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-   -   Why Singlespeed/Fixed? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1247864)

Gr33nFly 03-15-22 03:57 AM

I ride Fixed and dirt Jump
 
I started riding fixed because of all the cool tricks you could do and skidding to be honest.
And I stayed for the connectiveness to my bike, as well as the simplicity of the bike it's self.
Also I'm building one from scratch at the moment and going all out Crazy with the parts seems to be more excepted in the fixed gear community.

I also have a DJ but that's just Singlespeed.. sending jumps fixed on that thing would be bonkers..

8000jcp 03-28-22 09:39 PM

I just like it. It's simple. It's different. A different connection to the road. I like my 3x7 but fixie seems less gimmicky. I can change my cog teeth count for changes in gear ratios. Bike feels like it is working with me going up hills. Total different experience. I travel easier. Got to stay on your toes concerning stops, starts, and everyday situations you face while biking. Changing up is fun for me. If I feel like gears, I take my 3x7. If I feel like no gears, I jump on my fixie. Change is good

bikamper 03-30-22 09:03 AM

I started riding fixed in 95 on a Schwinn Paramount track bike I got in trade for a Miyata Country Runner. Schwinn was too big for me and geared too high, so I sold it for a phenomenal fee. Fast forward 10 years to 05. I was recovering from my first of 3 knee surgeries and decided to quit Ultra distance riding. I got really bored. I decided to slap together an old Miyata hybrid frame as a fixed gear bike and I was hooked. As mentioned earlier, Zen like, being one with the bike. I ended up building several, best one being a Miyata(There's a theme here) Carbon Tech 3000.
https://live.staticflickr.com/3572/3...64a3ba7710.jpg

Not one to be content with just one speed on a fixed gear bike, I began farting around with multi speed fixed gear hubs. I built several 2 speeds out of AW hubs, one 3 speed from an FW, and a 2 speed from an ancient Bendix.The SA hubs also provided a neutral position if you just wanted to stand up and get your butt off the saddle on a long ride.I commuted year round on the 2 speed Tetanus Express for 8 years.
https://live.staticflickr.com/3388/5...ec7626f6_z.jpg

I ride the 3 speed fixed Super Course almost exclusively now but am currently redoing a Gitane Mexico as a single speed fixed gear as I've moved to a place with few hills.
https://live.staticflickr.com/2329/2...5d88216a_z.jpg
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...64666f54_z.jpg

bikenraider 03-31-22 08:50 PM

I started riding fixed/single speed because it's been a while and I wanted a different feel. I also wanted something my ride friends would look at (fixed, no brakes) and not want to ask to take for a test ride :)

takenreasy 04-01-22 07:32 PM


Originally Posted by TugaDude (Post 22436831)
Anything that makes you want to get out and ride is a good thing.

That's my thought too.

takenreasy 04-01-22 07:42 PM


Originally Posted by bikamper (Post 22455911)
I started riding fixed in 95 on a Schwinn Paramount track bike I got in trade for a Miyata Country Runner. Schwinn was too big for me and geared too high, so I sold it for a phenomenal fee. Fast forward 10 years to 05. I was recovering from my first of 3 knee surgeries and decided to quit Ultra distance riding. I got really bored. I decided to slap together an old Miyata hybrid frame as a fixed gear bike and I was hooked. As mentioned earlier, Zen like, being one with the bike. I ended up building several, best one being a Miyata(There's a theme here) Carbon Tech 3000.
https://live.staticflickr.com/3572/3...64a3ba7710.jpg

Not one to be content with just one speed on a fixed gear bike, I began farting around with multi speed fixed gear hubs. I built several 2 speeds out of AW hubs, one 3 speed from an FW, and a 2 speed from an ancient Bendix.The SA hubs also provided a neutral position if you just wanted to stand up and get your butt off the saddle on a long ride.I commuted year round on the 2 speed Tetanus Express for 8 years.
https://live.staticflickr.com/3388/5...ec7626f6_z.jpg

I ride the 3 speed fixed Super Course almost exclusively now but am currently redoing a Gitane Mexico as a single speed fixed gear as I've moved to a place with few hills.
https://live.staticflickr.com/2329/2...5d88216a_z.jpg
https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...64666f54_z.jpg

That's one serious chainring that wouldn't be good on hills unless you have tree trunk thighs. Cool Ural by the way. I had a 2009 Patrol at one point in my motorcycling days. Loved flying the chair with my dog wearing doggles of course.

bikamper 04-02-22 07:36 AM


Originally Posted by takenreasy (Post 22458891)
That's one serious chainring that wouldn't be good on hills unless you have tree trunk thighs. Cool Ural by the way. I had a 2009 Patrol at one point in my motorcycling days. Loved flying the chair with my dog wearing doggles of course.

