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Can you keep up with fast roadies?

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Can you keep up with fast roadies?

Old 05-10-21, 03:28 AM
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LarrySellerz
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Can you keep up with fast roadies?

How capable are fixies of keeping up with road bikes. I went to a local bike shop and the dude was pretty insistent that a nice track bike/single speed would be significantly slower than a road bike. Im considering getting a 700$ ish track bike, should it be much faster than my 500$ hybrid? Obviously gears are great for elevation changes I'm talking on the flats, the dude was saying the track bike wouldn't be a huge upgrade from my hybrid.... he must be wrong right? Thanks
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Old 05-10-21, 06:17 AM
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Is speed your main concern? By the way your question is worded it seems so. Are you looking to join a group? If so, you probably should invest in a bike more similar to what they are riding. Otherwise, no matter what, there will be times when you lag behind.

Common sense tells me that in the same gear, there is no disadvantage to a fixed gear and actually advantages. The bike will likely be lighter than geared bikes (assuming it is of comparable quality) and there is efficiency in a fixed gear drivetrain. In a geared bike, the chain must wind around the jockey wheels and that simply isn't the same.

But the "fast roadies" change gears and they do it often. So you will be at a disadvantage when it comes to hills, both up and probably down. They can go to a lower gear and leave you in the dust on steep ascents and then they can coast down. You may have to even walk up a steep hill at times.

So again, if speed is you main concern and you will be riding with a group of roadies, get a geared road bike.
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Old 05-10-21, 06:23 AM
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If you have the power, endurance and guts to be in the wrong gear 85% of the time, but still hang with fast road riders, then respect for you. I'm never "faster" on a fixed gear than I am on the same route with a geared bike. On the other hand, I'm rarely bored and have both a greater level of enjoyment as well as a sense of accomplishment after a challenging fixed ride. So, there's that.

You ride a hybrid now? They why not try the track bike and prove the other fellow wrong?
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Old 05-10-21, 07:03 AM
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No
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Old 05-10-21, 07:42 AM
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No....but you might be able to keep up with yourself.
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Old 05-10-21, 08:00 AM
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When we had a bike club in this town and I was an active member, I did a lot of group rides on one or another of my fixed-gear bikes. My memory is that I hung with them pretty well, but I was in shape then, too, and riding 2,00-3,000 miles annually.

In terms of my speed, for general riding around this area's rolling terrain there isn't really a significant difference between whether I ride fixed or multi-speed. I can have a lovely and enjoyable and even challenging ride either way, whether solo or with others who are seeking a comparable ride experience, and I bet you would find the same is true for you.

In terms of riding with others, if the goal is to go fast and hammer, no, you will want to ride something comparable to the pack. I've been there and done that and could happily spend the rest of my life far from modern roadie culture and its conspicuous consumption - but that's a big part of the appeal of a fixed-gear for me, it's an upraised middle finger to the constant consumption/obsolescence/replacement cycle.
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Old 05-10-21, 08:43 AM
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I've done the same group rides fixed and geared and always kept up. We have hills some hills but nothing both long and steep. While on fixed I often pass the geared riders going up, and they pass me going down, but we always catch up to each other.

Also, I don't buy that 85% wrong gear business. Maybe in the mountains it would be. I find my fixed to be the correct gear more than 85% of the time. If it's not I'm either riding mountains or a bike setup with the wrong gear.
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Old 05-10-21, 09:03 AM
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On a fixie or a single speed? I'd be pretty impressed if you could safely mesh into a group of motivated road bikes.

I'm not sure I'd appreciate the wildly different braking dynamics between the different classes of bike though. Without conventional lever operated brakes on both wheels, your braking capability will always remain a hazard to the others.

You are free to replace your friends derailleur hangers, buddy flaps, fenders, etc... when you knock them down from behind. It would be an interesting experiment to see how how long they will remain a welcoming & friendly group of non-"elitist roadies."

Define the term: "Fast roadies."
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Old 05-10-21, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
How capable are fixies of keeping up with road bikes.
Fixed or free doesn't make a difference; it's all about the single speed. Put your geared bike in a single midrange gear, jump on a roadie's wheel, and see how long you last.

Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
the dude was pretty insistent that a nice track bike/single speed would be significantly slower than a road bike.
That depends on the terrain and who's riding the bikes.

Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Im considering getting a 700$ ish track bike, should it be much faster than my 500$ hybrid?
Spending more money doesn't equate to more speed.

Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Obviously gears are great for elevation changes I'm talking on the flats
Gears are great for a lot of things, including riding fast on long, flat sections.

I love my singlespeeds, but if I'm riding with multi-geared roadies, I expect to get dropped. "Horses for courses," and all that.

