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Gravel single / fixie

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)

Gravel single / fixie

Old 07-17-19, 12:12 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I love people who will talk until they're blue in the face about not caring what other people think.

But anyways, here's an old picture of my gravel bike. Some parts and clothing items have changed, idea is the same:

Did you purposefully choose a 1" front end or was it just what the frame was available in?
I always wonder what the benefits of that are, and whenever I read about people that want one it usually has to do with looks.
The fact that it holds itself in there with a wedge scares me. It seems like one wrong turn and you're in snappytown.
There may be some other reason that I'm unaware of though.

That rake looks super relaxed and cuuuuushy for the bumps. It seems to have a lot of 90's MTB influence.

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Old 07-17-19, 12:33 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post
Did you purposefully choose a 1" front end or was it just what the frame was available in?
I always wonder what the benefits of that are, and whenever I read about people that want one it usually has to do with looks.
The fact that it holds itself in there with a wedge scares me. It seems like one wrong turn and you're in snappytown.
There may be some other reason that I'm unaware of though.

That rake looks super relaxed and cuuuuushy for the bumps. It seems to have a lot of 90's MTB influence.
There's a reason for the lots of 90's MTB influence. It is either a late eighties or early nineties MTB that has been converted to drop bars and SS/FG. Old bikes used the 1" quil stem for decades. It's a nicely done conversion. I've done a similar, except geared, conversion to a 1986 Diamond Back MTB.
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Old 07-17-19, 06:35 AM
  #28  
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I saw this at a gravel race this summer.




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Old 07-17-19, 07:09 AM
  #29  
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For some historical perspective, go here. The article mentions W.M. Robinson, aka Wayfarer, whose writings were extremely influential in launching riders off the tarmac and onto the unpaved or rough stuff.
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Old 07-17-19, 07:15 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post

I think that everyone on this subforum is underbiking to a certain degree (ss/fg).
My personal philosophy is that you actually gain benefits of ss/fg on the street (extreme simplicity). I also legimately dont' know how to ride a geared bike well and haven't made that jump yet so I don't feel like I am underbiking. Not a learning curve (both riding and maintanence) that I wanted for my one and only that I needed for transportation and work. Haven't experienced that feeling of "never thinking abotu shifting" that alot of people seem to bring up. I guess i'll have a different perspective then when I do eventually try a geared bike since i'll be going "backwards".
If you ever go with a multi-geared bike, you can ride it without shifting. Last night I was riding my 8-speed Norco and left it in 6th gear (70") the entire time, not for any other reason than that gear was working for me.

My new to me single speed would have been great last night, but it needs to be re-geared as it is currently at 54".
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Old 07-17-19, 07:46 AM
  #31  
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Apologies for the disruption folks, he won't be disrupting us anymore.
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Old 07-17-19, 08:20 AM
  #32  
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Old 07-17-19, 10:15 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post
Did you purposefully choose a 1" front end or was it just what the frame was available in?
I always wonder what the benefits of that are, and whenever I read about people that want one it usually has to do with looks.
The fact that it holds itself in there with a wedge scares me. It seems like one wrong turn and you're in snappytown.
There may be some other reason that I'm unaware of though.

That rake looks super relaxed and cuuuuushy for the bumps. It seems to have a lot of 90's MTB influence.
Originally Posted by gnome View Post
There's a reason for the lots of 90's MTB influence. It is either a late eighties or early nineties MTB that has been converted to drop bars and SS/FG. Old bikes used the 1" quil stem for decades. It's a nicely done conversion. I've done a similar, except geared, conversion to a 1986 Diamond Back MTB.
Thanks guys! Yes, it started life as an 80's MTB frame that my brother gave me for free. I didn't know that a 1" threaded headset and quill stem wouldn't work for gravel until it was far too late.

Here's a newer picture of it:


When riding around town and on paved trails, I leave it in 71" gearing, but for dedicated gravel events, I'll bump it down to 65"-67".
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Old 07-17-19, 10:26 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
If you ever go with a multi-geared bike, you can ride it without shifting. Last night I was riding my 8-speed Norco and left it in 6th gear (70") the entire time, not for any other reason than that gear was working for me.

My new to me single speed would have been great last night, but it needs to be re-geared as it is currently at 54".
Yes, but I am concerned about breaking a derrailleur, chain skipping, off center shifts, the noise associated with all of those parts, being too spread apart on the drivetrain, etc.

