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What is it about Single Speed Bikes .

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)

What is it about Single Speed Bikes .

Old 08-20-20, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
After I got my SS and rode it for a couple of weeks, what surprised me is that my average speed was about the same as on my geared bikes, and I didn't die in headwinds and on hills like I thought I would. After awhile I started asking myself why I even have geared bikes, I only need one.

What's really odd is when I hit a strong headwind or see a steep hill coming up, it doesn't make me think "damn" like I do when I'm on a geared bike. I just power through it without caring. Odd.
I had the exact same thing happen recently.

I bought an old Felt Z90 a few months back and the drivetrain turned out to be junk, so I set it aside, and bought an even older Spec Allez with 2x9, and have been riding it for the past ~3 mo. But I didn't want to just leave the Felt unused, so I converted it to SS and put some pursuit bars on it.

I took my first ride on it last weekend, and right off the bat it just feels different. I'm running a 53:16 combo, and I could pick the same ratio on the geared bike but it just doesn't feel the same. I can't put my finger on it, but it just feels more efficient or something. And to make things even better, I took it along one of my usual routes that I ride and added 2 mph (2 mph!) to my previous best. I'm a bit baffled. Also my mtb is a rigid SS as well after having 3 other geared bikes, and it's by far my favorite.
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Old 08-21-20, 10:06 AM
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I'm working from home today, so I took the plain single speed out for a break from the monotony.

Riding the single speed makes me feel like the bike is part of me.

Riding my geared bike feels like I'm pedaling a machine, like a generator or something.
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Old 08-21-20, 07:20 PM
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I'm not mechanically inclined and don't know a lot about bikes except that I love riding them. I was one of those kids who would ride a bike endlessly for the feel of it and not just for desperation transit. A dozen years ago, when I was 48, I test-rode a Bianchi San Jose randomly while shopping for a bike that would be more commuter than tourer, tired of driving to work. "How do I shift it?" - that's how much I knew about single-speed. I got on it thinking it was a joke or scam. Twenty minutes later I knew I was an SS rider. I have no technical words for it - it just felt like every ounce of my effort was being translated directly and efficiently to my forward motion. It was simple and, as OP said, meditative, which is important to me as a Zen Buddhist. At 60 I've just pulled the trigger on a geared steel road bike, feeling the urge to go a little faster on longer rides with a little less stress on my knees - working with my fabulous LBS on the build. But I'll forever be wedded to my two SS Surly Cross Checks, Craigslist finds altered to my liking by my LBS, as my get-around-town, go-to-the-pub and "hey I've got a half-hour" bikes. (One belonged to my late husband who envied mine, and while it's a little odd to still have the pair, they are different builds and bikes and I'm sentimentally attached to both.)

Btw OP, one of the bikes, a freewheel with rim brakes, makes absolutely no sound even while coasting, not sure how. It's the old "misty mountain grey" Cross Check and my husband used to call it the Grey Ghost because it's so spookily, eerily quiet.
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Old 08-21-20, 08:12 PM
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For me, it's the simplicity. I have a decent-enough frame for my single-speed to serve as my road bike . . . I have no hills here, so it's all flat routes. I upgraded my wheelset this year and will be upgrading to a top-quality crankset in a few months, and on flat routes I'm doing 30-50 mile road rides without wanting or needing a geared road bike. I don't need race-quality stem or seat post, those static parts are fine as stock, and weight is not an issue. I have no hills to descend so I'm feeling no need for disc brakes -- how fast am I going to go anyway, pushing one gear?

I've bought into the simple / purist vibe my single-speed provides . . . but I can't go fixed-gear for 50 miles, I have to coast a few yards from time to time and too many stoplights / clip-outs to manage on a fixed. If I ever learn to trackstand at stop lights, this could change . . .
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Old 08-21-20, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Yeah, Iíve gone back to at least one of my two bikes being SS, but even when they were both geared, the effect of the time when riding only SS for a while hadnít worn off. I purposely ride geared bikes more like SS, using only a couple of gear combos.

In addition to being fun and exhilarating, one of the big benefits of SS is that it relieves some of the effects and symptoms caused by repetition.

Many road riders spend a lot of time in the saddle, so weight on hands and wrists and saddle pressure are constantly having their impact.

On the other hand, SS means more variety in position, cadence, effort, etc.

The other thing Iím reminded of now that Iím riding SS again is that itís even more meditative than riding a geared bike, since there is never any thought about gear choice and shifting.

Agree, I like the simplicity and need to standup more to mash tough terrain
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Old 08-26-20, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Jmpierce View Post
Off topic...

jack pot, are you a Vonnegut fan?
...and Tom Robbins, of course.
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Old 09-03-20, 08:26 AM
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I built this in march and it is one of my favorite bikes

And this one was a rebuild just last month and it should be ridden more but my Big BMX just is so fun.

That red one above first build was a single speed, it went everywhere. Should have kept it that way, that 29r BMX is it's replacement. There is something about SS, the simpliciity, Ease of use, and just shear joy of riding.

Then it was rebuilt as a 3x9 and painted grey. I tried Shimano's Rapid rise rear derailleur and their integrated brake and shifter combo for MTB, it was Meh.

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Old 04-18-22, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Jmpierce View Post
Off topic...

jack pot, are you a Vonnegut fan?
I've read a few of his books and I like his "In Breakfast of Champions" the most. There's a lot of funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America. I understand some of his views, so it was interesting to read.
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Old 04-19-22, 08:19 PM
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Simplicity, lightweight, nimble, pretty fast. It's everything that I need for street riding.
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Old 04-19-22, 11:31 PM
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Wow. A two-year-old thread rises from the grave as a book review. Happy Easter!
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Old 04-22-22, 07:07 AM
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Happy Easter to all! I don't think there's anything wrong with discussing books if people are interested. Vonnegut has never been interesting to me, but I do not criticize his fans. I read a few short stories from Vonnegut because my friends often recommended reading it, especially Harrison Bergeron. I remember often not understanding what the author meant and wanting to convey it to people in this short story. In such cases, I read https://graduateway.com/essay-exampl...ison-bergeron/ to better understand what was going on. This site helped me to better study stories and improved my writing skills through giving samples on various topics.
By the way, what books do you like?

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Old 05-01-22, 08:31 PM
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Iím currently re reading the Dune saga.
It is my third time through, and itís new every time.
the first time, back in the 80s I thought ChildrenÖ and God Emperor were a bit weird and didnít finish.
a couple decades later and I appreciated them much more. And just now, new facets to ponder. I rarely read anything twice, but these were worth it.
The last non-Herbert book I read was Pattern Black by Truant, published in 2022, it was excellent.
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