That is a 52T Viscount ring running through my 3 speed Fixed FW hub. High gear is somewhere in the neighborhood of the high seventies. Low is in the low fifties. Not great for hills but I live in Illannoy.
The Ural is a hoot. It's a 2007 Gear Up that I ride year round. More dependable than my Honda and more fun than you are legally allowed to have. I just got a dog and got him Doggles. I'm waiting for the yard to dry out so I can see how he does in the side car. He is not a fan of the Doggles, tho.

IAmSam 04-02-22 02:07 PM


Originally Posted by bikamper (Post 22459164)
That is a 52T Viscount ring running through my 3 speed Fixed FW hub. High gear is somewhere in the neighborhood of the high seventies. Low is in the low fifties. Not great for hills but I live in Illannoy.
The Ural is a hoot. It's a 2007 Gear Up that I ride year round. More dependable than my Honda and more fun than you are legally allowed to have. I just got a dog and got him Doggles. I'm waiting for the yard to dry out so I can see how he does in the side car. He is not a fan of the Doggles, tho.

I noticed in your pics of your cool bikes in the "Post Your SS/FG Bikes" thread that you mentioned multi-gear fixed hubs a few times. Then it slipped my mind but I'm glad you mentioned it again here to remind me.

I went through hell with a Sturmey Archer S3X some years back. It sounded so good and I wanted to like it so badly but it never worked well. Thank god I found someone to give it to who was going to fix it with some kind of upgrade kit SA ended up giving out. Which makes me interested in yours. You fixed both 2 & 3 speed SA hubs? And you mentioned FW & AW hubs? Are those the different SA models? Back when I was screwing around with that damned S3X I found some Sheldon Brown stuff on the interwebz about fixing SA 3-speed hubs but it was beyond my skills. Wouldn't mind hearing more about your experiences with it. Please tell us(me?) more.

Ride safe...

bikamper 04-02-22 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by IAmSam (Post 22459471)
I noticed in your pics of your cool bikes in the "Post Your SS/FG Bikes" thread that you mentioned multi-gear fixed hubs a few times. Then it slipped my mind but I'm glad you mentioned it again here to remind me.

I went through hell with a Sturmey Archer S3X some years back. It sounded so good and I wanted to like it so badly but it never worked well. Thank god I found someone to give it to who was going to fix it with some kind of upgrade kit SA ended up giving out. Which makes me interested in yours. You fixed both 2 & 3 speed SA hubs? And you mentioned FW & AW hubs? Are those the different SA models? Back when I was screwing around with that damned S3X I found some Sheldon Brown stuff on the interwebz about fixing SA 3-speed hubs but it was beyond my skills. Wouldn't mind hearing more about your experiences with it. Please tell us(me?) more.

Ride safe...

I wanted an S3X so bad I could taste it. I got one for a b'day present years ago. It's still in the box.

A short history of the Cheesy hubs.

The 2 Speed SA is made from a post 1963/pre-SunRace Sturmey Archer AW 3 speed hub. It's not a super complicated job. I've built several. I won't go into specifics now but what happens with the conversion is that high gear is eliminated so you have low and direct gears. Unless a special sliding clutch is machined, there will be slop in the drive train. I have several thousand miles on MkII version* of this hub without the special clutch. The slop doesn't bother me but others don't care for it.

The 3 Speed SA hub is made from a post 1963/pre-SunRace Sturmey Archer FW 4 speed hub. This job is quite a bit more complicated as it requires parts from a Sturmey Archer S5/1 hub, which are getting harder to find. I've only built one. What you end up with is Very Low, Low, and Direct gears. The gear spacing is a tad wider than on the old Sturmey Archer ASC 3 speed fixed gear hub but narrower than the S3X. There is slop in Very Low, less in Low, and almost none in Direct. This is due to the different planet cages and axles between the 3 and 4 speed hubs.

The 2 Speed Bendix conversion is made from a 1950s manually shifted Bendix Power Brake 2 Speed hub. Not a kickback hub. I've made a couple of these. Only complicated if you don't have the tools. Or JB Weld. One is in my garage. The other is in the UK. There is no slop in this hub, it's very robust, and stupid simple. A good friend once told me that it's the Uncouth American Cousin of the Sturmey Archer TF 2 speed fixed gear hub. What the TF does with agility and grace, the Bendix does with brute force.

