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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 12-17-08, 07:14 PM   #1
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Why single speed?

Hey!
Im just wondering why people choose to use single speed bikes in the winter? i'm fairly new to winter riding, and just wondering the advantages in cold weather/snow? thanks!
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Old 12-17-08, 07:34 PM   #2
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Mechanical simplicity means less breakdown and easier maintenance.
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Old 12-17-08, 07:38 PM   #3
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my hands in my big ass gloves dont have the dexterity to manipulate little levers and thumb switches. only having to modulate the brakes is the way to go for me.

i took all the gears off before winter because i figured they were going to get wrecked anyway.. grrr ...salt is not a substitute for plowing!
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Old 12-17-08, 07:42 PM   #4
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Mechanical simplicity means less breakdown and easier maintenance.
+1 - way easier to maintain, far fewer parts to fail.

It is hard work especially in headwinds with studded tires, but it makes for a better workout. That leads to the enjoyment I get from punishing my riding buddies and dropping them like a bag of dirt come spring.
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Old 12-17-08, 08:35 PM   #5
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+1 - way easier to maintain, far fewer parts to fail.

It is hard work especially in headwinds with studded tires, but it makes for a better workout. That leads to the enjoyment I get from punishing my riding buddies and dropping them like a bag of dirt come spring.
+1 Agreed...
The simplicity is a big plus, but I also find no pressing need for gears. Between the winter muck and studded tires, the rolling resistance is brutal. While I can't claim to "dropping my buddies like a bag of dirt come spring" LOL, I 'can' attest to feeling like a turbojet in air when the snow melts and I can finally get on the carbon fiber roadie.
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Old 12-17-08, 09:27 PM   #6
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on a multispeed bike, snow tend to jam in the gear making the chain slip.
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Old 12-18-08, 05:01 AM   #7
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What a better time of year to train?
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Old 12-18-08, 11:43 AM   #8
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+1 with maintenance. Previous winters I used single speed with coaster brake which resulted in having only one cable on my steed, which was for the front brake, which I don't use much in winter.
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Old 12-18-08, 12:45 PM   #9
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I'm sure it's fistfuls of fun riding a fixie in the snow, but you still have to lube the chain, right? Because that's about the extent of the maintenance I do on my geared winter bike.

And, really, is a minute or two spinning a barrel adjuster every month or so really that difficult? Not to turn this into a flame war, but I've often thought this "way easier to maintain" thing is kinda a load of crap.

But fixies are a blast to ride.
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Old 12-18-08, 12:51 PM   #10
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a fixed gear (not ss w/ a freewheel) is easier to control on nasty terrain.
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Old 12-18-08, 12:52 PM   #11
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a fixed gear (not ss w/ a freewheel) is easier to control on nasty terrain.
fascinating
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Old 12-18-08, 12:59 PM   #12
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fascinating
do i detect a hint of sarcasm?


From sheldon's site
"


Fixed for Feel

A track bike fixed gear gives you a very direct feel for traction conditions on slippery surfaces. This makes them particularly suitable for riding in rainy or icy conditions.

This same feel for traction will help you learn exactly how hard you can apply your front brake without quite lifting the rear off the ground. Most fixed-gear riders only use a front brake--a rear brake is quite unnecessary on a fixed-gear machine.

Because you are more solidly connected to the bike, you have better control of it in bumpy conditions or in difficult corners.

On any road bike, the rider must learn to un-weight the saddle to ride over bumps. Most cyclists coast to do this. A fixed-gear rider will learn to "post" over bumps without breaking stride.

"
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Old 12-18-08, 01:20 PM   #13
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"Direct feel" is valid. But "direct feel" is different from "easy maintenance". And you're not getting that from a single-speed.

I'd say of all the reasons to go fixed, "easy maintenance" is pretty damn near the bottom of the list. (Fun, feel, fitness, form, even hipster quotient are all much, much higher.)
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Old 12-18-08, 04:03 PM   #14
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I think SS in winter is something of a misunderstanding. Lower maintenance is good, for sure, but with a freewheel you are missing the other benefits of fixed- better feel for traction, so better control, better workout since you never stop pedalling, and you have to really hone your spinning abilities for the downhills. Really benefits your pedalling style. Fixed gear in winter is an ancient road racer tradition. The old boys in my club remember taking off the gears and turning their (only) bike into fixed come winter, then putting the kit back on come the summer. Mind you deraillers were rather more expensive then, so they needed to take care of them.

