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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)

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Old 06-20-13, 11:17 PM   #1
Wut
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Advantages of fixed over single speed?

My bike is set up as a single speed with brakes. It is suppose to have a flip flop hub so I can convert to fixed. So far I really like the advantages of a single speed over a geared bike. The drivetrain is dead silent and smooth in comparison a bike with gears I think. It is nice to simply pedal and not shift.

What advantages are there going fixed from a single speed?
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Old 06-20-13, 11:21 PM   #2
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Only difference is if you like to coast or not.
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Old 06-20-13, 11:34 PM   #3
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Only difference is if you like to coast or not.
He didn't ask what is the difference, he asked what if any are the advantages. From a practical point of view, there really are none on the road if you have two brakes and aren't interested in spinning a very high cadence.
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Old 06-20-13, 11:38 PM   #4
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The advantage of a fixed drive over a single speed is minimal and more about personal preferences... a fixed wheel is a little more efficient drive wise and for me, more enjoyable to ride than a single speed.

Advantage with a single speed is the ability to coast although most people coast too much and the fixed gear solves that little issue.
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Old 06-20-13, 11:48 PM   #5
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The advantage of a fixed drive over a single speed is minimal and more about personal preferences... a fixed wheel is a little more efficient drive wise and for me, more enjoyable to ride than a single speed.

Advantage with a single speed is the ability to coast although most people coast too much and the fixed gear solves that little issue.
Don't forget that with a fixed gear you can't coast through corners with the inside pedal up to prevent pedal strike with the road, which is why dedicated track frames have higher bottom brackets. Some single speeds with flip flop hubs have road frames with lower bottom brackets and may also have longer crank arms that are more prone to pedal strike in corners.
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Old 06-20-13, 11:48 PM   #6
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He didn't ask what is the difference, he asked what if any are the advantages. From a practical point of view, there really are none on the road if you have two brakes and aren't interested in spinning a very high cadence.
Exactly why I said what I said.
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Old 06-20-13, 11:56 PM   #7
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...It is nice to simply pedal...
Shifting or not - Its nice to Ride...

Who cares what the bike...
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Old 06-21-13, 07:14 AM   #8
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There are zero advantages......unless you're in a velodrome of course.

It's just a thing.
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Old 06-21-13, 07:21 AM   #9
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I feel that I get stronger with elevation. In most situations, the gear I have is ill suited for the grade, so going up hills makes me mash hard while going down them makes me spin out.

Fixed gear riding can be considered an intentional handicapping if you're trying to get faster. You can achieve the same effect with a road bike, but fixed gear forces you to suck it up and deal instead of having the option to gear change.
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Old 06-21-13, 07:36 AM   #10
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I've only been riding fixed for about 7mos and my opinion on advantage of fixed over singlespeed/freewheel is spinning. I really don't think you can spin as well on a singlespeed/freewheel as you could on a fixed. Once you ride fixed long enough you won't ever want to coast anymore well at least I don't lol.
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Old 06-21-13, 07:49 AM   #11
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Interesting comments, I don't agree with the "no advantage comments" but I'm only about 6 months into my FG/SS and 3 years into cycling. My Wabi feels very different to me in FG mode. It's hard to describe so I'm going to say it feels more connected to the road. In SS mode it's not much different than my geared roadie.

I put mine in SS when I go to the race track (motorsports) and use it for paddock transportation. I always flip it back to FG when done. The difference is big enough to get me to flip back to FG. If it matters, I've left both brakes on it regardless of SS or FG.
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Old 06-21-13, 07:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
Don't forget that with a fixed gear you can't coast through corners with the inside pedal up to prevent pedal strike with the road, which is why dedicated track frames have higher bottom brackets. Some single speeds with flip flop hubs have road frames with lower bottom brackets and may also have longer crank arms that are more prone to pedal strike in corners.
Does anyone market a freewheel mechanism that can lock and unlock with a clutch on the handlebar? Ride fixed mostly, then engage the clutch for sharp corners or when it gets crazy downhill?
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Old 06-21-13, 08:03 AM   #13
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I've only been riding fixed for about 7mos and my opinion on advantage of fixed over singlespeed/freewheel is spinning. I really don't think you can spin as well on a singlespeed/freewheel as you could on a fixed. Once you ride fixed long enough you won't ever want to coast anymore well at least I don't lol.
Not true. You can spin just as fast on a freewheel as you can fixed. It's all about training your legs to spin fast on a low geared fixed gear first such that you improve your pedaling technique and develop your fast twitch leg muscles. Then you will be able to do the same on a freewheel. I can spin close to 200 rpm on my geared road bike in a low gear on the flats or medium gear on descents. Most people overgear their bikes, which is why they never develop good pedaling technique or a faster cadence. The only real prerequisite to a fast cadence is good foot retention.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:10 AM   #14
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Does anyone market a freewheel mechanism that can lock and unlock with a clutch on the handlebar? Ride fixed mostly, then engage the clutch for sharp corners or when it gets crazy downhill?
IIRC, there are a few systems that you can engage at the hub, but you have to stop and dismount the bike to do so.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:12 AM   #15
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The advantage of riding fixed is that you get to talk about way cooler stuff on the internet.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:13 AM   #16
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The advantage of riding fixed is that you get to talk about way cooler stuff on the internet.
Best response so far.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:14 AM   #17
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I think I was more attentive to the road and traffic riding fixed, I thought ahead just a little more. It was more engrossing. Whether that's an advantage is questionable.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:15 AM   #18
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Word.

