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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 12-10-09, 06:12 PM   #1
Andy_K 
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Do you really like fixed gear bikes?

I was just reading the "Should I Buy This Frame?" thread, which is just the latest of many threads I've seen here where there was a large contingent of people expressing the sentiment that really nice frames should be built up with gears. This puzzles me.

Allow me to opine....

It seems to me that there are several possible reasons that a person would want a fixed gear bike:

1. You want a bike for track racing
2. You want a cheap bike
3. You want a simple bike
4. You want a low maintenance bike
5. You want to do tricks
6. You think fixed gear bikes are fun to ride
7. You think it will make a good project to learn basic mechanical skills
8. You want to improve your pedaling form
9. You want to work on your spinning and/or mashing abilities
10. You've heard that a lot of people like them and want to try it to see what the appeal is

I'm sure there are other reasons, but those were the ones I could think of off the top of my head.

Now assuming you more or less accept this list, it seems to me that if a person wants a fixed gear bike because of some combination of 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 (and arguably even 7), there is no reason that any frame with horizontal dropouts should be deemed as "too nice" to build up as a fixed gear bike.

In my mind, the only difference between a bike "designed to be a fixed gear bike" and a bike that was designed to be a road bike but has horizontal dropouts is geometry, and in many of the cases I listed above road geometry is desirable.

So what's the deal?
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Old 12-10-09, 06:17 PM   #2
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Don't get me wrong here, I don't care what you do with your frame (although I always recommend against hacking off cable stops because after a few months when you're not a moron, you might regret having made your bike less functional) but it's worth keeping in mind that a geared road bike is always going to be faster, climb better, descend better, sprint better and generally be better given two identical frames, one set up fixed, one set up geared. So if you have a truly beautiful bike that is going to handle buttery smooth and feel all lively and such, you'll get more out of it by making it into a geared bike.

Now again, I don't care either way, but to me the logic makes sense if you really want to get into it. Fixed gears are less good from a purely performance perspective.
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Old 12-10-09, 06:18 PM   #3
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Old 12-10-09, 06:49 PM   #4
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Don't get me wrong here, I don't care what you do with your frame (although I always recommend against hacking off cable stops because after a few months when you're not a moron, you might regret having made your bike less functional) but it's worth keeping in mind that a geared road bike is always going to be faster, climb better, descend better, sprint better and generally be better given two identical frames, one set up fixed, one set up geared. So if you have a truly beautiful bike that is going to handle buttery smooth and feel all lively and such, you'll get more out of it by making it into a geared bike.
Sure, but it seems awfully presumptuous to assume that an early 80's Colnago, for instance, is going to be the nicest road bike a given person owns. Say, for instance, I've got a 2010 Trek Madone, and I want to build up a fixed gear bike for training purpose. Will I be better off building up a Surly Steamroller or the 80's Colnago?

I definitely agree about not hacking things off, though.
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Old 12-10-09, 06:51 PM   #5
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as long as people are riding bikes...ya know
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Old 12-10-09, 06:56 PM   #6
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Don't get me wrong here, I don't care what you do with your frame (although I always recommend against hacking off cable stops because after a few months when you're not a moron, you might regret having made your bike less functional) but it's worth keeping in mind that a geared road bike is always going to be faster, climb better, descend better, sprint better and generally be better given two identical frames, one set up fixed, one set up geared. So if you have a truly beautiful bike that is going to handle buttery smooth and feel all lively and such, you'll get more out of it by making it into a geared bike.

Now again, I don't care either way, but to me the logic makes sense if you really want to get into it. Fixed gears are less good from a purely performance perspective.
Homie's right. As somebody with a pretty good conversion and a couple nice geared road bikes, I have to say that if a frame is really nice, I'd like to see it achieve its full potential by being fast as possible with gears. I mean, if somebody's posting about a frame they're thinking about buying in the fixed forum, it doesn't make much sense to say "GET GEARS!" since they're probably thinking fixed anyway, but it's what I'd be thinking. The thing is, a nice frame is good to ride for many miles at a time, and gears make that a lot easier. If you're buying a nice frame to ride in the city (theft-bait, IMO), then fixed makes sense, I guess. I love riding fixed because it's fun, but it's also nice because a fixie makes a great beater/utility bike. I'd hate to see an old De Rosa, Colnago, or Pinarello turned into a beater. Might as well gear it up and do centuries on it, right?
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Old 12-10-09, 07:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I was just reading the "Should I Buy This Frame?" thread, which is just the latest of many threads I've seen here where there was a large contingent of people expressing the sentiment that really nice frames should be built up with gears. This puzzles me.

Allow me to opine....

It seems to me that there are several possible reasons that a person would want a fixed gear bike:

1. You want a bike for track racing
2. You want a cheap bike
3. You want a simple bike
4. You want a low maintenance bike
5. You want to do tricks
6. You think fixed gear bikes are fun to ride
7. You think it will make a good project to learn basic mechanical skills
8. You want to improve your pedaling form
9. You want to work on your spinning and/or mashing abilities
10. You've heard that a lot of people like them and want to try it to see what the appeal is

I'm sure there are other reasons, but those were the ones I could think of off the top of my head.

Now assuming you more or less accept this list, it seems to me that if a person wants a fixed gear bike because of some combination of 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 (and arguably even 7), there is no reason that any frame with horizontal dropouts should be deemed as "too nice" to build up as a fixed gear bike.

In my mind, the only difference between a bike "designed to be a fixed gear bike" and a bike that was designed to be a road bike but has horizontal dropouts is geometry, and in many of the cases I listed above road geometry is desirable.

