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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    I'm Not Gettin' It

    I converted one of my single-speed bikes to a fixed gear. I was curious to find out what all of the hype is/was about surrounding fixies.

    I did my homework, read up on the philosophy, the mechanics, do's and don'ts, yada, yada, yada... Then I rode my bike around the neighborhood for a few days.

    I'll admit it's very different than riding single-speed and requires a different mindset. But for me I can't see any practical application outside of bragging rights for riding a fixie. I mean, where I live there are lots of hills, and my commute to work is 7 miles (from the beach to SOMA) across SF. The topography alone would kill my knees in a day. And riding in a densely populated place is just asking to be hit, or to hit something/someone. I know experienced riders can navigate a city better than Ahab on the open waters, but since I can see no practical application, for me, I have no reason to gain the experience.

    So my question is, and maybe I'm missing something all together here, but what is the allure, and practical application, of the fixie, aside from minimalism, sleek looks, low maintenance, and street cred?

    I apologize if I sound snarky, which is not the case, I am genuinely curious and besides...I sooo want the street cred

  2. #2
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    I mean the minimalism, sleek looks, and low maintenance are 3 good points right there.

    Some people just enjoy riding fixed. It doesn't always have to be "practical". There's nothing practical about people who drive sports cars as daily drivers, or have million dollar homes.

    If you have a hilly commute, a geared bike might suit you better.

  3. #3
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    interweb cred > street cred

  4. #4
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    @bmontgomery87 - I suppose you're right. That's why I have a Honda Accord not a Porsche or Lamborghini.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 50voltphantom's Avatar
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    I just bought a Steamroller set up as a fixie but I have no intention of riding it that way (other than maybe just to try it out once). I'm getting a freewheel and a rear brake to match the front. Ride what works for you. I'm an ex-BMXer with a severe aversion to derailleurs so it's single-speed freewheel for this guy.
    Last edited by 50voltphantom; 06-12-14 at 06:15 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    ^No doubt. I typically prefer practical, but my fixed gear qualifies as such for me. I don't have a lot of hills, and I'm awful at working on things, so having a bike I can put together and maintain on my own was a big factor in what I purchased.

    And I do feel like I get a much better workout than people who ride with me on geared bikes.


    Then there's the cred, because well, track standing at stoplights has gotten me flashed a grant total of 0 times.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiveflat View Post
    interweb cred > street cred

    This
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  8. #8
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    I just enjoy the feel.

    Also if you are riding with a front brake, then saying that the downhills kill your knees becomes moot.

    I ride fixed on the road because I like the feel. My rides are pretty hilly - not SF hilly, but there are some ~5+ min climbs on most routes I ride.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cessanfrancisco View Post
    But for me I can't see any practical application outside of bragging rights for riding a fixie. I mean, where I live there are lots of hills, and my commute to work is 7 miles (from the beach to SOMA) across SF. The topography alone would kill my knees in a day.
    You have the wrong gear ratio.

    Quote Originally Posted by cessanfrancisco View Post
    And riding in a densely populated place is just asking to be hit, or to hit something/someone. I know experienced riders can navigate a city better than Ahab on the open waters, but since I can see no practical application, for me, I have no reason to gain the experience.
    Dense traffic is slow traffic. Slow traffic is less dangerous than fast traffic. And this has nothing to do with riding fixed gear.

  10. #10
    Senior Member swisscheese's Avatar
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    I personally do really enjoy riding fixed gear, the simplicity of riding through the city with out having to think about reaching for brakes or shifting gears is great. However I have more geared bikes than fixed and can't wait for winter to leave so I can take my other bikes out of hibernation and for some long road rides. That said, my fixed gear is built around practicality; front and rear brakes, full fenders and cyclocross tires. Also the simple drivetrain is alot easier to deal with when riding every day in the winter.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    I find the difference between riding free wheel and riding fixed is the difference between having sex with and without a condom.
    I ride fixed and am so much more connected.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the input, everyone!
    @Cute Boy Horse - You may be right about the gear ratio thing. I am using a 46T chain-ring and a 16T fixed gear cog. What would you suggest?

    Thanks.

  13. #13
    Bastard of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    No one can realistically suggest which gear ratio you will find most effective. What's good for one person can totally suck for another.

