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A Fixie for Seniors?

Old 06-11-13, 03:23 PM
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volosong
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A Fixie for Seniors?

Oooh, I hate that term, "Seniors". Let me just address this to the Flower Child Generation. Those of you our age who have a Fixie, what flavor is it? I'm pretty ignorant about these. Does your Fixie have a freewheel, or is it "pedal forward, move forward - pedal backward, move backward", (or whatever they call that direct-drive system).

Reason I ask is that I was talking to one of my LBS guys who worked at a shop near my house when I was a teenager. They sold Mondia bicycles, and I have one. An old "ten-speed"...back in the day when a ten speed only had ten speeds. Two rings on the front, five cogs on the rear cluster. He said instead of restoring it, that I should turn it into a Fixie. Does that even make sense for someone in their early 60's? To be riding something like that? And, if I do build it up into a Fixie, should it have a freewheel or a direct-drive? What size chainring and what size cog?

Thanks.
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Old 06-11-13, 03:32 PM
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I thought it was for a high school senior.
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Old 06-11-13, 03:35 PM
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A "Fixie" has a fixed gear, no freewheel. Hence the name.
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Old 06-11-13, 03:37 PM
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If it's a fixie, that means no freewheel. Fixed gear means fixed gear, you can't coast.

I do have a fixie, a Kona Paddy Wagon. However, it has a flip-flop hub - fixed on one side, freewheel on the other, so by turning the rear wheel around one can choose to ride fixed or singlespeed.

I ride 42-16, 70 gear inches. It's a good compromise between speed on the flats and being able to get over the climbs. I can struggle up anything up to abput 10%. Steeper than that and it had better be very short.

As for your age, I'm in my late fifties, this is my first fixie, I bought it when I was 56. It takes a little getting used to but it is a lot of fun, and it has become my go-to bike for just riding around. Plus it makes every hill a strength workout and promotes smoothness in the pedal stroke as you learn to spin downhill at what most people regard as ridiculous cadences.

Whether you should convert it to a fixie depends on taste. Restoring it to its former glory as a 10-speed might make more sense for you. But don't be put off a fixie because of your age, that's really immaterial.
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Old 06-11-13, 03:47 PM
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Riding a fixed gear can add a new enjoyable aspect to one's riding and one does not have to go and buy some brakeless track bike as many kids do... converting a road bike into a fixed gear can make for a bone simple, low maintenance, and really enjoyable bicycle. 60 years ago many a road bike was sold as a fixed gear model as the only other options were to run an internal gear hub or a coaster model... derailleur gears were in their infancy and were not widely used until the late 1950's.

I am only 47 and have been riding fixed gear bicycles for the past 5 years and feel that as long as I can ride I will always have a fixed gear bicycle... I currently have three of them.

This is a 1976 Peugeot with a fixed conversion, gearing is low and it runs a single front brake.



1951 CCM that was converted from a coaster to a fixed drive... it is so plush and smooth.



1955 Raleigh Lenton that was sold as a fixed gear model, it runs front and rear brakes and could be set up with a single speed freewheel but runs two fixed cogs.

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Old 06-11-13, 03:52 PM
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Sixty Fiver, how many bikes do you have? Still got the Ron Cooper?
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Old 06-11-13, 03:55 PM
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I'm "only" 50 but I just got my first fixed gear bike this year. 46x18 for 68 gear inches. I configured it fixed. I figured that if I didn't like it it would be easy enough to put a freewheel on it.

I like it.

I got it because i thought it would be fun, that it would help me improve my cadence and build leg strength. Nailed it on all three counts. I also found that it has encouraged me to coast less when I am riding my freewheel bikes. The bike I purchased has a more of a "road" than "track" geometry but it has a real short wheelbase and is easy to flick around, accelerates well and is just all around a blast to ride.
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Old 06-11-13, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Oooh, I hate that term, "Seniors". Let me just address this to the Flower Child Generation. Those of you our age who have a Fixie, what flavor is it.
Mine is a '75 Masi, which was my main road bike in the '80's and halfway through the 90's but when I went to Aluminum/Titanium/Carbon (pretty much in that order) the Masi just collected dust (I couldn't sell it!). So, I coverted it to fixed gear, 42 x 16, then 42 x 15 which is how it is now.

Here I am with it on a century ride a couple of years ago. Note wool MASI jersey! I've ridden three centuries on it but have yet to attempt a double century while fixed. I love the ride quality of both the frame and the fixed gear aspects. Great for recovery rides after a climbing ride in the mountains!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 06-11-13, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Sixty Fiver, how many bikes do you have? Still got the Ron Cooper?
Twenty... the bulk of them are antiques (like the CCM and Lenton) and a good number are one off hand built bicycles that I have collected over the past 15 or so years but they all get ridden.

The Ron Cooper is a gem of a bicycle and one I would never consider parting with unless I was faced with some dire circumstance or could no longer ride.

My new all rounder / commuter is a 1966 Moulton with a 7 speed IGH which is really ideal... the legs don't always work well enough to ride fixed so a wider gear range is beneficial.
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Old 06-11-13, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jerseyJim View Post
I'm "only" 50 but I just got my first fixed gear bike this year. 46x18 for 68 gear inches. I configured it fixed. I figured that if I didn't like it it would be easy enough to put a freewheel on it.

I like it.

