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My dilemma: Fixed in SF?

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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)

My dilemma: Fixed in SF?

Old 05-09-08, 08:06 PM
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patrickgh
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My dilemma: Fixed in SF?

First of all, let me just say hello to everyone, as I'm a newbie on these boards, so go easy

There is a good chance that I'll be living in downtown San Francisco come October, and I'll definitely be using a bike as my #1 mode of transportation. I've been reading a bunch about FG/SS track bikes vs road bikes, and I think I want to get a FG/SS. I'm a fan of minimalism (when it comes to maintainance, as well ) and these bikes just seem like a heck of a lot of fun to ride.

I have a few concerns though.. Would riding a FG/SS in SF be a bad idea for someone who isn't really in amazing shape, and only has previous biking experience with mountain bikes? Also, I can't decide what bike I should be looking at (lower end vs. new, higher quality). At my LBS here on the east coast, I can probably get a LeMond Fillmore for around $700 before taxes, but I'm also looking at the Mercier Kilo TT. The price difference is roughly half as much, which is appealing to my wallet, but I'm not really sure if it'd be wiser to go for the LeMond and just deal with the price difference, or get the Mercier and upgrade parts later on. Considering this would be my first bike, and I'll probably have to lock it up for hours outside of school/work, I'm leaning towards the mercier, since it is a more affordable, bang-around bike so it seems.

Any insight/suggestions appreciated! thanks!
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Old 05-09-08, 08:15 PM
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bigbadwimp
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Bow down and worship the Kilo TT!!

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Old 05-09-08, 08:15 PM
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kilo tt parts suck, but the frame is pretty solid. dunno about the fillmore.

expect the headset and bottom bracket to get pretty ****ty pretty quickly, if you ride on at least a semi regular basis.

regarding your physical conditioning...i say whatever, just ride you'll get better.
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Old 05-09-08, 08:19 PM
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i vote kilo tt
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Old 05-09-08, 08:21 PM
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Call Mike and tell him you want a bike. I'm not sure what you'll end up with, BUT it will be what you need.

https://www.ddcycles.com/
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Old 05-09-08, 08:22 PM
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any stock fixed gear will be fine. I recommend switching the gearing down to around 67 to 72 gear inches and running a brake till you learn how to handle the hills.
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Old 05-09-08, 08:23 PM
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Epic first reply!

So thats 3 votes for the Kilo TT. I'm not really an amazing mechanic, but I try to think of myself as slightly handy when it comes to building/fixing things.. would assembling/repairing/upgrading the kilo TT be any bit difficult if I haven't built a bike in the past?
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Old 05-09-08, 09:08 PM
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I just moved to SF last month and I'm new to fixed gear riding. Coming from LA, which is mostly flat riding unless you are seeking hills to climb, SF has been okay so far.

Here's some stuff I love out it so far. My climbing skills in 4 weeks have gotten better than 2 years in LA. I love the feeling now of flying up hills and passing people who are spinning away in their granny gears to get up the same hill. I like getting out of the saddle to climb. I like the leg muscles that are poking out of me now. I like the arm strength I'm developing from it.

As for whether you want to go FG or not... the choice is mostly dependent on where you live and where you'll be riding. While San Fran is very hilly... it's not CRAZY hilly if you want to avoid it. For example, there's a street called Dolores that has some pretty big climbs but 2 blocks over is Valencia which has no real climbs at all and a bike lane and it parallels Dolores. If I'm tired I take Valencia but Dolores is a fun challenge to ride.

But most routes are a great balance of hills and flats. They sell a map here of San Francisco with color coded streets that shows street grades. If you're worried, you could find similar streets in your current town that are the same grade as streets in your potential neighborhood here and try riding them.

I think you'll love it, though. I certainly am so far.

I'm like you. The simplicity. The low maintenance. The fun of FG riding. All of it has been great in SF so far.

