Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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)

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-22-10, 09:22 PM   #1
tiiger
Boots lost in transit
Thread Starter
 
tiiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Bikes: 1989 Ritchey Outback, 2014 All-City Macho Man Disc, 2016 Wilier GTS
Posts: 271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Rear brake on an FG: Why, or why not?

I've pretty much decided on a Steamroller... got a line on a nice used one (cream).

I haven't had a bike with drops for 20 years, and I was remembering how I like to ride: with my hands on the brake hoods. (Honey, where's my flame suit?!) Since the Steamroller has no rear brake, and in turn, no old-style brake levers, I'd need to add these parts.

Well, as luck would have it, I have the still-near-mint Ultegra 600 gruppo from my old Trek 660 (that I crashed after less than a week of riding), and thought... hmm... maybe I take the Ultegra levers and brakes and slap both front and rear on the Steamroller. (Assuming the calipers fit. If the calipers don't fit, then I could still use just the levers with the uninstalled stock rear brake.)

I plan on riding fixed, so general consensus is that you don't "need" the rear brake, but... would it be so wrong to do this? Is the reason to leave off the rear brake simply for style? or weight? or 'cause that's how we do things around here and you ask too many questions and go away? or what?

EDIT: IF THIS IS HALLOWED GROUND, AND AN ANNOYING SUBJECT, GO AHEAD AND CLOSE IT AND BANISH ME TO THE DUNGEON. I'M A NOOB HERE, BUT AM ALL TOO FAMILIAR WITH TABOO TOPICS. (GO ON THE MARTIN GUITAR FORUM AND SEARCH FOR THREADS ABOUT "WINGS.")

Last edited by tiiger; 04-22-10 at 09:27 PM.
tiiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-10, 09:31 PM   #2
TejanoTrackie 
Veteran Racer
 
TejanoTrackie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Ciudad de Vacas, Tejas
Bikes: 29 frames + 73 wheels
Posts: 10,233
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
There's nothing wrong with having a rear brake, it's just that it isn't really necessary with a fixed gear. However, a front brake is necessary for emergency hard stopping situations. I happen to ride with only a front brake on the road, and often go without using it for weeks, however, there have been situations when I've needed it to avoid an accident. In wet weather (slippery conditions), you only want to brake in the rear, but with a FG you can do that by backpedalling. Regardless, you still want both brake levers so you have the hood riding position, which is the one I use the most.

Last edited by TejanoTrackie; 04-22-10 at 09:40 PM.
TejanoTrackie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-10, 09:43 PM   #3
Raiden
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Central CA
Bikes: Fuji SST, Cotic Roadrat, Bianchi SASS, a bunch of others
Posts: 1,393
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Its fine, as long as you're not inclined to grab it in a panic-stop, or drag it in a fast turn. Your ability to maneuver and your balance can get screwed up because your feet get locked into place by the brake.
Raiden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-10, 09:46 PM   #4
sharpsandflatts
Senior Member
 
sharpsandflatts's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Bikes:
Posts: 247
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
you don't need a rear brake but if you want to put one one for symmetry or to use with your old hoods and levers, go for it. it certainly won't hurt you. having 2 breaks can be nice for really steep descents to alternate braking so as not to over heat your front rim. but if i remember correctly, minneapolis is pretty flat, no?
sharpsandflatts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-10, 09:48 PM   #5
Germanicus
Delusional Laserbrain
 
Germanicus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South Orange, NJ
Bikes: 2008 Specialized Tricross, 1993 Giant Iguana rebuild w/ singlespeed drive train
Posts: 405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you decide to forgo the rear brake, there are other solutions for your hands:

Cane creek makes a dummy hood to rest your hands on. It is made for the rear rider in a tandem bike.
http://www.canecreek.com/component-o...ct=ergo-stoker
&
Problem solvers offers a solution to allow two brake levers to operate just the front brake.
http://www.problemsolversbike.com/pd...doubler2_1.pdf
Germanicus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-10, 10:51 PM   #6
carleton
Elitist
 
carleton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Bikes:
Posts: 13,135
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 43 Post(s)
In all seriousness, how about just going Single Speed with it?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrob View Post
Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
carleton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-10, 11:09 PM   #7
tiiger
Boots lost in transit
Thread Starter
 
tiiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Bikes: 1989 Ritchey Outback, 2014 All-City Macho Man Disc, 2016 Wilier GTS
Posts: 271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpsandflatts View Post
if i remember correctly, minneapolis is pretty flat, no?
I'm in St. Paul, and you'd be surprised! We're near the Mississippi, and our office is very close to the river. My morning commute has a spot where I probably get going around 40 mph on the hill going down to my office.