As far as converting the Sturmey hubs, tools needed are a RA grinder with a 1/4" grinding wheel, a Dremel with cutoff wheels(you're gonna break a few), a Sharpie, and a way to drive out the left hand cup from the hub shell, and a way to get the shell back in place when the cutting is done. I'll get pictures up a bit later. Gotta hunt them down but it takes me 1.5 to 2 hrs to do the conversion. Longer if the hub is a PITA to get apart, which happens more often than not

The Bendix requires just a screwdriver and a crescent wrench to get apart. Ditch the coaster brake parts; spreader, shoes, and spacers. Braze or JB Weld the driven screw into the hub shell, then braze or JB Weld drive screw/planet cage to the already fixed in place driven screw. Reassemble. Got pictures of this one some place, too.

Some notes. The Sturmey Archer hubs can be set up with a neutral position for coasting. I use a Sturmey trigger** with the 2 speed hub. The N position is the neutral position. I use a friction shifter with the 3 speed hub. Full forward is Direct. Full back is Very Low, Between the two is Low.
There is no neutral in the Bendix hub. Shifting between gears requires the crank to be turning but the shifts are instant, silent, and seamless. Almost 15 years down the road from the first Cheesy hub, I probably won't do another 3 speed. The FW and S5/1 hubs are too rare. A Bendix, maybe, but the hub shell needs to be a flaky chrome and rusty POS before I'd even consider it.

*The MkI version failed completely at the end of my driveway on its maiden voyage. I lived on top of a hill. The test mule, aka, The Tetanus Express, got brakes after I was able to unpucker myself from the saddle.

**Never use a worn trigger. A hard bump while coasting at 20+ mph can cause the trigger to shift into high gear. You'll probably get 10s across the board from onlookers for the landing, whether you stick it or not(you won't). It hurts. A lot.

chdrd 04-03-22 08:11 AM


Originally Posted by Ymerej (Post 22436669)
Fixed gear PROPER. No janky bs here

Man this is a great bike. love to see some people do this fixed gear totally. Brakeless is fun at times, but at this age i prefer to be safe and theres nothing wrong with it.

Ymerej 04-03-22 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by chdrd (Post 22460022)
Man this is a great bike. love to see some people do this fixed gear totally. Brakeless is fun at times, but at this age i prefer to be safe and theres nothing wrong with it.


Thanks, much appreciated.

IAmSam 04-04-22 05:24 AM


Originally Posted by bikamper (Post 22459573)
I wanted an S3X so bad I could taste it. I got one for a b'day present years ago. It's still in the box.

A short history of the Cheesy hubs...


Thanks a lot for the info. You got me kinda interested in multi-fixed again so if you should ever decide to move your S3X along to be used - please keep me in mind.

Ride safe...

JohnDThompson 04-04-22 06:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by IAmSam (Post 22459471)
I went through hell with a Sturmey Archer S3X some years back. It sounded so good and I wanted to like it so badly but it never worked well. Thank god I found someone to give it to who was going to fix it with some kind of upgrade kit SA ended up giving out.

The early production S3X hubs had problems. Later production sorted that out. I've had one of the later ones for about a decade now with no issues. It's my bad weather bike, but I've also ridden century rides on it without problems. The only thing I'm not crazy about it the odd gear ratios: 0.625/0.75/1,0; I would have preferred closer spacing at the high end with a big jump to a bail-out gear for hills and headwinds, like the old ASC ratios: 0.75/0.90/1.0

bironi 04-08-22 05:27 PM

Anyone here like to squint their eyes and close them on a quiet traffic free descent?
I'm talking fixed.

Bianchi pc 04-08-22 05:47 PM

No never!
 

Originally Posted by bironi (Post 22466103)
Anyone here like to squint their eyes and close them on a quiet traffic free descent?
I'm talking fixed.

Ha ha, too much of a control freak for that move I guess....

I would be too afraid of an unseen pot hole or a rat, raccoon or cat suddenly running into my path.

I ride track bikes in the street for the quick handling and maneuverability.

bironi 04-08-22 06:26 PM

Yes, we're riding in different environments.
I understand your take.

palimpsest 04-16-22 08:16 PM

I don’t ride fixed-gear exclusively; however, it’s a wonderful form of code-shifting. By alternating the type of bicycle I use, especially in highly interactive, urban environments, I have developed a broader skill-set, and a broader understanding, of safe bicycle handling.