I took a geared bike for a test drive once. Literally just went around the block. I tried to put it into a comfortable gear and I accidentally knocked the chain off the drivetrain. It got stuck between the gears and the bike somehow so I had to scooter it back to the shop.

That's the moment that I decided to stay single speed until I can afford two bikes, or I just need one for short trips.
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Old 07-17-19, 01:17 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post
Yes, but I am concerned about breaking a derrailleur, chain skipping, off center shifts, the noise associated with all of those parts, being too spread apart on the drivetrain, etc.

I took a geared bike for a test drive once. Literally just went around the block. I tried to put it into a comfortable gear and I accidentally knocked the chain off the drivetrain. It got stuck between the gears and the bike somehow so I had to scooter it back to the shop.

That's the moment that I decided to stay single speed until I can afford two bikes, or I just need one for short trips.
That's one reason I like internal gear hubs. The chain stays in place like a single speed bike.
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Old 07-17-19, 01:30 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
That's one reason I like internal gear hubs. The chain stays in place like a single speed bike.
It's too bad IGHs never caught on in the MTB world. Apart from weight, they seem like the perfect solution for such a dirty, jarring environment.
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Originally Posted by noglider
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Old 07-17-19, 10:52 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post

I think that everyone on this subforum is underbiking to a certain degree (ss/fg).

My personal philosophy is that you actually gain benefits of ss/fg on the street (extreme simplicity). I also legimately dont' know how to ride a geared bike well and haven't made that jump yet so I don't feel like I am underbiking. Not a learning curve (both riding and maintanence) that I wanted for my one and only that I needed for transportation and work. Haven't experienced that feeling of "never thinking abotu shifting" that alot of people seem to bring up. I guess i'll have a different perspective then when I do eventually try a geared bike since i'll be going "backwards".

I agree with this. I haven't ridden anything with a freewheel or gears in several years and I don't feel like I'm "underbiking," but one could argue that we don't know what we're missing out on by not having multiple gears. I intentionally chose ss/fg bikes for practicality and maintenance simplicity. I understand the benefit of gears and there are trade-offs between the two, but it comes down to personal preference in the end. I've meet some cyclists that don't seem to understand why anyone would ride a fixed gear bike and give the impression it's somewhat backwards or childish to do so. To each their own, I guess. One thing I appreciate about this forum though is there are people who ride all kind of bikes and share their experiences.
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Old 07-18-19, 09:45 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by hardboiled718 View Post
I agree with this. I haven't ridden anything with a freewheel or gears in several years and I don't feel like I'm "underbiking," but one could argue that we don't know what we're missing out on by not having multiple gears. I intentionally chose ss/fg bikes for practicality and maintenance simplicity. I understand the benefit of gears and there are trade-offs between the two, but it comes down to personal preference in the end. I've meet some cyclists that don't seem to understand why anyone would ride a fixed gear bike and give the impression it's somewhat backwards or childish to do so. To each their own, I guess. One thing I appreciate about this forum though is there are people who ride all kind of bikes and share their experiences.
Yeah. I think I've only met other ss/fg enthusiasts.
Thing is, riding one gear has been a pretty well established part of mainstream culture now so it shouldn't come as a surprise to most.
It's actually weird to me that people even care lol.
It's just a bike that has one gear.
I mean, department stores sell fixed gears which will inevitably end up living in a garage so someone's kid has something to roll around the block on.
It really shouldn't be seen as "different" anymore.

I'll edit this later.
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Old 07-20-19, 01:06 PM
  #39  
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Not sure if this counts. We just called it "going for a bike ride" when I were a lad. Even when I bought my Giant Anyroad, I had never heard the term, "gravel bike".

The Anyroad is over-engineered, heavy and with poor aerodynamics. Also, the tyres caused a lot of drag. I couldn't keep up with my wife on her road bike. I was often pedalling hard down hill when she overtook me, freewheeling. So last week I took off the 32 mm semi-knobblies and put on some 25mm Continental Gatorskins. Much better.

Meanwhile, my Pearson fixed had 700c x 23 mm flimsy road tyres and, as I tend to go off road for part of almost every ride, I was getting lots of punctures. "Haha!" I thought, and put the redundant 32mm tyres on the fixed, just to see what would happen.

The wider tyres meant there was virtually no mud clearance, and the tread picked up lots of mud until the bike ground to a halt. I also had a puncture half way round the ride. It was a good ride though, taking in part of the Viking Way, then a section of quiet lane, before splashing through a ford that was deep enough to be over the top of my shoes, then following one of my favourite farm tracks and a short section of wooded footpath. I finished off with a swoop down one of our local hills, then riding along a grassy flood bank back to my village.

