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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 08-23-04, 08:30 PM   #1
g3ck0
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Posted in a classifieds ad, it says this about the Van Dessel Cycles Country Road Bob:

"It's set up for singlespeed but the wheel can be flip flopped and it can run fixed gear."

What's the difference between a fixed gear and single speed? I thought they were the same?

Also, can you convert a SS/fixed gear into multigear (by addind a hub in the back or something)..?
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Old 08-23-04, 08:31 PM   #2
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SS - coast
fixed - just try and coast
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Old 08-23-04, 08:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [165]
SS - coast
fixed - just try and coast
I'm sorry, can you elaborate a bit please? i'm a beginner..
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Old 08-23-04, 08:46 PM   #4
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fixed gear is the most direct of drive trains: if you apply pressure on the pedals to go forward, you will go forward. If you apply pressure to the pedals in a backwards motion - you will go backwards (considering you have the skill to maintain balance).
On a single speed, forward moves forward, but backward does not move you backwards. SS operates on a freewheel - much like a modern cassette set-up on geared bikes.

Not sure if I can make it any simpler than this
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Old 08-23-04, 08:49 PM   #5
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thanks, that makes a lot of sense now.

What does "flip-flopped" mean?

so are fixed gears better or single speeds?
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Old 08-23-04, 08:51 PM   #6
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flip-flop = one side for a freewheel, the other side accomodates fixed gear set-ups.
Quote:
so are fixed gears better or single speeds?
yes.
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Old 08-23-04, 08:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by '[165
If you apply pressure to the pedals in a backwards motion - you will go backwards (considering you have the skill to maintain balance).
I still haven't tried this, can anyone here ride backwards decently?
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Old 08-23-04, 08:56 PM   #8
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I can ride counter clockwise circles backwards, and if i am lucky, a figure eight or two backwards.

The way I learned, lower your seat, take off your pedals, and put on sneakers. Go find a slight incline, sit on the bike, and coast backwards with your feet dragging. After a few months of doing so, you should beable to keep your feet off the ground for more then two seconds. From there, its all cake!
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Old 08-23-04, 08:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [165]
yes.
thanks for the flip-flop info, but i ask you if fixed gears were better or single speeds?
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Old 08-23-04, 08:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Gardner
I can ride counter clockwise circles backwards, and if i am lucky, a figure eight or two backwards.

The way I learned, lower your seat, take off your pedals, and put on sneakers. Go find a slight incline, sit on the bike, and coast backwards with your feet dragging. After a few months of doing so, you should beable to keep your feet off the ground for more then two seconds. From there, its all cake!
interesting. was this a technique you were taught?
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Old 08-23-04, 09:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g3ck0
thanks for the flip-flop info, but i ask you if fixed gears were better or single speeds?
consider my answer the first rung on a ladder that leads you to self-discovery regarding the opinion of fixed vs. freewheel.
my answer stands: yes.
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Old 08-23-04, 09:02 PM   #12
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Nah, if i was taught I would have picked it up in a week or two, this was my own technique, but I have taught new riders to ride more or less the same way, lower seat, no pedals, just push the bike around and lift up your feet for fun short rides. Once they figure that out, its easy to get the rest.
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Old 08-23-04, 09:05 PM   #13
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and what would be the point of riding backwards?
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Old 08-23-04, 09:06 PM   #14
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the chics dig it.
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Old 08-23-04, 09:34 PM   #15
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Smooth...
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Old 08-23-04, 11:35 PM   #16
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nevermind... wrong thread
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Old 08-24-04, 01:02 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g3ck0
thanks for the flip-flop info, but i ask you if fixed gears were better or single speeds?
They're different. Each rider has a preference. Fixed originates from track bikes (think velodrome), single speeds are like the cruiser/bmx bikes we rode back in the day. Both are fun.
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Old 08-24-04, 04:38 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldskoolboarder
Fixed originates from track bikes (think velodrome)
fixed was the ORIGINAL gearing on bikes - velodrome or not.
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Old 08-24-04, 05:09 AM   #19
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Start out with SS and then go to fixed. Safer that way.
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Old 08-24-04, 08:06 AM   #20
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I got picky - you got stupid.
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Old 08-24-04, 08:06 AM   #21
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Actually, even before the pennyfarthings, weren't there bikes that were pretty much just two wheels with a board between them, and you could turn the front one? Or should we consider those scooters even though they were self propelled upright two wheel vehicles?
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Old 08-24-04, 08:11 AM   #22
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and before that, they were known as feet - the ULTIMATE DIRECT DRIVE
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Old 08-24-04, 08:17 AM   #23
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Well, yeah, you used your feet, but you were sitting on a bike and there were no gears or pedal.... I think that's what I meant. How the hell should I know?

My fingers are developing their own addictions. I just look out the window and they type then hit 'alt+s'.

I know little of what they do...
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Old 08-24-04, 08:20 AM   #24
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Keep looking out the window. You know the rules. This is the fingers talking. We are the voice of reason behind hereNT - he has nothing to do with any rational posts. If it's a dumb post like this one, it's not us. He actually read the last one, and thought about it and realized what was going on (to the extent that he can).

We will now go and pour him another Jameson so we can get back to typing on our own.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

We now resume your regularly scheduled thread.
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Old 08-24-04, 08:35 AM   #25
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I am going to take another stab at describing the difference.

As someone mentioned single speed generally refers to the types of bikes we all grew up with. You can stop pedaling and coast without your feet moving. If you had hand brakes, you could actually turn the pedals backwards with that click click click sound. If you had coaster brakes you would stop if you pedaled back, but you could still coast without moving your feet.

On a fixed gear the gear in the back is screwed tightly onto the axle with no freewheel mechanism. As someone mentioned if you pedal forward you go forward, if you pedal backward you can go backward. The main thing to keep in mind, and, to me, the most important implication to someone trying fixie for the first time, is that if the wheels are turning, the pedals and your feet on them, are turning. You cannot stop pedaling and coast. When you are coming to a stop you cannot coast. When you are starting off you can't just give a push on the pedals then pause as you settle onto the saddle. The first time I got on my fixed gear I gave a big push then stayed standing anticipating to coast for a second as I sat down. Doesn't happen. I almost got bucked off my steel bronco. So fixie riding has to be approached with a touch of respect.

Is fixed gear better? Each person have to figure that out. To me it gives a more direct feel to the cycling experience. You feel really connected to the bike, to the road, etc. It is kind of exhilarating. I alternate between a multi-geared bike and a fixie. Fixie is definitely fun.
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