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Commuting on a single speed?

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Commuting on a single speed?

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Old 04-07-14, 01:25 PM
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Isaiahc72
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Commuting on a single speed?

I'm going to start using my geared bike for recreational riding(which I do allot of). And so I'm gonna use my single speed for commuting. Considering my commute is usually pretty short, it should be pretty fun. Is anyone else doing anything similar? How far is your SS commute?
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Old 04-07-14, 02:00 PM
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lhbernhardt
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I commute on a fixed gear bike. In fact, I do just about all my riding on the fixie. But if you normally use a geared bike, the fixie (or even a single-speed) is far more useful in the winter, where the bike will get very dirty from all the sand, salt, and grit that gathers on the streets. There's way less to clean on a fixie. And you don't want all that grit and stuff getting into your derailleurs and expensive narrow 10- or 11-speed chain.

The commute is 20 km to work, and at usually at least 30 km home, as I like to take the (much) longer route, especially when there's more evening light. It always ends with a 1-km climb to the house.

Luis
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Old 04-07-14, 02:02 PM
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There are lots of people riding single speeds and fixed gears. My commute is 6 miles and I ride my fixie a lot of the time. If I had huge hills to worry about then I may not but it's easier than I would have thought.
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Old 04-07-14, 02:04 PM
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caloso
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My SSCX bike (see my avatar) doubles as my commuter: knobbies and freewheel for racing; slicks and fixed cog for commuting. Works well for my flat commute.
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Old 04-07-14, 02:18 PM
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I ride my Fantom Cross Uno just about daily for the commute and some country/off-road sorts of riding.
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Old 04-07-14, 03:36 PM
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My regular commute is only 2 miles each way and I ride my single speed fixed gear every day. Occasionally I have to work out of a different building that is about 5 miles each way and I usually get lazy and use my road bike for those days
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Old 04-07-14, 03:48 PM
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Single speed bikes have such a huge benefit in the maintenance category that it's hard to say anything bad about them as commuters.
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Old 04-07-14, 04:16 PM
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I have 2 bikes set up as fixed gears and 1 bike set up with a singlespeed freewheel... About 90% of my riding is done on fixed gear and I use it for both commuting and recreational riding. My daily commute is between 17-19 miles roundtrip.
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Old 04-07-14, 04:27 PM
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I commute everyday on a SS, about 4 miles each way so not very far. Usually I sprint and do "spirited" riding both ways, I just feel safer going around the same speed as the cars here, makes me uncomfortable when motor vehicles blow by fast when on the street.
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Old 04-07-14, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by AlTheKiller View Post
Single speed bikes have such a huge benefit in the maintenance category that it's hard to say anything bad about them as commuters.
No. 1. Hills and conditioning might counsel otherwise though.
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Old 04-07-14, 04:45 PM
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When I'm commuting, I try not to get sweaty, so having multiple gears does help in that department. I'm also probably bringing something with me, and my SSs don't have a lot of cargo space. But you're right, they are more fun- so if the above issues don't affect you, go for it.
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Old 04-07-14, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
No. 1. Hills and conditioning might counsel otherwise though.
Well, yeah. You're obviously very limited as far as mechanical advantage goes. I happen to live in a small valley. Anywhere I NEED to commute is relatively flat. Back before I knew the difference between a set screw and a barrel adjustor, the single speed was a god send. Now that I am quite proficient in tuning and trouble shooting a derailleur, the pros and cons have shifted dramatically. Not to mention my "engine" is significantly weaker since my broken knee.

That said, since commuting is not a race, I don't see much issue with gearing down a ss to compensate for hills or fitness, knowing it will limit your top speed, but potentially also limit the time you might have to pay someone to figure out why it won't shift properly.
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Old 04-07-14, 06:23 PM
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I use my fixed gear as my commuter in the summer and my geared bike as my commuter in the winter (mainly because I can put a rack and full fenders on my geared bike, whereas I'm limited to a seatpost rack on my fixed gear). My commute is about 14.5 miles each way (a little shorter in the morning, a little longer in the evening, due to route variations), assuming I don't extend it to get a few more miles in.
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Old 04-08-14, 09:56 AM
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IGH >> single speed drivetrain but offering more than 1 gear .. ..
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Old 04-08-14, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
IGH >> single speed drivetrain but offering more than 1 gear .. ..
Well... Yes and no. Still have a shifter and cable that needs (infrequent) adjustment or replacement. The cassette joint needs to be cleaned up now and then. A wheel with an IGH weighs considerably more and depending on how many gears they have they can get quite expensive. Shimano also makes it a little more of hassle to get the rear wheel off.

Speaking of IGHs I really appreciate how nice my derailleur bike shifts after I've been riding the IGH bike for awhile. Funny thing is that the reverse is also true. After riding the derailleur bike for a few weeks, the IGH strikes me as shifting really well.

I guess it takes a bit of time for the idiosyncrasies of shifting either one to start to bug me. Apparently the key to shifting bliss for me is to just not ride either one too long.

Last edited by tjspiel; 04-08-14 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 04-08-14, 10:56 AM
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I've never been too impressed with the gear change feeling of an igh compared to a derailleur system, but I think it's mostly to do with the larger jump in gear ratios compared to modern cassettes.

Edit: and I haven't ridden the nicer 8+ gear ones
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Old 04-08-14, 10:59 AM
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noted There are 2 [and now just introduced by Sram TW], 3 speed kick back hubs so the shift cable is becoming optional ..

And of course, Pool table flat places will have simpler bike gearing range needs ..
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Old 04-08-14, 11:08 AM
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Try it. It's fun!

I rode nothing but vintage fixed gear conversions from 2004 until 2010. That includes the two years I spent in your neighborhood, in Fayetteville, where I rarely touched my car. That same 6-year-old wheelset is on another bike that's set to make landfall in Germany in a couple days before coming here to Sweden.

Here I'll have nothing but my transit card, my fixed gear, and my touring bike. Unless I pick up a Swedish-style city bike to avoid theft of my beloved bikes, or if I can't wait until they get here in a few weeks (likely!).

I think they all have their place, and you should try as many setups as you possibly can.
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