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Think I'm over fixed gear riding

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Think I'm over fixed gear riding

Old 09-02-20, 05:52 AM
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20t
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Think I'm over fixed gear riding

Switched my hub over to the freewheel side a while back and have been loving it. So much more chill and I love being able to just carve around free of worry about pedal strikes or whatever. I'm still in the one gear camp but I just like that one gear set to freewheel. The nice thing is, from riding fixed for so long, my cadence is now ingrained in me to where I can pedal non stop like I'm riding fixed gear. Cadence gains have been the biggest benefit I've found to riding fixed. I'm not a highly skilled fixed gear rider or anything and if I was maybe I would feel different, but for me, a single speed freewheel bike is my favorite type to ride.
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Old 09-02-20, 06:01 AM
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I rode an old converted road bike with a track wheel on it for a while in the city. it killed my knees, probably because I was pushing a gear that was too low and spinny, but I had to deal with some uphills as well, so a harder gear would have been more difficult. after a few fast downhills in the low gear, I needed physical therapy because I could barely walk. my knees have not been the same since, and that was ten years ago. I've had it examined by several doctors and no one can diagnose a real injury. i switched it to a freewheel and have not looked back.
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Old 09-02-20, 06:13 AM
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Recently switched to freewheel to give my battered knees a break and enjoying the change.
I miss the relaxing cadence of fixed but being able to coast and such is fun.
Also bombing around the beach on this old single speed beach cruiser the last couple days. And, boy, those giant tires are even more fun!
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Old 09-02-20, 07:51 AM
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Does your bike have a flip/flop hub? That's the best of both worlds.
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Old 09-02-20, 08:28 AM
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Multiple gears

Might consider a multi-speed bike if spinning was causing you to need physical therapy. Typically grinding out on larger gearing causes knee ailments. The ability to be in a proper gear all the time should alleviate pain. Is your bike the correct size? Pain while riding is not always gearing, it could be the fit of your bike.

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Old 09-02-20, 09:01 AM
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in my case, the problem was spinning too fast down hills in too low a fixed gear. the bike very likely didn't fit me well either, but when you literally can't stop spinning at an RPM that is unsustainable, something has to give. that ship has sailed. I have zero interest in riding fixed every again, but no interest in using a derailer either. I got a "fixie" when it was at the peak of that trend (where I lived, at least) around 2008. that was over a decade ago. I enjoy coasting now on a SS bike that fits me and does not force me to blow up my knees grinding too slow or spinning too fast.
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Old 09-02-20, 09:27 AM
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not a fan of single speed and feeling the chain slack every time you let off just a little. drives me crazy. if i want to coast i'll grab a geared bike.
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Old 09-02-20, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
in my case, the problem was spinning too fast down hills in too low a fixed gear. the bike very likely didn't fit me well either, but when you literally can't stop spinning at an RPM that is unsustainable, something has to give. that ship has sailed.
You can always ride the front brake a little to control your speed on a long and/or steep down hill. Just a thought...
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Old 09-02-20, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
You can always ride the front brake a little to control your speed on a long and/or steep down hill. Just a thought...
that's good advice. by the the time I figured that out, I was already wearing a knee brace and riding the bus to work instead of my bike. I recommend people follow this advice if they want to ride hills on a fixed gear bike. in my case, it's no longer remotely relevant.
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Old 09-02-20, 09:59 AM
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This reminds of the C&V thread about peopleís riding experiences being foreign to one another. Iíve ridden geared bikes and SS, but never ridden fixed. After 50+ years of riding, Iím pretty used to coasting, so Iím not sure if Iíll ever try fixed gear. Meanwhile, we have folks here who have ridden fixed for many decades. As we say, YMMV.