(This is one of my hesitations about going with a fixed-gear bike... not so much the descent, especially with brakes; it's the going up that will be the real test.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by carleton View Post
In all seriousness, how about just going Single Speed with it?
Because of the above, maybe I will. I'd like to try it out as an FG first... see if it suits me. If not, SS it is. I just hear about so many people who say "tried the thing out with a freewheel for a time, and FG is just so much more fun..."

Nobody knows but me. (Or I will eventually...)
tiiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 01:26 AM   #8
milkcratebasket
poppawheelie
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Victoria / Gifu
Bikes: Panasonic, Super Cycle
Posts: 487
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've been riding my fixed gear with F/R breaks recently and its way better than 1 or 0. Way more stopping power. I think people underestimate the rear break in combination with the front break. I'd like to think it takes a lot stress off my forks as well.
milkcratebasket is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 01:34 AM   #9
hairnet
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Bikes:
Posts: 12,483
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 47 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Germanicus View Post
Cane creek makes a dummy hood to rest your hands on. It is made for the rear rider in a tandem bike.
http://www.canecreek.com/component-o...ct=ergo-stoker
Why bother with that? Just use your pair of regular of levers and connect one to the brake
hairnet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 06:08 AM   #10
robertv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 438
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
A rear brake on a fixie can be useful when touring. When you're bike is really loaded down and heavy and you're flying down a hill your feet and a front brake will still stop you, but it's a bit of effort. With a rear wheel that would be less effort. Also, when I toured on my steamroller I felt like I wasn't letting myself go as fast on the downhills because I wanted to stay in control, if I had a rear brake I probably would have done some of the descents much faster. On an unloaded bike I don't think a rear brake really adds much stopping power, because under normal circumstances you can provide more than enough rear braking power.
robertv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 09:40 AM   #11
lz4005
coasterbrakelockup
 
lz4005's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: parts unknown
Bikes: surly steamroller w/coaster brake, electra single speed cruiser, specialized rockhopper commuter, no-name single speed folder, 700c ultimate wheel, 24" unicycle, specialized bmx lsd, single seat single speed huffy tandem, pink upsidedown parade bike
Posts: 825
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you put a rear brake on a Steamroller, remember that you'll have to use zip ties or some other fastener to hold the cable to the frame.

You can put as many damn brakes on your bike as you want. Go nuts with it. Or just use a dummy hood so you'll have somewhere to put your hand.
lz4005 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 10:09 AM   #12
tiiger
Boots lost in transit
Thread Starter
 
tiiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Bikes: 1989 Ritchey Outback, 2014 All-City Macho Man Disc, 2016 Wilier GTS
Posts: 271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lz4005 View Post
If you put a rear brake on a Steamroller, remember that you'll have to use zip ties or some other fastener to hold the cable to the frame. .
way ahead of ya

req for images of add-on housing stops
tiiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 10:12 AM   #13
fly:yes/land:no
abandoning
 
fly:yes/land:no's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 2,068
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
Its fine, as long as you're not inclined to grab it in a panic-stop, or drag it in a fast turn. Your ability to maneuver and your balance can get screwed up because your feet get locked into place by the brake.
what does that mean?
fly:yes/land:no is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 10:44 AM   #14
Ken Cox
King of the Hipsters
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bend, Oregon
Bikes: Realm Cycles Custom
Posts: 2,129
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiiger
My morning commute has a spot where I probably get going around 40 mph on the hill going down to my office.

(This is one of my hesitations about going with a fixed-gear bike... not so much the descent, especially with brakes; it's the going up that will be the real test.)
Fixed gear riding on the street has its own joys.

Try forgetting about 40 mph descents and instead start thinking about controlling your speed with your pedals.

Gear way down to 61 gear inches (44 tooth chain ring and 19 tooth cog) and learn to spin.

Ride with a good front brake, but also try to not use the front brake.

