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Between a fixed gear and a single speed bike

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Between a fixed gear and a single speed bike

Old 10-22-20, 07:57 AM
  #101  
livedarklions
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Do you consider the FG "feature" - you can't bail out with a lower gear on a Single Speed. You have to muscle it or walk - a positive attribute for bicycle riding?

It's a motivational factor getting you to work harder. By your logic, riding a bicycle without an engine is a design flaw as one can't bail out to assist or take over.

I've ridden single speed over long distance, there's some fun to it, but I enjoy the versatility of geared bikes more. I have no desire to try a FG at this stage of my life, but "it's harder" doesn't strike me as irrational if one is attempting to maximize their effort and/or like technical challenges. People ride for different purposes, I can't imagine wanting to talk them out of their preferences except for when those preferences are actually endangering others. Don't get me started on people who ride on roads on FG without brakes, for example. That's not justifiable.
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Old 10-22-20, 08:33 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
People ride for different purposes
Always good to bear in mind! For example, among others, I try to maximize the portion of a ride that I am standing. It makes the ride more of a weight bearing activity, improves saddle comfort on my longer rides and generally breaks up the monotony of being in the saddle a long time. Iíve gone to the extent of using swept back touring bars to help create better standing positions than drop bars allow. Iím sure a great many riders donít have that as a priority.

Also, just an observation and I donít know that there is causation with any of this, but since I went back to riding SS this summer, Iíve substantially increased my typical and longer ride lengths while no longer having to worry about saddle discomfort. As always, YMMV.

Otto
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Old 10-22-20, 08:50 AM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
It also requires/facilitates a more circular pedaling stroke, another adaptation over time. Google "souplesse".
My legs freeze with the cranks perpendicular to the ground when I start freewheeling again after riding fixed gear on a regular basis. I can't tell whether ride with more souplesse once my legs get reacclimated to being the only thing spinning the cranks.
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Old 10-23-20, 01:16 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I got reminded of another benefit of fix gear road riding (especially downwind and downhill) that has been for me, huge. The training of the leg muscles that aren't actually driving the pedals to relax completely. I was never aware I had those less than loose muscles until I started going down real hills on gears like 42-17. At 45 MPH (225 RPM) any tightness at all makes for a wild ride! But 100% loose, I can go faster and it is ear-to-ear grin fun. And that teaching of those muscles to relax benefits me every ride. (Rollers go a long ways to achieving that same looseness.)

I rode a 50 mile out and back to a point straight upwind yesterday. Hard out, the spin on tired legs coming home. That my legs didn't fight that spin - a real blessing.

Ben
225rpm is a lot. Possible when I was younger. Recently did 180 down a smaller hill on 48x19. One of the few problems with FG is that for those of us who are getting senior we tend to drag brake on the downhills and that is not quite the same.

Two reasons some give up on or never warm up to fixed. There is not much chance of ever doing 225rpm if your position is not already very good and your pedaling at least decent. Fixed does absolutely improve anyoneís pedaling but you wonít get started if sitting awkwardly or too high or if your pedal stroke is too rough. So those who need it most are locked out, or at least need some good coaching and to make a serious try.

The other problem is big gears. Some of the gears mentioned on this thread are just enormous. The 42x17 mentioned in your post is way more reasonable. On rolling ground that is already quite big enough, thank you.The old Cinelli manual - actually the training bible for Italian amateur racers - talks about using gears as low as 44x23 for winter training. Even big riders are admonished to use 44x20 for developing agility during base miles. The old British notion of Ďmedium gearí at 48x18 also made medium gear the biggest to ever be used fixed. Only strong and fast guys would contemplate using medium at all and then only for racing. One of the old tropes was get under the hour for 25 mile time trial in a 48x18 gear before switching to a derailleur bike.
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Old 10-24-20, 10:23 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
The other problem is big gears. Some of the gears mentioned on this thread are just enormous. The 42x17 mentioned in your post is way more reasonable.
Coincidentally, I switched from 42/16 to 42/17 today on my vintage MTB. With colder weather arriving here and chronically wet and slippery trails, Iím now running bigger, knobby tires, the surfaces are stickier and with leaves down every ride is windy. So, it seemed a better choice to gear down slightly. Anything resembling normal cruising speeds now on this bike will still be a very reasonable cadence of 100 rpm or less. 👍