Last edited by Rolla; 05-10-21 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 05-10-21, 10:03 AM
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I've made the decision to ride single speed all the time I am in Florida. This has been about 5 months now and so far, so good. I had a bit of a break through this past weekend when I tried my first 65' waterway bridge. I'd estimate this one mile bridge is about a 4 % grade, maybe a bit less, and I didn't know what to expect. Honestly I shot right up to the top, never had to stand and then went ahead and did 4 repeats. I'm old and no physical marvel but I had changed the gearing to 46/20.

This event has freed me up actually. I had figured I was going to be locked into walking these bridges so I stayed away, now I have changed my daily ride to do that bridge 2-4 times each ride.

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Old 05-10-21, 10:09 AM
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My local Saturday morning race ride, the River Ride, is extremely flat except for a couple of overpasses and levee ramps, so climbing is not an issue. Very doable in one gear, and every once in awhile you'll see someone on a track bike. You need a big gear and brakes, of course. It's always been a rider who has road and track experience, so I've never seen a problem.
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Old 05-10-21, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
On a fixie or a single speed? I'd be pretty impressed if you could safely mesh into a group of motivated road bikes.

I'm not sure I'd appreciate the wildly different braking dynamics between the different classes of bike though. Without conventional lever operated brakes on both wheels, your braking capability will always remain a hazard to the others.

You are free to replace your friends derailleur hangers, buddy flaps, fenders, etc... when you knock them down from behind. It would be an interesting experiment to see how how long they will remain a welcoming & friendly group of non-"elitist roadies."

Define the term: "Fast roadies."

They seem fast to me, they destroy me up the hills. A favorite local climb takes me 29 minutes and Iím sure they are all sub 23 on it.

I donít intend on pacelining or riding close on the fixie. Maybe just ride their route and see if I can keep them in eyesight or something. Maybe if I get really good then sure, but Iím not even thinking about doing a group ride. Just want to be fast

Last edited by LarrySellerz; 05-10-21 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 05-10-21, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
How capable are fixies of keeping up with road bikes. I went to a local bike shop and the dude was pretty insistent that a nice track bike/single speed would be significantly slower than a road bike. Im considering getting a 700$ ish track bike, should it be much faster than my 500$ hybrid? Obviously gears are great for elevation changes I'm talking on the flats, the dude was saying the track bike wouldn't be a huge upgrade from my hybrid.... he must be wrong right? Thanks
Totally depends on the local terrain. We routinely have guys who bring their flip-flop equipped fixies to the road hammer ride and do just fine. They just flop it over to the single speed side. It has a few hills but nothing ridiculous. They run it single speed to avoid any fixie issues in close quarters with folks used to having hand brakes. Not the fixie so much messing up, but roadies grabbing a handful and messing up the poor fixie person.

If it's pan flat up to I'd say 40 feet elevation per mile (800 feet in 20mi) then I'd say no problem. If it gets into the 80+ feet per mile (1600 feet or more in 20mi) then I'd say not do it. Not for not keeping up on flat or uphill, but the downhill spinout.

Flats? Dude doesn't know what he's talking about. The track bike will work just fine. As for the track bike versus the hybrid.........how you sit on the thing makes the difference. Narrower lower bars, more aero. So on the flats a single speed track bike is great for road riding.

I would do it myself to mix it up, but I live in a neighborhood that's only 100 foot hills of 6% or so one after the other.
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Old 05-10-21, 12:36 PM
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I have a fairly lightweight road fixed, and a pretty heavy 2 x 10 gravel bike with dropped bars.

The weights are substantially different, as are the aerodynamics. However, the 2 x 10 has the advantage of a wide range of gears and I have fitted it with 28mm tyres, the same type as the 25 mm ones on the fixed.

On my local favourite loops, the average speeds over a route are the same, whichever of the two bikes I am on. However, closer analysis shows that the speeds on each short section vary quite substantially.

A simple answer is that on my fixed, I can "keep up with myself on my geared bike". I could compete over 10 or 20 miles with someone of similar weight, fitness and ability if I were on the fixed and they were on the geared.

However, I would seldom be riding alongside them. Sometimes they would be well ahead, sometimes they might fall behind.

If they were on a geared lightweight road bike, they would leave me for dead.
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Old 05-10-21, 01:57 PM
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I rode the same route fixed and geared, fixed was about 5 minutes slower and about 1mph slower over the 34 mile route pretty much same conditions and some stop lights.
I pass geared riders all the time and they pass me as well, the thing is with fixed, you have to keep your speed up all the time and that disciplines you into hammering all the time.
punchy climbs and little rolling hills are fun.

Geared riders become complacent, they coast on the small downhills and down shift on the little climbs. I just try to hammer through the whole thing.
If youíre going to get a fixed and want to tear it up, set up your bike proper, no platform pedals no disco fixie shi+
You only have 1 gear so you have to make the most of it.
fixed gear is a great training bike to teach you to hammer and suffer.
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Old 05-10-21, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Totally depends on the local terrain. We routinely have guys who bring their flip-flop equipped fixies to the road hammer ride and do just fine. They just flop it over to the single speed side. It has a few hills but nothing ridiculous. They run it single speed to avoid any fixie issues in close quarters with folks used to having hand brakes. Not the fixie so much messing up, but roadies grabbing a handful and messing up the poor fixie person.