5/6 of the way up the hill, the bike ground to a halt, clogged with mud.


After splashing through the ford, it was a little cleaner.


A favourite farm track that I often include in my local loops.


This part of the ride was lovely, except I got a puncture about 10 seconds after this photo was taken.
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Old 07-20-19, 01:51 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by hardboiled718 View Post
I intentionally chose ss/fg bikes for practicality and maintenance simplicity.
This forum is a wonderful place. Half the posts about perfect chain line, chain tension, and choosing exactly the right ratio; the other half extolling the maintenance simplicity... lol

I've never had to worry about perfect chain line, chain tension, or choosing one perfect ratio on a geared bike!

But single speed and fixed are more fun if your local topography suits it. I ride mine more often than my multi-geared bike.
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Old 07-20-19, 02:10 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Half the posts about perfect chain line, chain tension, and choosing exactly the right ratio...
And the "efficiency" of big sprockets vs small ones...people always find new and creative ways to obsess over nothing.
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Old 07-21-19, 01:44 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
And the "efficiency" of big sprockets vs small ones...people always find new and creative ways to obsess over nothing.
There's always something that says: "You need this!", "If you have this new widget you will be t3h X-treme!"
Sometimes it's true, most of the time it's not. I heard that that's what effectively keeps the cycling industry (and probably a lot of other ones) alive though.

At least there is implied value instead of just straight up putting a name on a "luxury" item and increasing it's value 1,000x.
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Old 07-21-19, 05:34 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post
Yeah. I think I've only met other ss/fg enthusiasts.

Thing is, riding one gear has been a pretty well established part of mainstream culture now so it shouldn't come as a surprise to most.

It's actually weird to me that people even care lol.

It's just a bike that has one gear.

I mean, department stores sell fixed gears which will inevitably end up living in a garage so someone's kid has something to roll around the block on.

It really shouldn't be seen as "different" anymore.


I'll edit this later.

Yeah, I agree that SS/FG is more mainstream, and I wouldn't say it was a necessary a surprise to other cyclists that I was on a SS/FG, but more the reaction and preconceived notion they held (mind you, only a small number of cyclist I've meet expressed this view openly and I'm only speaking for my own experience, which does not mean it's applicable to all.) I do think there is a stigma attached to SS/FG, mainly FG, which to many appears as young and reckless, not that it inherently is, but there is a culture of FG riding which could be construed that way. I'm not saying either is right or wrong, but I acknowledge it's existence. I guess I was trying to address the concept of "underbiking," and that I just wanted to say there are more reasons to ride a bike that could take precedent over just efficiency depending on the rider.


Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
This forum is a wonderful place. Half the posts about perfect chain line, chain tension, and choosing exactly the right ratio; the other half extolling the maintenance simplicity... lol

Yeah, sometimes you see a post about about a chain line off by a few mm and think just get out and ride the damn thing. But I also appreciate that in a SS/FG's simplicity there's also an opportunity to finely tune things as a hobby that may not require extensive knowledge of bike mechanics (coming from a perspective where someone may not possess the knowledge of more complicated drive/brake systems such as multiple gears, discs, etc, which obviously requires more knowledge that a FG for basic functionality,) and if it's fun to tinker with that then that not. Personally I'm on the other end of the spectrum, keep things running, fix what needs fixed but mainly it's just keep it in safe working order so I can be out riding.
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Old 08-03-19, 03:13 PM
  #44  
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Well, after the incident with the mud (see photos a few posts above in this thread) I took the knobblies back off. I fitted some 25mm Continental Gatorskins. (I had put 28mm Gatorskins on my geared gravel bike.)

The Gatorskins are lovely tyres, handle well, and have excellent puncture resistance. They have virtually no tread pattern, but that's OK as I am a bit sceptical about tread on narrow bike tyres anyway. All it seems to do is pick up mud, without providing much grip, and it makes road riding hard work.

So, today I took the Pearson out to Sherwood Pines. This is an area in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire (England) where there are footpaths, bridlepaths and official mountain bike routes. I used to ride unicycle there regularly. The paths offer a mix of packed mud, soft mud, sand, loose gravel, tree roots, occasional outcrops of rock, short steep climbs and descents, and undergrowth.

