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Stupid questions about fixies...

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)

Stupid questions about fixies...

Old 02-21-09, 12:46 PM
  #1  
Syscrush
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Stupid questions about fixies...

I'm a kind of fat (~200 lbs), kind of old (38 years old) dude who got back into cycling a few years ago (did my first 100k and 100mi rides in the summer of '08, looking forward to more 2-wheeled adventure in '09). I started on a once-nice cro-mo road bike with flat bars as a commuter, then ditched it for an Al-framed Giant Cypress R hybrid which I've put a few thousand k's on in a mix of commuting, touring, and fitness riding.

I don't know what exactly has me drawn to a fixie - but I think that the light weight, and the fact that this is the simplest possible machine that could meet the definition of a bicycle is a big part of it - plus I'm curious what the riding experience would be like.

I have a couple of dumb questions:

1) I notice that almost everybody seems to run toe clips with straps - is this a style thing, or do they have some advantage over good clipless pedals? I assume it's about style but I'm open to more info.

2) How long after buying a fixie will I turn into one of those good-looking skinny guys like you see in the MASH videos?
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Old 02-21-09, 12:48 PM
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1) Go clipless, I just have straps cuz I'm scared to.

2) Immediately
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Old 02-21-09, 12:50 PM
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1) style, yes, but some people will say that they dont like carrying around an extra pair of regular shoes
2) Immediately. It's uncanny

edit: you beat me to #2 skeletor
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Old 02-21-09, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Syscrush View Post
1) I notice that almost everybody seems to run toe clips with straps - is this a style thing, or do they have some advantage over good clipless pedals? I assume it's about style but I'm open to more info.

2) How long after buying a fixie will I turn into one of those good-looking skinny guys like you see in the MASH videos?
1) Clips and straps are completely stupid for real rides. If you're making a bike for going around town, don't like wearing MTB shoes or like wearing different shoes for say winter then that would be the way to go.

You'll never be able to fully appreciate the solid feel of a SPD-SL road shoe/pedal system with 0 float with clips and straps. In fact it'll feel like you're riding a mushy pillow.

2) Don't know. I'll trade you some of your fat for some of my skinniness.
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Old 02-21-09, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by lonelyfoe View Post
1) style, yes, but some people will say that they dont like carrying around an extra pair of regular shoes
Other than my complete lack of funds for upgrading my bike, the reason i don't ride clipless is precisely this. Since 85% percent of my riding is commuting/running errands in stop and go city traffic it's just easier with clips and straps.

I'm over 200 pounds too, so don't feel too bad. I did drop from about 250 to 210 since I started bike commuting last year.
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Old 02-21-09, 02:08 PM
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how do you still have 200 lbs on u if u ride bikes so much lol

im 22 and 190lb and im not even sure if i can do 100 miles hahah

1) and ya, straps are easier for shorter rides, but i wouldnt say they're stupid for longer ones. if you arleady have clipless, then stay clipless, lotsa ppl have clipless for fixed too

2) i wish i will turn into thos skinny guys too lol
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Old 02-21-09, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by skeletor3000 View Post
1) Go clipless, I just have straps cuz I'm scared to.
bad advice.

I thinks its a terrible idea to recommend someone use clipless pedals on a fixed gear when they have no experience with the drive train. Start out with straps + clips until you think you would feel comfortable being directly connected to the pedals.
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Old 02-21-09, 04:22 PM
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Better yet, use whatever your most comfortable with. Riding a fixed gear for the first time may very well cause an accident (small, don't worry). Riding clipless for the first time will almost certainly cause an accident (oh my god I can't get out...thud). Why try to combined these two hazards.
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Old 02-21-09, 04:27 PM
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it's really not that bad guys.

you all are making it seem like clipless
requires refined and expert skills
when really it takes as much getting used to as learning to flip your pedal over to get into a clip/strap.

was learning that so hard?
nope
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Old 02-21-09, 04:32 PM
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and the OP:

people use clips and straps for these reasons:

style / retro reasons
easier to do tricks
new to bicycles
sometimes safer for skidding (depending on what clipless system you run)
and because they think wearing mtn shoes is a hassle
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Old 02-21-09, 04:37 PM
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Fixed gears are great for in town; the kind or ride where you want some normal shoes at the other end. Cages vs clipless is only a debate about distance for me. If the distance is far enough for me to justify carrying another set of shoes, the the cleats win. For my short commute, it's the cages.

