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Newcomer wants to know if Fixie can be a a daily bike

Old 09-18-20, 10:13 PM
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5 mph
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Newcomer wants to know if Fixie can be a a daily bike

I have a 2008 Langster. The bike is a lot of fun .
Is this bike meant for the track or can I use it as a road bike?
I'm fine with the single front brake and have gotten confident with it.
I took it for a 17 mile ride today that I normally do with a road bike. I could climb some hills
but on a sharp short 60 yard 30 degree incline in that I can climb with my Sirrus and 29er., my legs just die
Also I'm scared about going around sweeping downhill curves on the side of the road because of the tires.
and single brake.
I think my times on the course were actually the same as on my other bikes.
My concerns were 1. Scared of going downhill fast on curves (stability and balance), 2 Climbing steep Hills and 3 Overall speed Is that normal?

Last edited by 5 mph; 09-18-20 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 09-18-20, 11:04 PM
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I'm guessing the Langster is targeting a market of city riders who want track bike feel and less the riders who actually ride the track.

That said, it will do fine as a daily rider but here in the northwest, not an ideal bike. I doubt it has fender eyes and might not have room under the fork and rear brake bridge. Two brakes can be quite useful. I'm pretty certain that bike is drilled for a rear brake so you can add it.

If you mean commuter/errand bike, fenders are really nice. A drawback to bikes like yours with track ends (the slotted plates the rear wheel slides into from the rear) is that wheel removal with fenders is a nuisance. Older style roadbikes with forward facing dropouts are far easier, very often come with fender eyes and usually have plenty of room for fenders, making them far better utility bikes. (But do your best to find a bike with a highish bottom bracket. I consider 10-5/8", road to center of bottom bracket spindle the minimum, 10-3/4" better.)

It looks like you are using platform pedals. You will find going up steep hills far more fun if you go to either old-fashioned toeclips and straps or clipless pedals. Going downhill toeclips and straps have a very real safety advantage. Your foot stays on the pedal even if you un-clip. Going fast downhill means pedaling very fast, (A 42-17 gar ratio means 200 RPM at 40 mph.) If your foot comes off the pedal, you are likely to be struck very hard by the pedal in your Achilles which could be a life-long issue. (You are also very likely to crash but the pedal strike will probably be the worse of the two.) If you want to go with toeclips, quote my post or PM me and I'll share what I've done to modify pedals to make pick up on starts far easier. (You have two pedal revolutions to get the pedal. After that, you are going to fast,)

I ride a '83 Trek 4-something set up with drop bars, two excellent brakes and fenders as a year-round commuter, errand, in-town bike. Been doing it 43 years (starting with a Peugeot UO-8 converted to fix gear). That series of fix gears have 80,000 miles on them. Been up and down California's Mt Diablo. Ridden centuries. Rain, snow. You name it.

Minor point - sure you went up a 30 degree grade? 30% I'd believe. (30% is VERY steep.)

Keep riding fixed! It's a way of like!

Ben
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Old 09-19-20, 01:20 PM
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Was commuting fixed since high school, something like twenty five years. Only stopped because I was furloughed at the start of this thing.
Looking forward to doing it again when I am employed/no longer on furlough...
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Old 09-19-20, 09:23 PM
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I just ride,maybe an hour a day, not commute. Most I can do is 20 miles a day. I've heard some commuters triple that.
I'll take a picture of that hill tomorrow.
I can get it with 3rd gear and the 3rd gear on the cassette on my other two bikes.
But I have a feeling my Giant Talon (mountain bike) and my Sirrus (hybriod adult) are both geared to make hills easier so maybe that's false information.
For some reason I'm fond of this bike ( I bought at a garage sale for $70)
My other bikes are built like Trucks.
My Langster feels like a Violin.
I'm so super biker , but the Langster brings out my speed for some reason .
As a prank,I love to sneak up quietly (A Langster makes very little noise) alongside an unsuspecting fit bike rider in Spandex all hunched racing along on a high end bike and pass .him. Its all in good fun. .. .

Last edited by 5 mph; 09-19-20 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 10-05-20, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 5 mph View Post
As a prank,I love to sneak up quietly (A Langster makes very little noise) alongside an unsuspecting fit bike rider in Spandex all hunched racing along on a high end bike and pass .him.
Perhaps when you outgrow your insecurities you'll learn why passing at speed without warning is stupid.
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Old 10-05-20, 10:37 AM
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I have the same model of Langster; bought it new. I'd been looking for an aluminum road-geometry fixed-gear bike for quite some time, and Specialized was evidently first out of the gate with such a model. It's a terrific bike, although it does have a few first-model-year bugs.

