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Fixie angst...

Old 01-30-08, 02:14 PM
  #26  
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Just politely remind him that all the real hipsters find 10-speed conversions to be for posers and newbies, then point him in the direction of the off-the-shelf track bikes built for the street for him to buy

And never, ever mention a word about NJS or Arrospoks

That'll show the little mongrel what you know!
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Old 01-30-08, 02:55 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown View Post
The one that gets me is the "DWU/DUI" setup where a 30 year old tenspeed is pressed into service after the driver's licence has been revoked, and the drunkard in question flips the drop bars upside-down and backwards.
That particular customer can be an absolute nightmere to work with too.
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Old 01-30-08, 05:07 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
Even if they chop it up, at least another vintage bike is on the road for all to see, albeit in fixie form rather than its original condition. I think fixie riders keep old bikes alive and should be commended for it.

The alternative is that the vintage bike will rot in a garage somewhere or be thrown in the trash, since most roadies are so OCP obsessed they will only ride something made out of carban fibre made in the last 5 years. They wouldn't be caught dead on a vintage bike.
thats what I was thinkin'

better modified and RIDDEN,...than left intact, and sitting in a garage, or worse: side of the house, or backyard rotting away slowly.

my 70's motobecane was sitting in a garage for 25 years before I bought it from the guy, and converted to a fixed gear (I'm 49 years old btw, and can spin with the youngsters, NP )

I'd have a problem if someone wanted to make a stretch front end chopper out of a BROUGH SUPERIOR, but I think the "fixie conversion" is a viable way to keep the vintage steel ROLLING,...not holding up a garage wall.

-out riding-
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Old 01-30-08, 05:12 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
A young man came into the bike shop where I work yesterday accompanied by a beautiful vintage Lotus road bike. Looks like it was right out of the box. Six-speed, downtube shifters, beautiful lugs. Not a very expensive bike, but even had decent wheels with sealed bearings.

Does anyone else here besides me just CRINGE when someone wants to convert a bike like that into a fixed gear just for style points amongst friends? Or when some 50-something (I'm 50 myself) buys a nice road bike and puts a cruiser seat and 10 inch riser bars on it?

We certainly strive to give the people what they want. We like money. But does anyone else feel torn or a little sad in the process?

No.

And how do you know it's to score style points? Isn't possible, just maybe, that the guy just wants to ride a fixie?
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Old 01-30-08, 05:27 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
Just politely remind him that all the real hipsters find 10-speed conversions to be for posers and newbies, then point him in the direction of the off-the-shelf track bikes built for the street for him to buy

And never, ever mention a word about NJS or Arrospoks

That'll show the little mongrel what you know!
Not sure if you're being serious or not.

I consider a nice "tenspeed" conversion to be generally superior to the typical $600 or less of-the-shelf fixie, if it's to be used on the street.

Such bikes commonly have geometry that is much better for road use, and have good tire/fender clearance.

They also commonly have real horizontal dropouts instead of those atavistic rear-opening fork ends that are the current foolish fad.

Sheldon "Newbie Poser" Brown
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Old 01-30-08, 05:39 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown View Post
Not sure if you're being serious or not.

I consider a nice "tenspeed" conversion to be generally superior to the typical $600 or less of-the-shelf fixie, if it's to be used on the street.

Such bikes commonly have geometry that is much better for road use, and have good tire/fender clearance.

They also commonly have real horizontal dropouts instead of those atavistic rear-opening fork ends that are the current foolish fad.

Sheldon "Newbie Poser" Brown
I was just relating to the OP what the current trend is and why it's considered a bit newbie-ish to ride a conversion if you're juts going for "that look". For the older road riding enthusiast like yourself, these standards aren't really applying.

Anyways, I consider track geometry to be better suited for the type of riding people are doing (short point A point B city trips) while running brakeless (t. geometry enables skids easier than road geo). Many people aren't riding in the rain or using anything above 23s, either. Not me personally, but you get the picture.

And finally, I don't really understand your long standing gripe against track ends... I can remove the axle from them fine! It's only tough if the axle is hugging the innermost spot and the tire is about to rub the seat tube, in which case you are likely dealing with an old Italian beauty.
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Old 01-30-08, 06:02 PM
  #32  
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Building a fixed gear is about more than just style. There are many very good cycling reasons to ride fixed. In the absence of any serious wind or hills, I enjoy riding fixed more than riding geared.

"chopping" a bike is not part of the conversion process any more than removing the brakes. No dremel, file, hacksaw or drill has ever touched any of my frames. And they all have brakes.

