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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 01-13-05, 12:39 AM   #1
jslopez
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The next bike...

So I started a thread a few days ago about people with more than 1 bike mainly because I was trying to get idea on how to acquire a second bike as my commuter that was relatively cheap ($10-450 depending on what kind of bike), good quality (ie not the bottom model or no name brand), good training (ie relatively harder workout) and works well.

I have since discovered two options
1) Buy used - This will require some hard work and luck as it means scouring garage sales, used bike stores , ebay? The ultimate score would be some classic bike that's in great condition that the owner sells for dirt cheap because they do not know any better. Downside being getting a lemon. Budget $10-150 plus (hopefully just) a little more for repair but no timetable as to when I can "find" this score bike


2) A track bike - I don't know a lot about these aside from the fixed gear (which I assume would make the ride have more effort?) I've always liked the look of the Bianchi Pista but the no brakes makes it iffy for me in terms of the daily commute. A friend did point me out to the Specialized Langster (that do come with brakes) and I'm sure there are others out there. Question here: a do you have this bike? b) is this a harder workout c) if you know of track bikes with brakes, what brands would yo recommend. budget - 250-450

Anyway your thoughts welcome...
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Old 01-13-05, 10:34 AM   #2
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i got my bianchi pista for 400$ on ebaY including a couple pricey upgrades. i spent about 15$ on some shiamno exage road levers and 30$ on a tiagra caliper and it's on the road. riding fixed is a trip, but in some ways i now feel like i didn't really know how to ride a bike before experiencing the fixed reality.
now i love it.
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Old 01-13-05, 11:16 AM   #3
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i believe the bianchi is drilled for brakes, and you can usually find a decent one on ebay and add brakes and be at about 450(maybe a little under?)
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Old 01-13-05, 11:44 AM   #4
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r.e.i has a house brand bike, novarra buzz. it has flat bars with mini bar ends, 700c wheels, compact drive crank set, avid mechanical brakes (i have this brake on my road tandem, very nice all conditions) for 699. i know it's a little more than you want to go but it's got everything including eyelets. you can also use it as a bad weather bike.
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Old 01-13-05, 12:25 PM   #5
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My neighbor had an older (non-suspension) Gary Fisher up at his grarge sale last summer for $40. Nobody would buy it (flat tires). I convinced him to keep it for his kids even though he tried to give it to me. It was a great bike. (His wife is mad at me now.)

Point being: lots of good deals at garage sales.
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Old 01-13-05, 12:30 PM   #6
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If you have wrench abilities I think a great option for commuter (or second) bike is an older road bike with 27inch wheels. I've fished several from neighbors' garbages and converted to 700c wheels. That leaves plenty of room for larger tires (35's) and fenders. I've given away several such conversions (don't have any more just now).
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Old 01-13-05, 12:42 PM   #7
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I don't get it. If you budget is ~$450 then why not have that also be your cap for the used bike? I got my Marin off of eBay for $486 shipped or $451 plus shipping if you prefer. I would guess you could get a lot more bike this way.
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Old 01-13-05, 01:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasschopper
I don't get it. If you budget is ~$450 then why not have that also be your cap for the used bike? I got my Marin off of eBay for $486 shipped or $451 plus shipping if you prefer. I would guess you could get a lot more bike this way.

Well like any purchase I (and probably many others here) have made, the need has evolved from just wanting to get a used, cheap commuter road bike from, to looking at options if I pay a little more.

Not to say that $500 is a huge amount of money and I may go that roue but it's kind of stretching my initial "cheap" budget. Then again this was the same dilemna on my road bike where I had a budget then proceeded to go over it by twice the amount...
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Old 01-13-05, 03:33 PM   #9
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first, ride a GOOD bike. it doesn't matter how much it cost, you could spend a little or a lot for a good bike. I mean, why ride a bike that you're not happy with, it doesn't matter if you're doing a weekend ride or commuting, a ride is a ride and you should have a good bike (fit, comfortable, good handling, fast, and durable...not in any order). Sure, if you have certain needs for a bike (rack to carry pack, fenders, wider tires, etc.) you should still ride a bike that you love to ride.