(i) The dropout faces in the fork are not quite parallel due to inaccurate welding, so I have to tilt the wheel while securing the axle nuts. That would have been covered under warranty if I hadn't procrastinated for 14 years before asking the Specialized dealer to get me a new fork.

(ii) The subsequent model years of the bike have steel plates incorporated into the inner and outer sides of the rear fork ends. That change was made to address the fact that the aluminum without the steel plates is soft enough to deform and allow the axle to slide forward on the drive side, leading to slackening and occasional derailing of the chain. I'm glad I left the front brake rather than removing both. To prevent subsequent recurrences, I installed thin stainless steel washers on the axle to protect the inner and outer sides of the fork ends.

I did use it for commuting for a few years and then switched to working from home full time. It's still one of my favorite bikes.
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Old 10-05-20, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Perhaps when you outgrow your insecurities you'll learn why passing at speed without warning is stupid.
Sorry you took this the wrong way.
The bike paths and trails are extremely crowded now with walkers because of the pandemic and I try very carefully to be considerate of them, especially the elderly and children and those with pets.. Even a bell scares or startles them. I often stop cold or just ride at a walkers pace in these conditions.
I dont always see fellow bikers do that.
I'm sorry if I offended you. I am very conscientious but If the path is wide open and I see someone doing 25 mph he's not being very nice either because walkers are on that same path. If the conditions are right and no pedestrians are in sight going by him ten feet away to the left was a safe prank ( I thought)Life is short and I won't be this fast in a few years
No one is perfect and I am the last one who wants to hurt someone.
That being said I will stop doing this okay.

Last edited by 5 mph; 10-05-20 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 10-07-20, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
I have the same model of Langster; bought it new. I'd been looking for an aluminum road-geometry fixed-gear bike for quite some time, and Specialized was evidently first out of the gate with such a model. It's a terrific bike, although it does have a few first-model-year bugs.

(i) The dropout faces in the fork are not quite parallel due to inaccurate welding, so I have to tilt the wheel while securing the axle nuts. That would have been covered under warranty if I hadn't procrastinated for 14 years before asking the Specialized dealer to get me a new fork.

(ii) The subsequent model years of the bike have steel plates incorporated into the inner and outer sides of the rear fork ends. That change was made to address the fact that the aluminum without the steel plates is soft enough to deform and allow the axle to slide forward on the drive side, leading to slackening and occasional derailing of the chain. I'm glad I left the front brake rather than removing both. To prevent subsequent recurrences, I installed thin stainless steel washers on the axle to protect the inner and outer sides of the fork ends.