I got it because i thought it would be fun, that it would help me improve my cadence and build leg strength. Nailed it on all three counts. I also found that it has encouraged me to coast less when I am riding my freewheel bikes. The bike I purchased has a more of a "road" than "track" geometry but it has a real short wheelbase and is easy to flick around, accelerates well and is just all around a blast to ride.
Awesome.

I know a lot of folks who are older than me and some are in their early 60's who have embraced riding a fixed gear and love it.

It must make the hipsters crazy to see that.

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Old 06-11-13, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
I thought it was for a high school senior.
I don't think that anybody who's under 60 should be allowed to call himself a "senior."
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Old 06-11-13, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post


If I could have any bike posted on these forums it would probably be this one.
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Old 06-11-13, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
My new all rounder / commuter is a 1966 Moulton with a 7 speed IGH which is really ideal... the legs don't always work well enough to ride fixed so a wider gear range is beneficial.
Lovely. I've always wanted a Moulton but at 6'3" with a 36" inseam I'm absolutely at the limits, or beyond, for their sizing.
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Old 06-11-13, 04:06 PM
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It's got yellow rims now. I think that I had more fun building it than I've had riding it.
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Old 06-11-13, 04:06 PM
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I built my first fixed gear about 10 years ago, cobbled together from the parts bin on a Peugeot frame.

I built my second about six years ago on a Shogun 400 frame recovered from the local dump, but it still cost me over $400 for the new parts. That bike is a joy to ride. It's first major outing was the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 in 2007, and although I DNFed, it wasn't down to the bike. I toured on it through France and Belgium and England afterwards, and did a full year of century-a-month on it.

I had a 39-17 set-up on it, but most recently have gone to 39-16, and I can tell you that the one-tooth change in the cog is significant. I haven't been riding it as regularly as I would like, but the ride is nice and I enjoy the bike immensely.

If you want to go in steps, and the rear hub currently has a screw-on freewheel, then (a) remove the freewheel, (b) get a cheap BMX single-speed freewheel in, say, 17 teeth, (c) put that on the hub, (d) remove the derailleur, (e) shorten the chain and keep it on the 39T ring (assuming you have that size), (f) adjust the chain tension in the horizontal dropouts... and (g) go ride. You have a single-speed so you can get used to the gearing.

When you feel ready for a fixed gear, have the bike shop remove the BMX freewheel, put on a FG cog with lock ring and you then have a fixed gear. It's best to get the bike shop to do this initially, as they will have the tools to get the lock ring done up tightly to avoid the cog from coming undone.

To entirely overcome this issue of the cog coming undone (most likely will occur if you attempt to back pedal or use the pedals to slow down), you will need a new special hub laced into the wheel. As chasm says, you can get a flip-flop hub that gives you a single-speed OR a fixed gear option on the same hub.
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Old 06-11-13, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I don't think that anybody who's under 60 should be allowed to call himself a "senior."
When I was younger 60 was ancient... told my wife that my "crush" is 66 years old and she says I have very good taste in women.



My wife just turned 40 and does not look a day over 30... she knows she is my biggest crush of all time.
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Old 06-11-13, 04:17 PM
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I have a track bike. For it to be a fixie I would have to have at least one of the following;
Disdain for helmets
Tattoos
Piercings
skinny jeans
a funkie hat
Messenger bag
Those bigazz disk thingies in my ears.

I'm way to old to pull any of that off. ;p
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Old 06-11-13, 05:02 PM
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I made my first foray into fixed gear riding a couple of years ago, but what made it doable for me was the Sturmey Archer S3X 3 speed fixie hub. It's a great way to ride fixed without being locked into one ratio.
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Old 06-11-13, 05:46 PM
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How hard is it to get used to mounting and dismounting? I use clipless if that would make a difference.
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Old 06-11-13, 05:47 PM
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When I got back into cycling in 2006 I was considering refurbing my old 10-speed. I decided to buy a modern bike instead. It was during this time that I learned that people were converting old 10-speeds to fixed gear. A few months after getting the "new bike" I decided convert the 1970 Paris Sport as second bike. To this day it's my favorite bike to ride for "pure pleasure". You can't beat the simplicity and connection of Rider-to-Bike-to-Road.

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Old 06-11-13, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
How hard is it to get used to mounting and dismounting? I use clipless if that would make a difference.
Well, I don't do the lone ranger mount on my fixie. I start seated in the saddle and push off with my right foot. Started doing it that way on day one and the learning curve was minimal.
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Old 06-11-13, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
How hard is it to get used to mounting and dismounting? I use clipless if that would make a difference.
I put flats on when I first rode fixed but very shortly switched to clipless. I was a little nervous to start but quickly gained confidence. I switched back to flats for a period when learning to track-stand. Now I don't even think about it, even when doing a track-stand. It becomes second nature as with any bicycle.
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Old 06-11-13, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
How hard is it to get used to mounting and dismounting? I use clipless if that would make a difference.
Not that hard, but it does feel a little strange until you get used to it.
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Old 06-11-13, 07:01 PM
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Suggest before deciding on fixed/freewheel for the road, you have a wee trip to a velodrome (Hellyer?) and rent a track bike for an hour. You'll know if you like it or not!
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Old 06-11-13, 07:22 PM
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I have a 2009 Salsa Casseroll SS with a flip flop hub that I run fixed most of the time. I mostly use it for short rides near home, but I sometimes pick it for the 13 mile, somewhat hilly commute into town for work. I don't really see what age has to do with it.
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