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What is it about Single Speed Bikes .

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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 08-01-20, 09:34 AM
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OldCruiser
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What is it about Single Speed Bikes .

Just what is it about SS bikes ?
To me itís the simplicity.
About half of my stable of bikes are SS . But most are cruisers .
Most are coaster brake hubs , not for the brake , but for the quiet running . When Iím coasting down a hill , the wind and the sound of the tires on pavement is all I hear .
If I could get a SS freewheel to do that , Iíd run freewheels because of the simplicity of how they operate.
And for some reason , I enjoy a bike thatís pieced together from parts more than one that is new .
My bikes are never finished , they continue to evolve and change .
My new favorite.
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Old 08-01-20, 10:40 AM
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When I ride my SS it's usually early in the morning before the streets are filled with noise (cars, people, etc). I enjoy the quiet and my Langster only makes noise when I'm coasting.
No gears to shift, the bike's light and it zips along with little effort. When I start hearing the chain I know it's time to lube it......
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Old 08-04-20, 08:44 AM
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to the boomers a SS harkens back to the days of paper boys up at 5AM or local groceries being delivered by bike or a 10 year old's first solo adventure a few miles away from home > to the cynics it's just a new release of an old standard
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Old 08-04-20, 09:01 AM
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Off topic...

jack pot, are you a Vonnegut fan?
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Old 08-04-20, 11:08 AM
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Sure, I was a paper boy in the '70s, but that job was drudgery to me. Pedaling a heavy slow beast laden with a wooden and canvas "pannier" full of Sunday's fat rolls of newsprint. Multiple times, in one morning, due to sheer volume.


Thankfully, there was only one Sunday per week.

But I do feel like a kid again when I ride a single speed. No doubt about it. Riding a single speed makes me stand up to pedal much more than I would a geared bike, and that standing up more often seems to energize me, entertain me, and make me forget what I look like in a mirror. (Who the hell put that middle aged face on my skull?)
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Old 08-04-20, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
But I do feel like a kid again when I ride a single speed. No doubt about it. Riding a single speed makes me stand up to pedal much more than I would a geared bike, and that standing up more often seems to energize me, entertain me, and make me forget what I look like in a mirror. (Who the hell put that middle aged face on my skull?)
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.

Otto
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Old 08-04-20, 01:40 PM
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When I ride my pieced together SS with its missed
matched wheels , it takes me back to my youth.
The time I built a bike from parts salvage from trash piles.
I’d pick up bike frames , wheels or whatever bike related I could find walking home from school . We lived four or five miles from school . I prefer to walk instead of riding the bus .
The neighborhood my school was located In was more upscale than the mill village I grew up in and people over there would throw away something and buy new rather than fix it .
One mans trash is another mans treasure.

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Old 08-04-20, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Jmpierce View Post
Off topic...

jack pot, are you a Vonnegut fan?
> a friend named Harrison Bergeron tried to turn me on to vonnegut... up until then i was a JAILBIRD without a home ... harrison welcomed me to his Monkey House one Palm Sunday & every mother night since i been sleeping in a Cat's Cradle and eating breakfast's of champions > sadly Harrison was killed by some government lady before he finished explaining THE SIRENS OF TITAN so in answer to your question >>>>>>> im not sure you could call me a vonnegut frenetic but i like a lot of what harrison liked before he got murdered
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Old 08-04-20, 03:23 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.

Otto
I can only imagine how much more connected I'd feel riding a fixed gear, just not sure my "off road" jaunts would be good for riding fixed. I'm so accustomed to leveling the pedals when needed, even with this coaster brake single speed I have.
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Old 08-04-20, 04:29 PM
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The last time I rode a Fixed Gear was on my Big Wheel Trike (5yrs old?).
Now at 60 I have no desire to be "locked-in" with my SS.....actually I'm in fear of the thought lol.....
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Old 08-04-20, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by speedway2 View Post
the last time i rode a fixed gear was on my big wheel trike (5yrs old?).
Now at 60 i have no desire to be "locked-in" with my ss.....actually i'm in fear of the thought lol.....
x2 !
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Old 08-05-20, 09:31 AM
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Single speed is like "back to the future" for many of us. When I was a kid, I didn't even know about geared bikes until an older sister dated a guy with a "ten speed", a yellow Schwinn Collegiate, if I remember correctly. After that, all geared bikes were "ten speeds" and I'll bet a pretty large segment of the population still calls them that, regardless of the actual number of gears.

I practically lived on my bike as a kid. I only remember one flat tire in all that time and it was self-inflicted. I tried filling the tire at a gas station and I literally blew it up. They guys in the station laughed their butts off at me. My ears were ringing for hours. Lessons learned.

Now, I ride a bunch of different bikes, but what has become my "go to" is one of my fixed gears. Not the most expensive one by a long shot either. Just the one that fits me perfectly and rides like a dream.
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Old 08-05-20, 09:51 AM
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Reliable, simple, fun.

