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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 12-29-04, 06:30 PM   #1
baca
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Need Advice for Emergency Stopping

I just purchased my first new track bike(2005 Bianchi Pista with clipless pedals). It has a flip-flop rear hub. I put on a front dual pivot brake(the rear brake bridge is not drilled to accept a rear brake). One side of the rear wheel is fixed with a 13t cog w/lockring. The other side has a 15t AC Racing single speed freewheel.

In order to attempt to stop my bike without the use of my brake, I tried resting my shoe bottom on my rear tire jamming it into my seat stays. I slowed down significantly but certainly not as well as when I apply my brake or if I bunny hop the rear wheel while in 'fixed' mode.

How do I perform an emergency stop if my front brake cable snaps and I'm in 'freewheel' mode?

Thanks,

Ben
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Old 12-29-04, 07:07 PM   #2
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Freewheel bikes should have two brakes in the event something happen to the primary brake. Fixed gear bikes only need a single brake (though there are many who ride them with no brakes) since you can stop by applying back pressure in the event of a brake failure.

Since you cannot add a rear brake, you should ride this frame with a fixed gear only.
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Old 12-29-04, 07:28 PM   #3
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Drill that rear brace & add a rear brake. If you aren't up to it, your local bike shop will do it for a price. Don
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Old 12-29-04, 08:31 PM   #4
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Get rid of the freewheel mode? There's also grabbing the front wheel in front of the fork if you're wearing (preferably leather) gloves. Oh, and the hop off the bike because it's not worth as much as your skull...
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Old 12-29-04, 08:59 PM   #5
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When using that method, I always look for a stone or brick wall.
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Old 12-30-04, 12:01 AM   #6
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Well, I guess they found you. All probably good advice, but see what I mean?

My advice? Inspect your brake cable frequently for broken strands of cable, replace at the first sign of wear.
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Old 12-30-04, 07:30 AM   #7
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first: go b!tch slap whoever sold you that bike for not telling you it isn't exactly safe to ride with a freewheel and front brake only....

if your not thinking of putting on a rear brake i'd really consider keeping it fixed, and learning to ride out of the way of traffic for a little while!

i am guessing this is your first bike? welcome to the club (your on the learn hard and fast plan with that bike )
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Old 12-30-04, 05:22 PM   #8
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Lets just keep this clean. Newbies have questions too and not everyone appreciates a smart ass ...

Lets not go all unix administrator on him.

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Old 12-30-04, 05:29 PM   #9
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I was about to tell you to try a bmx technique of jamming your foot in the fork to stop the front wheel. But I don't think that would work with clipless.

Personally I would try a power slider, but then again I am never on the road so the only I risk hitting is a tree, not a car. Washing out the rear tire works really well on dirt.
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Old 12-30-04, 05:33 PM   #10
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Lets not go all unix administrator on him.

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Ha! I'm using that on my geek friend the next time they break out their computers for online gaming at parties. Thanks!

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Old 12-30-04, 05:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baca

How do I perform an emergency stop if my front brake cable snaps and I'm in 'freewheel' mode?
Brake cables rarely snap. Replace them once a year and you should never have it happen. But if it does, hit the eject button...
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Old 12-30-04, 07:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Lets not go all unix administrator on him.
hahaha! i'm pulling that one out at work on Monday!

...and to the poster: which do you want to ride -- fixed or free?
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Old 12-30-04, 07:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamkell
hahaha! i'm pulling that one out at work on Monday!

...and to the poster: which do you want to ride -- fixed or free?
Uhh... he has a flip flop hub, so he can flip/flop on important issues such as do I ride fixed or free..
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Old 12-30-04, 08:05 PM   #14
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A coaster hub will solve all his problems.

What? Stop looking at me like that. I'm serious!
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Old 12-30-04, 08:24 PM   #15
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I ride free during the winter months and fixed the rest of the year
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Old 12-30-04, 08:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baca
I ride free during the winter months and fixed the rest of the year
Why? I've found that I have a lot better contol on ice with a fix than I do with free. It could just be all in my head, since I haven't ridden a freewheel in a few years...
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Old 12-30-04, 09:03 PM   #17
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I just built up a ss freewheel MTB when the snow gets deep. Rode it the other day to work and I felt like half of the biking experience was missing.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supcom
Freewheel bikes should have two brakes in the event something happen to the primary brake. Fixed gear bikes only need a single brake (though there are many who ride them with no brakes) since you can stop by applying back pressure in the event of a brake failure.

Since you cannot add a rear brake, you should ride this frame with a fixed gear only.

Yea, listen to this person.
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Old 12-30-04, 11:06 PM   #19
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i understand why a singlespeed should have a front and rear brake but i ride my single speed with only a front brake and i've never had a problem. something happened to my rear brake and that led me to only have the front brake for a bit and i just got used to it and have kept it like that since. i'm not suggesting this as a solution.
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Old 12-31-04, 08:27 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by HereNT
Why? I've found that I have a lot better contol on ice with a fix than I do with free. It could just be all in my head, since I haven't ridden a freewheel in a few years...

I don't think it is in your head... it is like the difference between using a stick vs. an automatic in a car- no matter what, when you ride fixed, your wheels are always under power.
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Old 12-31-04, 11:15 AM   #21
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I had this arguement with Sheldon Brown. Even if you have a perfect pedal stoke, you will still move imperceptibly from side to side while pedaling. This isn't true while coasting. As soon as you move the bars or lean sideways, you're setting yourself up for a fall.

Coasting over ice patches instead of pedaling is safer. You have more motion control when you coast over an ice patch than when you're forced to pedal. If you brake over an ice patch, you're just as bad-off.
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Old 12-31-04, 11:36 AM   #22
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What was Sheldon's take on it?

You are moving when you pedal, but you can also correct any slide using that motion instead of using brakes. You can also slow down on the ice without touching the brakes.

Maybe the constant pedaling causes more little slips, but I'd rather have small slips that I can correct. I didn't go down once last year, and the last half of the winter was brakeless. So far it's looking good this year, but I've only had to ride on glare ice twice.
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Old 12-31-04, 11:46 AM   #23
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It all comes down to the person. A manual transmission provides greater control to those adept at driving a manual. I know I wanted nothing less (or more) when driving on snow and ice. On the other hand, if you take the average auto driver and throw them behind the wheel of a manual, I doubt they'll have more control. Almost certainly the opposite.

The same is true of a fixed gear.

As for fixed on ice, baca, you're making the assumption that the changing weight distribution is more detrimental than the loss of positive engagement with the road surface both forward and backwards. I know of no proof or disproof of this though I do know personally that I don't find it adversly impacts my riding.

As for the brake failure thing, I wouldn't sweat it too much. Not everything has a fail-safe backup. What do you do when your front tire blows out at speed? Have you figured out how you'll unclip and dismount in time to catch yourself? What if your wheel collapses? And so on. I would however be more concerned about no control over the back end when braking. I know people do run SS with just a front and that may be good most of the time, but I also know that I frequently use two wheel control in order to effectively scrub speed while maneuvering.

-Trevor, who freewheeled over some ice last night only to throw the rear into a 180 degree slide at the end (but seated and upright the whole time--I love winter!)
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Old 12-31-04, 11:56 AM   #24
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Still one of my favorite threads
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Old 12-31-04, 12:35 PM   #25
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I've got the same bike (an '02) and I took the freewheel off, I used it so seldom. I think that, once you get the hang of riding fixed, you'll find using the freewheel boring. You'll discover that you can climb any hill you'll find in Philly (I grew up in Bucks County) fixed. If you've got a 48 tooth chainring, you might want to consider a larger cog. You can save the 13 for race day.
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