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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 04-05-14, 06:08 AM   #1
bikehog164
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Is there much of a difference?

Hey guys,

Is there much of a differecne between using single speed bikes and fixed gears? Just wandering as I keep skimming over the forum about them and was wondering so thought I'd ask. Thanks guys.
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Old 04-05-14, 06:16 AM   #2
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Yes.
To put it another way, Is there much of a difference between a mountain bike and a cyclocross bike? They both pretty much serve the same purpose.
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Old 04-05-14, 08:16 AM   #3
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The experience of riding a fixed gear for the first time is often like learning to ride a bike all over again. The feel is very different. It is as different as driving an automatic verses manual shift car. I actually find it uncomfortable to ride a geared bike anymore.
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Old 04-05-14, 08:19 AM   #4
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With a fixed gear bike, you have to keep pedaling downhill. With a single speed bike, you can coast downhill.

Uphill will make no difference!
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Old 04-05-14, 08:32 AM   #5
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I was at a restaurant last night that served chicken & pancakes. While I've always been a huge fan of chicken & waffles, the thought of pairing fried chicken with pancakes was a bit of a turn off because pancakes get a lot soggier than a nice, homemade Belgian-style waffle - even if they are made from the exact same batter. Needless to say, I opted out and got a burger instead.
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Old 04-05-14, 08:32 AM   #6
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And on a fixed gear, you'll be in for a rude awakening the first time you instinctively try to freewheel a bit as you prepare for that inevitable first sneeze. ; - )
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Old 04-05-14, 08:38 AM   #7
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Yes.
To put it another way, Is there much of a difference between a mountain bike and a cyclocross bike? They both pretty much serve the same purpose.


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Old 04-05-14, 08:42 AM   #8
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Old 04-05-14, 09:28 AM   #9
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I was at a restaurant last night that served chicken & pancakes. While I've always been a huge fan of chicken & waffles, the thought of pairing fried chicken with pancakes was a bit of a turn off because pancakes get a lot soggier than a nice, homemade Belgian-style waffle - even if they are made from the exact same batter. Needless to say, I opted out and got a burger instead.
That's really deep, man.
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Old 04-05-14, 10:11 AM   #10
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Huge difference. A single speed is just like riding any bike, but you only have one gear. Fixed gear, if the bike is moving the pedals are moving. Very weird feeling until you get used to it.
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Old 04-05-14, 05:50 PM   #11
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Anything with a freewheel requires you to use the brakes to control your speed.
With fg, you can use your legs and for subtle control, that's an immense difference. Brakes are a very blunt tool when it comes to speed control.
Stopping is a different matter where in most cases, the extra stopping power of brakes is often nice.
People who've never mastered fg only think in terms of having to pedal all the time and stopping because a freewheel removes the single biggest advantage of fg, the ability to control the speed of your bike with your legs rather than using your legs only to pump power and lift your arse off the saddle which is all a freewheel offers.