If it's pan flat up to I'd say 40 feet elevation per mile (800 feet in 20mi) then I'd say no problem. If it gets into the 80+ feet per mile (1600 feet or more in 20mi) then I'd say not do it. Not for not keeping up on flat or uphill, but the downhill spinout.

Flats? Dude doesn't know what he's talking about. The track bike will work just fine. As for the track bike versus the hybrid.........how you sit on the thing makes the difference. Narrower lower bars, more aero. So on the flats a single speed track bike is great for road riding.

I would do it myself to mix it up, but I live in a neighborhood that's only 100 foot hills of 6% or so one after the other.

strava claims itís 1357 ft of elevation for 24 miles. Probably another 600 just to get to the ride

How sketchy is taking your feet off the peddles and coasting down hills on a fixie? If you have a brake it should be ok right, or is it not something you want to routinely do. The other fixie guys might make fun of me for coasting lol

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Old 05-10-21, 03:24 PM
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Geared bikes will go faster on uphills and downhills than fixed gear bikes. If you can make up for that on your fixed gear bike, " ... salut, DonCorleone."
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Old 05-10-21, 04:06 PM
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I'm always faster on my geared bikes. Even my 3 speed fixed which weighs in at a portly 26.5 pounds is faster than my fixed only bikes on the same route. Planning to ride with some buddies this weekend, some faster and some slower, will see what I can manage on fixed. Will likely take my 3 speed to see if I can hang in the middle
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Old 05-10-21, 04:43 PM
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BTW, anyone watching the State Bicycles video series on youtube "Riding Fixed up mountains with Pros"

Reminds me of the Rapha videos but, currently anyway, I'm hooked.
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Old 05-10-21, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
If it's pan flat up to I'd say 40 feet elevation per mile (800 feet in 20mi) then I'd say no problem. If it gets into the 80+ feet per mile (1600 feet or more in 20mi) then I'd say not do it. Not for not keeping up on flat or uphill, but the downhill spinout.
Yeah, Iíve been thinking of turning my roadish SS into a dingle, so I can add the big chainring and get a taller gear, partly for downhills and partly for interval work. Around here we have similar 100í to maybe 150í hills, so the SS gear wouldnít cause me an issue keeping up (on the climbs).

Otto

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Old 05-10-21, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post

How sketchy is taking your feet off the peddles and coasting down hills on a fixie?
Taking them off the pedals is easy. Putting them back on at speed is... well ... try it and see.
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Old 05-10-21, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
I've made the decision to ride single speed all the time I am in Florida. This has been about 5 months now and so far, so good. I had a bit of a break through this past weekend when I tried my first 65' waterway bridge. I'd estimate this one mile bridge is about a 4 % grade, maybe a bit less, and I didn't know what to expect. Honestly I shot right up to the top, never had to stand and then went ahead and did 4 repeats. I'm old and no physical marvel but I had changed the gearing to 46/20.

This event has freed me up actually. I had figured I was going to be locked into walking these bridges so I stayed away, now I have changed my daily ride to do that bridge 2-4 times each ride.

nice bike, what brand is that
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Old 05-10-21, 08:21 PM
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It's a Wabi lightning.
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Old 05-10-21, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
strava claims itís 1357 ft of elevation for 24 miles. Probably another 600 just to get to the ride

How sketchy is taking your feet off the peddles and coasting down hills on a fixie? If you have a brake it should be ok right, or is it not something you want to routinely do. The other fixie guys might make fun of me for coasting lol
The proper term is how exciting is it, I'm gonna assume you have brakes front and rear before attempting such an exciting thing as pulling your feet off. Hope you have MTB SPD style or it'll head past sketchy and exciting to something even less fun real fast.

As others have mentioned, fixie will totally change your speeds at various times, I found it slightly easier to maintain a decent pace over small rollers due to the pedals wanting to turn and keeping the legs going although even then the downhill speed just wasn't the same. I'm limited to about 110rpm which I can't maintain for any real length of time so I'd find myself braking on even small downhills due to not being able to spin. At the same time I do best at about 75rpm and with my regular bikes and just tend to push harder gears to compensate while the fixie had to be set to lower gearing just so I could make the hills limiting my speed. Vs me on a road bike, the fixie will be slower, vs me on my hybrid over flatish terrain, I'd be faster on the fixie. The worst part, and what gets you over distance, is the inability to coast and rest in the process.
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Old 05-10-21, 10:20 PM
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Depends on the course. Most often the geared bikes will offer an advantage. I'm a "fast" roadie, and track racer, and time trialist. In most courses (around here). the FG will put you at a disadvantage. Do some track racing! Then it won't slow you down
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