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My singlespeed philosophy

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)

My singlespeed philosophy

Old 02-02-24, 12:19 PM
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My singlespeed philosophy

Hi everyone,

I am a low speed singlespeed cyclist. Hub gears have failed on me and derailleurs as well. I came to conclude its better to ditch gears altogether for me.

This lightens the bike and reduces maintenance significantly.

Next to go was the bent forward riding position. It invites aggressive riding and mashing. It doesn't combine well with low singlespeed gearing. Because my average speed is low I am in the saddle longer. I need to be comfortable, without any wrist or neck strain. Now I am seated upright, with my U-shaped roadster bars way above my saddle. I can lean on them with my arms if I wish for a different position and a bit more aero. It is very comfortable.

Now my bike has a rear rack, front rack and fenders. So its basically a cargo-bike. I can haul a lot of gear and groceries. It is very practical.

Now what is my gear ratio? A 38 front and a 19 back. But considering going even lower for heavy loaded touring.

What is the end result? A very durable, practical, comfortable, affordable,
​​ low maintanence, and very safe bicycle.

I cannot risk the hospital. But with this speed there is no major risk of injury. Yet I am still 3 times walking speed. Spinning out is not a big deal- that is a first world problem. I don't arrive very tired either. Your endurance is very high on low speed. My watts remain low, so I can wear a lot of normal clothes that are not cycling specific, which by the way is made possible also due to the upright nature and nice big saddle.

A bicycle is most efficient up to 18/kmh. Then the amount of energy expenditure goes up very quickly to combat the wind resistance. Its not worth it. And if you crash at 25 or 30 kph, thats a big deal

​​​​I came to conclude gears are only really needed if you want to go fast or want to cycle up extreme inclines. Then ill just walk, which is a healthy change for the body anyway.

​​ if you accept being a turtle, you will eventually outrun the hare. Theres so many benefits if you embrace the low speed upright cycling. (12-18kmh) This is enlightened cycling.

Last edited by YeshuaSaves; 02-02-24 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 02-03-24, 10:06 AM
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Makes for more fun rides 😉

Cambodia bikes, Bridgestone SRAM 2 speed, 2012 Fuji Stratos...
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Old 02-11-24, 02:35 PM
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While I have 2 derailleur bikes, 95% of my riding is on my 2 single speeds.

One data point about "slow equals safe". I've had 2 significant crashes both at @12 mph / 18kph. One off road when I was tired, my handlebar tapped a tree, twisted my bars and therefore front wheel, I went over the bars and broke a rib.

The other I was riding across a driveway, front wheel hit soft dirt on the far side, twisted the front wheel and I went over the bars flipped in the air and landed on the back of my helmet and right hip. Rung my bell good!

Good post. Stay safe out there.
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Old 02-13-24, 06:52 AM
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Slow only increases possible reaction time, it does not necessarily mean "safe," in my opinion. While slow speed increases reaction time, I also think it provides a greater illusion of control.
I had a life-changing accident at slower-than-walking speed, coming to a stop, when a car door was opened quickly, immediately in front of my front wheel; my fork turned sideways, I went up over the bars and car window, gently bounced off a school bus to my left, and crashed to the tarmac. Dislocated my shoulder and tore every bit of soft tissue between my elbow and my scapula. Coincidentally, I was riding my singlespeed CX bike that I was going to take with me to the Collegiate National Championships. Bike survived just fine. Shoulder got repaired, I did 7 months of physical therapy, but never fully regained range of motion. I still have some tightness and tingling in that arm due to the injury. I haven't raced since and that was 12 years ago.
These days I'm just fighting to keep some fitness and get on the bike whenever possible. I maintain a 15mph average and that suits me in both commuting and pleasure riding, and I fee it's only as safe as I make it.
Ride safe, y'all.

Last edited by PhilFo; 02-13-24 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 02-13-24, 08:44 PM
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I have a single speed and like it, as one of my bikes. OP, I think you are spending needless time justifying your choices. If you like it, ride it.
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Old 02-14-24, 01:36 AM
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Hey, whatever works for you.
I prefer fixed for control, but single for speed.
I have a multi-geared bike that comes out for other purposes.
It all works.
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Old 02-16-24, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bironi
Hey, whatever works for you.
I prefer fixed for control, but single for speed.
I have a multi-geared bike that comes out for other purposes.
It all works.
Same here. Everyone may have a different setup that works for them. I prefer single speed whenever I can, up to about 50 mile rides. And like to use tall gears to keep speed up, most often 50x19 for general riding, and 14-15 mph average.

Above that, and for major hill climb days, like using a geared bike.
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