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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 04-26-11, 06:59 AM   #1
kjmillig
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Serious question: Why?

I don't ride a fixie/single speed and don't plan on it. Yet over the past few years there's been this growing group of folks who love them. Here in Taiwan a good number of jr. high through college age kids ride them, ususally with the seat nose and track bars tipped way down and weird configurations of one or more plastic rear fenders attached to the seat post. And I've seen a few foreigners riding them as well, configured more like what I would expect to see in the States.
So the question: Why? What draws people to them?
(I promise I'm not a troll. I really want to know)
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Old 04-26-11, 07:07 AM   #2
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Well i can't speak on the bars and seats tilted down like crazy ( I assume thats just to look "cool"). But I can speak as a new fixie rider. (as of yesterday actually). I finally decided to flip the hub on my Madison to the fixed side. Man what a night and day difference. its so relaxing and you really feel like the bike is an extension of you. If you don't expect to coast, it comes so natural. I found it easier than freewheel single speeding as it makes your pedal stroke a perfect circle, rather than pushing not 100% consistent, like a freewheel, which makes it more efficient with your legs. I went riding in the rain and you can feel exactly when it slips a little, so you can correct it right away instead of waiting till you're already leaning and falling. Yes, a lot of hipsters ride them because they're 'cool' and 'vintage' but they really are great bikes and are a blast. I don't have any plans to switch back to coasting. I would recommend you find one to try. I guarantee you'll want one afterwards, at least to tool around on.
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Old 04-26-11, 07:23 AM   #3
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So the question: Why? What draws people to them?
(I promise I'm not a troll. I really want to know)
Riding bikes is fun, and fixed gear is a different experience from riding with a freewheel.
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Old 04-26-11, 07:28 AM   #4
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Riding bikes is fun
This.

Why does there need to be a bigger reason?
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Old 04-26-11, 07:40 AM   #5
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Riding bikes is fun, and fixed gear is a different experience from riding with a freewheel.
I'd say closer to this. Earlier this year, I converted an old bike to fixed gear for the helluvit - I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I find that I like it, but I have not sold off all of my other bikes because of it. It is a different riding experience in that you have to pay more attention to when you're pedaling - you don't realise how often you actually coast (like going around a corner, or standing on the pedals to stretch or turning around to look behind you). Also, the fixed gear bike is quieter than my geared bikes - I never realised that tires make noise.

I understand that racers will train on fixed-gear bikes as the constant pedaling helps improve their stroke.

Now - all that said - I do not get that Zen feeling that some pontificate about; then again, I'm sort of a low-grade Buddist, so maybe the fixed gear Zen sort of blends in with the background Zen I already have going on.

Some also tout the simplicity of a fixed gear bike, and to that end, it's true: Less moving parts = less things to adjust, replace, maintain. Then again it's not like I'm spending multiple hours per week adjusting, replacing and maintaining my geared bikes so there's not a huge gain there.

As for the seat/handle bar thing, I'm going to guess that's a fashion statement more than anything. I cannot fathom what multiple rear fenders are for - one I can understand, but more than one escapes me.

Here's some words on the topic from The Man, Himself: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html

Last edited by RunningPirate; 04-26-11 at 07:43 AM. Reason: Added link to SB
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Old 04-26-11, 08:24 AM   #6
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Why not?
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Old 04-26-11, 08:40 AM   #7
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Believe it or not, a lot of people ride fixed because it's a unique and fun experience unlike riding a geared or even single speed bike. And I'm sure many people appreciate the simplicity of the bikes and the ability to easily tinker with and fine-tune it themselves. And I think you should take a look at the jackass thread if you think anyone here is defending some of the ridiculous "fixies" that are out there.
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Old 04-26-11, 08:43 AM   #8
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Old 04-26-11, 08:47 AM   #9
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It's kind of fun to see how many parts you can take off a bicycle and still get it to work...

Honestly though... it's just fun. The only time I've ever had more fun on a bicycle than on my fg was on a bmx bike with impending crash landing. Although I'm sure not many people would consider that fun either...
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Old 04-26-11, 08:51 AM   #10
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I'd say closer to this. Earlier this year, I converted an old bike to fixed gear for the helluvit - I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I find that I like it, but I have not sold off all of my other bikes because of it. It is a different riding experience in that you have to pay more attention to when you're pedaling - you don't realise how often you actually coast (like going around a corner, or standing on the pedals to stretch or turning around to look behind you). Also, the fixed gear bike is quieter than my geared bikes - I never realised that tires make noise.

