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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 11-29-12, 05:48 PM   #1
sbs z31
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Love fixed but...

So I just recently switched to fixed and have been riding on fixed for about a week now. First impression was its way fun and I'll never go back to freewheel but I have one problem. It's harder to pedal and I can't even average the same speed as when I was on the freewheel even though the gearing stayed the same which is 42/16. I stopped by the lbs on the way home from work and picked up a 17t and had them installed it, rode home with it but didn't make much of a difference besides it's easier to get going from a stop. Also, it's cold here in MN so I'm sure that will affect it somewhat but is this normal for first time fixed rider?
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Old 11-29-12, 06:00 PM   #2
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It makes sense, you have to get your muscles, hearts, lungs, etc. used to the different style of riding. It will get fine over time, then you will have the same thing when you go back to a freewheel.
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Old 11-29-12, 07:47 PM   #3
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If you're trying to get a faster top speed, you should have gone for a 15t instead. Cold air is also denser so it makes you slower.
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Old 11-29-12, 08:48 PM   #4
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I agree, the cold air makes a difference. I had my TT bike out today and felt pretty slow on it, verified by the computer as well. Buuuut, I'm not in August cycling shape in November either. This time of year it is simply nice to be out at all, is the way I think about it.
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Old 11-29-12, 08:51 PM   #5
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Paint your bike red.
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Old 11-29-12, 08:56 PM   #6
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I'm not looking for top speed, just trying to figure the right gearing that I can comfortably spin/cruise at 19-20mph. The 42/16 just seems a little too hard to push to maintain those speeds and I guess the cold is really affecting my performance. I'll just keep riding the 42/17 til the weather permit then I'll switch to my single speed winter bike.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:04 PM   #7
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42-16 i sfine for cruising at 19-21 if you are used to spinning about 90-100 + rpm. Do you have super short cranks compared to your other bike? Are you running the same tire? Could be that or maybe you have a square pedals stroke that gives resistance on the upstroke and is slowing you down?

Thats about all i can think of, other than yes, paint it red.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:07 PM   #8
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Well the question is: are you having trouble pedaling or do you feel like you're spinning out but still going slow? I'm gonna guess the latter, which means you have to gear up. Try a 46t chainring.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:15 PM   #9
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I always use +1t cog on in the winter. I can easily push ratios in the summer that feel like riding through mollasses in the winter.
The air is denser, you are wearing more clothes, you are spending much more energy just to keep warm.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:20 PM   #10
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+1

Waiting for my 18t to get here. I feel just as fast in the winter but it's much more exhausting and painful to push anything above 69 inches.

But, I think you're just not used to riding fixed. You can actually make yourself a lot slower (as opposed to a FW) by unintentionally resisting the pedal motion, making your legs fight each other and adding resistance.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:26 PM   #11
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I have to put more effort to just keep it at 18-20mph but with the freewheel I have no problem. Nothing has change on the bike besides switching to fixed. I guess I'm just not use to fixed riding and just need more saddle time. Thanks for all the help and suggestions and I will seriously consider painting my bike red lol.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:30 PM   #12
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+1

Waiting for my 18t to get here. I feel just as fast in the winter but it's much more exhausting and painful to push anything above 69 inches.

But, I think you're just not used to riding fixed. You can actually make yourself a lot slower (as opposed to a FW) by unintentionally resisting the pedal motion, making your legs fight each other and adding resistance.
So what is the proper way for pedaling on a fixed? I really love the feedback you get from riding a fixed and hoping I will overcome this problem I'm having so I won't have to switch back to a freewheel.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:34 PM   #13
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42/17 for 18.5 mph is a cadence of 96 RPM and a 42/16 for the same speed is 91 RPM. You might just be spinning too fast.
A cadence of 85 RPM will have you going 18.5 mph on a 48/17.
This is assuming you are on a 700Cx23.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:40 PM   #14
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42/17 for 18.5 mph is a cadence of 96 RPM and a 42/16 for the same speed is 91 RPM. You might just be spinning too fast.
A cadence of 85 RPM will have you going 18.5 mph on a 48/17.
This is assuming you are on a 700Cx23.
I've never measure my cadence but I spin comfortably at 19-20mph on 42/16 and this is with 700x25 tires.
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Old 11-29-12, 10:02 PM   #15
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So what is the proper way for pedaling on a fixed?
For the most part, you shouldn't pedal any differently on a fixed than a freewheel....smooth circles. If fact, you should avoid learning to pedal differently on a FG. Some people get lazy with a FG and allow it to carry their feet past the dead spot....but thats really a bad thing. Except when descending, it should make no difference to your speed and cadence of you are riding FG or SS.
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Old 11-29-12, 10:08 PM   #16
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You would be spinning slightly slower than the numbers I posted. If you can spin comfortably at that cadence I'm not sure why you are having trouble riding fixed??? You have an easy ratio and you can spin, give it a couple weeks, you should be fine.

Last edited by davestv; 11-30-12 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 11-30-12, 07:36 PM   #17
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make sure your rear wheel is tight and not rubbing against the chain stay... that will slow you down

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