I have a track bike and find that the work out on the flats is less than a road bike. Thats because you have a top speed you can maintain and your legs learn to spin. Spinning is good and it is a workout, but on a long flat road, spinning is easy. But climbing is more of a workout. And decending is a workout. In San Francisco, a fix gear is a great workout.

here is an interesting website: http://www.nycbikes.com/index.php

they have a fixie for $750, but they have a cross for $550! I don't get it, if they can build a cross bike for 550, why can't they build a fixie for that price? less parts should be less money!
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Old 01-13-05, 04:16 PM   #10
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the bianchi and fuji are both great commuter bikes for the money. the main difference is that the bianchi is only drilled for a front brake unlike its counterpart
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Old 01-14-05, 11:01 AM   #11
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So anyway this is not an immediate buy but should a good opportunity arise to get either (good used bike or nice fixed gear bike)then I want to be prepared.

On the fixed gear end, I can see why a lot of people like it. Just riding today with the whole "no coasting" mentality in mind, made the trip a whole lot faster and somewhat easier. Main difference being when you do coast or slow your cadence I'm assuming that the fixed gear will nudge your feet forward and the slowing cadence will act as a brake. My main concerns are with starting and stopping as there is a tendency not to pedal for a few seconds when doing either. Then again that's something to learn on a real fixed gear bike I guess.
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Old 01-14-05, 01:27 PM   #12
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1)
Just don't stop pedeling, have a front brake for learning.
Also turning is harder, since you can't scrape your pedals, or you might be in trouble.
2)
Personaly I think that is a very relative question, hard to tell. Your legs are always moving so they might be getting stronger. Mentally you have to be more aware since you don't have the freedom of coasting.
3)
Well there are to sellers on eBay that sell strictly fixed gear conversion bikes. (off the top of my head) "applecart2" being one of them. The winning bids end up being around $75-100.
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Old 01-14-05, 01:28 PM   #13
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this http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed/index.html is a great place to start, as is this forum.

welcome to the club!
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Old 01-14-05, 01:32 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dolface
this http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed/index.html is a great place to start, as is this forum.

welcome to the club!

Thanks I've gone thru quite a bit of online articles (sheldon included). Just hard to be from the imagining point of view to the reality of actually getting one.

I'll be going thur this forum more thoroughly later and will be sure to ahve more questions.
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Old 01-14-05, 01:32 PM   #15
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My $0.02:

1) No, I believe that a good fix is as safe or safer to ride as a commuter. Why? Because you need to be much more aware of your surroundings and you learn to modulate your speed to fit the environment. I commute everyday on a fix, somedays I ride my brakeless trackbike.

2) Definitely makes you a stronger rider. The fact that you do not ever coast means that you are always using your legs for something, be it accelerating, keeping pace, or slowing down, they get a fulltime workout. Although the first few weeks take a bit of getting used to (you'll sleep like a baby at night if you commute daily on a fix), after that it'll feel unsafe when you get a bike with a freewheel.

3) There are two bikes on ebay that are cheaper than the Pista, first there's the Mercier, which looks like a KHS flight 100 clone: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...126464066&rd=1
and second there's the Windsor: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...126336956&rd=1
Personally, between the two, I would buy the Mercier...

Hope that helps....
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Old 01-14-05, 01:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslopez
2) Does this make you a stronger rider?

not sure about muscle strength, but you will be a better rider overall. better pedal stroke, reading traffic\pedestrians better, to just all around more fluidity.
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Old 01-14-05, 01:53 PM   #17
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1) A fixed gear is no more dangerous than any other bike that is available out there. I have heard of no evidence to prove this. I think this is a rumor started by guys that ride on $2k carbon fiber bikes that are too afraid to try it.

