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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 04-24-12, 07:43 PM   #1
djpfine
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Fixed for road training - what's holding me back?

I have a Specialized Tricross fixed gear that I use for commuting. However, I enjoy riding fixed so much, that I like taking my FG on my usual road rides. Only problem is that I am noticeably slower on the Tricross than I am on my road bike, and am not able to hang with my groups as easily. Is the Tricross frame capable enough for me to upgrade and add some speed, or should I go with something like a Wabi?

The Tricross is setup with fenders and 32c Vittoria Randonneur tires on Mavic Open Pros. Are the fenders and tires really holding me back that much? From searching the forums, it doesn't sound like switching from 32's to 25's will make a big difference in speed, contrary to what I thought. So then why am I so much slower? Is it frame design? Weight? Something else?

Wabis are fantastic bikes, and I hope to own one someday. But the Tricross seems to have some similar benefits: road/less aggressive geo, and a higher bottom bracket for cornering clearance. Is it that much heavier than a Wabi?

Obviously rider strength/ability is something I can work on, so I'm really just wondering if modifications to my Tricross would make i nearly as capable as a road training FG like the Wabi.
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Old 04-24-12, 07:55 PM   #2
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Gearing is important, your own level of fitness and said gearing are most likely what is holding you back the most. What are you using on the Tricross? There isn't anything special about riding fixed for road training. As you may know, in the past riders would often just swap out their rear wheel and ride the same bike fixed for the winter.

Fixed gear training is/was usually done with other fixed gear riders using similar gear ratios OR done solo. Trying to go on group rides with a bunch of geared riders probably won't work well if they're even a little bit competitive or doing any sort of structured training.
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Old 04-24-12, 08:09 PM   #3
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If you're riding in a group that is using a pace line, you're not going to be able to benefit from any shifting, which is where people are able to build up and surge in the pelethon.
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Old 04-24-12, 08:39 PM   #4
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tires/gearing make a big difference
gearing for obvious reasons, but recently i switced from a 28c to a 23c, and the resistance is so much less, try switching out the tires, it made a big difference for me personally, now im able to keep up better with my group, and i just switched the front too
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Old 04-24-12, 08:48 PM   #5
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Umm, just build a Powertap wheel.
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Old 04-24-12, 08:59 PM   #6
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lighter slick tires should help. Do you have it set up pretty upright compared to your road bike?
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Old 04-24-12, 09:10 PM   #7
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I thought the SS/FG would also help me train, all it did was condition me better at 76 GI. On occasion I'll find a group of roadies that are pacing themselves and I can push the SS to be competitive and stay with the group. But really being honest with myself, there are roadies of various levels of riding that anytime they want to pick their pace up, would make me a distant memory. By the same token the laggards in some of those groups might struggle to keep me close enough to make a run at an imaginary finish line.The road bike I have is an 86 Fuji Allegro, really a mid level touring bike for it's vintage, I can do better time with it vs the SS I have, but with today's road bikes, again there are cyclists that can make me know in short order that I'm not even competitive on the Fuji. The SS helped me ride all the bikes I have a little better and for that it served and continues to serve it's purpose. Having a selection and choice is just that for me. Depending how I feel about what style & time I'd like to ride that day. I've come to the conclusion that trying to make something keep up with faster riders & bikes won't happen. Whomever I ride with, I try to match the equipment, so we ride together without anyone being a liability for holding the rest back. Like working out at a gym, if your workout partner isn't close, you'll be swapping weights off the bar constantly.
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Old 04-24-12, 09:14 PM   #8
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[h=2]Fixed for road training - what's holding me back?[/h]

-The wind.
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Old 04-24-12, 11:55 PM   #9
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Good points. In fact, while my dream may be to take a FG on group rides, I'm really just looking for a fast fixed bike to take on longer, mostly solo, rides. On flats, it definitely feels like it takes more effort to maintain a given speed on my fixed vs. road bike.

It sounds like tires may actually make a difference. And since I'm always on pavement, I might try some slicks. Do fenders also significantly slow you down due to weight and wind resistance? I've got a set of full Planet Bikes on there.

Fit wise, it has a top tube 8mm longer, but the saddle-bar drop is pretty similar.

What about the Tricross vs. Wabi frames? Do I get any significant advantages with the Wabi, other than the nice feeling ride of steel.
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Old 04-24-12, 11:59 PM   #10
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I am just flat out slower on my fixed, I almost never ride it anymore.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:04 AM   #11
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Do you hit elevation while you ride with your club buddies?

