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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 08-12-14, 11:42 PM   #1
thelagger1
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Fixie vs Road Bike

What are the main pros and cons? In terms of speed, maintenance, comfortability and overall performance? How often will I have to bring a fixie to the shop opposed to a standard entry level Trek road bike?

My current bike feels sloppy - 9 speed with derailer that I barely ever touch, vbrakes with annoying wires, occasional gear jumping... just some of the main reasons for conversion. It's been three months and it has already visited the shop a few times
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Old 08-13-14, 12:06 AM   #2
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With any bike your experience is going to be better if you understand how it works a bit better. youtube tutorials, sheldonbrown.com, park tool website: there are lots of resources to look through. If you can adjust your derailer yourself, you'll like the bike a lot more. That said, if the bike sucks and the components suck, your experience with it will suck as well, no matter how good you are with a wrench.

fixed gear bikes are a lot more simple, and in terms of daily riding without worrying about stuff like ball bearings, there is little maintenance. With a decent road bike with decent components, there is a little more, but once everything is adjusted correctly, it should stay adjusted for a while and also require low maintenance. Fixies by default win the maintenance comparison.

You're only as fast as your legs and lungs, on any bike.

comfort can be customised on any bike as long as the bike fits. saddle, saddle height, bar type, bar height, these are things that apply to both fixies and geared bikes.

This is all my opinion, but I will say I only fell in love with bikes once I got an old 80's road bike to replace my crappy mountain bike, which kept missing gears and having a lot of problems.


PS::
you mentioned conversion. In my opinion, if you dont know anything about bike mechanics, I'd hold off on a conversion, sell your current ride and use that to finance the purchase of a new fixed gear if you decide fixed is for you.
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Old 08-13-14, 12:44 AM   #3
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Your road bike issues just seem like problems with components not being properly maintained or needing replacing.

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What are the main pros and cons?

There's a lot of threads about this very questions. Depending on which subforum you ask your results may vary

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In terms of speed
I've been riding around in my 8 speed bike recently and to TOTALLY honest....It's the same. It's easier to get up to speed with gears, but overall acceleration and top speed are roughly the same for me.

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maintenance
The Fixed gear will be easier and cheaper to maintain. Less brake cables and shift cables to replace, a fixed cog is cheaper and easier to replace than a cassette, and derailleur adjustment is of course specific to geared bikes.

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comfortability
Fit and comfort should be the same if the bike is properly sized and fitted.

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and overall performance?
Depends on what you're trying to perform. They are two different types of bikes and ride styles.

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How often will I have to bring a fixie to the shop opposed to a standard entry level Trek road bike?
Depends on your level of mechanical skill, environmental conditions in your area, what type of terrain, etc. My SS/FG I feel totally comfortable working on my own without the need to take to the shop. My road bike I feel I need to take to the shop until I get used to working on it.

If you know nothing about bikes, I'd say shop visits for a road bike would be more often. By how much? As said before, depends.
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Old 08-13-14, 03:31 AM   #4
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You're thinking about it too much.
Buy a fixed gear. Ride both bikes. You'll find you'll have periods where you prefer one and periods where you prefer the other. Eventually, you'll upgrade one, upgrade both, or sell the one that doesn't get used any more.
Hint: Always keep both bikes clean and oiled because believe me, it's a bugger to come back to your geared bike after a year on the fixed gear and discover you'd put it away dirty (guess how I know this).
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Old 08-13-14, 04:18 AM   #5
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tejano trackie and europa among a few should be fitted with OG as their titles.
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Old 08-13-14, 09:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by thelagger1 View Post
What are the main pros and cons? In terms of speed, maintenance, comfortability and overall performance? How often will I have to bring a fixie to the shop opposed to a standard entry level Trek road bike?

My current bike feels sloppy - 9 speed with derailer that I barely ever touch, vbrakes with annoying wires, occasional gear jumping... just some of the main reasons for conversion. It's been three months and it has already visited the shop a few times
Speed - The road bike should be faster as although it is less efficient mechanically and probably heavier, the gears help maximize the efficiency of the engine.

Maintenance - A fixed gear is a very simple bicycle and in most cases, simpler machines require less work to keep them running while the more complex geared road bicycle should run well after a proper tune up and keep running well for thousands of km before it needs any attention.