  14. #14
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    my casual cruiser is 47/18 w a 175 crank arm length. my geared up ready to sweat ride is 45/16. mashing ratios vs spinning ratios tend to jack up the knees ive noticed. plus i already have fat legs. need to lose some weight.
    but as of course Scrod says its person to person. my case bike and occasion differences

  15. #15
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cessanfrancisco View Post
    practical application
    ?
    :d
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I'd rather ride a greasy bowling ball than one of those things.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member North Coast Joe's Avatar
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    I just started riding fixed this year. I really like the feeling of being directly connected with the rear wheel, though I do run a front brake.

    I built mine with a 44/18, 170mm cranks & 650a wheels for a measily 64 gear inches. I spin out at 20mph, but I can climb all the little hills around here.

    I ride alone and rarely talk to the occasional cyclists I see, so street or web cred is not what I'm shooting for here. I've read so many experienced, respected cyclists say that the FG bike offers a feel like no other. I agree, even though I haven't acquired the skills to use it to the utmost. Just figured out skids (with the help of this forum) and am pretty close to getting the trackstand thing working. Gives me something to work on that I can't on a geared freewheel model. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, I'm a 61 year old FG newb.

    I'll keep my geared bike for bad weather/load carrying abilities, but I'd rather be riding my FG!

  17. #17
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    I guess it is that "feeling" or "connectedness" that I read/hear so much about that I was/am looking for. So far it has been elusive. Instead all I feel is panic because I have to keep reminding myself to not coast unless I want my knees torn out and shins shredded.

    Then again, maybe I'm looking too hard (perhaps it is indeed a "zen" thing). It could just be that fixed gear is not my thing. Oh well. Moving right along...

  18. #18
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    blergh
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  19. #19
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cessanfrancisco View Post
    I guess it is that "feeling" or "connectedness" that I read/hear so much about that I was/am looking for. So far it has been elusive. Instead all I feel is panic because I have to keep reminding myself to not coast unless I want my knees torn out and shins shredded.

    Then again, maybe I'm looking too hard (perhaps it is indeed a "zen" thing). It could just be that fixed gear is not my thing. Oh well. Moving right along...
    It takes time and practice for fixed to feel second nature. You can't just jump in and expect to it all make sense. I havent had a FG for a while now but whenever I ride my friend's one I feel happy. Still, it isn't for everyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I'd rather ride a greasy bowling ball than one of those things.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Skankingbiker's Avatar
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    Old dude with bad knees that commutes fixed in semi hilly terrain: I like dto ride fixed because of the utter silence and the different mindset...requires constant awareness (and yes I ride with 2 brakes). Sometimes it sucks and I would like to coast. othertimes, I like the transferred momentum to get me up the hill. Fixed is also nice for winter in the midwest.


    If you dont like it, then dont ride it. Some crazy dudes by me ride fixed gear mountainbikes. I cannot fathom why someone would want to, but they seem to enjoy it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cessanfrancisco View Post
    I guess it is that "feeling" or "connectedness" that I read/hear so much about that I was/am looking for. So far it has been elusive. Instead all I feel is panic because I have to keep reminding myself to not coast unless I want my knees torn out and shins shredded.

    Then again, maybe I'm looking too hard (perhaps it is indeed a "zen" thing). It could just be that fixed gear is not my thing. Oh well. Moving right along...
    It takes a while. I almost sent myself over the bars a couple of times because I tried to coast while clipped into my pedals. I've only been riding fixed for about a year but it is second nature now. And I have noticed my pedal stroke is much smoother when I ride my geared road bike and I never coast anymore on the road bike. Fixed or freewheel I'm always pedaling out of habit which is a good benefit from riding fixed
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skankingbiker View Post
    Some crazy dudes by me ride fixed gear mountainbikes. I cannot fathom why someone would want to, but they seem to enjoy it.
    I know people do it but I also don't understand it. As someone who did a fair amount of mountain biking in my younger days, I can't see how you can get by some more technical terrain without having your cranks horizontal (i.e. coasting)
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  23. #23
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    yeah i dont get fixed mtb

    sounds like a good way to slam your pedal on a rock/log and go over teh bars
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  24. #24
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    I imagine it would be fun for fire roads. I now have a spare wheel and should do it
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I'd rather ride a greasy bowling ball than one of those things.
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  25. #25
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
    I imagine it would be fun for fire roads. I now have a spare wheel and should do it
    Riding fixed on rough roads seems pretty unfun to me. I'll pass.
    Last edited by TejanoTrackie; 03-10-14 at 06:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

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