You are not going to be able to keep up with the paceline surges with one gear ratio. You're better off riding with other people who are fixed, or RIDIN SOLO.

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Old 04-25-12, 12:21 AM   #12
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Damn it gigantor, I hate you. I just got this damn song out of my head.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:29 AM   #13
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As long as the course is flat, singlespeed or fixed will work in a pack.
Pacelining with a small group is no problem.
You just have to gear appropriate to the group, if you are doing pack rides.

Personally, I feel faster on fixed but maybe it's because I tend to want to stay in the 'sweet spot'.
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Old 04-25-12, 01:04 PM   #14
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Can anyone tell me more about the differences between the Tricross and Wabi frames? Do I get any advantages with one vs. the other?
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Old 04-25-12, 01:34 PM   #15
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I would be very surprised if there was any performance improvement to be had from switching from the Tricross to a Wabi frame. For most cycling situations gears provide a huge performance benefit. Is there a fixed version of the tricross or is this a conversion?
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Old 04-25-12, 01:38 PM   #16
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I've ridden on 28c randos (that is more like 26) for a year and changed to gator skins and I can say that it does make a difference. I'm not saying that this will be the thing that change your situation but it impacts on performance or at least perceived performance
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Old 04-25-12, 02:30 PM   #17
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1) Ride with the "B" group.

2) S3X hub:

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Old 04-25-12, 02:58 PM   #18
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I would be very surprised if there was any performance improvement to be had from switching from the Tricross to a Wabi frame. For most cycling situations gears provide a huge performance benefit. Is there a fixed version of the tricross or is this a conversion?
SSCX version of the Tricross that they no longer make: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=32208

Wabi geometry: http://www.wabicycles.com/special_frame_detail.html

Aside from wanting to try a steel bike, maybe I should fiddle around with some of the parts on my Tricross first...
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Old 04-25-12, 08:47 PM   #19
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I am just flat out slower on my fixed, I almost never ride it anymore.
I ride my SS more. just accept the fact I'll be on it 10 minutes more. It's pretty quick still and since the OP is going to ride his solo, he shouldn't really feel a difference too much for speed. That is I don't even though I'm slower & know it. The GI of the single speed still work my lungs and legs while still being fast enough. That leg & cardio work translate to riding every bike I have in better shape. ATB, SS & touring bike. The one bike that I see very little or feel no gain at all is the 20" bmx, probably because it's a neighborhood and trail bike that I'm standing up on regardless of where I ride it. My back usually fatigues before anything else and I wind up stopping and stretching. The bmx is slow, but I'm off road for the most part and that's going to be slow going anyway.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:02 PM   #20
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If you're running the stock 42/18, there's your problem right there. That looks to be around 63 gear inches, a good road ratio is 70+ gear inches.

You seem obsessed with frames. You need to get over that and understand the performance difference for road frames is not going to be that different especially if you're just comparing the Wabi and the Tricross.

Change your gearing to an appropriate road gearing, get some thinner/lighter tires and try that first. Frames aren't going to make a difference if your sitting there spinning your brains out with 63 g.i.
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Old 04-25-12, 10:33 PM   #21
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If you're running the stock 42/18, there's your problem right there. That looks to be around 63 gear inches, a good road ratio is 70+ gear inches.

You seem obsessed with frames. You need to get over that and understand the performance difference for road frames is not going to be that different especially if you're just comparing the Wabi and the Tricross.

Change your gearing to an appropriate road gearing, get some thinner/lighter tires and try that first. Frames aren't going to make a difference if your sitting there spinning your brains out with 63 g.i.
I hear ya. I run a 48x19 for commuting around town, but have a 17 on the other side for more up tempo rides. I don't expect to hang with a group once they start bumping up the pacelines, but do have a harder time maintaining a given speed on my FG.

I'll go ahead and try to make those changes to my FG first. Any good tire recommendations? This bike is also my rain bike, so I'd probably wanna stick to 25s or 28s. Flat proofness is highly valued. I like GP4000s on my road bike, but it would be nice to find something a bit cheaper.

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Old 04-26-12, 04:49 AM   #22
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1. You can ride a fixed-gear in fast, aggressive group rides successfully, even where everyone else is on a geared bike. Like most other things fixed-gear, the secret is your gearing. Little else matters. I regularly ride in groups with guys who are on the lightest CF road bikes outfitted with the best components money can buy. . . . And I'm on an IRO Jamie Roy. The bike doesn't matter.

