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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)

Possible Newbie, silly questions time!

Old 09-08-23, 01:07 AM
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Possible Newbie, silly questions time!

Hi all
Please excuse the following really basic/silly questions re fixed gear bikes as I have zero knowledge about them.
We emigrated in November 2021 from Uk to Thailand. Iím now 63 and retired.
In the last 6 months Ive got back into cycling. To try to regain some fitness. So far Iím down from 98kg to 81kg.
I do short rides (30kms) around a nearby lake, on almost flat, tarmac roads. Thereís hardly ever any traffic when I go, 5.30am.
I currently have a Giant Escape RX hybrid but I was wondering if a fixed gear bike would suit these rides?
I have been offered a very cheap model (new) that has disc brakes front and rear, so presumably this makes it much easier/safer to stop? Would these actually work and do I still pedal whilst braking?
I have also seen various other models for sale here without any brakes. How do you stop on one of these and presumably a model with brakes might suit someone like myself better?
Thanks in advance for any help/advice

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Old 09-08-23, 08:54 AM
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Welcome to this forum. Your first post is one of the best that I've seen. It is intelligent, articulate and relevant to the topics discussed here. First, let me congratulate you on getting back into cycling and losing a significant amount of weight. Your current bike is perfectly fine for all around riding for health, fitness and transportation. As far as your original question regarding fixed gear bicycles, rather than go into an extended dissertation, I'd like you to first read the following article by the late great Sheldon Brown who is the great guru of fixed gear bicycles.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html

Once you have read this, please feel free to post any further questions that you may have on this topic. One thing I would say is that you should not ride a bike on public roads without brakes. It certainly can be done, but it is very risky, especially as we get older.
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Old 09-08-23, 10:09 AM
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Is the bike a fixed gear or singlespeed? I can't imagine a fixie having a rear brake at all, much less a disc setup. Not saying you're incorrect, just having a hard time wrapping my head around a brand new bike set up that way. If it is a singlespeed instead it makes far more sense. As for your riding conditions, I imagine a singlespeed or fixed gear would be a lot of fun and easy to ride. Give it a spin and see how you like it, if it fits and is fun, well, N+1 applies here! Happy riding!
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Old 09-08-23, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie
Welcome to this forum. Your first post is one of the best that I've seen. It is intelligent, articulate and relevant to the topics discussed here. First, let me congratulate you on getting back into cycling and losing a significant amount of weight. Your current bike is perfectly fine for all around riding for health, fitness and transportation. As far as your original question regarding fixed gear bicycles, rather than go into an extended dissertation, I'd like you to first read the following article by the late great Sheldon Brown who is the great guru of fixed gear bicycles.