Good luck!

ps. There's other great benefits to riding in SF, like if you join the SF Bike Coalition you get 10% off everything at Rainbow Grocery. 10% adds up pretty quick. 35 bucks to join the coalition and you support a great organization that's working to add bike lanes and other advocacy projects, you save bucks on groceries and get similar discounts at area bike shops (maybe buy your FG up here after you join), and you instantly hook into a social network of other bikers and go to parties and events.
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Old 05-09-08, 10:35 PM
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I've been riding fixed in SF for about a year. And it's been a lot of fun.

I'm not in amazing shape either, but it is still possible to enjoy riding fixed here in sf. It's all about your ratio. Low enough to get you up the hills, high enough to keep you from spinning out of control on the way down. But also, a lower ratio helps you have more "control" over your bike. So, it's all the better.

Wiggling around the hills here is definitely the way to go. And it's something you'll pick it up quickly. There's actually a PDF file of that same bike/walking map if you search for it on Google.

Though, SF's fixed gear community is getting HUGE, you'll end up seeing the same people around and make riding friends quickies. You'll be group hustling to the park and house parties in no time.

Edit*

The Kilo was my first bike here too. It treated me well and took a beating as I learned somethings the hard way (Like don't get your wheel stuck in the rails on Market). It's a great frame, though upgrading most of the components makes it perfect. Great for cutting in and around traffic. There's a bunch of Kilo riders here.
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Old 05-09-08, 10:44 PM
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https://www.churchofbike.com/

All you need to know. When you're ready, you'll know more.
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Old 05-09-08, 10:54 PM
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Haha I'm from SF too. Didn't know there were so many riders from the board. What shops do you guys usually go to when looking for parts?
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Old 05-09-08, 10:58 PM
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Do you think it'd be wise to buy a Kilo TT now while I'm still living in maryland, then have it shipped to SF? If everything works out, I won't be out there 'til early October.. so that gives me 4months roughly to learn how to ride fixed

Last edited by patrickgh; 05-09-08 at 11:01 PM. Reason: hitting post too fast
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Old 05-09-08, 11:06 PM
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Yes.
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Old 05-09-08, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by burbankbiker View Post
They sell a map here of San Francisco with color coded streets that shows street grades.
.
Its online also
https://www.sfbike.org/download/map.pdf
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Old 05-09-08, 11:39 PM
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well, if you're into getting a fixed gear, i've pretty much only heard good things of https://missionbicycle.com/home though they can get pretty pricey. and they're out of the coolest city ever!

i think it'd be best if you got the bike as soon as possible. Then you can get use to it, and see if you actually like them. Cause, On paper fixed gears are amazing and they are, but they're not for everyone. Especially riding in SF daily, the hills are steep, the traffic can be bad. It can get sketchy quick if you're not sure in your ability.
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Old 05-10-08, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bigtruck View Post
thanks!
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Old 05-10-08, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Snails View Post
well, if you're into getting a fixed gear, i've pretty much only heard good things of https://missionbicycle.com/home though they can get pretty pricey. and they're out of the coolest city ever!

i think it'd be best if you got the bike as soon as possible. Then you can get use to it, and see if you actually like them. Cause, On paper fixed gears are amazing and they are, but they're not for everyone. Especially riding in SF daily, the hills are steep, the traffic can be bad. It can get sketchy quick if you're not sure in your ability.
Mission Bike's is just selling repainted IROs along with anodized parts. Just buy direct from IRO and save yourself a bunch of money.
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Old 05-10-08, 04:49 PM
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I went to my LBS and test rode two bikes.. a Gary Fisher Triton and a Felt Dispatch. Both were amazing, but I'm leaning towards the Felt.. since it felt awesome despite the noisy free wheel. Anyone have experience with these two bikes/brands?

//edit The GF was $600 on sale, and the Felt is $650

Last edited by patrickgh; 05-10-08 at 04:50 PM. Reason: prices.
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