There is no more wrong with converting a nice vintage bike to a fixed gear than there is with "upgrading" it with Dura Ace components and high tech wheels. Would you have felt the same if the owner wanted to do that to the bike?

And yet to expect the owner to ride it as a six speed and downtube shifters as just as enslaved by style as is converting it to a fixed gear.
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Old 01-30-08, 06:14 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
...I consider track geometry to be better suited for the type of riding people are doing (short point A point B city trips) while running brakeless (t. geometry enables skids easier than road geo).
I don't believe that track geometry makes skids any easier, but then I also believe that skidding is a Bad Thing generally.

Track geometry is designed for the perfectly smooth surface of a velodrome. I don't know what the pavement quality is in your city, but here in New England we have lots of potholes and other pavement flaws that make track geometry quite uncomfortable.[/QUOTE]



Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
And finally, I don't really understand your long standing gripe against track ends... I can remove the axle from them fine! It's only tough if the axle is hugging the innermost spot and the tire is about to rub the seat tube, in which case you are likely dealing with an old Italian beauty.
Are you saying you can remove the wheel from a frame with old-style track ends without derailing the chain first?

I don't understand how that could be possible.

Sheldon "Dropouts Are Good" Brown
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Old 01-30-08, 06:23 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I did not quiz him thoroughly, other than mention potential problems - like BioPace chainrings and brazed-on cable guides all over the place that will be interesting ornaments.

The only reason he would give verbally was "It will 'look' a lot cleaner without all of that junk hanging on it." I can't argue that. And he wants to change everything to achieve a certain "look".
I've used a Biopace chainring on my fixie.

It worked well for me.
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Old 01-30-08, 06:34 PM
  #35  
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If you think a random guy coming in asking about conversions is bad, you should go work at the bike project Plan B sometime. I have the obligation to keep people from killing themselves on those things, not just answering questions. That is part of your job working at the bike shop, right??

That being said, I love my fixed gear.
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Old 01-30-08, 08:02 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown View Post
I don't believe that track geometry makes skids any easier, but then I also believe that skidding is a Bad Thing generally.

Track geometry is designed for the perfectly smooth surface of a velodrome. I don't know what the pavement quality is in your city, but here in New England we have lots of potholes and other pavement flaws that make track geometry quite uncomfortable.
Well, we have noticed collectively over in BFSSFG that the geometry of track frames does seem to have a better effect as far as the brakeless riding / skidding that people tend to do with their track bikes on the street. The lessened rack of the fork as well as steeper angles make it a bit easier. Now obviously you condone brakes and all, but I'm just trying to present the picture from the other side of the fence. People aren't just riding track frames over road frames for "style" points, it goes a little deeper. And as far as the discomfort thing, I think it's remedied pretty well by lowering the PSI a little on your tires, or even running some comfortable, supple tubulars.


Are you saying you can remove the wheel from a frame with old-style track ends without derailing the chain first?

I don't understand how that could be possible.

Sheldon "Dropouts Are Good" Brown
Not saying that, I'm just saying if anything, the tiny amount of time more it takes to remove a wheel from a track end is completely negligable. I mean, we're talking pressing the wheel forward, derailing the chain and then sliding it back out vs. sliding it foward. Sure, sliding it forward is ever so slightly faster, but the average guy changing his flat tire on the side of the road probably isn't going to need that 5 or 10 seconds saved all that bad.
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Old 01-30-08, 09:48 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
Well, we have noticed collectively over in BFSSFG that the geometry of track frames does seem to have a better effect as far as the brakeless riding / skidding that people tend to do with their track bikes on the street. The lessened rack of the fork as well as steeper angles make it a bit easier. Now obviously you condone brakes and all, but I'm just trying to present the picture from the other side of the fence. People aren't just riding track frames over road frames for "style" points, it goes a little deeper. And as far as the discomfort thing, I think it's remedied pretty well by lowering the PSI a little on your tires, or even running some comfortable, supple tubulars.




Not saying that, I'm just saying if anything, the tiny amount of time more it takes to remove a wheel from a track end is completely negligable. I mean, we're talking pressing the wheel forward, derailing the chain and then sliding it back out vs. sliding it foward. Sure, sliding it forward is ever so slightly faster, but the average guy changing his flat tire on the side of the road probably isn't going to need that 5 or 10 seconds saved all that bad.
I'm gonna side with sheldon on the dropouts thing. With my conversion I can change a flat without ever touching a greasy chain. With my IRO I have to handle the chain or use my multi tool to derail the chain. It's not usually a big deal, but sometimes I ride my bike places where I'd rather not arrive with grime all over my hands.
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Old 01-31-08, 12:36 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by limeylew View Post
I've used a Biopace chainring on my fixie.