Jax Rhapsody 04-17-22 05:33 AM

I like my SS because it's simple, and I just "needed" one, because of(other than my ss cruiser) my other geared bikes. I don't think I'll ever go fixed again, but this is close enough. The best thing is I hardly(relatively speaking) spent any money on building it. Six items I paid for, excluding stickers and innertubes.

jack pot 04-22-22 01:08 PM

i ride this when i'm too hung over to FIX
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...fbd37754b3.jpg

stelpa 04-22-22 01:41 PM

Thank you very much for this insight! I'm not a biker (just ride for getting from A to B...) so I really didn't understand why anybody would voluntarily chose fewer gears.
It now makes much more sense :)

Thessalos 04-30-22 01:11 AM

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication!!!

that's why I like fixed gear/single speed bikes
I had for some years a State chromoly bike and it was awesome!!

the sci guy 05-03-22 11:00 AM

a little late to the thread, but for me, it's the simplicity. Both in riding (don't worry about changing gears or cadence targets or when to shift, just ride!) and in upkeep (as has been stated, 1 chainring, 1 cog = fast, simple, cleaning and other maintenance).

Plus with the stripped down simplicity of the bike, it's far easier to chance around and swap out almost any parts you want without farting around with cables and derailleurs and things that have to work in concert with each other to work right. You don't worry about really fitting this piece on that piece. It's just, go!

My single speed (not fixed because I have bad knees) has been through a ton of iterations because it's so easy to mess with.

It started as this:
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...03009a3577.jpg

then i changed bars & levers

https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...988aa68db9.jpg

then i changed bars and levers...again

https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...dbb69b95ae.jpg

then I changed bars and levers...again...again (OK and the stem too)

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...cd3112d2bc.jpg

then i wanted to try different bars again (but used the same lever! hah!)

https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...2b6f2dd108.jpg

Didn't quite like it so i took an old set of drop bars i had and chopped them off to make small bullhorns. this is before i wrapped the bars. this is my current setup.

https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...b055ddf590.jpg

I also at some point swapped the original Origin8 crank I got, with a nicer Sugino one. And have gone back & forth between 17 & 18t freewheels. But it's so simple to swap things around. Couldn't do that with a geared bike as easily.

ben.johnson 05-03-22 01:50 PM

Singlespeed: keeps me honest on hills
Fixed: Above, plus just a different feeling of movement

Yune_Garage 05-22-22 10:50 PM


Originally Posted by co.bo (Post 22429919)
To all of my devout singlespeed/fixed gear riders...

What are some of the reasons you prefer to ride singlespeed/fixed over a multi-geared bike?

I'll be posing the opposite question on the road biking forum.

If you ride both single/fixed and geared, feel free to weigh in on the pros and cons of both

Thanks in advance for the input


Fun and mechanical simplicity.

ItalDisco 06-06-22 05:21 PM

I ride my SS for the experience. Completely worth trying for any riding enthusiast. On the other hand, I use my SS as a commuter all year around - less moving parts in wet and cold Canadian conditions..

rustystrings61 06-08-22 07:56 AM

When I got back into cycling after after not riding for more than a decade, I stumbled onto Sheldon Brown's writings about fixed-gears and was intrigued. Then I read this article by Peter Moore on the old twowheelfetish site (thank you, Internet Archive!) and something clicked into place for me. I built my first fixed-gear with a late 50s Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix, which was supplanted by a series of road conversions - a (dented) Gitane Super Corsa, a Trek 620, a Peugeot PR-10L, a Falcon San Remo, then a c.1971 Raleigh Competition (which, had I known then what I know now, I would have kept!). I bought one of the first Bianchi Eco Pistas in 1999, sold it after a crash due to a faulty clipless pedal spontaneously releasing - but I missed riding fixed gears. I splurged on a custom Mercian Vincitore, designed to be a modern interpretation of a vintage British club bike - and if I could do it over again, I would have specified clearance for 32 mm tires with fenders and loooong "horizontal" front-facing road dropouts to play better with a rear brake.