So what's the deal?
this is funny. i read through your list twice (before reading anything else you typed), selected 4, 6,8, and 9 as the numbers that fit me. then read on further an realized YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT ME!!

i ride a aluminum road bike with vertical dropputs.
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Old 12-10-09, 07:10 PM   #8
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11. Sheldon Brown.

^my reason.
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Old 12-10-09, 07:20 PM   #9
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this is funny. i read through your list twice (before reading anything else you typed), selected 4, 6,8, and 9 as the numbers that fit me. then read on further an realized YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT ME!!
That is funny.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, maybe the Colnago (for instance) would be better in some abstract sense as a geared bike, but for $400, you're probably not going to find a better frame for fixed gear road riding. If you had posted an old mid-level Schwinn, there would have been a whole bunch of people (hopefully different people) telling you that it wasn't worth converting.
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Old 12-10-09, 07:33 PM   #10
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That is funny.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, maybe the Colnago (for instance) would be better in some abstract sense as a geared bike, but for $400, you're probably not going to find a better frame for fixed gear road riding. If you had posted an old mid-level Schwinn, there would have been a whole bunch of people (hopefully different people) telling you that it wasn't worth converting.
i not the one buying the colnogo, i just fit in the same category.


i hope he gets that thing and builds it up as a ssfg with campy components.
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Old 12-10-09, 07:43 PM   #11
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I don't, I just wanted to be cool.
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Old 12-10-09, 07:52 PM   #12
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I do genuinely like fixed gear bikes. I also really like cats.
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Old 12-10-09, 08:20 PM   #13
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...which is just the latest of many threads I've seen here where there was a large contingent of people expressing the sentiment that really nice frames should be built up with gears. This puzzles me.
There are really nice frames that were meant to be used with derailleurs. I think it is the use of those really nice frames that people are talking about.

There are also really nice frames that were made with no consideration for the use of derailleurs, and it would be stupid to put derailleurs on them.

It's really not that puzzling.
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Old 12-10-09, 08:29 PM   #14
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There are really nice frames that were meant to be used with derailleurs. I think it is the use of those really nice frames that people are talking about.

There are also really nice frames that were made with no consideration for the use of derailleurs, and it would be stupid to put derailleurs on them.

It's really not that puzzling.
fixed gear frames dont always have "road bike geometry" witch can be nice for road riding...

i also find a lot of fixed gear frames overpriced. you can get 7000 series aluminum and Reynolds 853 road bike frames much cheaper than a fixed gear versions.
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Old 12-10-09, 08:40 PM   #15
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The OP is confusing, what is he trying to understand? Is this a search for a combination of reasons that equates "really like"?

allow me to add one more "reason" to the list:

0. because you want a fixed gear bicycle

this makes my "reason" for riding a fixed gear bicycle more "complete":

8-6-7-5-3-0-9-ee-ah-yee
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Old 12-10-09, 08:43 PM   #16
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most horizontal frames also come with braze-ons, etc for brakes, cables, whathaveyou. i don't like these things, and track-type frames made for the 'fixie crowd' don't have these things and tend to try to be as simple as possible.

clearly, with the last couple of threads, like the fgss people being mean, and this one too, that clearly this crowd is a little different than the others. we like design, we like hands-on, and we like our bikes.

i, personally, don't care as much about road bike vs. track bike, but i do like a comfortable bike that has the things i need, and leaves out the things i don't want. that's why i ride fgss, in addition to some of your points.
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Old 12-10-09, 09:22 PM   #17
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Old 12-10-09, 09:23 PM   #18
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I can't stand riding fixed gear bikes, but thats just for me, it doesn't bother me that others do like them as thats what cycling is all about, finding the type of bike you like and riding it. =0)
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Old 12-10-09, 10:48 PM   #19
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They are fun and low maintenance, great for a commuter bike. I would like to have a nice steel road frame, but I would not remove the cable guides

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Old 12-10-09, 10:59 PM   #20
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low... maintenance...?

proper chain slack is high maintenance compared to dealing with stretched cables.

It's just highly unattractive to steal compared to a geared bike.
no expensive shifters or derailers to steal, all the expensive stuff (frame and wheels) are locked together.
even if you do break through the lock, if you're not used to riding FG, especially ones equipped with clipless pedals and no brakes, you're in for one hell of a ride.
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Old 12-11-09, 01:08 AM   #21
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Why the hell should I care if my bike climbs better, or goes faster or any of that? All I know is that (sometimes) a fixed gear is more fun to ride. In fact, I think it's more fun to ride precisely because it climbs poorly, goes slower and requires a lot more out of you.

I live somewhere pretty darn flat, with no real variety in terrain for miles and miles. Cycling gets dull. Whenever I go elsewhere, get to ride up a few hills, maybe tackle a real trail or two, my passion gets renewed. Then, returning to my pancake of a home, I turn to fixed gears to make things a little more interesting. Yeah, it's not really a climb, but it's more fun going up those freeway overpasses on a fixed gear than on a geared bike. The path by my house isn't much to a mountain bike, but ride it on a fixed cross bike, and it's a challenge, and it's exciting.

So what if I'm slow, can't climb and all the other faults. I'm having more fun. I don't know about you, but that's why I bike.
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Old 12-11-09, 01:13 AM   #22
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my FG bike isn't much slower than my geared bike. Even going up hills. The only time it is noticeably slower is when i go down hills.

Also, what is the point of this thread? Of course i like riding FG.
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Old 12-11-09, 03:37 AM   #23
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Old 12-11-09, 06:43 AM   #24
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I dont think there is such a thing as a bike being too nice to be a singlespeed. There are a lot of handmade track bicycles or keirin frames that are really expensive and nice and are meant to be singlespeeds.
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Old 12-11-09, 06:46 AM   #25
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13. for the girls!
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