It worked well for me.
Me, too.
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Old 01-31-08, 06:28 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by kemmer View Post
I'm gonna side with sheldon on the dropouts thing. With my conversion I can change a flat without ever touching a greasy chain. With my IRO I have to handle the chain or use my multi tool to derail the chain. It's not usually a big deal, but sometimes I ride my bike places where I'd rather not arrive with grime all over my hands.
Carry a pair of disposable latex gloves. Take up almost no room no matter where you stick 'em.
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Old 01-31-08, 07:45 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Bob Barker View Post
Carry a pair of disposable latex gloves. Take up almost no room no matter where you stick 'em.
https://www.parktool.com/products/det...at=5&item=MG-1
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Old 01-31-08, 09:00 AM
  #41  
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I ride a converted old roadie... here's why....

I have a roadie.. .I like the geometry for my long rides
I bought one cheap
It had clamp on shifters (nothing to cut off, nothing to gouge my leg)
Clamp on front derailer
"Claw" rear hanger.

It did ride beautifully and smoothly... almost a shame... but I knew I wanted fixed. I still have all the parts, and can restore it. IF I were to cut off brake cable guides, they are easily replaced with zip-ties or similar.
The bike wasn't "rare"... but from what I find, a Fuji with Valite tubing isn't garbage either.

I looked into a track bike... but the geomety scares me.... I like the conversion too much... even if it does have the cheapest fixed wheels/bars and original cranks/BB.

Oh yeah... skidding doesn't slow you down effectively. By saying track geometry makes skidding easier, you are essentially saying it's easier to lose traction and not stop.... and look cool doing it.
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Old 01-31-08, 09:32 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
Well, we have noticed collectively over in BFSSFG that the geometry of track frames does seem to have a better effect as far as the brakeless riding / skidding that people tend to do with their track bikes on the street. The lessened rack of the fork as well as steeper angles make it a bit easier. Now obviously you condone brakes and all, but I'm just trying to present the picture from the other side of the fence. People aren't just riding track frames over road frames for "style" points, it goes a little deeper.
If that's the case, I recommend outfitting your track bike with a coaster-brake hub -- it makes skidding ridiculously easy.

A single speed -- fixed gear or with freewheel -- is ideal for New Orleans, which is flatter than Kansas. During the periods when I've ridden a geared bike here, I've never shifted anyway. Modifying a Lotus is not exactly painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.
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Old 01-31-08, 11:31 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
You can get the equivalent at any Wal-Mart or home store for a lot less money. At least we in the States can. I assume Taiwan has similar stores.

You don't need the chemical resistance of Nitrile to change a flat tire. They are nice if you are using various solvents, oils and greases while doing major overhauls.
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Old 01-31-08, 11:54 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by chevy42083 View Post
Oh yeah... skidding doesn't slow you down effectively. By saying track geometry makes skidding easier, you are essentially saying it's easier to lose traction and not stop.... and look cool doing it.
Are we talking about stopping with or without brakes? You guys like to debate, but this is not up for debate, this is merely observing the hipper segments of cycling that are more into the look than the function. I.E. who the OP thought the boy walking into the shop was.

Now, if you skid with your manhood to the stem like a complete newbie, yes you may lose traction. If you can do it seated, you won't. If you can skip stop seated, you won't either. Both methods are faster than backpedaling. You sound like the kind of guy that uses both brakes, which is obviously a faster and better method; I'm talking about not using any calipers/disc style brakes in this case, though.

One last thing, try telling the NY messengers from the last 30 years that skidding doesn't slow you down

[quote]
Originally Posted by spider-man View Post
If that's the case, I recommend outfitting your track bike with a coaster-brake hub -- it makes skidding ridiculously easy.
I'm game, after you invent me a coaster brake hub that allows me to ride fixed and not freewheeled.
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Old 01-31-08, 12:03 PM
  #45  
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I agree that there are numerous reasons why someone might want to ride a fixed gear bike. I also agree that it is better to have a bike get ridden fixed than sit and rot derailleurs and all, but I also agree with the OP that it makes me cringe a little when some kid comes in with a perfectly serviceable geared bike and asks me how I can help them "fix" it.
I'm not a fogey or a roadie. I do live in a college town where a lot of self-conscious teens and 20-somethings follow fashion with no regard to logic or comfort. We have hills, some of which are cobbled, and you want me to remove your brakes? Why? How clean are the lines of your bike going to be after careening head-on into the side-panel of an SUV?
We sold a Colnago Super last week (for real cheap) to a kid who had his fixie stolen outside a bar. The other mechanic and I told him in no uncertain terms that if he turned it into a fixed gear, we would steal it from him.
I know that there are a lot of assumptions and stereotypes flying around about fixed-gear riders and there steeds, and not all of them are true, but they are based on observation and empirical evidence. So I understand the cringe.
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Old 01-31-08, 12:06 PM
  #46  
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Stereotypes typically ARE based on empirical evidence, they're just taken into such broad generalizations that they become offensive and/or no longer bordering on reality.

