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  1. #1
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    Anyone raced a Criterium with Single Speed?

    So I'm thinking of getting into road racing, but don't have a road bike and don't want to drop a lot of money on one until I know I like it. The USA Cycling rules say that you must have two brakes and a free wheel. So, has anyone tried this? I don't mind coming in last, I just don't want to look like a total ****** out there (althought I will race Cat 4/5 so I'm sure that won't matter).

    I live in Milwaukee, so most of the crits in this Area are generally flat, not like I can't handle hills--I ride my fixed gear all over the place.

  2. #2
    Comanche Racing PedallingATX's Avatar
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    Depends on the course, but odds are you will get slaughtered on a SS. The ones I race are typically very curvy, which requires lots of shifting as you slow down significantly and stop pedaling through the turns.

    Don't get cocky about the races being cat 4/5 either, they are still plenty fast. Our cat 4/5 race usually averages like 24mph, which is pretty high considering how much we slow down for turns.

    I would just wait and get the proper bike. If you want to do the whole roadie thing, you can do it on a SS. My friends and I have all done pretty fast group rides on our FG/SS bikes, but racing is different. It costs money and it's called a race for a reason...there's not really much of a point in showing up if you know you're gonna fall off the back, IMO.
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    Yeah, that's what I figured. On the one hand I want to try it out, but on the other hand looking like a fool doesn't appeal to me either. Would you say the same thing applies for time trials? I can actually use my fixed gear in that and I could probably get up to 24mph for a 20km TT coming up in July.

    I should just shell out for an entry level road bike and try it out. Even if I don't like racing, its not like I won't get use out of it.

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    Comanche Racing PedallingATX's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about TTs b/c I've never ridden one, but I do know a few friends who do triathlons on their FG bikes (one of my riding buddies got 3rd in his age group on a pista). Anyways, I think TTs are kind of similar to the bike portion of a triathlon, so that might be a better option. At least those are mainly flat and you're not riding in a tight pack that forces you to brake and accelerate suddenly.

    Crit racing is fun as hell (dangerous, but fun). I would recommend pursuing it whenever you do get the proper bike. I would say borrow one from a friend, but there is a chance you will lay it down, and it would suck to have to buy someone a new Cervelo/Scott/Orbea frame or w/e.
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    The problem with a single speed is that you can really only comfortably cover about a 15 mph range from fastest sprint to slowest mash with your gearing. You get to pick whether you mash on the hills or start bouncing on the sprints and downhills.
    Last edited by Dan The Man; 06-04-10 at 09:13 AM.

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    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    I would not want to be stuck in one gear for these. There is a big accordion effect in Cat 5 and shifting correctly can help you avoid burning up from surge after surge on every corner.
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    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    The problem with a single speed is that you can really only comfortably cover about a 15 mph range with your gearing. You get to pick whether you mash on the hills or start bouncing on the sprints and downhills.
    He's talking bout crits, there are no hills. It sounds like you're thinking of fixed gear, and your poor experience with it.
    Last edited by hairnet; 06-04-10 at 09:16 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
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    Comanche Racing PedallingATX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
    He's talking bout crits, there are no hills. It sounds like you're thinking of fixed gear, and your poor experience with it.
    Our courses have some hills. Not big or anything, but some steep, quick little sprint hills. I guess that's not typical, though.
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    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    The issue is not just hills or sharp turns with slowing down and speeding up, but also wind. There is a Wednesday nite training crit where I live that is held on a flat course with no sharp turns, that is basically run at full speed throughout the course with no braking. However, on the headwind side of the course we rarely get over 20 mph, but on the tailwind side we can exceed 40 mph. So, again, having just one gear would be a severe disadvantage. The same would apply to TT's.
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    Thanks for the replies. Considering its June, I should probably just start training on my fixed gear, buy a road bike over the winter and consider racing next season. I am just left unfulfilled with my commuting and the minimal amounts of alleycats that go on in Milwaukee. Not to mention I am now married and in Grad school so its hard for me to hang out with all the young hipster fixie kids and drink PBR to 2am every morning--not that I DON'T do that...from time to time

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    Senior Member bidaci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinylisbest View Post
    Yeah, that's what I figured. On the one hand I want to try it out, but on the other hand looking like a fool doesn't appeal to me either. Would you say the same thing applies for time trials? I can actually use my fixed gear in that and I could probably get up to 24mph for a 20km TT coming up in July.
    Here is a link to a local TT's course records.

    http://nebc.us/cbtt/course-records/

    You can see that the fg/ss are slower then a full out tt bke, but if it is in a specific category then that is where you would be grouped. The difference in records is about 1.5 mph slower Aero and about 1/4 mph faster in non-aero.