For me I like my FG because I like the intuitive "the slower you pedal the slower you go, the faster you pedal the faster you go" nature of it. You can make minute corrections to your speed without even thinking about it. When I ride my geared bike it feels like I'm constantly feathering the brake, whereas even though I have and use a brake on my FG, I can slow down just slightly to avoid a car or pothole or time a light just by resisting the pedals. I think this is what people mean when they say they feel more "connected." Or maybe it's all just FG BS.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:27 AM   #19
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For me I like my FG because I like the intuitive "the slower you pedal the slower you go, the faster you pedal the faster you go" nature of it. You can make minute corrections to your speed without even thinking about it. When I ride my geared bike it feels like I'm constantly feathering the brake, whereas even though I have and use a brake on my FG, I can slow down just slightly to avoid a car or pothole or time a light just by resisting the pedals. I think this is what people mean when they say they feel more "connected."
I hardly ever touch the brakes on my geared bike. The main reason you slow down on a bike is because you stop applying force to the pedals, which is no different on free than fixed drivetrains. If you've ever ridden a geared bike in a tight paceline, you know that it's taboo to constantly ride your brakes, and you sit up and coast when you are getting too close to the wheel in front of you. Sure, you can backpedal a bit as well, but I don't find myself doing that a lot except when approaching intersections. Also, if have to stop quickly, I use the front brake anyway on either type of drivetrain. Now, I don't deny that riding fixed is a lot more fun than free, which is certainly a psychological advantage.
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Old 06-21-13, 09:37 AM   #20
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Does anyone market a freewheel mechanism that can lock and unlock with a clutch on the handlebar? Ride fixed mostly, then engage the clutch for sharp corners or when it gets crazy downhill?
My S3X 3-speed fixed gear hub has a "neutral" spot between 2nd and 3rd gear. If I'm careful I can hit it just right to coast...
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Old 06-21-13, 09:40 AM   #21
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My S3X 3-speed fixed gear hub has a "neutral" spot between 2nd and 3rd gear. If I'm careful I can hit it just right to coast...
Seems like a clutch would solve the problems some people have mentioned while retaining the flavor of riding fixed. I guess an internal clutch would be counter-purpose to the theme of simplicity though. I just figured that a simple idea like that, someone is probably selling it somewhere.
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Old 06-21-13, 09:53 AM   #22
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Here's my take:

I have been racing the velodrome for 2 years and a roadie/racer for 10+ years. For the first time this season, I took my track bike to the road. I was a little freaked out by riding on the road fixed, so the first time I did it was with 2 brakes and a freewheel. Did my weekly 20 mi road route in SS mode. It was ok, but no big deal. Funny thing was, my brakes weren't adjusted great and I actually wanted to backpedal a few times to assist with stopping. I felt like I was at a loss for control. So go to ride number 2: I adjusted the brakes, flipped the hub and road fixed on the same route. I had a better sense of control. There is also this weird consciousness that you must have as you are approaching corners and stop signs, etc. You have to put thought into what you are doing and how you are riding. I think this is what they mean by becoming more one with the bike. It really was enjoyable. Since then, I really like having the fixed bike as an option. Not seeing a need to go back to freewheel mode and a single front brake is adequate.
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Old 06-21-13, 10:16 AM   #23
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I had a better sense of control. There is also this weird consciousness that you must have as you are approaching corners and stop signs, etc. You have to put thought into what you are doing and how you are riding. I think this is what they mean by becoming more one with the bike. It really was enjoyable. Since then, I really like having the fixed bike as an option.
You definitely need to be a lot more alert when riding fixed on the street. Alert when cornering to avoid pedal strike, alert when making slow tight turns due to toe to front tire overlap, alert when entering and exiting the pedals for starts and stops. Also, foot retention is optional when riding SS, but not when riding FG.
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Old 06-21-13, 10:20 AM   #24
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Best response so far.
Plus you look cooler wearing a beanie like a smurf on a fixed.
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Old 06-21-13, 01:40 PM   #25
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Fun. Is that an advantage?
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