Comfort is a function of geometry and the set up... the saddle and tyres contribute most to this.
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Old 08-13-14, 10:00 AM   #7
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europa +1
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Old 08-15-14, 02:08 PM   #8
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If it isn't too hilly fixed may even be faster. Especially if your road bike is a heap of junk that doesn't work properly.
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Old 08-18-14, 12:10 PM   #9
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It seems like the questions you should be asking first are 'what will the bike be used for' and 'over what terrain.'

I was looking at road bikes a few weeks ago for my commute in Boston and then took a fixed gear our for a test ride and noticed that on city streets I actually like the fixie better. If I lived in an area with a lot of hills my decision would have been different. If I wasn't commuting but going for 50+ mile rides my decision would be very different.

What are you doing with the bike and where are you looking to ride?
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Old 08-18-14, 12:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelagger1 View Post
What are the main pros and cons? In terms of speed, maintenance, comfortability and overall performance? How often will I have to bring a fixie to the shop opposed to a standard entry level Trek road bike?

My current bike feels sloppy - 9 speed with derailer that I barely ever touch, vbrakes with annoying wires, occasional gear jumping... just some of the main reasons for conversion. It's been three months and it has already visited the shop a few times
Gears and moving parts are more susceptible to failure and hence would require more maintenance.
Speed is dependent upon a few things: you're fitness level / strength, riding conditions (i.e. hills), gearing, bike weight can also be a factor at times but usually isn't too important.
as others have said, comfort is a matter of fit and components (saddle, handlebars, pedals, etc). It also depends on your fitness level as you can coast with a geared or single speed bike than with fixed gear. You can take some breaks pedaling and its easier to stand up and stretch your back and legs out if you get cramped.
Performance is a relative term as it all depends on your goals or desired riding.

If you've visited the shop "a few times" and you're still having issues with the bike it might be time to find a new mechanic or new components for the bike.
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Old 08-18-14, 03:38 PM   #11
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One good reason fixed gear bikes are so popular is the simple maintenance .

I gave up riding road bikes a few years ago cause of the maintenance of the gearing system.
I was riding old single speed cruisers, till I bought a fixed gear bike. It is so much fun and so little maintenance, I love it. I ride about 100 to 140 miles a week. I am 61.

My suggestion is buy an inexpensive fixed gear bike, ride it for a few weeks you will probably love it and not want anything else.

I have 2 inexpensive ones and over the next year I will gather up the parts and build a higher quality one.
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Old 08-18-14, 04:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by smirkwire View Post
It seems like the questions you should be asking first are 'what will the bike be used for' and 'over what terrain.'

(...)

If I lived in an area with a lot of hills my decision would have been different.
Conversely, I live and commute in an area that's hilly as all get out (Koreatown and Downtown LA) and don't have a car. Having ridden both geared and fixed all over Sunny Los Angeles, I still prefer riding fixed.

It's just preference, but it's preference borne out of experience. I tuned up (read: inflated the tubes on) a friend's bike this weekend so another friend could borrow it. I had to ride it home after I pumped it up, and I basically felt naked coasting down the hill to my apartment with no foot retention.

OP: If you can afford to convert your current bike, even if only temporarily, that might not be a bad place to start.

ps. Run a (front) brake and always wear a helmet.

**Edited for spelling and reasonability.
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Old 08-18-14, 04:22 PM   #13
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No need to worry about pros and cons of any bike; just get a bike and go ride.

Most of us have multiple bikes; geared and SS/FG. We enjoy them all for various reasons.

I choose my ride depending upon my mood or where I'm going. I have a different mindset or expectations depending upon which bike I ride. My old steel Pinarello doesn't climb as well as my new carbon Trek but I still enjoy riding it.

My Bianchi San Jose in fixed gear mode is great for matching the yo-yo speeds of my wife; when I'm riding with her it's all about conversation and spending time together. Yes, I can and have taken the bike on 40 mile rides in the country and even climbed Monte Sano in fixed gear mode. I flipped the wheel to SS for the 3 mile descent; I'm no masochist.

When riding out in the country, doing 40-50 or more miles, I greatly prefer the Trek Domane. We have lots of hills here and the Domane just eats up the miles.

But as others have said, it all comes down to personal preference. What works for me may not work for you. My advice is to buy multiple bikes and ride them all.

ps: do what mixedfix said: wear a helmet and put brakes on your bike.
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