Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
Reload this Page >

Why single speed?

Notices
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)

Why single speed?

Old 05-25-03, 04:15 PM
  #1  
Some Guy
Thread Starter
 
mister_hl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 29

Bikes: Specialized HardRock CrMo

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Why single speed?

Hello:

I'm new to biking and curious as to why people ride the single speed bikes? What is it about single speeds that makes them interesting? Is it b/c of the lighter bike? A better workout?

Just curious!
mister_hl is offline  
Old 05-25-03, 04:44 PM
  #2  
Kev
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Why ride a Singlespeed?
Modern 24-27 speed bikes are marvels of technology, and allow a cyclist to select the gear ratio that will make the most efficient use of his/her energy. If what you're after is getting the maximum possible speed/distance for the minimum effort (and there's nothing wrong with that!) a multi-speed bike is what you need...but, efficiency isn't everything!
If you're riding for sheer pleasure, or for exercise, you don't necessarily place that high a premium on output results, as measured in speed, distance or vertical climb. Instead, you may care more about the actual experience of riding your bike. In this case, you may be a candidate for a singlespeed bike.

Riding a singlespeed can help bring back the unfettered joy you experienced riding your bike as a child. You don't realize how much mental energy you devote to shifting until you relinquish your derailers, and discover that a whole corner of your brain that was formerly wondering when to shift is now free to enjoy your surroundings and sensations.

Paradoxically, a singlespeed is, in another sense more efficient than a multispeed bike! While the single gear ratio will not be the "perfect" gear ratio for all conditions, in the conditions which fit the single gear, it is considerably more efficient mechanically than the drive train of a derailer bike.

A singlespeed bike dispenses with the weight of the derailers, shifters, cables, extra sprockets and longer chain. In addition, a singlespeed gear train runs the chain in a perfectly straight line from sprocket to chainwheel, and avoids the serpentine wind through the pullies of a derailer. You can really feel the difference! A singlespeed is noticeably quicker and easier to pedal than a multispeed bike in the same gain ratio.

Singlespeed bikes are also considerably more sturdy and reliable than multispeed bikes. There's no derailer to catch on the underbrush or to get overshifted into the spokes. The rear wheel itself is a lot stronger than one made with off-center (dished) spoking to make room for a whole bunch of sprockets on one side.
---

Thanks to sheldon brown for this write up, he explained in better then I could.
Kev is offline  
Old 05-25-03, 04:58 PM
  #3  
Wood Licker
 
Maelstrom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Whistler,BC
Posts: 16,966

Bikes: Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5 +, 2002 Transition Dirtbag, Kona Roast 2002

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
For the love. I don't own one and have inclination but in the end every single speeder I know just loves its simplicity as well as the physical strain it creates.

I am starting to ride bmxes...does that count
Maelstrom is offline  
Old 05-25-03, 06:59 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Inoplanetyanin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Castaic, CA
Posts: 715

Bikes: 96-97 Gazelle Medeo.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Yeah, Kev provided all the necessary information to answer the question.
I would also highlight that the reliability is SIGNIFICANTLY higher of a single speed bikes.
In my childhood, singlespeed was the most common and nobody was even thinking about getting anything else as it was enough. However, single speed might even have to be walked if you have to climb up the hill and your bike is heavy...
It's a compromiss, hope you get the point, and I didn't miss.
Inoplanetyanin is offline  
Old 05-25-03, 07:13 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: columbus oh
Posts: 75
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Simplicity,reliabilty,and feel.....own a redline SS mtb,its a big ugly heavy brute of a bike@32lbs,but it feels like its carved out of one big chunk of steel,very solid goes where you point it ride and almost bulletproof.If I break that bike it means Im prob dead from the accident LOL,thats why I ride SS.Once your used riding one hills actually become more fun I think,you stand up and pedal....and you get good at body english,brings the finesse vs brute strength back to the riding experience.I thought it would be a big handicap,it isnt,you can be faster on one gear than many gears if you know what your doing and your strong.I learned that on the trail trying to keep up with a group of guys riding them while I was riding a geared mtb......they dusted me w/o even breaking a sweat.They are also usually a tad lighter in the rear,makes bunnyhopping easier.Ive done 2 centuries on mine w/slicks,and ride it for work sometimes....they are pretty versatile.
horndude is offline  
Old 05-25-03, 11:03 PM
  #6  
Zippy Engineer
 