As your skills improve, you might find that, even without the 40 mph descents, your commute time remains the same with a low geared fixed gear bike as with your geared road bike.
Ken Cox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 10:59 AM   #15
tiiger
Boots lost in transit
Thread Starter
 
tiiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Bikes: 1989 Ritchey Outback, 2014 All-City Macho Man Disc, 2016 Wilier GTS
Posts: 271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post
Fixed gear riding on the street has its own joys. Try forgetting about 40 mph descents and instead start thinking about controlling your speed with your pedals.
This is a good point... (I mention the 40 mph not because I seek thrills, but only to emphasize the nature of the downslope.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post
Ride with a good front brake...
What quality is the stock brakeset on the Steamroller? If the Ultegra brakeset fits, would you swap? (Even if just the front?)
tiiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 11:39 AM   #16
wearyourtruth
Ride for Life
 
wearyourtruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baltimore
Bikes:
Posts: 2,729
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i ride front and rear on one of my fixed gears. it's not necessary but it's nice.



the main reason people don't run brakes is that when the fixed gear boom first started, it was fueled by the desire for a clean, simple bike. no frills, no cables, no **** to break or clutter the lines of the bike. this lead to a lot of track bikes with no brakes hitting the street. as the fad grew, more and more people were finding that average joe (or even awesome experienced messenger) were having a lot of close calls and/or wrecks. the standard has now become a front brake, really because of necessity. between the front and back, the front provides more braking power, is "cleaner" in appearance, and easier to install (slightly). i am not sure the rear brake will ever catch on as common to see on fixed gears, but the only reason it isn't there is for looks. i know some bikes aren't drilled for a rear brake, but i would say that's for looks too. not that an un-drilled brake bridge looks "nicer" but it looks more "legit" as a "track" bike.
wearyourtruth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 11:46 AM   #17
preston811
Senior Member
 
preston811's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle
Bikes:
Posts: 424
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
this thread wouldn't be complete unless someone linked this:
http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

Cheers on Steamroller+Twin Cities, I have one myself and may be moving there soon..

Last edited by preston811; 04-23-10 at 11:49 AM.
preston811 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 11:56 AM   #18
dr. spectrum
Member
 
dr. spectrum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 33
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Riders like Phil Chadwick and Emily O'Brien have rolled 1200 km in 90 hours with a rear brake on a fix. Good enough for them, good enough for you or for anyone who wants to give you the evil eye over it. It might be a bit belt-and-suspenders but so what.
dr. spectrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 11:56 AM   #19
caloso
Packfodding 3
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper
Posts: 33,738
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Funny you should mention a Trek 660, because it makes for a damn fine conversion frame.



I rarely use the rear brake, but I have occasionally flipped the wheel to the free side and you want two brakes with a freewheel.
caloso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 11:58 AM   #20
roadfix
hello
 
roadfix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Bikes:
Posts: 18,566
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
I run both brakes on my long distance FG, especially helpful on very long descents. Your hand will tire very quickly from the constant braking when running just the front brake.
roadfix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 12:05 PM   #21
tiiger
Boots lost in transit
Thread Starter
 
tiiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Bikes: 1989 Ritchey Outback, 2014 All-City Macho Man Disc, 2016 Wilier GTS
Posts: 271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well that settles it, then. It's not a fashion show. Form follows function. Plus, I think the rear brake adds design symmetry.

Oh, wait, I don't have the bike yet. I guess I can make the decision after I actually get the durned thing.
tiiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 06:34 PM   #22
Raiden
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Central CA
Bikes: Fuji SST, Cotic Roadrat, Bianchi SASS, a bunch of others
Posts: 1,393
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fly:yes/land:no View Post
what does that mean?
Locking your brake means locking your wheel, and locking your wheel means locking your cranks. Having your cranks locked in one places make it more difficult to change your center of gravity.

Also, that kind of instantaneous resistance on your legs is probably bad for your legs in general.

I see the merits for touring, though, and I know a back brake on my FG saved me from at least one big collision.
Raiden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 07:25 PM   #23
Germanicus
Delusional Laserbrain
 
Germanicus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South Orange, NJ
Bikes: 2008 Specialized Tricross, 1993 Giant Iguana rebuild w/ singlespeed drive train
Posts: 405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
Why bother with that? Just use your pair of regular of levers and connect one to the brake
Which is why I included a link to that as well.

That is the way I would go.
Germanicus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-10, 07:52 PM   #24
fly:yes/land:no
abandoning
 
fly:yes/land:no's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 2,068
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
Locking your brake means locking your wheel, and locking your wheel means locking your cranks. Having your cranks locked in one places make it more difficult to change your center of gravity.

Also, that kind of instantaneous resistance on your legs is probably bad for your legs in general.

I see the merits for touring, though, and I know a back brake on my FG saved me from at least one big collision.
interesting take. i have never locked up my rear wheel on my standard bike, so i didn't think of it as a real danger.
fly:yes/land:no is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:43 PM.