FG with brakes is a whole 'nother world.
FG without brakes is a different world again.
Give it a try and find out.
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Old 04-06-14, 12:21 AM   #12
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And on a fixed gear, you'll be in for a rude awakening the first time you instinctively try to freewheel a bit as you prepare for that inevitable first sneeze. ; - )
So I have ridden single speed the last 2 years. Every day to school the same thing. Well about 2 weeks ago I switched to fixed gear. On my way to school the first day my body instinctively tried to coast after I peddled really fast. Needless to say I felt like a real dumbass when I lost control and slid across the street and slammed into a car. Worst road rash I've had. I am trying to change my instincts but it's hard after being single speed for so long.
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Old 04-06-14, 12:27 AM   #13
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Funny, the not remembering you can't coast has never been a huge issue for me, maybe just a bit of a bump in the leg to remind me. On the other hand, after riding fg for some time, my geared bike always feels broken, usually as I start to slow for the intersection at the end of my street.
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Old 04-06-14, 12:27 AM   #14
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I felt that it was pretty important to take a "cruise" a couple of times when first changing from SS to fixed. Rode a few 8 mile rides slowly. Made acclimating to fixed riding pretty easy.
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Old 04-06-14, 12:27 AM   #15
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So I have ridden single speed the last 2 years. Every day to school the same thing. Well about 2 weeks ago I switched to fixed gear. On my way to school the first day my body instinctively tried to coast after I peddled really fast. Needless to say I felt like a real dumbass when I lost control and slid across the street and slammed into a car. Worst road rash I've had. I am trying to change my instincts but it's hard after being single speed for so long.
Must've been fun trying to explain it to the owner of the car, especially if he's go no idea about fg bikes.
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Old 04-06-14, 08:58 AM   #16
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I felt that it was pretty important to take a "cruise" a couple of times when first changing from SS to fixed. Rode a few 8 mile rides slowly. Made acclimating to fixed riding pretty easy.
Yup, lesson learned. Would be a good idea for new fg riders to do. I've been riding real slow lately getting used to constant peddling.
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Old 04-06-14, 09:18 AM   #17
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So I have ridden single speed the last 2 years. Every day to school the same thing. Well about 2 weeks ago I switched to fixed gear. On my way to school the first day my body instinctively tried to coast after I peddled really fast. Needless to say I felt like a real dumbass when I lost control and slid across the street and slammed into a car. Worst road rash I've had. I am trying to change my instincts but it's hard after being single speed for so long.
Learning the really hard way. Hey, bravo to you for having the humility to admit that. Bet it'll never happen again though!
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Old 04-06-14, 09:43 AM   #18
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Yeah definitely the hard way. Pretty embarrassing and hard to admit, but it's just crazy how instilled in my mind single speed was. I will admit i was real frustrated with fg after that happened. But I didn't want it to hold me back or stop me.
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Old 04-07-14, 11:51 PM   #19
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Same here, when I first built mine, I forgot about the fixed part of fixed gear. I also almost crashed down a steep hill. I couldnt match rpms and my feet got thrown off, fish tailed, and grabbed brake hard. I bet the car behind me was like dafuq? The only thing I still find hard is track stands and skids. the chain is on the 44tooth ring and my legs are pretty strong. I can carry a cruiser to about 25mph but cant force a fixie driveteain to stop- irratates the hell outta me.
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Old 04-08-14, 01:58 PM   #20
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I had no foot retention when I fell as well so my legs went flying. And yeah I haven't mastered skids yet unless I am going slow. And yeah I need to figure out track stands as well. Would be a great help.
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Old 04-08-14, 07:05 PM   #21
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I can't do skids at all.
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Old 04-09-14, 03:19 AM   #22
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I can't do skids at all.
I use a three contact point skid technique - pedal, bars and ear. Which side I fall on is optional
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Old 04-09-14, 08:13 AM   #23
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I was at a restaurant last night that served chicken & pancakes. While I've always been a huge fan of chicken & waffles, the thought of pairing fried chicken with pancakes was a bit of a turn off because pancakes get a lot soggier than a nice, homemade Belgian-style waffle - even if they are made from the exact same batter. Needless to say, I opted out and got a burger instead.
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Funny, the not remembering you can't coast has never been a huge issue for me, maybe just a bit of a bump in the leg to remind me. On the other hand, after riding fg for some time, my geared bike always feels broken, usually as I start to slow for the intersection at the end of my street.
I used forget every time I looked over my shoulder to see if traffic was coming. Of course, after you do this once, you remember what you're riding. For me, this translates to the road bike - always keep pedaling, no matter what.
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Old 04-09-14, 03:36 PM   #24
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The experience of riding a fixed gear for the first time is often like learning to ride a bike all over again. The feel is very different. It is as different as driving an automatic verses manual shift car. I actually find it uncomfortable to ride a geared bike anymore.
When you ride a geared bike, is there a disconnected sensation, and that it's loose?
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Old 04-09-14, 03:41 PM   #25
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When you ride a geared bike, is there a disconnected sensation, and that it's loose?
Something like that. It feels like "OMG I'm gonna crash" for a couple seconds and then it feels like "Gee, this sucks not to have control over your speed." then it feels like "that goshed-darned fishsticking smother nugget derailleur is screwing up again, grr!".
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