I understand that racers will train on fixed-gear bikes as the constant pedaling helps improve their stroke.

Now - all that said - I do not get that Zen feeling that some pontificate about; then again, I'm sort of a low-grade Buddist, so maybe the fixed gear Zen sort of blends in with the background Zen I already have going on.
I think the "zen" moment was the moment you realized that tires make noise. Part of being zen is realizing and appreciating things that others normally miss.
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Old 04-26-11, 09:17 AM   #11
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Same reason I smoke cigarettes and buy organic.
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Old 04-26-11, 09:32 AM   #12
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i ride fixed in order to take sweet pictures of my awesome builds and post them on bike forums. then i walk my fixed gear to the coffee shop for mad street cred.
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Old 04-26-11, 10:03 AM   #13
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Old 04-26-11, 10:13 AM   #14
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because I can.
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Old 04-26-11, 10:35 AM   #15
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its so relaxing and you really feel like the bike is an extension of you. If you don't expect to coast, it comes so natural.
Good for you. I found quite the opposite. Nothing was natural. After riding bikes for 50 years, and mostly road and mtn bikes as an adult. automated riding habits are a permanent part of your nervous system. Nearly everything on the fixed gear was counter-intuitive to me, and requires a lot of concentration to start, stop, and remember to not try to coast. I'm approaching it as a personal challenge to test my physical and mental learning abiities.
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Old 04-26-11, 10:46 AM   #16
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"I found it easier than freewheel single speeding as it makes your pedal stroke a perfect circle, rather than pushing not 100% consistent, like a freewheel, which makes it more efficient with your legs."

This for me is a huge reason. With a freewheel bike, the stroke isn't perfectly round. Ovalized chainrings (Biopace anyone?) such as Rotor as used by the Cervelo test team are all attempts to improve the efficiency of a freewheel pedal stroke. With a fixed gear, the feeling on the legs is different and the resistance the legs feel is more even I think.

The only downside for me with fixed gear is going down steep hills. Oh boy, you really have to pay attention or road rash is waiting. There again, some riders like the thrill of danger so it suits adrenaline junkies.
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Old 04-26-11, 10:55 AM   #17
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Another reason why young people in your area might like it is that riding fixed gear is a part of a sub-culture much like skate boarders and BMX-ers. It is anti-establishment and counter-conventional. Riding fixed gear says, "I'm different." In truth, riding fixed gear is a throw back to the early days of bicycles when all bikes were fixed gear. So the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Between 1894-1895 (yup over 100 years ago), a remarkable woman called Annie Londonberry rode "around the world" on a 21 pound diamond frame fixed gear bike carrying a pearl handled revolver for protection. This was an incredible feat given the state of women's right and the bicycle's emergence as a vehicle for personal freedom. http://www.experienceplus.com/blog/?p=244

Simplicity and freedom.
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Old 04-26-11, 11:03 AM   #18
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Riding is fun no matter how you do it and for some riding fixed is more funner.
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Old 04-26-11, 11:21 AM   #19
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Same reason I smoke cigarettes and buy organic.
Because being a walking oxymoron costs a lot of money?
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Old 04-26-11, 11:22 AM   #20
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Because you like your cancers specific?
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Old 04-26-11, 11:36 AM   #21
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Use the damn search function. This question is asked at least once a month and a whole lengthy discussion is started from it. People ride bikes because its fun. If you're never going to try riding one then don't worry about what were doing. Or try riding one and see if you can jive, cat.

Also;

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Old 04-26-11, 12:21 PM   #22
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If you're never going to try riding one then don't worry about what were doing. Or try riding one and see if you can jive, cat.
My thoughts exactly. It's cool if you're curious but why bother inquiring if you have no interest? Like everyone is saying, it's fun and a different riding experience, try it!
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Old 04-26-11, 01:34 PM   #23
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[QUOTE=avner;12558740]Use the damn search function. This question is asked at least once a month and a whole lengthy discussion is started from it. People ride bikes because its fun. If you're never going to try riding one then don't worry about what were doing. Or try riding one and see if you can jive, cat.

Use the damn ignore function, hep cat.
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Old 04-26-11, 01:46 PM   #24
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This.
Wait, there are other females on the forum now?
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Old 04-26-11, 01:51 PM   #25
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Wait, there are other females on the forum now?
Represent!
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