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Old 09-02-20, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by REDMASTA View Post
not a fan of single speed and feeling the chain slack every time you let off just a little. drives me crazy. if i want to coast i'll grab a geared bike.
if the chain is so slack that you can feel it when you let off, your chain is not tight enough.
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Old 09-02-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
that's good advice. by the the time I figured that out, I was already wearing a knee brace and riding the bus to work instead of my bike. I recommend people follow this advice if they want to ride hills on a fixed gear bike. in my case, it's no longer remotely relevant.
Yeah, if I ever tried FG, Iíd be riding the brakes big time down hills, which begs the question of why Iíd do that rather than spin up, tuck and coast on my SS.
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Old 09-02-20, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Yeah, if I ever tried FG, I’d be riding the brakes big time down hills, which begs the question of why I’d do that rather than spin up, tuck and coast on my SS.
Which begs the question, if you live somewhere that is hilly, why not just ride a geared bike ?
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Old 09-02-20, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
Which begs the question, if you live somewhere that is hilly, why not just ride a geared bike ?
Iím enjoying SS.
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Old 09-02-20, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Iím enjoying SS.
And I enjoy riding fixed, and donít mind pedaling down hills and going slower. ņ chacun ses goŻts.
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Old 09-02-20, 10:58 AM
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Several notes on fix gears. High bottom brackets, low Q-factors and narrow pedals take most of the worry out of pedal strikes. I always ride with two brakes. Yes, the rear isn't essential but the cost is very small and down really big hills, redundancy, if it saves your butt just once, is probably good. (I've gone down very steep, multi miles descents in slow bike traffic where going fast wasn't an option.. Being able to alternate front and rear plus pedal resistance meant my rims never got past warm.) Also, two brakes gives you two brake hoods, Nice going uphill.

For that ride, day two of the week of Cycle Oregon, 2016, I used a double sided hub with 17 and 24 tooth cogs. (42t chainring.) Carried a chainwhip and 12 tooth cog. Put the 12 on for that descent and had great bike control. More secure on that descent than any of the freewheel/hub bikes!

I measure BB height off the ground to check for fix gear compatibility. I ride 175 cranks and Shimano 600 semi-platform pedals. A BB height of 10 5/8" with the tires I plan to use is minimal. OK for my winter/rain/city bike but not a fun fix gear. 10-3/4" is a minimum for fun. 10-7/8" Yeah! The 11" of my Fuji Pro? Never rode it fixed but that bike would have been the deal! I hit a pedal once but I was laid way over, Thankfully, I knew and trusted that bike like the back of ay hand. It just hopped a little and rode through. (Being on decent cotton sewups might have been a bacon saver.) I set up a fix gear 15 years ago on a sport Peugeot frame I picked up cheap. 10-3/8" BB. All I had to do to scrape the pedal was look at a turn. With 170s.

Knees - I went out yesterday and rode the 15t (43t front) for the first time this year. Building wind. Some of it seriously hard. My knees are feeling it today.

And for fun- the photo Dean, the Cycle Oregon photog took of me in 2014 on a 14% grade (when I didn't realize "this" was "the hill" and I hadn't flipped my wheel around! You can see the climbing gear hanging out on the left! (23t, I hadn't yet found a 24t.)



That red bag under the DT? Sandals. The shoe straps gave my feet all kinds of problems being in my 60s and pulling that hard. (I hadn't discovered you could convert strapped shoes to laces quite easily yet.) So I carried sandals to put on at rest stops. Helped a lot. Also an interesting exercise in perceived weight. Being under the DT, they were out of my sight. Being out of my sight, they were out of my awareness and hence, didn't slow me down. I offer this photo as proof, Nobody passed me on that hill. And many had much better gearing and quite a few, lighter bikes. (That bike is ti, but ti for the ride, not weight, I did nothing to save weight. It was set up completely to work very well. 19 pounds as is except without the sandals and cage, the big cog, chainwhip and waterbottles.) 10-7/8" and 175s. Her name - Jessica J, now on the right fork blade. Most fun (and demanding) ride I've ever owned.

Edit: you can see the Pedros Trixie fix gear wrench under the seatbag. Held in with a Velcro strap. Very fast to get at. 2 minute wheel flips, close to 5 to change out cogs. Third cog Velcro'd to the far side of the seatbag.