Waldo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: IN
Posts: 1,801

Bikes: Bianchi 928, Bianchi Pista Concept 2004, Surly Steamroller, 1998 Schwinn Factory Team Homegrown, 1999 Schwinn Homegrown Factory, 2000 Schwinn Panther, Niner EMD9

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Because I can...it makes for a light fun bike that you get a heck of a workout on. I don't know that I would enjoy it as much if I were in a hillier region but it works pretty well for me. It also is nice for riding in the winter or muddy conditions. My converted Homegrown weighs a tick under 21 lbs and is a blast.
Waldo is offline  
Old 05-26-03, 12:41 AM
  #7  
road siklista
 
dexmax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Perlas ng Silanganan
Posts: 1,469

Bikes: Custom Knolly Chilcotin Limited Edition Orange, Dartmoor Wish, KHS 7500, Custom built Specialized Camber, S-Works Road, Cannondale Trail mtb, Polini MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by Maelstrom
For the love. I don't own one and have inclination but in the end every single speeder I know just loves its simplicity as well as the physical strain it creates.

I am starting to ride bmxes...does that count
Yahooooooo!!!! Bmx's are fun to ride. Not to mention the jumps and the wheelies...
dexmax is offline  
Old 05-26-03, 12:42 AM
  #8  
Wood Licker
 
Maelstrom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Whistler,BC
Posts: 16,966

Bikes: Trek Fuel EX 8 27.5 +, 2002 Transition Dirtbag, Kona Roast 2002

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally posted by dexmax
Yahooooooo!!!! Bmx's are fun to ride. Not to mention the jumps and the wheelies...
I am basically riding it to learn balance points and control over the bike which I can take to mtb. That and it sure is fun
Maelstrom is offline  
Old 05-26-03, 03:38 AM
  #9  
Lady Cyclist!
 
carlee's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by Maelstrom
I am basically riding it to learn balance points and control over the bike which I can take to mtb. That and it sure is fun
i started out with a bmx, it is where i learned the basic skills of hovering, manuevering, bumping, and a lot with tumbling. .
got scars to remember it by.
carlee is offline  
Old 05-26-03, 11:40 AM
  #10  
Banned.
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: western Washington
Posts: 293
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Fixed wheel (no coasting possible) single speeds are elegant, light, athletically challenging, and sensually pleasing to ride--quiet, smooth, and even compared to a well-maintained geared machine amazingly free of drive train drag. Hope this doesn't sound like Shirley MacLaine-oid crystal jerking, but they connect you to your riding environment more directly. You feel and have to deal more immediately with changes in grade, wind, and even pavement quality. As a side attraction, they are of course much lower maintainance bikes than a contemporary geared bike with too many gears, ultrasensitive shifting, and rapid wear designed into parts with anorexically skinny chains and preworn, I mean ramped, cogs and chainrings. It is interesting that there is a small but growing market in dedicated single-speed bikes now--Surly and Soma, for instance--whereas 20 years ago the only interested parties were track racers and Schwinn balloon tire collectors. I absolutely believe that there's a link between a demand for simpler bikes and the excess of shifting technology in contemporary geared bikes. BTW, a super-bargain when you find one is a Schwinn Madison, a US-made entry level track bike from the mid-1980's. A friend of mine scored one for his wife for $75!
oscaregg is offline  
Old 05-26-03, 12:35 PM
  #11  
Advertise here!
 
Chuvak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 981

Bikes: 2002 Allez A1xx SE

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If you want a single speed just set your bike in to gear you like and DON'T shift on your ride, no matter how hard or easy it is to pedal. Or better yet, choose the size of the cog that is closer or the same size of that of a single speed bike. If you like it, get yourself a singlespeed.

