come across.

gentle now...

Last edited by Go Go; 06-16-09 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 06-15-09, 06:48 PM   #2
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SS or FG isn't as hard as it sounds liek it might be and you'll get strong quick.
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Old 06-15-09, 06:52 PM   #3
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Thanks, Handsome.

thoughts on gear ratio? I don't mind spinning out occasionally while I "strong up."
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Old 06-15-09, 07:49 PM   #4
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Go Go,

As a new to fixed gear bikes guy myself I suggest going fixed from the very beginning. Honestly. You'll be surprised how what you thought would be torture (riding hills) isn't. You'll take on a new style. You'll attack the hills, you'll stand more and pound. But, you'll also be surprised that it's not as labor intensive as you thought it would be. You won't be pushing much unless you decide to attack that 20 degree, 5 mile climb up the road. Build up to that by hitting it on weekends, going as far as you can, riding back down and doing it again. I would suggest a front brake because coming down hills requires a complete change in technique and you don't want to build that particular skill the hard way. One thing you'll actually find easier is riding the flats. The fixed gear actually becomes self propelling. Sure, your legs are always moving but it's sort of an active rest. You'll love that about fixed riding and you can't get that with a freewheel. There is a break in period getting used to riding a fixed gear but it's not excessive and you'll be doing great in no time. Do this - whatever a normal commute or run for you is do that on a geared bike while paying attention to your general feelings of output, stress, etc. and make sure to annotate the time it took to do the run. Then, do the same run on a fixed gear bike. Ride the fixed gear bike exclusively for 2 weeks. Do the same run over checking the same things - general output, stress, etc. and then look at your watch. I think you'll find your general feeling of output is actually down a bit and much to your surprise you will have completed the run faster. Really. No bull. Just try. Then, to congratulate yourself stop by your local coffee shop and instead of coming to a complete stop and getting off the bike just slow down and in a sort of combination move let your hands off the bar and lock up the leg on the downstroke so when it rotates around the locked leg will sort of eject you off the back of the bike. Once your foot hits the groud reach out and grab the saddle to grab the bike. Act like you do it all the time. You'll be hooked!
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Old 06-15-09, 08:15 PM   #5
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Thanks, OFG.

I'll give it a shot! Brakes, for sure!

Also, I might just take your post, transcribe it onto my top tube and read it for fuel.

Your enthusiasm is contagious.
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Old 06-15-09, 08:58 PM   #6
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Go Go,

If you directly inscribe more than 25% of the post a minor copyright fee will apply. Payment will be made by promising to openly wave and smile at other cyclists of all types. Feel free to wave in any manner from a big, dorky "I'm over here" wave to a quick, finger point "You 'da man" type wave. No need to be concerned if they wave back. After all, it's payment.
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Old 06-15-09, 09:02 PM   #7
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...reconsidering
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Old 06-15-09, 09:03 PM   #8
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Thanks, OFG.

I'll give it a shot!
Man, you are gonna have a great time. I read an article somewhere in which the publication's editors and columnists were discussing the things they would like to experience again for the first time--i.e. OK Computer for the first time, The Wire for the first time, etc etc. In any case, I was pondering, and it occurred to me that riding fixed for the first time was really pretty spectacular.
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Old 06-15-09, 09:11 PM   #9
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Lol
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Old 06-15-09, 09:20 PM   #10
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You all have me convinced.

I just need to find the right rig.

Every bike decision for me is a challenge. I ride dozens of bikes and make an educated, component conscious, fit-based decision.

Is this the right approach to take with FG/SS frames too, or are these frames (as so many say about the $700 price range) all the same?
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Old 06-15-09, 09:33 PM   #11
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hi and welcome to the world of fixed gear riding. fixed gear bikes are really only torture if you're riding hard into the wind but this obviously will make you stronger anyway. I live in a very windy area and I still prefer riding my fixed (about $500) than my scandium, campy record equipped, fancy ass race bike (like $5000). Even hill climbing is not bad as long as you run a moderate gear ratio, mine is 48-18. As for bike suggestions, it all depends on what you're willing to spend, but I would like to put a word in for the Raleigh Rush Hour. Mine is a 2006 and was about $500 but now they completely redid it with a better looking frame, higher quality components, and I'm sure its even better than my old one. it sells for about 700 now i believe. also the bianchi pista is a good one, very similar to the rush hour in quality.
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Old 06-15-09, 09:38 PM   #12
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Rush Hour is mos def on the radar along with a Steamroller and Lager - riding both of those tomorrow.

I want something unique too...i'll probably lose the oem bars, stem and pedals before it rolls out the door.

have a nice set of carbon SPD SL shoes...I always ride clipless...is that going to be a mistake?
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Old 06-15-09, 10:37 PM   #13
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no, clipless is much better than toe clips imo
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Old 06-15-09, 10:45 PM   #14
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Old 06-15-09, 11:42 PM   #15
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it really would depend on the terrain i think. riding my fixed gear down here at the beach is absolutely awesome...but i totally avoid hills of any sort.
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Old 06-16-09, 01:43 AM   #16
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gear down spin up
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Old 06-16-09, 05:49 AM   #17
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Thanks, Handsome.

thoughts on gear ratio? I don't mind spinning out occasionally while I "strong up."
I'd shoot for about 70 gear inches. I ride 48x18 or 48x16 and that works well for me.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/
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Old 06-16-09, 07:39 AM   #18
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Dude! You are a noob too? Me too! What a coincidence!

46x17 with 165mm crank. This is about 70 GI. I like this because it has 17 skid spots on the tire. Perfect for skid practicing.

I am thinking about 46x19, now. I am operating 100% in city centers and I can't do traffic beating very well. I usually chicken out and stop for traffics.
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Old 06-16-09, 07:17 PM   #19
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Perfect for skid practicing.
See, therein lies the rub.

I break easy. Arms, shoulder, teeth...all busted at some point.

My breaking technique (biking, not bones) is super solid, so, between that and the Mr. Glass bit, I'm not really interested in learning to skid.

Is that gear ratio still going to apply?
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Old 06-16-09, 09:03 PM   #20
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If you aren't going to skid at all, you can probably pick whatever rear sprocket you can get a hand on.

Kinda shame. But them you get to use tubular tires! I'd like that.
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