Ben

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Old 09-02-20, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
Which begs the question, if you live somewhere that is hilly, why not just ride a geared bike ?
why not just put a motor on the bike? or drive a car?

we all make decisions on what amount of complication and ease we want on our bikes. freewheeling singlespeed is fun and challenging for me in ways that riding fixed is not. my experience with riding fixed was in San Antonio, which is generally quite flat. coasting is fun, shifting was not, riding fixed was never much fun to me.
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Old 09-02-20, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
why not just put a motor on the bike? or drive a car?

we all make decisions on what amount of complication and ease we want on our bikes. freewheeling singlespeed is fun and challenging for me in ways that riding fixed is not. my experience with riding fixed was in San Antonio, which is generally quite flat. coasting is fun, shifting was not, riding fixed was never much fun to me.
Like I said, ņ chacun ses goŻts.
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Old 09-02-20, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
if the chain is so slack that you can feel it when you let off, your chain is not tight enough.
no thanks don't run my chains rubber band tight.
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Old 09-02-20, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by REDMASTA View Post
no thanks don't run my chains rubber band tight.
I didn't say you should "run your chain rubber band tight." in fact, I'd say you should definitely not have your chain that tight. the chain should be tight enough that it does not bounce or derail and loose enough that it spins freely. if you can feel the slack go away when you pedal, it's too loose.
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Old 09-02-20, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I measure BB height off the ground to check for fix gear compatibility. I ride 175 cranks and Shimano 600 semi-platform pedals. A BB height of 10 5/8" with the tires I plan to use is minimal. OK for my winter/rain/city bike but not a fun fix gear. 10-3/4" is a minimum for fun. 10-7/8" Yeah! The 11" of my Fuji Pro? Never rode it fixed but that bike would have been the deal! I hit a pedal once but I was laid way over
My lowly Schwinn Sprint has BB height of 11.0Ē with 700x32s. Thatís actually the first reason Iím using it over a lighter and nicer Witcomb frame. Iím riding these recent years using big Odyssey platform pedals and lots on trails that have plenty of surface changes and was having pedal strike issues with the Witcombís lower BB. I havenít had a single strike on the Schwinn. Iím running 170s which probably helps.

Otto
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Old 09-02-20, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
if the chain is so slack that you can feel it when you let off, your chain is not tight enough.
You probably should go to the velodromes around the country and inform those riders their chains are too slack as a public service.
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Old 09-02-20, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
You probably should go to the velodromes around the country and inform those riders their chains are too slack as a public service.
if you're racing on a velodrome, that's probably different. I think it's safe to say that most of the discussion here is for people who are riding their bikes out in public places.
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Old 09-02-20, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
For that ride, day two of the week of Cycle Oregon, 2016, I used a double sided hub with 17 and 24 tooth cogs. (42t chainring.) Carried a chainwhip and 12 tooth cog. Put the 12 on for that descent and had great bike control. More secure on that descent than any of the freewheel/hub bikes!
So am I right in assuming you are using the same chain and same chainring for all these combinations and that you have room to shift the rear axle by about 1.5 inches to handle the change from a 12t to 24t cog?

Otto
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Old 09-02-20, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
So am I right in assuming you are using the same chain and same chainring for all these combinations and that you have room to shift the rear axle by about 1.5 inches to handle the change from a 12t to 24t cog?

Otto
Yes. I think I can move the hub about 1-3/4". Chain is set up for either 42 or 43 chanring and can use all those cogs. (1/2 links are very useful for dialing in chain length.) You can see the dropout in my post above. Like a more horizontal regular road dropout at the back end. Runs further forward, then opens down like a vertical dropout so I can pull the wheel without jammina a big tire against the seat stay and having to deflate when running a big cog.

Messing with chain length and/or chainrings to do the gear changes messes up the whole point - to be able to do 1905 racer style gear changes. Stop, flip wheel, tighten up and go. Yes, the mountaintop cog change is slower, but getting that big gear for the descent puts such a big grin on my face it''s worth it. (You can see the chainwhip in the same photo.

Ben
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