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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 08-23-10, 02:12 AM   #1
happa95
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Fixed gear bike as first serious bike ever?

Hello, SS/FG forum. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I only really learned how to ride a bike this summer, completely unheard of for someone my age (I'm 15). Even though I can now ride a bike, I've really only been riding a couple blocks and haven't done any serious riding at all. Now, I have a few reasons for wanting to ride a fixed gear bike. First, I'm a cross country runner so I would like to get the biggest workout I can get on my bike. Also, I'm slightly short on funds ($500 at the most) and being a new rider, I'd like to get something cheaper at first. Lastly, fixed riding simply sounds like a lot of fun and I have several friends who I could ride with. However, here's the question I have for all of you: Would it be reasonable to buy a fixed gear bike as my first bike? Do you think it is too difficult for a beginner or better for a beginner because I haven't developed any habits yet?
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Old 08-23-10, 02:21 AM   #2
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Lots of complete bikes come as fixed gear/singlespeed. Meaning you can flip the wheel around to choose either, singlespeed for coasting. Don't feel bad, I know a 20year old that learned to ride like 2 weeks ago.

You can try bikesdirect.com for a budget friendly beginner bike.
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Old 08-23-10, 06:03 AM   #3
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The only really bad habit you might get is getting a bike geared too high and not learn to spin rather than mash when you pedal. Also, running a big gear at your age when you are still growing can be bad for your joints. So if you do choose to buy something like a bikesdirect bike, get a larger rear cog like an 18T or 19T, which will give you gearing around 70 gear inches or less. Make sure you have good foot retention and use at least a front brake.
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Old 08-23-10, 06:53 AM   #4
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The only really bad habit you might get is getting a bike geared too high and not learn to spin rather than mash when you pedal. Also, running a big gear at your age when you are still growing can be bad for your joints. So if you do choose to buy something like a bikesdirect bike, get a larger rear cog like an 18T or 19T, which will give you gearing around 70 gear inches or less. Make sure you have good foot retention and use at least a front brake.
+1 to this. Don't overgear - even 70 inches might be quite high for a complete newb who is still growing, and it's dirt cheap to change the cog for a higher gear as you get stronger and more used to it. And buy a bike that can flip from fixed to singlespeed, lke WoundedKnee suggested. if you're riding with friends on geared bikes, however good you get at spinning you'll find it impossible to keep up with them on significant downhills on fixed so you're sometimes going to find it useful to be able to coast. You'll blow them away on the uphills, though - after a while.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:03 AM   #5
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welcome to cycling kid and no there's nothing wrong with having a fixed gear as your first bike. Follow all the advice above and you'll be good to go
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Old 08-23-10, 10:25 AM   #6
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As has been suggested, look for a bike that has a flip-flop hub; i.e. the option to switch between fixed and singlespeed. That way, if you decide you don't like fixed, you can always switch to singlespeed, which allows coasting.

Bikesdirect has plenty of cheap options, although some of them do not come with either the fixed cog or the freewheel. If this is the case, you can easily buy and install your own, or ask your local bike shop (LBS) for help if needed.
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Old 08-23-10, 11:18 AM   #7
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oh please ride with a front brake
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Old 08-23-10, 11:18 AM   #8
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i would suggest getting an IRO complete.
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Old 08-23-10, 11:39 AM   #9
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i would suggest getting an IRO complete.
I second that with little or no qualification.

But I offer valid reasoning. You can get it set up how you need (18-19t cog, front brake, flip flop) from the shop and youre getting a VERY legit frame.
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Old 08-23-10, 02:04 PM   #10
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oh please ride with a front brake
I'd actually recommend two brakes, especially if OP wants a singlespeed option.
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Old 08-23-10, 02:07 PM   #11
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" First, I'm a cross country runner so I would like to get the biggest workout I can get on my bike"

Irrelevant, OP. Buy a heavy beach cruiser and ride it uphill for a great workout.
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Old 08-23-10, 02:13 PM   #12
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well, i would say singlespeed is more of a workout than a geared bike, and fixed gear more of a workout than singlespeed (mainly because backwards force is used to decrease speed, which also works opposite muscle groups in the legs)

my suggestion is getting the IRO complete with a front brake, fixed, and a 18 tooth back cog.
although learning to ride fixed can be a little tough at first, i think its worth it ;p

i would have gotten the IRO complete myself when shopping around for a fixed gear, but this was 2 months before the price drop to 400....(well, brake is 50 more....im not sure how much shipping is, but all in all it will come down to less than 500 and you will have an excellent bike for the cost)
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Old 08-23-10, 02:58 PM   #13
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Geez, the IRO sounds perfect and the price is great. The only thing I'm worried about is size. I'm short for my age (5'3") and I have shorter legs and a longer body. I'm kind of scared that the 50 cm frame will be too big.
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Old 08-23-10, 03:02 PM   #14
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you said you are 15....are you still growing i assume?
wellz, i would measure yourself accurately, and compare to the specs for the 50 cm....maybe even give IRO an email, i hear they have good/friendly/helpful customer service.
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Old 08-23-10, 04:09 PM   #15
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its fine.
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