Otto
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Old 10-25-21, 02:12 PM
  #106  
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in my opinion you should try a coaster brake wheel. with a coaster brake wheel you can have the benefit of coasting and the clear look of fixed gear
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Old 10-25-21, 03:13 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by IGH_Only View Post
which would you choose and why?
Rode fixed for many years. Now I'm happy to ride S/S for local errands and multispeed for distance. My knees agree.
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Old 10-25-21, 03:34 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by IGH_Only View Post
which would you choose and why?
I ride both fixed gear and singlespeed...The only place I would choose singlespeed over fixed gear is for mountain biking and riding on rough technical single track trails. For all other types of riding it makes no difference to me.
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Old 10-25-21, 03:37 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by Retro bike fan View Post
in my opinion you should try a coaster brake wheel. with a coaster brake wheel you can have the benefit of coasting and the clear look of fixed gear
You just don't get it...It has nothing to do with looks....Coaster brakes are for children.
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Old 10-26-21, 08:15 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
...The old British notion of ‘medium gear’ at 48x18 also made medium gear the biggest to ever be used fixed. Only strong and fast guys would contemplate using medium at all and then only for racing. One of the old tropes was get under the hour for 25 mile time trial in a 48x18 gear before switching to a derailleur bike...
I ride 48x18 (~70 gear inches) for my every day rider. My local terrain is moderately hilly, and there are traffic lights and residential areas with cross streets. So, the riding is varied. My flipflop hub is fixed-fixed, and the other side is 17T for flatter duties. I don't consider myself particularly strong as a 62 year old. But I can sustain 85-95 rpms pretty routinely for an hour ride if unobstructed. But that sub-hour 25 mile ride would be well outside of my abilities. If I could accomplish 25 miles fixed in 75 minutes, I would be pleasantly surprised.

The point is that this thread brings out the passions and prejudices, as well as fears and convictions of its posters. It's all pretty transparent. You could pick out the fellows with whom you'd enjoy riding because they share similar attitudes and interests. And that's one of the attractions of this forum's community. We're different from one another, but we share the love of bike riding. Even in its many forms.

Last edited by Phil_gretz; 10-26-21 at 08:16 AM. Reason: adjusted my rpm range to account for headwinds, etc.
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Old 10-26-21, 06:03 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I ride 48x18 (~70 gear inches) for my every day rider. My local terrain is moderately hilly, and there are traffic lights and residential areas with cross streets. So, the riding is varied. My flipflop hub is fixed-fixed, and the other side is 17T for flatter duties. I don't consider myself particularly strong as a 62 year old. But I can sustain 85-95 rpms pretty routinely for an hour ride if unobstructed. But that sub-hour 25 mile ride would be well outside of my abilities. If I could accomplish 25 miles fixed in 75 minutes, I would be pleasantly surprised.

The point is that this thread brings out the passions and prejudices, as well as fears and convictions of its posters. It's all pretty transparent. You could pick out the fellows with whom you'd enjoy riding because they share similar attitudes and interests. And that's one of the attractions of this forum's community. We're different from one another, but we share the love of bike riding. Even in its many forms.
Your post is so well written I should stand up and applaud.

One small addition. In days when the Brit standard was 48x18 most rode wired-on tires and they were plain bad. The Dunlop HPRR (Yes, I had two pair of them when they existed) was fast enough and rode like tubulars, they were also even more fragile than tubulars. Fragile as old tubulars, not the good ones we have now. The old tires were just slow. Once on top of the gear and doing a ride it still felt good, felt just like riding a bike. But it was slower.

Even when I could do a 59 to 61 minute 40k and do it mostly on 52x17 and 52x16 free, a fixed gear at 48x18 felt big enough. 48x17 would mean killing the pedals from the start and never letting up. Only guys I ever knew who could really ride on a fixed bigger than that were Jim Rossi and Johnny VandeVelde. In that league you make your own rules. At age 69 I am on 48x19.
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Old 10-26-21, 06:50 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
The point is that this thread brings out the passions and prejudices, as well as fears and convictions of its posters.
Thatís well said. After fifty some years of riding a freewheel, I have concerns that I will mess up if I try to ride fixed, and the healing and repairs at my age may take a while. Plus, Iím riding on a lot of complex terrainÖ not single track but lots of rough places, old bridges with big metal plates, short radius trail underpasses with sharp descents and sharp turns, rough gravel and stone patches. I am familiar with managing all that while coasting and then accelerating when it seems optimal. It would be a whole new deal to negotiate all of those things while having to continually pedal.

OTOH, Iím very interested in trying it, after all our discussion of internal vs external pedaling work and how fixed gear lets you push forward, maintain exact speed or even force the bike to do work on your feet and legs and slow down. So, I may get a flip flop rear wheel that will let me try fixed on less challenging terrain. Hopefully without messing up and throwing myself off the bike. 😊
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Old 10-27-21, 03:34 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
I've never ridden one, so I have to ask: What are the benefits of fixed gear? Fixed gear bikes only became popular around here in the last decade so maybe I have missed out having not grown up with them.
Weight and simplicity are the big ones, because you don't really need brakes (front one is still advised). That seems to be why they are popular for bike couriers in relatively flat cities. Without brakes there's almost nothing on one to go wrong except the chain and some bearings.
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Old 10-27-21, 04:58 AM
  #114  
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This thread should be a sticky.
Perfect illustration that the only reason in the world for a recreational rider to ride fixed gear is the supposed cool or macho factor.
Key word being Ďsupposedí of course
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Old 10-27-21, 06:17 AM
  #115  
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After all of the informed discussion, this ^ is what you want to leave in a Sticky-d thread? Ugh.
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Old 10-27-21, 06:19 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I've been riding fixed gear since 2009. I have a road bike set up as fixed gear and I also have a fixed gear wheelset which I use on my 29'er mountain bike for winter riding and commuting. The main benefits are almost zero maintenance besides lubing a chain. It also provides a different type of workout than a regular bike and it improves your bike handling skills because there is much less room for error than on a regular bike...The main reason why I continue to ride fixed gear is simply because I enjoy it so much, I ride for experience.
This.