2) Riding fixed will make your legs stronger due to the fact that you must stay in the same gear during climbs. If you live in a hilly area you are destined to get a better leg workout. Also, as stated in this forum several time before, it will make you a better lover.

3) You can get a really crappy setup(applecart) from ebay as mentioned before but it isn't really worth it. If you are even in the slightest bit handy I suggest finding an old used road bike or frame and building your own fixie (I did this and it only cost me about $200, others have for way less). This is part of what makes riding fixed so rewarding for me and I'm sure a lot of other people too.
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Old 01-14-05, 01:56 PM   #18
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everybody gotta die sometime, Red
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Old 01-14-05, 02:03 PM   #19
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Old 01-14-05, 02:03 PM   #20
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it makes you insane too...you'll start visiting this forum...youve already got the sickness....you will talk eat sleep ***** drink cough bikes...you will be asked by your boss not to view the forum on work time.....you will eventually join the clan of the red star
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Old 01-14-05, 02:19 PM   #21
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Josey Wales reference; way to go WK...
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Old 01-14-05, 02:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslopez

I need your guidance though:
1) Is it necessarily more dangerous than road bikes?I plan to use this on the everyday commute so will add a front brake but outside that I'm just wondering if somehow riding this type of bike leads to more accidents
2) Does this make you a stronger rider?
3) For the SoCal people, can you direct me to a place where I can get a cheap bike (really on a budget here). What's cheap? Well a Specialized langster or Bianchi pista is about $4-500 + dollars and something (much) cheaper than that, I want to check out. w

Thanks in advance for the insight.
1) If you ride in Los Angeles, I'm sure you're already aware that not only to motorists not care, it seems as though they are TRYING to hit you. That being said, it's probably no more dangerous than a freewheel bike, and perhaps less, due to your precise control of speed.

2) Probably. Most TdF champs trained on fixies, and most couriers I know can spank all of the roadies I know. You tend to do more anaerobic muscle gain due to your inability to shift on hills like Grand Ave or the Arroyo, which is a good for training for sprints. This is in addition to better spinning technique, smoother pedal stroke, and a more refined cadence. The only downside is, you might end up never riding your geared bike.

3) Well, you have some choices. You can buy a beater frame (all you're really looking for is long dropouts) and take it to an LBS (I would recommend someone who knows fixed gear, like Open Road in Pasadena). Alternately, you can take that beater to the Bicycle Kitchen where they (maybe even I!) will help you convert that bad boy (or girl) to fixed gear on the cheap. The *official* opening is on the 23rd, since they moved to a new space, and they open on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the last Wednesday of the month (ladie's night!). You might want to call ahead for stand time.

Hope this helps. If you want more local fixie parts, Velo Pasadena has cogs and stuff for not-insane prices. Outside of that, a lot of bike shops will just look at you like you're crazy.
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Old 01-14-05, 06:11 PM   #23
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Very interesting outlooks I must say, especially the part where people are steering me toward the cheaper route (so different from the "Get dura-ace" mentality).

So would there be some sort of advantage of getting an "expensive" brand new, branded fixed gear vs building your own and going cheap? From what I'm understanding I'll need to lookout for a decent bike, strip a few parts (add a few) and voila, instant fixed gear bliss.

As an admirer of foreign bike though I myay get the Bianchi pista but that's maybe ore from looks than anything else. I just want to know all the factors involved, regardless.
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Old 01-14-05, 06:18 PM   #24
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There's not really an advantage to new fixies IMO - most of them seem to have cheaper components. Especially if you've never done it before, it's a waste of money.

If you like the Bianchis (I love my older, pre-pista track), find an older road Bianchi with horizontal dropouts and switch it over. You'll probably end up with better stuff (headset and BB on the Pistas are somewhat notorious) and a more classic looking bike.
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Old 01-14-05, 06:39 PM   #25
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Josey Wales reference; way to go WK...
by far the best quote from any movie. ever.
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