Once you have read this, please feel free to post any further questions that you may have on this topic. One thing I would say is that you should not ride a bike on public roads without brakes. It certainly can be done, but it is very risky, especially as we get older.
Thanks so much for the kind words and the linked article, itís appreciated. Iíve read through the article and it makes interesting reading. I just have a couple of minor queries please.
1. Right now on my Giant hybrid I use the supplied stock flat pedals, no toe grips or cleats, and running shoes. I appreciate this is not the most efficient method. The article says that riding a fixed gear bike this way is for the more experienced rider, so it may not suit me?
2. Re slowing the bike down. I appreciate that there is no coasting on a fixed gear, so can you slow the bike purely by pedaling slower? For eg on the route I ride every morning there are 2 T junctions which have excellent visibility as approached, to both directions. I normally just coast to the junction and then accelerate away once I see itís clear. Can this be done on a fixed gear?
3. Would a single speed (I assume they have a freewheeling rear hub?) maybe more suitable for my riding use?
Thanks once again
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Old 09-08-23, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by suncruiser
Is the bike a fixed gear or singlespeed? I can't imagine a fixie having a rear brake at all, much less a disc setup. Not saying you're incorrect, just having a hard time wrapping my head around a brand new bike set up that way. If it is a singlespeed instead it makes far more sense. As for your riding conditions, I imagine a singlespeed or fixed gear would be a lot of fun and easy to ride. Give it a spin and see how you like it, if it fits and is fun, well, N+1 applies here! Happy riding!
Hi, and thanks for the reply. The bike I mentioned is new and is for sale via an online retailer over here, which is similar to Amazon etc.
I have just looked again at the ad and itís definitely listed as a Ďfixed gearí and 100% has disc brakes front and rear. I must admit although I know very little, when Iíve looked online at fixed gear models, I have only seen ones either with a front v brake or no brakes at all.
I have messaged the company to get clarification as to which drivetrain the bike has.
Iím actually wondering if a single speed, if I can get one, might be more suitable? Iím assuming they ride the same as my current bike but without the extra gears etc and have a freewheeling rear hub?
Also I have seen some bikes that have twin rear cogs, one on either side. What are these please? Can you turn the rear wheel around and use the other gear? And is that just a different size, but still not freewheeling? Thanks
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Old 09-08-23, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
Thanks so much for the kind words and the linked article, itís appreciated. Iíve read through the article and it makes interesting reading. I just have a couple of minor queries please.
1. Right now on my Giant hybrid I use the supplied stock flat pedals, no toe grips or cleats, and running shoes. I appreciate this is not the most efficient method. The article says that riding a fixed gear bike this way is for the more experienced rider, so it may not suit me?
2. Re slowing the bike down. I appreciate that there is no coasting on a fixed gear, so can you slow the bike purely by pedaling slower? For eg on the route I ride every morning there are 2 T junctions which have excellent visibility as approached, to both directions. I normally just coast to the junction and then accelerate away once I see itís clear. Can this be done on a fixed gear?
3. Would a single speed (I assume they have a freewheeling rear hub?) maybe more suitable for my riding use?
Thanks once again
Yes, it is better to ride a fixed gear bike with some sort of foot retention, such as toe clips and straps or clipless pedals. This permits you to apply force to the pedals both when pushing down and pulling up with you feet, and it also ensures that your feet donít come off the pedals. This is really not necessary with a freewheel equipped bike, either multi-speed like your Giant hybrid or on a single speed. On a fixed gear you can slow down by applying backwards pressure to the pedals, which is called backpedaling. Of course, the bike is still moving forward, but you are pushing the bike backwards. Still, you cannot slow a fixed gear by backpedaling nearly as fast as you can on a bike with brakes, so in an emergency where you have to stop quickly in a short distance, you might have an accident. So, on all my fixed gear bikes which I ride on the road, I have both foot retention and a front brake for safety. If you donít want to use foot retention, then you will be better served by getting a single speed bicycle with both front and rear brakes.
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Old 09-08-23, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
Also I have seen some bikes that have twin rear cogs, one on either side. What are these please? Can you turn the rear wheel around and use the other gear? And is that just a different size, but still not freewheeling? Thanks
That is called a flip-flop hub, and typically there is a fixed cog on one side and a freewheel on the other side. And, yes, you can reverse (flip) the wheel to change between a fixed gear and a single freewheel.
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Old 09-08-23, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie
Yes, it is better to ride a fixed gear bike with some sort of foot retention, such as toe clips and straps or clipless pedals. This permits you to apply force to the pedals both when pushing down and pulling up with you feet, and it also ensures that your feet donít come off the pedals. This is really not necessary with a freewheel equipped bike, either multi-speed like your Giant hybrid or on a single speed. On a fixed gear you can slow down by applying backwards pressure to the pedals, which is called backpedaling. Of course, the bike is still moving forward, but you are pushing the bike backwards. Still, you cannot slow a fixed gear by backpedaling nearly as fast as you can on a bike with brakes, so in an emergency where you have to stop quickly in a short distance, you might have an accident. So, on all my fixed gear bikes which I ride on the road, I have both foot retention and a front brake for safety. If you donít want to use foot retention, then you will be better served by getting a single speed bicycle with both front and rear brakes.
Perfect. Thanks. Iím realising that there is a big community over here for fixed gear/single speed bikes. Lots of custom models. Really cool looking bikes.
Iím wondering if a bike with flip flop rear hun might be a good option? Best of both worlds so to speak?
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Old 09-08-23, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
Iím wondering if a bike with flip flop rear hub might be a good option? Best of both worlds so to speak?
Provided the bike is equipped with front and rear brakes, this is a good way to experiment with both fixed and freewheel riding without having to buy two different bikes.
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Old 09-08-23, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie
Provided the bike is equipped with front and rear brakes, this is a good way to experiment with both fixed and freewheel riding without having to buy two different bikes.
Most that Iíve seen (used) only seem to have one brake, usually a front one, sometimes a rear. Not many have both. But a bike that has a flip flop hub must have both brakes correct?
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Old 09-08-23, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
Most that Iíve seen (used) only seem to have one brake, usually a front one, sometimes a rear. Not many have both. But a bike that has a flip flop hub must have both brakes correct?
If the hub has a freewheel on one side, then the bike should have both front and rear brakes. Make sure to verify this before you purchase it.
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Old 09-08-23, 09:14 PM
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Got a link to the bike?
I've got the Motobecane Uno which is a disc brake single speed, I'd suspect what you're looking at must be similar. If its really a fixed gear you should be able to swap a freewheel onto the fixed gear side, it won't engage as many threads on the freewheel but it shouldn't matter if you aren't a powerhouse. Personally I only put clipless pedals on mine when I'm racing, for the purpose of riding I much prefer platforms with pins and really hate cages; for those who are going to comment on yours being a potential fixie, I do toss a fixie wheel on the back to ride to and from the track for practices, leaving the front on for safe braking. I would not really recommend a fixie for a more recreational rider, if you're into tracklocross, fixed gear crits or track racing then it can be good practice to ride it with a front brake and gain the feel of what the bike is like and how you would pedal through or stop in certain situations, but otherwise a regular singlespeed is nice for riding. I just ordered carbon rims for mine and will get some colored spokes for it since while it is the cheapest bike I own, unless I'm doing a training ride, its the first bike I grab.
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Old 09-09-23, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
Hi, and thanks for the reply. The bike I mentioned is new and is for sale via an online retailer over here, which is similar to Amazon etc.
I have just looked again at the ad and itís definitely listed as a Ďfixed gearí and 100% has disc brakes front and rear. I must admit although I know very little, when Iíve looked online at fixed gear models, I have only seen ones either with a front v brake or no brakes at all.
I have messaged the company to get clarification as to which drivetrain the bike has.
Iím actually wondering if a single speed, if I can get one, might be more suitable? Iím assuming they ride the same as my current bike but without the extra gears etc and have a freewheeling rear hub?
Also I have seen some bikes that have twin rear cogs, one on either side. What are these please? Can you turn the rear wheel around and use the other gear? And is that just a different size, but still not freewheeling? Thanks
in my experience singlespeed bikes ride the same as other bikes, and yet they don't. There's a more lively feel to them, especially with road type bikes, and the lack of any extra complications (shifters, derailleur, etc) makes them an easy, near bulletproof feeling bike.
is there any way you could provide a link to the bike you're looking at? You've piqued my curiosity here haha.