I have been riding fixed gear for years now and prefer it. I'm approaching 60 and will stop riding fixed when they pry it out of my cold dead feet, or words to that effect.
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Old 10-27-21, 06:53 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
After all of the informed discussion, this ^ is what you want to leave in a Sticky-d thread? Ugh.
Spinning is fun, and the purpose of riding fixed is to broaden one's power band, no?

That was basically the sum total of your part of the informed discussion.

Thanks for informing us all that spinning is fun
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Old 10-27-21, 08:53 AM
  #118  
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I ride all three methods described: Geared, SS, FG. Each has it's place.

FG is not for everyone but then again, neither s cycling.

One error in thinking that FG is too hard or dangerous to attempt is thinking one has to master it at once. Mountain biking is far worse for example yet people do it.

Before I started FG I had a singular experience with one prior. a friend who had a FG came over and said: "Take it for a spin". I did and found it awkward to ride. "Who would want to ride one of those?" I thought. Sometime later I bought one on a whim because... well it's a bike (N+1). I did not tackle big hills right away. This is just common sense. I began by riding relatively flat routes to learn the skills needed. As I gained ability I expanded my horizons until I could ride pretty well anything the gearing allows, which includes some decent hills. Like bike riding in general - it's a process. No one (hopefully) would hop on a mountain bike without experience and ride down a black diamond run either.

From a skills/fitness perspective, what I notice about FG is that it helps me to develop consistent cadence, works the posterior and anterior chain of leg muscles and does not allow for micro rests. For shorter/medium routes when time compressed it feels like a better all around workout for the legs, especially when one rides a lot and the legs muscles become very conditioned to geared riding and plateau (they adapt for efficiency). FG forces them to work more completely.

From a fun perspective, I loosely equate it to driving an old sports car compared to a modern automatic transmission with power steering. Some people dig that sense of being more directly a part of the car/bike and some don't. It's not good or bad. Someone buying an expensive CF road bike might express the same feeling at the other end of the spectrum (like driving an F1 car).
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Old 10-27-21, 10:16 AM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
After all of the informed discussion, this ^ is what you want to leave in a Sticky-d thread? Ugh.

He can't not insult people or what they like.
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Old 10-27-21, 02:33 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
He can't not insult people or what they like.
You should put me on ignore.
Oh wait, you made a grand gesture and said you did but you have continued to reply to my posts, even in other threads
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Old 10-31-21, 06:52 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by IGH_Only View Post
which would you choose and why?
i got both...the flip flop hub...love both but SS bs simply less a problem for me the knees get toasted on fixed..plus it takes some time to retrain the brain.....no coasting
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Old 11-01-21, 01:38 AM
  #122  
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I live in the country and go on long rides, I'm not a city boy commuter. I ride the freewheel most of the time because my daily rides are 25 miles minimum and not being able to coast every so often sucks. I have a habit of staying clipped in and making tight turns when I'm at a stop sign or something waiting for a car to pass and on the fixed cog my toe will hit the front tire, almost went down a couple of times because of that. And I like bunny hopping over things and can't do that on a fixed cog.
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Old 11-01-21, 08:48 AM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
Perfect illustration that the only reason in the world for a recreational rider to ride fixed gear is the supposed cool or macho factor.
^^ Perfect illustration of insecurity and ignorance.
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Old 11-04-21, 08:36 PM
  #124  
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I have a cheapo single speed road bike with a flip flop rear hub. I never road it as a fixie. Front sprocket is 48, rear is 18. As a 68 year old cancer survivor with a bad knee, I don't give a whit about being "macho". I got back into riding about 4 months ago, and ride every day. Trying to gain back some strength and stamina after 2 years of cancer treatment, and have dropped 15+ pounds (down from 205). I ride because it's fun and makes for a good workout, along with walks and barbell work. My bad knee was not caused by riding, but I hope riding may help it.
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Old 11-15-21, 12:18 AM
  #125  
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Started riding fixed about 2007. It just sounded interesting to me. So, I converted a Fuji Del Rey to SS. Rode that for about one year. Then flipped it around one day. Been riding fixed ever since. It forces mindfulness and concentration. It's also more challenging physically. The main thing is I just like it.
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