I rode that Mercian for thousands of miles and loved it. It was my primary bike for more than a decade, and it may become that again for me. I traveled pavement, dirt and gravel roads on 28 mm tires, alone and with select trusted friends. All the while, the raw, primal, elemental quality of riding fixed fed something in me. I spend much of my day working on a computer screen cataloging other people's words and mucking around with symbols. Riding a bike is good, but riding fixed was just a little bit more real, and it's akin to playing an acoustic guitar with your bare hands and no picks, just a sensation of greater connection and contact. There is no shifting, the Hamlet/doubt/second-guessing that is one of my greatest weaknesses and flaws has to shut up and either sit in a corner or throw itself wholeheartedly into this absolute moment of making perfect circle with the feet here, then hurling the whole body into a slow dance on the pedals there to reach that climb with the knowledge that you cannot stop until you reach the top.

https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...f1785047ee.jpg

I realized I missed the mad-scientist/beater fixed-gear bikes as well, so first I picked up a sad, scarred '71 Gitane TdF and pieced it together for a family vacation bike. It became THE go-to early morning ride bike, because it was the perfect blend of responsiveness, speediness and good road manners. It's a treasured keeper because it's just so fiercely direct. I could say it's the metric-gauge 531 tubing or the geometry that is very close to traditonal road-fixed angles - 73 head, 72 degree seat tube, where many British road fixed frames were 73/71 - but in the end it's just how everything lines up into planes and turns the world into geometry and geography and I just have to deal with what is.

https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...c6acbc4791.jpg

A few years back I realized I really missed my old Raleigh and started looking for a Competition at a price I could stand. This one is borderline cheating, as it's got four gear choices - but there is no shifting on the fly, I have to dismount and move the chain by hand. Running 42/44T chainrings, a Surly Dingle 17/19T fixed cog set and a White Industries 20/22T so I have 70-in pavement and 60-in gravel fixed gears and 60 and 51-in freewheel choices for general or light singletrack use.

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...cc37dc70a1.jpg

GameHasNoName 06-08-22 06:38 PM

For me personally, it's a combination of reasons. If I consider each reason separately it may not look that great for me, but a combination of those does. Constantly spinning is a good thing, as it helps and encourages to keep some effort and also accelerate/decelerate smoothly. Not that you can't do it on a geared bike, but it feels natural on fixed gear (this connected feeling, my first time riding felt like riding on tiny scale roller coaster). Let's be honest, for most people (including myself) changing gears is no fun, yes, you can keep your preferred cadence, but is that what you always want to get from riding a bicycle at this current moment? Without the need to change gears it's the ride you fully focused on, but it's more engaging and feels natural. Not that it mentally tiring just same focus on the road, all the same, but without "not-so-fun" gear changes. I think, Electronic shifting just proves the theory of "not-fun" shifting, yes, it may be great, but it still need's to be managed and it has it's limitations. Simplicity means it's easier for me keep the bike in good technical condition and also mentally rewarding: I know it's ready for the ride, all I need is to pump the tires and may be wipe a chain and chainrings after a ride. And, it's a new riding experience!

ZoomLevel 06-09-22 09:22 PM

FUN! Well, fun and training. This is a great thread, but I think the consensus is Fixed is fun, and it utilizes different muscles, so it's a great training, or cross-training device. I bought a bike a few years ago with a freewheel on one side and fixed on the other, and having never ridden fixed, I started out with the freewheel with a brake or two. I found it to be kind of depressing; it didn't go fast enough, and it just felt lame. when I switched over to the fixed gear, it was suddenly fun because I had to learn how to ride a bike again. The feeling of being absolutely connected to the bike was unmistakable, but I hadn't felt that on my geared bike previously. It took quite a long time to learn some basic skills like stopping without brakes, etc.. I rode past a guy who was pedaling slowly on a fixed gear while talking on his cellular telephone, with no foot retention, and I realized you could pedal slowly to go slow. This was like a year later. I have several bikes, and three of them are fixed gear. All of the bikes are different in some way or another, so I just pick one to ride according to my mood.

Mr Sir 06-12-22 07:09 AM

I used to ride a singlespeed due to derailleur frustration until I learned the frustration was not due to the derailleur but due to the indexed shifters. I believe the reason we saw a resurgence in singlespeed bicycles was due to the advent of indexed shifting, which can be so frustrating to deal with that you just wan't to tear it all off so you can ride.
I think derailleur gears are amazingly awesome, and I love super low gears (my lowest right now is 22x34 on one of my bikes) for when I am loaded up. Nothing better than just effortlessly spinning up a hill. Friction shifters simplify the whole process and make interchangebility much greater. Set the high and the low and your done. No finicky adjustments required. The derailleur is one of the greatest invention within cycling. But index shifters not!

igorgroks 06-15-22 05:52 PM

Crashed my road bike and now have just a fixed that I ride on flattish river trails and adjacent neighborhoods. I try to stay off the brake, so avoid hills. It's fun. Training up now for a solo century on the SART. (Santa Ana River Trail.)
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...d92c7a720d.jpg


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