Last edited by Chuvak; 05-26-03 at 12:41 PM.
Chuvak is offline  
Old 05-27-03, 03:03 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 3,715

Bikes: Too many bikes, too little time to ride

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 443 Post(s)
Liked 474 Times in 328 Posts
lighter bike, but also more balanced if there is no rear deraileur. less worry, less excuses- forget about shifting gears, just pedal harder. not as efficient but IMO a lot more fun. nostalgic of the days i first got my 20" wheeler.
tFUnK is offline  
Old 05-27-03, 03:39 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Singlespeed or fixed wheel bikes are ideal for riding off-road in muddy, flat terrain. Not everyone lives in the mountains, but most off-road bikes assume you do.
In sticky clay mud, a SS will keep running and not attract as much mud.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 05-28-03, 08:02 AM
  #14  
Mr. Cellophane
 
RainmanP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 3,037
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have two ss, one an old Trek 10 speed set up with fixed gear, the other an old Schwinn 10 speed set up with single speed (BMX) freewheel. The Trek has a low-ish 39/17 gear for spinning while the Schwinn has a higher 48/18 for higher speed/slighty harder work. I love them both. Everything everyone has said is right. As Oscaregg says the fixed gear puts you firmly in touch with the road. It is hard to explain what that means until you try it.

I got interested in fixed gear/ss from reading Sheldon Brown's articles which I highly recommend, especially for fixed gear. Learning to ride fixed gear is not hard, but it can dump you on your butt immediately if you don't have at least some idea how to start off.
FWIW,
Raymond
__________________
If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!
RainmanP is offline  
Old 05-28-03, 11:34 AM
  #15  
flux capacitor
 
Orikal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston
Posts: 543

Bikes: 2003 Bianchi Eros, 82 Univega (fixed), random year mtb frame for ss

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here in Boston you have a lot of messengers with single speed/fixed gears, which is how I originally got into it. I had (God rest her soul) an old Univega I converted to single speed, and not only are they more efficient, but they are very quiet, especially if you're used to a geared bike. I was amazed at how much more enjoyable not having to worry about gears and the sheer silence made recreational riding. And geez, the bikes are just oh so sexy....
Orikal is offline  
Old 05-28-03, 11:42 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 727
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
why?

why the hell not?

it's as simple as that.
fore is offline  
Old 05-28-03, 12:36 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 693
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Purity of form and function.

Minimalist beauty.

Subversive. Anti-consumerist.

Durable.

Visceral.

Traditional.

Addictive.
Flaneur is offline  
Old 05-29-03, 01:53 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
shrimpx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: portland, or
Posts: 300
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
whoa, nice summary, Flaneur.
that about sums up my reasons for loving fixies.
shrimpx is offline  
Old 01-25-13, 07:39 PM
  #19  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 48
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
When its f'n freezing out i can use big thick mitts and not worry about shifting levers
moses is offline  
Old 01-25-13, 07:42 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
seau grateau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: PHL
Posts: 9,948

Bikes: Litespeed Catalyst, IRO Rob Roy, All City Big Block

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1332 Post(s)
Liked 398 Times in 194 Posts

I do it for the sqrls.
seau grateau is offline  
Old 01-25-13, 07:46 PM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
seau grateau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: PHL
Posts: 9,948

Bikes: Litespeed Catalyst, IRO Rob Roy, All City Big Block

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1332 Post(s)
Liked 398 Times in 194 Posts
Also, OP is bike curious?
seau grateau is offline  
Old 01-25-13, 08:06 PM
  #22  
Your cog is slipping.
 
Scrodzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 26,053
Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 640 Post(s)
Liked 100 Times in 58 Posts
I ride fixed so I can post about it in ten year old threads on the internet.
Scrodzilla is offline  
Old 01-25-13, 08:28 PM
  #23  
Grumpy Old Bugga
 
europa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 4,229

Bikes: Hillbrick, Malvern Star Oppy S2, Europa (R.I.P.)

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 370 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
I ride fixed so I can post about it in ten year old threads on the internet.
What is it with this forum and resurrecting ancient threads?

For what it's worth, while all the justifications have merit, there's only one reason I ride fixed gear - I tried it once and fell in love.
europa is offline  
Old 01-26-13, 12:30 AM
  #24  
Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter
 
Jaytron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 4,244

Bikes: CAAD 10 4, Dolan DF4, Fuji Track Classic

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
I ride fixed so I can post about it in ten year old threads on the internet.
I lol'd
Jaytron is offline  
Old 01-26-13, 05:43 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 90
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Power, cycle and style in the simplest manifestation possible.
kriwhe is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.