In any case single speed isn't as simple- still has a freewheeling mechanism. I suspect SS is mostly ridden by people who have seen the popularity of fixed in winter, but are afraid to take the leap because everyone makes out that it's really hard/dangerous/skilled.
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Old 12-18-08, 04:56 PM   #15
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ummm


if you are really riding a lot in winter single speed is a hindrance

there are a boatload of situations that you need a crawl gear so you don't
dab. that is, if you ride a lot in snow and ice. singlespeeds fail in the crawl/low torque kung-fu
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Old 12-18-08, 05:33 PM   #16
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my single speed is geared really low. i have the power to plow through snow and its still not too slow on solid terrain. besides i'd rather not be able exert my self too hard, the cold dry sub zero air sucks, infact it sucks so much i want to breathe as little of it as possible.
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Old 12-18-08, 10:57 PM   #17
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I'm sure it's fistfuls of fun riding a fixie in the snow, but you still have to lube the chain, right? Because that's about the extent of the maintenance I do on my geared winter bike.

And, really, is a minute or two spinning a barrel adjuster every month or so really that difficult? Not to turn this into a flame war, but I've often thought this "way easier to maintain" thing is kinda a load of crap.

But fixies are a blast to ride.
I don't know why anyone would flame you for your statement.

Depends on the weather and where you store your bikes. If I ride my bike in the day when it's warmer/saltier and let the bike sit overnight in the garage, in the morning everything is frozen solid.

I gave up on having cables for these reasons. If you do not experience this it's probably because of how you store your ride, when you ride, and where you ride.

*edited for correctness*

Last edited by jakub.ner; 12-18-08 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 12-19-08, 03:13 AM   #18
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ummm


if you are really riding a lot in winter single speed is a hindrance

there are a boatload of situations that you need a crawl gear so you don't
dab. that is, if you ride a lot in snow and ice. singlespeeds fail in the crawl/low torque kung-fu
I'd disagree with you there. My fixed is geared 39-15 (about 70"), and I've had no trouble going very slow on horrendously slippery iced roads. I was the one who didn't fall off. We were all on skinny tires (slicks), the wheel slipped a few times, but it was easy to recover. I found that I was able to apply a really even drive through the pedals, without the excessive torque that a lower gear might have allowed, which would have instantly slipped the wheel.
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Old 12-19-08, 04:33 AM   #19
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I think SS in winter is something of a misunderstanding. Lower maintenance is good, for sure, but with a freewheel you are missing the other benefits of fixed- better feel for traction, so better control, better workout since you never stop pedalling, and you have to really hone your spinning abilities for the downhills. Really benefits your pedalling style. Fixed gear in winter is an ancient road racer tradition. The old boys in my club remember taking off the gears and turning their (only) bike into fixed come winter, then putting the kit back on come the summer. Mind you deraillers were rather more expensive then, so they needed to take care of them.

In any case single speed isn't as simple- still has a freewheeling mechanism. I suspect SS is mostly ridden by people who have seen the popularity of fixed in winter, but are afraid to take the leap because everyone makes out that it's really hard/dangerous/skilled.
I resemble these remarks.

I used to ride a geared bike in winter and often during the ride it would turn into a ss in the gear ratio I didn't want.....

Now I have ss bike which I love.....

I would love to try a fixed gear bike but am afraid it would be too hard for me.......dangerous.....I am 52 and less happy to fall these days......

I will wait to spring I think and get the fg learning out of the way and then consider it for winter.

Finally, I see lots of fg bikes that are very minimally adorned-barely any fenders. anyone using a rear rack and panniers with fg? must need to gear it down? (apologies for jong terminology).
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Old 12-19-08, 07:44 AM   #20
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Start riding fixed early in the winter, you'll soon get the knack before it gets icy. Don't worry about it- relax and you'll soon pick it up. Makes riding a lot of fun. For sure you can add mudguards (in fact you should- it's winter!) and a rack. Lower gearing is fine- you won't be able to go so fast without spinning, but when it's cold, that's only a good thing. Keeps you warm!
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