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Why Singlespeed/Fixed?

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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)

Why Singlespeed/Fixed?

Old 04-30-22, 01:11 AM
  #51  
Thessalos
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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!!
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Old 05-03-22, 11:00 AM
  #52  
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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:


then i changed bars & levers



then i changed bars and levers...again



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



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



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.



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.
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Old 05-03-22, 01:50 PM
  #53  
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Singlespeed: keeps me honest on hills
Fixed: Above, plus just a different feeling of movement
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Old 05-22-22, 10:50 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by co.bo View Post
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.
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Old 06-06-22, 05:21 PM
  #55  
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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..
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Old 06-08-22, 07:56 AM
  #56  
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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.



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.



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.

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Old 06-08-22, 06:38 PM
  #57  
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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!
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Old 06-09-22, 09:22 PM
  #58  
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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.
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Old 06-12-22, 07:09 AM
  #59  
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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!
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Old 06-15-22, 05:52 PM
  #60  
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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.)
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Old 06-22-22, 01:53 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by ben.johnson View Post
Singlespeed: keeps me honest on hills
Fixed: Above, plus just a different feeling of movement
I've found this such a fascinating difference! I've had a fixed for a long time (converted 70s 5 spd) and loved the simplicity and silence of the ride. I just saved a single speed custom built 90s MTB (Mandaric) from the dumpster and the free hub changes the feel far more than I would have anticipated. I'm either going to switch to fixed or throw a casette and derailleur on there as it's a strange and unpleasant middle ground!
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Old 06-22-22, 02:30 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by SalemCycles View Post
I've found this such a fascinating difference! I've had a fixed for a long time (converted 70s 5 spd) and loved the simplicity and silence of the ride. I just saved a single speed custom built 90s MTB (Mandaric) from the dumpster and the free hub changes the feel far more than I would have anticipated. I'm either going to switch to fixed or throw a casette and derailleur on there as it's a strange and unpleasant middle ground!
My single speed riding started when I bent my Peugeot UO-8 dropout too many times trying to make a 28 tooth FW work. Got told tyo set it up fix gear my first season of racing as proper training. Did so. Crashed first ride tryig to coast asn was sold! Haven't ridden SS since.

Originally Posted by Mr Sir View Post
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!
Another no to index. Learned to DT shift in my sleep. The Mooney ran SunTour Command index on the HBs for a decade but it was never real love and less so when I moved form SunTour FWs that were gettng hard to find to Sedis/SRAM that didn't have quite the same cog spacing. In the '00s I started collecting bikes and set up all the geared ones DT, either the top-mounted SunTours that my knees don't hit or Power Ratchets. Just two geared bikes now, Ratchets and SunTour Superbe top-mounted, Happy camper.

And three fix gears, two of which are set up for rapid and big gear changes for mountain riding. The bike of my avatar with its 2" dropout slot and the Mooney with its triple chainline and 3 cogs. (Gotta honor my 60-something muscles and knees plus those 12 and 13 tooth cogs are fun downhill!)
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Old 06-22-22, 03:12 PM
  #63  
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I was feeling a bit stale doing the same road rides with the same people, and don't really love riding solo on the road, so I took the only MTB I had (at the time), and stripped it down to a singlespeed. The change of pace, scenery, and approach was revitalizing. I learned things about riding that I hadn't really paid much attention to. I also found that my body adapted with a different type of fitness - brute force.
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