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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 02-18-10, 04:57 AM   #1
arnuld
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A SS-rider vs a Geared-rider

I am using my FM for commuting and it is single speed (SS) . Earlier, like a normal Indian I was hell bent on buying a geared bike but then after finding forums like cyclechat.co.uk and singlespeed.net (came across bikeforums.net much later), I found this article that changed my view of SS forever. Now after riding for some time and still loving it all the time I keep on browsing the net for cycling related discussions and here I came across this post in singletracks.com forum that again have impacted me a lot. The post starts with SS vs Geared cycles but what I found was that its more of a rider comparison rather than the cycle type.

You guys have experiences like this to share ?
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Old 02-18-10, 05:08 AM   #2
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single speed (SS)

i'm so glad you live in India.
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Old 02-18-10, 05:41 AM   #3
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i think most of this idea that riding fixed makes you stronger is a load.

if you're riding in a flat area then it's fine. once you hit hills i don't think riding a single speed offers any sort of strength training advantage. hell, if you fell like mashing some big gear just shift to a big gear. all else being equal i think a bike with derailleurs is a faster bike that will give a better workout.

though i will say that riding fixed has gotten me used to constantly pedaling and given me a smoother spin for when i ride on my road bike. though i think riding on rollers has made that change even more drastic.

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Old 02-18-10, 07:21 AM   #4
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Simply check the average speeds of Tour de France riders before and after 1937. Keep in mind the pre-37 riders had flip-flop hubs and often two gears on each side of the hub.
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Old 02-18-10, 10:20 AM   #5
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i think most of this idea that riding fixed makes you stronger is a load.
I agree. It's always seemed to me that the people who ride the most are the fastest, whether SS or geared. I also think that they build different sorts of strength: Many very fast road riders try to stay aerobic as much a possible, while SS by necessity requires a good deal of anaerobic strength. For this reason, I don't think SS speed and geared speed are 100% transferable (having made the transition myself a few times.
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Old 02-18-10, 12:03 PM   #6
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i think most of this idea that riding fixed makes you stronger is a load.
+1
In fact, unless you're disciplined it creates bad pedaling habits.
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Old 02-18-10, 12:14 PM   #7
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In response to the OP, the article referred to mountain biking, where singlespeed riders tend to hold a higher pace in some areas due to their need to maintain momentum to keep from stopping due to being overgeared. If you're talking about the road, unless you're in a situation where you wouldn't need to do much shifting, a geared bike will destroy a SS virtually every time, all other things constant.

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Old 02-18-10, 12:17 PM   #8
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+1
In fact, unless you're disciplined it creates bad pedaling habits.
+1 to that. That's the reason I've started riding singlespeed full-time instead of fixed. I switched to singlespeed briefly to help with learning to use my clipless pedals, and I discovered some dead spots in my stroke that the forced motion of the cranks had hidden.
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Old 02-18-10, 12:19 PM   #9
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If the bikes and riders are equal a geared bike will outperform the mono-speed (fg/ss/coaster) as the gears maximize the efficiency of the rider over a wide variety of conditions.

Riding a mono-speed can help develop technique and build some strength as it will require more anaerobic output as there is no bail out... you just work harder.

If you are dedicated it will make you stronger... the old school of training would have had a cyclist ride 1000 miles on a fixed gear to help them develop a smooth pedal stroke and develop greater strength and endurance.
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Old 02-18-10, 01:03 PM   #10
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If you want to work on your pedalling technique, get some Power Cranks:

http://www.powercranks.com/videopage...diablofun.html
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Old 02-18-10, 01:18 PM   #11
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lol powercranks. that video was lulzy