I'm in agreement that hacking off shifter guides and derailleur hangers is bad, BTW. If someone touches an old Italian frame like that, it's very unfortunate.
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Old 01-31-08, 01:13 PM
  #47  
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Good point. I was hesitant to even use the word stereotype. In general each individual is too complex to boil down to any one given set of traits, but can be observed to carry on certain behaviors or possess certain traits when observed as a group. I do not sanctify in any way acting in any way towards an individual based solely on a group affiliation.
In this particular case I would not deride the bike owner for there decision, but would question why and offer alternative if I found there to be unsatisfactory reasoning in their decision. That would be the extant that I would allow my biases to manifest. It is their bike. It is their life. It is my belief that under most circumstances geared bicycles with brakes are more appropriate and I do not try and hide it, but would never forcefully come between anyone else and their beliefs.
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Old 01-31-08, 01:32 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
Well, we have noticed collectively over in BFSSFG that the geometry of track frames does seem to have a better effect as far as the brakeless riding / skidding that people tend to do with their track bikes on the street. The lessened rack of the fork as well as steeper angles make it a bit easier. Now obviously you condone brakes and all, but I'm just trying to present the picture from the other side of the fence. People aren't just riding track frames over road frames for "style" points, it goes a little deeper. And as far as the discomfort thing, I think it's remedied pretty well by lowering the PSI a little on your tires, or even running some comfortable, supple tubulars.
Skiddability (is that a word?) is mainly determined by weight distribution. Most normal bikes have about a 55/45 rear/front weight distribution.

For skidding contests, where the idea is to make the longest skid, the rider puts his/her weight as far forward as possible to reduce the weight on the rear wheel.

So, if your primary objective is to make it take longer for your bike to stop when you lock up the rear wheel, a track bike might be best. However, for riding in traffic, it would seem to me that a longer stopping distance is undesirable. Basically anything that makes skidding easier also means that the skid will be less effective at slowing the bike down. If you've ever ridden a tandem without a stoker, and tried to stop with the rear brake you have experienced the reductio ad absurdum of this, as it is easy to lock up the rear wheel, but it hardly slows the tandem down at all since there's so little traction.

Maybe "condone" wasn't quite the word you meant referring to my preference for fixed gear brake use. I did try riding brakeless for a while, back before it was fashionable. I found that it was a lot less fun because I had to be super-vigilant in traffic in case some cager did something unexpected and I might have to stop relatively suddenly. I found that I had to often keep my speed artificially low to make up for the lack of a good brake.

Since there were no style points to be had back then from going brakeless, I eventually re-installed the front brake, and found the bike much more fun to ride.

I consider riding brakeless to be basically a silly fad, not quite a silly as wearing baseball caps backward, but it is basically a fashion statement.

To me, the essence of cycling is in the _going_ not the stopping.

Sheldon "Front Brake, Road Geometry" Brown
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Old 01-31-08, 01:39 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
that the geometry of track frames does seem to have a better effect as far as the brakeless riding / skidding that people tend to do with their track bikes on the street. The lessened rack of the fork as well as steeper angles make it a bit easier.
My conversion is from an old touring frame. Is that why I can't skid?
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Old 01-31-08, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
My conversion is from an old touring frame. Is that why I can't skid?
Could be, or you don't have the technique / leg strength. Or maybe no pedal retention system, or a weak one like plastic clips or stretched out, old leather. It's multi-faceted. But anyone should be able to skid while leaning completely forward: what I'm referring to for quick stop involves staying seated, in which case a good foot retention system (Time ATACs are the best), knowledge of technique (I bring my knees very close to the top tube for leverage) and leg strength (built up from skidding over time, or other leg exercises) will all contribute, as will steeper geometry. Sheldon brings up an interesting point above about weight being more forward on a track frame: however, if you can seated skid a track frame but not a road frame, as most people, then it's probably better, if you're like many of the brakeless kids out there, to be on the track frame for reasons already outlined above as well as what was just stated.
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