The other (far less important) reason is there is more history in track racing with cages than road racing. Some forms of track events still require cages.
*someone back me up here. It sounds right, but I'm suddenly not sure since I don't race.*
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Old 02-21-09, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by helloamerican View Post
I thinks its a terrible idea to recommend someone use clipless pedals on a fixed gear when they have no experience with the drive train. Start out with straps + clips until you think you would feel comfortable being directly connected to the pedals.
FWIW, all of my recent experience has been with SPD pedals and MTB shoes, I can pop in and out of them without thinking, and I don't like riding with regular pedals or clips & straps. I like the feeling of the direct connection and the ability to change up between muscle groups by varying my stroke a bit on longer rides.

Thanks to all for the advice.
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Old 02-21-09, 05:29 PM
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Question about those running clipless, aren't you afraid of unclipping by accident when you pull up during stopping or skidding? No idea how the clip in system works though.
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Old 02-21-09, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Syscrush View Post
I have a couple of dumb questions:

1) I notice that almost everybody seems to run toe clips with straps - is this a style thing, or do they have some advantage over good clipless pedals? I assume it's about style but I'm open to more info.

2) How long after buying a fixie will I turn into one of those good-looking skinny guys like you see in the MASH videos?
A1) People run toe clips and straps for one or more various reasons:
- It's "old skool" and "vintage"
- No need for special shoes (even though the shoes you use will get wear marks in different places)
- They don't want to drop the extra coin for clipless shoes and pedals
- It looks good. I agree. There's nothing like a set of MKS Custom Nuevo pedals with double straps. They look dope.

That being said, I've been riding clipless fixed since 2002. Tried clips off and on, but keep going back to clipless. They just work better. It's better technology and gets the job done more efficiently and effectively. I don't mind click-clacking around in clip shoes or carrying extra kicks in my bag. Small price to pay for the gains of riding clipless.


A2) I'm 35 and just under 250lbs with a football player type build. Don't be surprised if you don't shed pounds immediately. Muscle is heavier than fat and you will definitely gain bigger leg muscles (biggest muscles on your body to start with). Also, if you adjust your diet and maybe ease off the booze (that's what I had to do) then you will lose weight faster. Also, once you start riding a lot your stomach might "shrink" and you will get full faster which will also help with weight loss. All in all, you will be healthier, breathe better, and not be so tired.

Go for it, man. Also check out these links:
Bike Forums Clydyesdale forum (good info here)
Newbie thread (great info here)
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Old 02-21-09, 05:52 PM
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the one difference is that you have to unclip while foot & pedal are still moving, potentially at a high cadence
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Old 02-21-09, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mpghm View Post
the one difference is that you have to unclip while foot & pedal are still moving, potentially at a high cadence
Huh?

I have ridden LOTS of pedals while riding fixed: MKS & Shimano 600 clip pedals with single and double straps and SPD, SPD-R, SPD-DX, SPD-SL, Eggbeater, TIME, Speedplay clipless pedals with MTB and Road shoes.

Riding clippless is no more or less dangerous when mounting/dismounting or starting/stopping. Just different.

Disengaging from ANY pedal at speed while riding fixed is not a good thing.
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Old 02-21-09, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mpghm View Post
the one difference is that you have to unclip while foot & pedal are still moving, potentially at a high cadence
what?
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Old 02-21-09, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by helloamerican View Post
bad advice.