With me on the 700c x 25mm fixed road bike, my wife on her 700c x 23mm geared road bike, and my son on my 700c x 28mm geared gravel bike, we rode a wide selection of tracks and trails, sometimes riding gingerly over obstacles, sometimes blasting along, and on one heart-stopping occasion, sliding down a steep muddy hill with the back wheel locked and carefully feathering the front brake.

Funny thing was, on my skinny fixed gear road bike, I think I was having more fun than all the people on dual suspension multi-geared mountain bikes who had little to do except point the bike where they wanted to go and let it find its own way over the bumps. I had a great time.

The scenery is varied, but all beautiful, with areas of beech wood, areas of plantation pine, oaks, and mixed woodland, and a wide variety of birdlife. I saw several male bullfinches (splendid little birds with red fronts and black caps), a jay, wren, and many buzzards, magpies, crows and wood pigeons. In the past, I have often seen wild deer here, but not today.

So, in answer to the original post, yes, a fixed can be ridden on challenging off road conditions, and is terrific fun. My bike is not optimised for this (limited clearance, low bottom bracket, rim brakes) but the only problems I had were two pedal strikes. However, my son fell full length from my proper gravel bike, at low speed, after getting is feet stuck in the toe straps. How we laughed.
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Old 08-04-19, 01:34 PM
  #45  
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Hello mate

Sweet photos of some nice trails the gearing looks kinda large what are u pushing!


Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Not sure if this counts. We just called it "going for a bike ride" when I were a lad. Even when I bought my Giant Anyroad, I had never heard the term, "gravel bike".

The Anyroad is over-engineered, heavy and with poor aerodynamics. Also, the tyres caused a lot of drag. I couldn't keep up with my wife on her road bike. I was often pedalling hard down hill when she overtook me, freewheeling. So last week I took off the 32 mm semi-knobblies and put on some 25mm Continental Gatorskins. Much better.

Meanwhile, my Pearson fixed had 700c x 23 mm flimsy road tyres and, as I tend to go off road for part of almost every ride, I was getting lots of punctures. "Haha!" I thought, and put the redundant 32mm tyres on the fixed, just to see what would happen.

The wider tyres meant there was virtually no mud clearance, and the tread picked up lots of mud until the bike ground to a halt. I also had a puncture half way round the ride. It was a good ride though, taking in part of the Viking Way, then a section of quiet lane, before splashing through a ford that was deep enough to be over the top of my shoes, then following one of my favourite farm tracks and a short section of wooded footpath. I finished off with a swoop down one of our local hills, then riding along a grassy flood bank back to my village.

5/6 of the way up the hill, the bike ground to a halt, clogged with mud.


After splashing through the ford, it was a little cleaner.


A favourite farm track that I often include in my local loops.


This part of the ride was lovely, except I got a puncture about 10 seconds after this photo was taken.
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Old 08-04-19, 02:59 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
Sweet photos of some nice trails the gearing looks kinda large what are u pushing!
49 x 18, 700c x 25mm, 165mm cranks. The gearing is in the mid 70s, like my fashion sense.
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Old 08-05-19, 07:09 AM
  #47  
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I'd cycled past Ross Road for 20 years, always thinking that someday I would check it out. On the last Saturday of July, on a whim, I turned the Mercian off Flatwood and headed west. I was rewarded with a lovely 3.5 miles of varying gravel, loose stuff and hardpack that carried me between large closed off tracts of woods, past a couple of pastures, and eventually brought me to the outskirts of scenic blink-and-you'll-miss-it Hodges, SC. I had recently removed the 18T fixed cog from the other side of my rear hub, so I just rolled with it in 42x16, around 70 gear inches, and all was well. 28 mm Pasela tires managed just fine.




A while later, I realized I'd brought a substantial part of Ross Road along with me!

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Old 08-05-19, 11:51 AM
  #48  
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my "gravel" SS bike - 45mm Resist Nomads

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Old 08-05-19, 07:00 PM
  #49  
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my 35c, 46x16 gravel fixed. This is prolly my favorite all-round bike to ride because the gearing is easy and i can literally ride through most obstacles including snow and ice in the winter time. BONUS: if i change the bars, remove the fenders and throw on some slicks, it turns into a well rounded FGFS bike for bar spinz.
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Old 08-06-19, 09:44 AM
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Nice build. Details?

Originally Posted by acoustophile View Post
my 35c, 46x16 gravel fixed. This is prolly my favorite all-round bike to ride because the gearing is easy and i can literally ride through most obstacles including snow and ice in the winter time. BONUS: if i change the bars, remove the fenders and throw on some slicks, it turns into a well rounded FGFS bike for bar spinz.
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