My kid rides a FG to school (or at least he did in the Before Times) and won the local U18 cross series on a SSCX. I'm glad to have passed on the bug.
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Old 08-05-20, 08:34 PM
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Riding SS appeals to me but riding FG does not. I have to stand up some during my multi-geared bike rides to relieve my caboose pain, if only for a moment.
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Old 08-05-20, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I can only imagine how much more connected I'd feel riding a fixed gear, just not sure my "off road" jaunts would be good for riding fixed. I'm so accustomed to leveling the pedals when needed, even with this coaster brake single speed I have.
My first fix gear ride, the pedals leveled me. Literally. Three oncoming cars. I wanted to pull a left turn. Going ~20. (I was a novice racer). So I coasted, left pedal down. It shot me a couple of feet into the air, followed closely by the bike still strapped to my feet. Collapsed on the road fairly hard, but with almost no speed! Left leg felt like living hamburger but I was sold! Been riding fix gear ever since. (No, not all fix gear. Still, enough that my total lifetime mileage is now over half fixed.)

Those first fix gear bikes were always workhorses - racks, locks, fenders most of the year, 10 years ago I ordered a dream fix gear, the bike in my avatar. It's a serious, very good, 1990 titanium road race bike for a fictional world where gears and freewheels had never been invented. My mistress, Jessica. (No, no, not as in concubine. Mistress as in the feminine gender of "master". When we ride, she's in charge. I get to choose the direction, the gear ratio and generally how hard we go but at any given moment, she's running the show. And I'd better remember that or I'm in for a surprise!)

Rode Jessica yesterday for a 40 mile evening ride. Gorgeous day. No great plan, several stops. Stretches of hard riding, others of just riding. Got home well after dark. Great ride! Complete retool!

Ben
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Old 08-06-20, 04:21 AM
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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.
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Old 08-06-20, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I can only imagine how much more connected I'd feel riding a fixed gear, just not sure my "off road" jaunts would be good for riding fixed. I'm so accustomed to leveling the pedals when needed, even with this coaster brake single speed I have.
Off road is not for the faint of heart. There are fixed gear mountain bikers, but personally, I'd never attempt it.
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Old 08-06-20, 08:15 PM
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A few years ago, I realized that I had enough parts on hand for a complete bike, so I threw it together. The rear hub was an old Bendix coaster.

It's fun to ride, and maybe I get a certain Luddite satisfaction from getting around on such a primitive machine. No surprise, it also happens to be my lightest bike.

But... I'm not a super strong rider, and there are hills in my area that I can barely climb at all on the bike. A few of those and it starts to get old. So I've still got my geared bikes for longer rides.
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Old 08-07-20, 11:38 AM
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Fun

Itís simple, light, quiet, and fun.
whatís not to like?
I live in pancake flat Florida so the only times Iíd like a lower gear are sand or riding against the wind, at the worst every once in a while I get some extra exercise or have to walk through some soft stuff.
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Old 08-09-20, 06:57 AM
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less sh*t to break
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Old 08-09-20, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
Off road is not for the faint of heart. There are fixed gear mountain bikers, but personally, I'd never attempt it.
> you are right on ... i ride some rock piles & rough gravel and i just can't do it on my FIX but i been hootN all over the rocks & gravel on a SS >>> same for off road trails ... you can FIX gravel or trail but i tried and learned it's for the young & STRONG
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Old 08-09-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jack pot View Post
> you are right on ... i ride some rock piles & rough gravel and i just can't do it on my FIX but i been hootN all over the rocks & gravel on a SS >>> same for off road trails ... you can FIX gravel or trail but i tried and learned it's for the young & STRONG
Yes, but there are non-age-related realities such as low bottom brackets, pedal strike and other things to think about. Short cranks help too.
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Old 08-12-20, 01:44 PM
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I have various unicycles from 24 inch to 36, a fixed gear road bike and a 2 x 10 gravel bike. At the moment, the fixed is my first choice for most rides including a short commute.

I have used it on SS with freewheel but it never grabbed me in the way that fixed has. Part of my ride to work is along a canal bank, slowing down to pass under narrow bridges, or to get past walkers and joggers. Part of it is across rough ground. I make it part of the game not to use the brakes except in an emergency, which means planning ahead, feeling the back pressure on the pedals, timing the pedal strokes and weaving to end up with the power stroke in the right place for an obstacle. It's like a dance.

I spend all day sitting at a desk arguing with idiots, some of whom are customers, and my 15 minute ride back to the car before the long drive home is therapeutic. I'm 57, but I feel like a kid again.

Conversely, there is no doubt that my 2 x 10 is a far more capable machine in terms of uphill, downhill, cross country and long distance, but it is less intuitive and less joyful.
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Old 08-12-20, 08:13 PM
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Three of my bikes are SS with one being SS/FG. I enjoy the simplicity of the drive train and the experience. I also have no shame in walking up hills.
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Old 08-18-20, 02:10 AM
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I built me a fixie years ago using a 60s S&R. I really wanted to try it out, Often I would forget I couldn't coast and almost killed myself going downhill once. I think my big mistake was not having foot retention. I probably would've had an easier time and would've enjoyed it more. Fixie stuff was impossible without it. It was almost like relearning bikes, like the time I test rode a trike.

Sadly the bike was stolen before I could revisit the idea. Was one of my grannies old bikes too, real good condition for something that sat outside for years.
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