2. The trick to figuring your gearing is you want what I call the "Goldilocks Gear": not too big; not too small. Something just right, most of the time. Too big, and you can't spin it up fast enough when an attack goes off and you get gapped. Too small, and you're spending too much time anaerobic when everyone else is just yanking around and you ought to be getting some recovery. (That, and even if you can work a very high cadence for a long while, you'll spin out and get gapped in sprints and if there's any kind of tailwind.) I've found 48 or 49x16 lets me hang with most groups. A 15T is workable if there are few attacks or other starts/stops to deal with. And a 14T works if it's just a steady, fast-paced ride.

3. Especially in rolling and hilly terrain, you've got to compensate for your gearing by riding very smart. You pretty much always need to be near the front, which lets you help control the ride and, in situations where you might get gapped, let's you have some real estate to work with before you get totally disconnected from the group. In rolling terrain, it's usually best to gap the group yourself and stay on top of that gear (most others will maintain an equal effort, not an equal pace, and therefore will slow down on the incline). It's efficient for you to stay on top of your gear as long as you can, and this is especially necessary if you're concerned you might spin out or get dropped on the descent. When you've topped out, relax, recover, and drift back to the group.

4. Ego checking is necessary. You're going to work your ass off to stay in a group of riders who are not in as good a shape as you are. And the slightest mistake on your part -- being on the wrong wheel, usually, or otherwise poorly positioned within the group -- is going to result in your getting droped and reattaching is going to be mighty tough to do. So what, though? Think about how much of a better workout you're getting. Training rides are about training, not competition, despite what all your roadie buddies will talk about in the coffee shop and in their little Facebook worlds. Who cares if you get dropped. You're getting stronger, and you're getting a much better workout than those around you. In time, your body's ability to do work efficiently in a very wide range of cadences will increase dramatically. You'll be a beast. And when you get back on your geared bike, you're going to kick everyone's ass.
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Old 04-27-12, 09:27 AM   #23
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1. You can ride a fixed-gear in fast, aggressive group rides successfully, even where everyone else is on a geared bike. Like most other things fixed-gear, the secret is your gearing. Little else matters. I regularly ride in groups with guys who are on the lightest CF road bikes outfitted with the best components money can buy. . . . And I'm on an IRO Jamie Roy. The bike doesn't matter.

2. The trick to figuring your gearing is you want what I call the "Goldilocks Gear": not too big; not too small. Something just right, most of the time. Too big, and you can't spin it up fast enough when an attack goes off and you get gapped. Too small, and you're spending too much time anaerobic when everyone else is just yanking around and you ought to be getting some recovery. (That, and even if you can work a very high cadence for a long while, you'll spin out and get gapped in sprints and if there's any kind of tailwind.) I've found 48 or 49x16 lets me hang with most groups. A 15T is workable if there are few attacks or other starts/stops to deal with. And a 14T works if it's just a steady, fast-paced ride.

3. Especially in rolling and hilly terrain, you've got to compensate for your gearing by riding very smart. You pretty much always need to be near the front, which lets you help control the ride and, in situations where you might get gapped, let's you have some real estate to work with before you get totally disconnected from the group. In rolling terrain, it's usually best to gap the group yourself and stay on top of that gear (most others will maintain an equal effort, not an equal pace, and therefore will slow down on the incline). It's efficient for you to stay on top of your gear as long as you can, and this is especially necessary if you're concerned you might spin out or get dropped on the descent. When you've topped out, relax, recover, and drift back to the group.

4. Ego checking is necessary. You're going to work your ass off to stay in a group of riders who are not in as good a shape as you are. And the slightest mistake on your part -- being on the wrong wheel, usually, or otherwise poorly positioned within the group -- is going to result in your getting droped and reattaching is going to be mighty tough to do. So what, though? Think about how much of a better workout you're getting. Training rides are about training, not competition, despite what all your roadie buddies will talk about in the coffee shop and in their little Facebook worlds. Who cares if you get dropped. You're getting stronger, and you're getting a much better workout than those around you. In time, your body's ability to do work efficiently in a very wide range of cadences will increase dramatically. You'll be a beast. And when you get back on your geared bike, you're going to kick everyone's ass.
Clear and inspiring. ^ This is why I ride FG; in limits, freedom.
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Old 04-27-12, 12:40 PM   #24
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I've been using my FG on group rides this year, and often hang out in the front. Of course, that may say more about the group than my abilities.
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Old 04-27-12, 01:55 PM   #25
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Stick some 25s on your tricross, slam that stem, and pwn some roadies...
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