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Could commuting on very flat roads be easier on a fixed?

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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)

Could commuting on very flat roads be easier on a fixed?

Old 03-02-21, 10:08 PM
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h_curtis
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Could commuting on very flat roads be easier on a fixed?

I am in a situation where I am moving to a very flat area and I am bringing my bike for about a 40 mile round trip commute to work (2 days a week). I ride a commuter bike sometimes (bad weather) and for a few years I rode a fixed gear track bike that is super light and fun and to be honest my commute time was less with it and I am riding in Pittsburgh hills. Now I am taking one of the following bikes with me to make my very long but very flat commute. The bikes are as follows:

1. Commuter bike with 700x35 tires and a Shamano 8 speed hub
2. A road bike with 700x25. Older 531 bike with Campy ergo and such. (Roberts)
3. A fixed with 700x23 (Guerciottitrackbike)

I will be riding around 15 mph and I am just wondering will my effort be actually less on a fixed gear bike as it is so light? Sure I can never coast. That is a concern.

I am in my 50's. I do love riding my fixed, but a nearly 40 mile round trip commute and a physical job is a concern. What do you think, is the best bike for this commute?

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Old 03-02-21, 10:16 PM
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Multiple gears. Will allow you to manage effort, which will prevent sweaty messenger work day. Unless you have a shower at work. If you do, than mix it up.
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Old 03-02-21, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Senrab62 View Post
Multiple gears. Will allow you to manage effort, which will prevent sweaty messenger work day. Unless you have a shower at work. If you do, than mix it up.
Interestingly, I don't sweat that much at my age. Don't know why. Kind of miss when I was younger and was soaked with sweat. lol
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Old 03-03-21, 12:16 AM
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Headwinds are the enemy of the cyclist. They may be more of an issue on flat unsheltered roads.

If you can only have one bike, and are using it for practical as well as leisure riding, then the sensible thing is to take a multi-speed even if you seldom change gear. I often ride my 2 x 10 as a "selectable single speed" riding for many miles without a change of gear.

However, I ride my fixed far more often.

The geared bike is the sensible option. You will probably take the fixed.
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Old 03-03-21, 12:47 AM
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You are not comparing apples to apples. A road bike is quite different from a track bike and 25c tires from 23c tires. Now, riding that distance fixed on a proper road frame, no big deal. I do it all the time. I've commuted nearly that distance year round on roads that weren't all flat. With fenders, a rack and panniers and a U-lock. But that bike was a mediocre to decent Japanese sport frame from the early-mid eighties, not a bike intended to ride a velodrome. I put 28c tires on it. 44-17.

I'm purposely a little vague describing that bike. It's a rig I've been riding 40 years. Over that time everything, including the frame, has been replaced at least four times. It started on sewups which work well as skinny tires for commuting. (Tough on the rims but in those days, 400g rims were cheap and sewups don't care how trashed the rims are. Round, square, any shape works!) Since going to clinchers, I've never even thought about commuting on 23s (other than thinking that's a bad idea).
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Old 03-03-21, 06:42 AM
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Yes
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Old 03-03-21, 07:51 AM
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Personally, I would take the geared bike (to fight the headwinds).
However, if the fixed was converted to free I'd give it a go....
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Old 03-03-21, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
You are not comparing apples to apples. A road bike is quite different from a track bike and 25c tires from 23c tires. Now, riding that distance fixed on a proper road frame, no big deal. I do it all the time. I've commuted nearly that distance year round on roads that weren't all flat. With fenders, a rack and panniers and a U-lock. But that bike was a mediocre to decent Japanese sport frame from the early-mid eighties, not a bike intended to ride a velodrome. I put 28c tires on it. 44-17.

I'm purposely a little vague describing that bike. It's a rig I've been riding 40 years. Over that time everything, including the frame, has been replaced at least four times. It started on sewups which work well as skinny tires for commuting. (Tough on the rims but in those days, 400g rims were cheap and sewups don't care how trashed the rims are. Round, square, any shape works!) Since going to clinchers, I've never even thought about commuting on 23s (other than thinking that's a bad idea).
The largest tire I can fit on my track bike are 23's. I tried 25's and they rubbed. lol. The Continental 4 seasons are really nice tires for commuting though.

You guys have me leaning road bike. If I was in top shape and didn't work on my feet all day, I might rather go with my fixed. I sure love riding that!

Thanks.
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Old 03-03-21, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Headwinds are the enemy of the cyclist. They may be more of an issue on flat unsheltered roads.

If you can only have one bike, and are using it for practical as well as leisure riding, then the sensible thing is to take a multi-speed even if you seldom change gear. I often ride my 2 x 10 as a "selectable single speed" riding for many miles without a change of gear.

However, I ride my fixed far more often.

The geared bike is the sensible option. You will probably take the fixed.
Wow, do you know me? Your last sentence hit home. If I was in better shape, I probably would take my fixed. With the job being physical and me in my 50's, I might actually wimp out and take the road bike. Wish I would have started training a month ago, but it is what it is. Commuting around here, I almost always ride. my fixed or commuter bike. I went years riding my fixed and just love it. Makes you work up hills in a good way. You have no choices. lol
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Old 03-03-21, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedway2 View Post
Personally, I would take the geared bike (to fight the headwinds).
However, if the fixed was converted to free I'd give it a go....
Yeah, I am. going to deal with winds. That can sure make a difference. At least on the way. home I can just take my time and stop if I feel like it.
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Old 03-03-21, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
The geared bike is the sensible option. You will probably take the fixed.
This still has me laughing. I ask a question and the overwhelming response is take the geared bike and then I decide on the fixed anyway. Hilarious and often true!

Since I am 55 years old and not in the shape I really need to be in, I think I am taking the advice this time around however. Thanks for this response. Priceless.
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Old 03-03-21, 09:55 AM
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The lighter weight of your track bike is irrelevant on flat roads. Much more important is aerodynamics, so the bike that puts you in the most wind-cheating riding position is the best choice. As to your age being a factor, it is not as important as your fitness. I'm 74, and the only difference between now and when I was in my 20's is that I'm a bit slower, but maintaining a 15 mph pace on flat roads on my fixed gear is not a problem at all. As long as you choose a low enough gear to maintain at least a 90 rpm cadence, you won't bog down when riding into the wind. That said, I don't ride fixed when the sustained wind speed exceeds 15 mph.
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Old 03-03-21, 10:51 AM
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I wouldn't want to commit to 40 miles round-trip on a fixed gear twice a week until I tried the course with gears first.
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Old 03-03-21, 01:18 PM
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It's all a matter of training... doing it every day and soon the only ugly days are those with strong headwind the entire trip, which is much like an hour fitness with weights but when home you feel 20 years younger.
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Old 03-03-21, 01:20 PM
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Riding 20 miles headwind with a fixed makes you feel 20 year younger when arriving home.
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Old 03-03-21, 02:48 PM
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I'd take the fixed with a lower gear on the flip side of the hub for dealing with headwinds.
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Old 03-03-21, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Novalite View Post
Riding 20 miles headwind with a fixed makes you feel 20 year younger when arriving home.
As someone that commuted year around on a fixed in Pittsburgh, I have to agree. Only once I couldn't ride home and had to walk the whole way due to too much snow. I tried, but just couldn't. Fun though. Very long walk.
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