As mentioned above, a hub with gears on both sides describes a flip-flop hub. One side generally a fixed gear, the other a freewheel. A bike equipped with this should have front and rear brakes
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Old 09-09-23, 03:32 AM
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Apologies. But as Iíve only just joined, Iím limited in the number of posts I can make in any one day, cannot link other websites etc. I donít know if thereís any way of posting a photo instead?
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Old 09-09-23, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
Apologies. But as Iíve only just joined, Iím limited in the number of posts I can make in any one day, cannot link other websites etc. I donít know if thereís any way of posting a photo instead?
it goes by post count. I'm not sure how many anymore, but you should be able to post images. I vaguely remember it being 10 but that could have changed
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Old 09-09-23, 11:22 PM
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Sorry I just tried again and Iím not allowed to post images until I have made 10 other posts. Also I can only post here a maximum of 5 times per 24 hours and zero links to external websites. So unfortunately I cannot show the bike I mentioned in previous posts
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Old 09-10-23, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
Sorry I just tried again and Iím not allowed to post images until I have made 10 other posts. Also I can only post here a maximum of 5 times per 24 hours and zero links to external websites. So unfortunately I cannot show the bike I mentioned in previous posts
what's the make/model?
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Old 09-10-23, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by suncruiser
what's the make/model?
Its a brand that Iíve never heard of, MACCE
Iím giving it a miss. Seen a couple of used models that I prefer, including a Bianchi Pista Via Brera which looks very nice
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Old 09-11-23, 12:52 AM
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Ok. Can now post a photo.
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Old 09-11-23, 07:13 AM
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^^^ That is definitely a single speed freewheel, not a fixed gear. It is also not a flip flop hub, because of the brake disk on the other side, so you will not be able to set it up as a fixed gear. It looks to be low quality and very heavy. I think the Bianchi will be a better choice.
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Old 09-11-23, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie
^^^ That is definitely a single speed freewheel, not a fixed gear. It is also not a flip flop hub, because of the brake disk on the other side, so you will not be able to set it up as a fixed gear. It looks to be low quality and very heavy. I think the Bianchi will be a better choice.
Thanks for the information. The retailer was adamant that itís a fixed gear, no freewheel. Iím not interested to be honest. It is extremely cheap and as you say probably heavy and poor quality.
Iíve also been offered this one, which does have a flip flop hub
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Old 09-13-23, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
Thanks for the information. The retailer was adamant that itís a fixed gear, no freewheel. Iím not interested to be honest. It is extremely cheap and as you say probably heavy and poor quality.
Iíve also been offered this one, which does have a flip flop hub
that looks fantastic, and I'd be proud to own that! If it fits you properly, I'd jump on that.
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Old 09-13-23, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by suncruiser
that looks fantastic, and I'd be proud to own that! If it fits you properly, I'd jump on that.
It is the right size for me, the seller speaks good english so have managed to confirm size etc. Itís available for the equivalent of £85 including delivery. Looks to be in nice condition too. I think Iíd probably change to flat bars in due course though.



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Old 09-14-23, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Yanto
It is the right size for me, the seller speaks good english so have managed to confirm size etc. Itís available for the equivalent of £85 including delivery. Looks to be in nice condition too. I think Iíd probably change to flat bars in due course though.



change it to whatever makes you happy. Honestly, bull bars are more comfortable than you might expect, give it a few good rides as-is before changing anything.
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Old 09-19-23, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Yanto


interesting paint job. I like it.
the head badge looks kind of like Peugeot s logo.
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