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    The bus, Gus mrvile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    The issue is not just hills or sharp turns with slowing down and speeding up, but also wind. There is a Wednesday nite training crit where I live that is held on a flat course with no sharp turns, that is basically run at full speed throughout the course with no braking. However, on the headwind side of the course we rarely get over 20 mph, but on the tailwind side we can exceed 40 mph. So, again, having just one gear would be a severe disadvantage. The same would apply to TT's.
    This.

    One could assume that SS/FG would work better for TT's, but really only in the most ideal settings (flat, no wind). The point to riding a TT strategically isn't to maintain a specific speed (which is mindless on SS/FG), but a specific power level (which is almost impossible on SS/FG). You would get crushed riding into the wind, and on the way back, there would be almost no way of taking advantage of the tailwind. Same applies to grades.

    If you want to race, stick to the track.

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    I've been curious about the same thing, so it's good to find this thread. Pending my purchase of a proper (used) road bike, however, I'm curious about gearing generally. For instance, on a flat course, assuming that winds aren't as severe as TT describes above, do you ever come off the big ring?

  14. #14
    Foward Leaning Attitude rithem's Avatar
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    TIM MITCHELL IS A BEAST I rode the "ride to clouds" with him and few other 2 winters ago thread hijack soryy

    Quote Originally Posted by bidaci View Post
    Here is a link to a local TT's course records.

    http://nebc.us/cbtt/course-records/

    You can see that the fg/ss are slower then a full out tt bke, but if it is in a specific category then that is where you would be grouped. The difference in records is about 1.5 mph slower Aero and about 1/4 mph faster in non-aero.

    Go have fun!

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    Foward Leaning Attitude rithem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudypyatt View Post
    I've been curious about the same thing, so it's good to find this thread. Pending my purchase of a proper (used) road bike, however, I'm curious about gearing generally. For instance, on a flat course, assuming that winds aren't as severe as TT describes above, do you ever come off the big ring?
    Depends on the course. for a flatish crit you'd be lucky to need anything more than 11-21 straight block cassette and your 53T

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    There's a couple guys that do crits locally in my area and they do fine on ss. You have to ride differently, of course, but it can be done and you can do well. You just have to find the right gearing and just like everyone else, train a lot.

  17. #17
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Aren't there SS/Fixed divisions for crits now?
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    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rithem View Post
    Depends on the course. for a flatish crit you'd be lucky to need anything more than 11-21 straight block cassette and your 53T

    So you will only need a 66-126 gear inch range?

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  19. #19
    Senior Member Spoonrobot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaytron View Post
    Aren't there SS/Fixed divisions for crits now?
    Sanctioned by USAC? I think it's becoming much more popular for unsanctioned street races but I can't find/haven't seen anything about any USAC santioned fixed road racing.

  20. #20
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
    Sanctioned by USAC? I think it's becoming much more popular for unsanctioned street races but I can't find/haven't seen anything about any USAC santioned fixed road racing.
    I dunno. Hahaha

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  21. #21
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    There are few races around here I could probably do with a single speed, but only to hang with the group. I don't know if I'd be able to place well, though. It certainly would be a good test of bikemanship, though.
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    There is no rule against racing USCF crits with a ss. People do it, as well as my local training ride where we hit 30+mph.

  23. #23
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    there are some regular crit series in socal that are totally ss-able. there was some wolfpack hustle young gun out there in the 4/5s this year and he seemed to do just fine, i.e. he wasn't getting dropped.

    i say pick a gear that is commonly used in mass-start track racing (like 50-15) or something slightly lower and do it!
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  24. #24
    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Can/has been done.

    As Caloso said, it would take one hell of a rider to pull it off effectively, though.

    If you're trying to break into racing, save up for a decent road bike and go that route. You will probably have a much better time - stack the deck in your favor, not against it

    Or just give it a try and report back!
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

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