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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)

Total beginner.

Old 09-17-08, 08:21 PM
  #1  
bhurin
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Total beginner.

Cheers. I just recently relocated to Boston and have been super excited to start riding a bike to work and saving on gas cash. I've been test riding a few bikes at the LBS around town including fixed gear bikes. I've been really digging the fixed gear bikes, I feel like I have more control of the bike and can really crank the speed on long straightaways. Also, aesthetically speaking, it just looks better without the clutter. The commute to work from my place will be fairly flat.

Anyways, I was wondering if there was any advice on things to look out for or consider between all the different brands and models. I definitely want something that can is durable and can withstand the daily grind.

Also, I've heard that riding fixed can put some major wear on your knees. Any thoughts?

Thanks so much!
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Old 09-17-08, 08:23 PM
  #2  
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It does not hurt your knees.
Who comes up with this **** and spreads it?
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Old 09-17-08, 08:34 PM
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ride a bike that fits and is set up well and you wont hurt. ride hella tarcky and you'll hurt
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Old 09-17-08, 09:34 PM
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If you've got a brake and you utilize it correctly, your knees will be fine. Skidding and excessive amounts of backpedaling are what screw with your knees.
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Old 09-17-08, 09:39 PM
  #5  
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do u want steel or alumn. each has pros/cons.
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Old 09-17-08, 09:39 PM
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hey, i'm in exactly the same situation. i've been lurking on these forums for a bit now. do some searches. there is a lot of good info on here.

what shops have you been to? i've checked out ATA Cycle in Cambridge, Broadway Bicycle School and Community Bicycle in the South End. Tomorrow I will try to go to Back Bay Bicycle and Cambridge Bicycle. I was told Cambridge Bicycle has a lot of fixed gear bikes and a helpful staff. We'll see. i really liked ATA Cycle even though they really only have giant and raleigh fixed gear bikes.

i can't really offer any advice since i'm a beginner myself but the advice i've been getting is just ride as many bikes as possible and buy one that fits your budget and feels right. i'm kind of liking the raleigh rush hour personally. happy hunting!
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Old 09-17-08, 09:50 PM
  #7  
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Don't be stupid. Get two brakes, and use them often. You won't have time to say "I wish I hadn't followed that hipster bull*****" when hit by a crazy driver you couldn't keep from plowing into while riding brakeless. Besides that, I'd strongly recommend a helmet and gloves.
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Old 09-17-08, 10:00 PM
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I'm definitely planning on riding with brakes, definitely more manageable for me as a beginner fixie. As far as aluminum or steel, I guess I wasn't really specific when I was test riding them. I was told that steel may be a smoother ride and a little more durable. I guess I'd like to be able find a frame that will last longer.

As far as bike shops in Boston, I stopped by Back Bay, Cambridge Bicycles, and Broadway Bicycle School. I would say that Cambridge Bicycles has been the most helpful with the search. I test drove the Fuji Track and the Bianchi San Jose while I was there. A woman named Arwen helped me out and was super awesome with answering questions. It was a totally relaxed store with no pressure to buy. I'm planning on checking out Paramount Bicycles out in Somerville to see some other fixed gear bikes. Let me know if you find anything else out.
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Old 09-17-08, 10:01 PM
  #9  
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first step, get properly fitted. buy a bike that doesn't fit you and that's a ****ty mistake you have to live with for a while. After that just try bikes out til you like one. My roommate decided to spring for a single gear and got a SE. It's a terrible bike. That's my only advice; don't get a SE.
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Old 09-17-08, 10:03 PM
  #10  
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Also, I would go steel. If you found a bikeshop where the staff is nice and helpful, keep spending money there.
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Old 09-17-08, 10:15 PM
  #11  
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Fixed is the best way to go especially if it's mostly flat where you're commuting. It's just a good , simple way to ride. You can't beat it for inner city riding. Plus the bike is nice and light if you have to lug it up or down stairs. Set-up your bike right, and install a front brake. If you run a mild gear ( to start with) you won't have any issues with your knees. About 46 x 17 would be a nice gear range to start with - you can always change the cog if you want to go higher or lower. I'm running fixed/fixed which makes it nice -all I gotta do is flip the wheel around if I want to change my gearing. I think you'll love fixed once you ride it everyday. Good luck.
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Old 09-18-08, 11:28 AM
  #12  
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To me a flipflop hub is a winwin and a beak will calm your nerves. Commuting should be calm...so should biking.
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Old 09-18-08, 11:55 AM
  #13  
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The San Jose would be a great choice. You should be able to put a rack and fenders on it pretty easily. (Yes I know it won't look as cool then) It comes with a pretty low gear, but if your commute is short that's a good thing. If you are new to fixed gears, learn what gear inches are, and how to use Sheldon Brown's gear calculator. Whatever bike you end up with try to aim for a gear ratio that will give you 70 or 75 gear inches to start. Others may say that's low for a flat area, but you will need to give your legs time to build some strength. When you start going on 60, 70 or 100 mile club rides, then you may want a bigger gear.
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Old 09-18-08, 12:10 PM
  #14  
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cambridge bikes has been good to me but also boston bikes (same affiliation) on beacon st is smaller, not as busy usually. i need to check out bikes not bombs when i get back, heard they're good. also, check out bostonfixed for more info/shops
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Old 09-18-08, 12:24 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by deathhare View Post
It does not hurt your knees.
Who comes up with this **** and spreads it?
I agree that the bike won't hurt your knees. Only how you ride will hurt your knees. If, e.g., you have weak legs and have a high number of gear inches, then, yes, your knees may start to hurt. If you have your seatpost set too low, it'll hurt your knees too (and too high'll hurt your ass, amongst other things).

