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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)

Bike messengers

Old 01-23-12, 01:51 PM
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Bike messengers

Why does it seem like most bike messengers that i see are riding fixed gear/SS bikes? what makes them ride a fixed gear/SS?
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Old 01-23-12, 01:53 PM
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Old 01-23-12, 01:58 PM
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I feel like you probably already know the answer. It's a combination of the little things that all FG/SS riders appreciate in this style of biking, i.e. the simplicity, the ease of maintenance, and the prestige (among bikers, anyway).
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Old 01-23-12, 02:02 PM
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Watch the messenger documentary "Pedal", and you'll see, at least when it was made, that there are bikes of all forms being used by messengers. Its segmented on youtube if you were interested.

If I were to courier, I'd prefer to ride fixed just because the lack of coasting gets me places faster. Plus, I would look sw8 as hell, and we all know that takes precedence.
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Old 01-23-12, 03:59 PM
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you can brake without using your hands, ie you can carry more stuff on your handlebars if need be. ****'s cheap. **** doesn't break. don't need to adjust anything except chain tension every once in awhile. plus, the ride is more engaging in short stints (speaking of fg here).

ride everyday in every weather and decide whether or not you want to deal with gear adjustment, brake adjustment, cables, housing, broken levers, bent derailleurs, etc. on a daily basis. don't you just wanna go home and drink?
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Old 01-23-12, 04:06 PM
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assuming you can afford to go home and drink...
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Old 01-23-12, 04:06 PM
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less **** to break.
style points.

/thread
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Old 01-23-12, 04:14 PM
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I'm fairly certain most of the TCB guys here in San Francisco work on geared bikes.
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Old 01-23-12, 04:25 PM
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Mostly for stylo and simplicity. You'd get places a bit faster with a geared bike or even a free-wheel but I think what you lose in speed you gain in control with a fixed. It's much easier to cut between cars on a fixie than it is on a geared bike or SS.
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Old 01-23-12, 04:31 PM
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Messengers here ride a mix of geared and fixed... I rode both as I appreciated the simplicity and low upkeep on the fg bikes but on some days rode geared especially when the weather was crap-tastic (windy) or I knew I would be going long or deep into the valley alot.

FG (with studded tyres) was best for winter work... at the time I was one of few that used them but they seem to be more widely adopted now as it makes you much faster than anything else on the road when the roads are crap.

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Old 01-23-12, 04:34 PM
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I'd wager it has more to do with the average messenger being a broke, younger person who buys a less expensive bike that devolves into a suicide hub situation. I doubt the origins of the process began without some fancy drive train that got slowly broken down the the lowest common denominator. Vintage racing was with fixed-cog bikes, or flip-flop hubs, there may be some connection as well.
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Old 01-23-12, 04:46 PM
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Bike messengers where I live drive cars.
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Old 01-23-12, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie
Bike messengers where I live drive cars.
Bike messengers here where I live, due south of you, drive trucks and wear brown shorts.
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Old 01-23-12, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BHugs
Why does it seem like most bike messengers that i see are riding fixed gear/SS bikes? what makes them ride a fixed gear/SS?
It's the Law of theurbanJungle.
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Old 01-23-12, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Santaria
I'd wager it has more to do with the average messenger being a broke, younger person who buys a less expensive bike that devolves into a suicide hub situation. I doubt the origins of the process began without some fancy drive train that got slowly broken down the the lowest common denominator. Vintage racing was with fixed-cog bikes, or flip-flop hubs, there may be some connection as well.
The pay here for messengers is better and most of the guys ride pretty decent bikes and some ride some pretty astounding machines... when you depend on your bike for your living you tend to look for solid parts and a good build.
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Old 01-23-12, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by redpear
I'm fairly certain most of the TCB guys here in San Francisco work on geared bikes.
z0mg. the logic is hard to understand: temperate weather, hills...
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Old 01-23-12, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Nuggetross
ride everyday in every weather and decide whether or not you want to deal with gear adjustment, brake adjustment, cables, housing, broken levers, bent derailleurs, etc. on a daily basis. don't you just wanna go home and drink?
you very clearly have never ridden a geared bike.

ive put 5000 miles on my caad10 and havent needed to make a single adjustment.

and if youre so worried, you can always ride a vintage bike with friction shifters

just admit you ride FG because its sw8

EDIT- forgot to add, if youre going long distance its really a no brainer to using gears. odds are youre a fixed evangelical simply because you dont ride that much. and brakes in particular are a godsend in terrible weather.

i love fixed, but theres a time and place for everything.

Last edited by zazenzach; 01-23-12 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:06 PM
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I know a few of the people in the small messenger scene here in columbus. both of them ride geared bikes for their daily work, but I know they both also have fixed gears.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:10 PM
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Around here the fastest guys are all on geared bikes
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Old 01-23-12, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by zazenzach
you very clearly have never ridden a geared bike.

ive put 5000 miles on my caad10 and havent needed to make a single adjustment.

and if youre so worried, you can always ride a vintage bike with friction shifters

just admit you ride FG because its sw8

EDIT- forgot to add, if youre going long distance its really a no brainer to using gears. odds are youre a fixed evangelical simply because you dont ride that much. and brakes in particular are a godsend in terrible weather.

i love fixed, but theres a time and place for everything.
nice try. i do ride road bikes. i happen to have raced road bikes for 2 years now. thank you for your assumptions.

you may have put 5,000 miles on your caad10, but did you lock up your bike as many times as a messenger does? did you ride 5,000 miles in inner-city traffic? do you leave your caad10 outside in any weather because it's constantly locked up outside?

friction shifters are great. but again, there's the issue of bent derailleurs, cables, brakes, etc. i know a thing or two about bike mechanics. think about the daily abuse these bikes get. that's the key. would you be willing to constantly fix those things? pay money to get them fixed? you just worked in the snow for 9 hours (or conversely, you're an alcoholic/drug addict and being a messenger is the only job you can hold).

i'm not a fixed gear fanatic. i only have one. i'm positing reasons why they are popular for this specific question. the op asked why they are so popular for messengers. i answered.

^and yes, road bikes are obviously faster in 99% of situations. thank you for stating the obvious.
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Old 01-23-12, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by zazenzach
you very clearly have never ridden a geared bike.

ive put 5000 miles on my caad10 and havent needed to make a single adjustment.

and if youre so worried, you can always ride a vintage bike with friction shifters

just admit you ride FG because its sw8

EDIT- forgot to add, if youre going long distance its really a no brainer to using gears. odds are youre a fixed evangelical simply because you dont ride that much. and brakes in particular are a godsend in terrible weather.

i love fixed, but theres a time and place for everything.

Old uncle Joe smoked 10 packs a day and he lived to 93...
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