still <3 rollers
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Old 02-18-10, 02:22 PM   #12
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What I've found is that riding SS is a different kind of workout than riding a geared bike. On a geared bike it is relatively easy to stay within a given range of cadence; your muscles and your mind get bored turning at the same speed all the time. On a SS I find my mind is more engaged in tactics and strategy- I more actively watch traffic and terrain and plan my maneuvers much more. When I got my SS, I was nursing a strained knee ligament. I suspect riding the varied cadence of the SS, not to mention that I had to ride out of the saddle at lot more, helped my knee recover. I think riding at a constant cadence was actually bad for my knee.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 02-18-10, 02:27 PM   #13
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What I've found is that riding SS is a different kind of workout than riding a geared bike. On a geared bike it is relatively easy to stay within a given range of cadence; your muscles and your mind get bored turning at the same speed all the time. On a SS I find my mind is more engaged .
+1
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Old 03-26-10, 07:46 AM   #14
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I ride geared and SS mountain. Geared is nice if the terrain is super variable, like if you have a 5mile dirt road leading up to a trailhead or you want to ride from your house to the trail or something.
When in the sticks though, most derailluers will become a disadvantage to your overall experience and fun-having time. Not having to deal with the shortcomings as well as the mental stresses of shifting will result in a more genuine experience as your mind will have nothing to dwell on bedsides how fast and awesome you're gonna snake down the singletrack and how sweet it will be to mash up that hill. RD's when exposed to big ol' puddles of mud and heavy beatings by jumps, rock gardens, or exposed roots, will typically clank around, ghost shift, lag the shift, yadda yadda.
There is an awesome compromise though; 1x drivetrains.
I don't have a 1x drivetrain but plenty of friends do. Run a single chainwheel in the front with maybe a chainguide then a cassette in the back, typically 1x9. Use a good, short-cage derailleur and you're set. You want a good short cage derailleur so you can keep the amount of slack to a bare minimum.
Completely avoid long cage derailleurs and cassettes with a wide range in gear sizes. THe largest change you really want is 2 teeth. Some cassettes have a bull**** 'mega range' or 'super drive'.... complete **** and will only screw you over on the trail.
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Old 03-27-10, 10:11 AM   #15
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this has been discussed before (not recently) and i'll sum it for for ya

#1: Maintenance - single speed has less **** to maintain and potentially break on ya. point 1 for SS

#2: Terrain - if your SS is geared for flats, much more difficult to mash up large hills, much less mountains (colorado); if it's geared for hills/mountains, you just spin spin spin on the flats and go nowhere. geared bike has more gears, allowing you to tackle more varied terrain more efficiently. point 1 for gears

#3: Shifting - SS doesn't. on geared bike, gotta think "do i shift now? down one? down two?" instead of "just pedal" doesn't seem to to be that big of a deal, but point 2 for SS

#4: Speed - geared bike, as mentioned above, with identical rider is always going to be faster, with the exception of a velodrome. point 2 for gears.

so it really just matters which of these 4 things are more important for you.
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Old 03-27-10, 10:17 AM   #16
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i think most of this idea that riding fixed makes you stronger is a load
No it isn't load it's a fact.
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Old 03-27-10, 11:42 AM   #17
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i think most of this idea that riding fixed makes you stronger is a load
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No it isn't load it's a fact.
aside from the ambiguity of what is "stronger," since most people equate "stronger" to "faster" and that's not necessarily the case...

riding fixed makes you a BETTER rider, provided you are riding fixed for the PURPOSE OF being a better rider. if you are riding a fixie with riser bars between your liberal arts school and the coffee house/indie punk venue with occasional 10-20mi fixie rides and claiming that riding fixed is making you stronger, that's a load. if you are in the off season and training to move from cat 4 to cat 3 come spring and out on a 50 mi fixed ride, then it's a fact.

either way, the OP didn't mention **** about fixed gear
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Old 03-27-10, 01:58 PM   #18
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+1
In fact, unless you're disciplined it creates bad pedaling habits.
For a long time I was pretty convinced that riding fixed would better my pedaling technique. However, more recently (especially after switching to clipless) I've noticed that you're absolutely right. A fixed drivetrain definitely smooths out the spin for you, instead of teaching you to smooth spin on your own. Clipless helps highlight some of my spin issues, but it's still difficult to force myself to power through the rotation constantly and way too easy just to let the bike do it for me. I've been working on it, but it'll take some time.

Ultimately, however, riding fixed is still the most fun, which is the only reason I ride fixed anymore. But riding for fun is my number one concern, so fixed always.
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