I thinks its a terrible idea to recommend someone use clipless pedals on a fixed gear when they have no experience with the drive train. Start out with straps + clips until you think you would feel comfortable being directly connected to the pedals.
If you're used to clipless to begin with, it's no big deal. I've only ever used clipless on my FG.
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Old 02-21-09, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by aMull View Post
Question about those running clipless, aren't you afraid of unclipping by accident when you pull up during stopping or skidding? No idea how the clip in system works though.
I've never had an accidental clip out while pulling up on the pedal. Just make sure you don't twist your ankle at the same time
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Old 02-21-09, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by helloamerican View Post
bad advice.

I thinks its a terrible idea to recommend someone use clipless pedals on a fixed gear when they have no experience with the drive train. Start out with straps + clips until you think you would feel comfortable being directly connected to the pedals.
This is wrong. Wrong.

My neighbor just bought a Fuji Track Comp and learned to ride brakeless (48x18), clipless, and fixed at the exact same time. As she would say, "Don't be a P*ssy".

I would argue that learning to flip a toe-clip pedal over to the proper side while on the fly is no easier than clipping into double-sided TIME/SPD pedals. And chances are newbs will run the straps too loose to be effective.

...and then there is the drama of trying to tighten the toe straps while riding.

The best advice for using ANY pedal style:
- Start with a soft gear. 48x18 which is about 70 gear inches which will be for easy starts and stops and you won't go super fast at a normal cadence.
- Don't speed around
- Stay within yourself
- Practice clipping and un-clipping
- Learn to mount and dismount. Nothing crazy like the over the bar crap. Just the basic stop at a stop light routine.

Last edited by carleton; 02-22-09 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 02-21-09, 08:10 PM
  #21  
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your neighbor is crazy!
I started to learn with no brakes after about 3 months of riding fixed. Only time I've tried clipless was in a store on a trainer.
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Old 02-21-09, 08:14 PM
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I know that everyone isn't the same as my neighbor that I mentioned above. But, my point is that clipless pedals aren't rocket science. And helloamerican might have issues with clipless pedals because of this simple reason.

With Toe-Clip pedals:
- You exit by pulling the foot back
- You stay in when turning the foot outward

With Clipless pedals:
- You exit by turning the foot outward
- You stay in by pulling back

Edit: In emergency situations we revert to muscle memory. Sort of like people who are used to driving a stick shift and when they drive an automatic accidentally press the brake with their left foot.


The curious thing about toe-clip pedals is that you get locomotion by "mashing" from the 2:00 to 6:00 positions only. No sweeping (pulling backwards) from 6:00 to 9:00. No pulling up on the back stroke from 9:00 to 12:00.

With clipless you can:
- Mash from 2:00 - 6:00
- Sweep (pull back) from 6:00 to 9:00
- Pull up from 9:00 to 12:00

Being able to PULL your pedals around as you climb a hill makes hills significantly more easy.

If riding fixed is all about being connected to the bike and all that jazz, why not be connected through the entire pedal stroke instead of just mashing, mashing, mashing for only 90 degrees?

Last edited by carleton; 02-21-09 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 02-21-09, 08:18 PM
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Also, if these 9-10 year olds can ride clipless, brakeless, fixed on a track, I'm sure you guys can do it on the street with a soft gear and a brake.



http://dicklanevelodrome.com/images/...e/imgp1882.htm
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Old 02-21-09, 08:22 PM
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1) Just have some foot retention, I prefer dental floss or the breaking away tape my shoes to the pedal method

2) While you immediately become skinny, you also immediately become smug. Just a warning
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Old 02-21-09, 10:49 PM
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1) Whichever you choose, I'd recommend a brake. I've never tried clipless, but as soon as I somehow make money I'm going to try it out.

2) You only become skinny immediately if you also wear girl pants, thick-rimmed glasses, and a messenger bag.
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