The same things can happen with road bikes.
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Old 09-18-08, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by go cog View Post
To me a flipflop hub is a winwin and a beak will calm your nerves. Commuting should be calm...so should biking.
Don't buy a flip-flop hub. It is unnecessary. Just get a freewheel (edit) and the tool that allows you to pull a freewheel (edit) off, and put the freewheel (edit) on the fixed hub (edit). I would never flip my wheel to free in the middle of a ride, and this seems to be the only reason why anyone would get a flip-flop.

Last edited by Sinn; 09-18-08 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 09-18-08, 12:30 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by bhurin View Post
I'm definitely planning on riding with brakes, definitely more manageable for me as a beginner fixie. As far as aluminum or steel, I guess I wasn't really specific when I was test riding them. I was told that steel may be a smoother ride and a little more durable.
Upside to Steel: smooth ride, durable

Downside to Steel: it rusts if not properly taken care of, it is heavy, it is flexy (the amount of flexiness depends on the quality of the frame, however)

Upside to Aluminum: it doesn't rust, it is stiff, it is lighter than steel

Downside to Aluminum: the stiffness doesn't provide for a smooth ride, it is reputed not to be a durable as steel
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Old 09-18-08, 01:00 PM
  #18  
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i have noticed a bit of rust on my fork ends where the little hole is to allow water to drain out, should i be concerned about this? i usually wipe the bike down after i have ridden in the rain but i don't get to the fork every time...thanks
 
Old 09-18-08, 01:21 PM
  #19  
bhurin
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Thanks for the help so far. I stopped by a few more shops this morning and got to check out a Giant Bowery. I'm definitely interested in hopping on a Surly Steamroller and an IRO Mark V soon. The more I test ride these kinds of bike, the more I want to really ride one around town all the time. And also the fact that these bikes are so customizable with components, reminds me of my current guitar effects addiction and swapping in and out pedals to get just the right sound.
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Old 09-18-08, 01:30 PM
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Ummm ... yeah.

Just remeber to make the decision concerning what you will buy with a cool head. Find an experienced rider to help you.
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Old 09-18-08, 02:38 PM
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bhurin
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Yea, the people at the LBS have been super helpful and informative so far.
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Old 09-18-08, 03:05 PM
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i am a newbie fixed wheel user, i used pedals to slow down today, now my right knee hurts. a freewheel would do the work, no need for a fixie. or just buy a flip flop
so have the freewheel option as well.
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Old 09-18-08, 03:16 PM
  #23  
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if youre checking out refurbished bikes at all or just want the best help around, make sure to check out revolution in jamaica plain. ben will treat you right. super nice and really knowledgeable. you will be happy you checked it out
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Old 09-18-08, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ubd View Post
i am a newbie fixed wheel user, i used pedals to slow down today, now my right knee hurts. a freewheel would do the work, no need for a fixie. or just buy a flip flop
so have the freewheel option as well.
This person doesn't know what they are talking about.
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Old 09-18-08, 03:19 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by sinn View Post
don't buy a flip-flop hub. It is unnecessary. Just get a freehub and the tool that allows you to pull a freehub off, and put the freehub on the hub.
This person doesn't know what they are talking about.
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