I did use it for commuting for a few years and then switched to working from home full time. It's still one of my favorite bikes.
I'm having the same issue. Its hard to get that alignment set . And if its not at the right position, the chain comes off.
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Old 10-07-20, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Perhaps when you outgrow your insecurities you'll learn why passing at speed without warning is stupid.
I can't remember the last time I was warned road riding while being passed, and a lot of times on narrow bike lanes or no bike lanes at all. And I get passed far more than I pass. MTB is another story.
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Old 10-07-20, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Bosco13 View Post
I can't remember the last time I was warned road riding while being passed, and a lot of times on narrow bike lanes or no bike lanes at all. And I get passed far more than I pass. MTB is another story.
Yes, most riders pass and are passed silently without problem or concern. It was the OP's comment that he liked to "sneak up quietly alongside an unsuspecting rider" that elicited my comment.
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Old 12-29-20, 05:07 PM
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Yes it can be your daily bike. Fixed gang ftw! Looks like a very nice bike too - $70 is insane, I would have bought it as well. Looks aluminium, which is ok, though for longer rides/touring/cross country adventure rides (ie. 50-100 miles on country roads mixed with gravel trails) I think a good steel frame would be better as it would be more comfortable and therefore less tiring in spite of the additional weight. But it depends on what type of riding you're going to use this bike for, what other bikes you have and perhaps most importantly what road surfaces you're likely to encounter on this bike... If this is your daily local/commuter ride and you have superb smooth tarmac and few potholes in your area then it's perfect and I'm quite jealous.
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Old 12-29-20, 05:08 PM
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As for stability when going downhill fast on curves, I would say get slightly wider tires ie. 28c would be good, at least for the back tire, even the front if you don't mind the extra rotational mass. Yours look like 23c. Also I would echo what 79pmooney said as those regular platform pedals you appear to have would indeed be scary. Cleats/clipless pedals, straps or toeclips will be a big advantage. The esteemed Sheldon Brown (and apparently also 79pmooney) recommends the toeclips above all others. Straps could in theory come loose or the stitching could break. Cleats/clipless pedals are also not ideal as the mechanism of disengaging after you've come to a standstill can occasionally fail and you'll topple over with the pedals/bike still attached (though hopefully not sustain much injury). Furthermore they are the most expensive setup and you're often limited to only using one type of cycling shoe. Also annoyingly the cycling shoes are not flat underneath so they are awkward to walk about in after you disembark so you may have to carry an additional pair of normal shoes to change into. Not to mention you could damage the interface that engages with the cleat if you attempt to walk about in your cycling shoes. Straps could be alright if you check the stitching regularly. Though toeclips are probably your best option. I personally use normal pedals but run a higher gear than yours (52/12, so the cadence doesn't ever get too scary - even down steep hills) as I tend to feel generally better/more relaxed riding with a higher gear/lower cadence (note my username) but alas it does mean that I have to occasionally disembark and walk if the incline suddenly becomes too steep and I can't muster the strength to continue. This doesn't bother me but I can understand if this isn't to your liking. Also I'm sure I'd be much slower than you around a given area/course/distance (unless it's downhill-only with few tight turns as then I'd surely win as I have a higher top-end/max speed) so yea my choice of gearing/style of cycling is certainly not ideal if you need to get to places in a hurry/commute long distances daily. I have a bike set up with toeclips and a gearing ratio more like yours (well actually 58/16 so still a bit higher) but it gets the least use of my fixed bikes. I guess when you can get a quality steel 700c road frame with semi-horizontal dropouts (used) for next to nothing - <$20 (well at least in the UK you can) then it's hard to say no to the temptation of building another fixie, even one that you don't need, esp. considering how rare horizontal dropouts are on new bikes these days.
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Old 12-29-20, 05:09 PM
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TL;DR 4:1 ratio is where it's at if you want to use normal pedals, you just need to strengthen up your legs a bit - do some squats at the gym for 6 months and eat healthily. Or "eat healthy" as Americans would say (sorry couldn't resist). Healthy is an adjective not an adverb! Anyway once you're in good shape I wholeheartedly recommend 52/13. Try it and see how it feels. As I said I'm running 52/12 and that's with short cranks as well, so 52/13 with standard (170mm) cranks is no big deal. You can get a 13T 1/8" fixed cog for <$5 on Ebay/Alixpress (from China) and it will last many a year.... at least compared to any 3/32" cog. 12T is a bit rarer and more expensive though. Also the quality of 12T cogs varies much more, expect to pay at least $25 for a good one. And please don't think I'm some kind of Chris Hoy with tree-trunk legs. Not at all, I've just been cycling since childhood and am quite passionate about bikes, that's all. Good luck and may you keep riding fixed! Perhaps forego the higher gearing and get toeclips instead
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Old 12-29-20, 05:11 PM
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Another thing, you could get shorter cranks i.e 165mm or 152mm which are quite affordable and give many benefits. For starters they make downhill fast cadence on fixed bikes much less scary due to the smaller pedal-turning circle and smaller range of hip/knee angles compared with 170mm cranks, but the true benefits are manifold. Length of crank should be proportionate to length of calf/thigh and apparently the 170mm 'standard length' crank is only suitable for the average 6'3" person's legs and basically the bike industry just gives everyone the same length by default to save a bit of hassle/cost on their part and then it's up to you to change them but of course most people don't bother and some will end up getting sports injuries such as hip inpingement or knee problems, keeping them out of the saddle for many months, however usually these only creep in after many years of riding with the 'wrong length' cranks. Of course many others will never get any problems, but if your cycling is purely recreational and non-competitive (ie. you're not going to miss out on much from losing that tiny bit of torque - not financially anyway) then why take the risk with your body? Yes torque will be reduced marginally but your leg muscles will adjust to it in no time (a few short weeks in my case) and you will soon forget that your cranks are a tiny bit shorter than they used to be, not to mention you will regain the acceleration/speed that you had with the longer cranks, 99% of it anyway. Professional athletes/cyclists train hard and then rest adequately too with an abundance of physios, trainers and all manner of therapies at their disposal. I think I remember seeing the disgraced Lance Armstrong (probably not unique to him though) bathing his legs in a bathtub of freezing water filled with ice for half an hour, at the end of each day of cycling on the TdF. Besides, they retire by age 40 and don't necessarily care about lingering sports injuries as they're wealthy and can afford to live the easy life. I should also mention that injuries resulting from the wrong length cranks can also be compounded by other fitment issues such as wrong seatpost height, stem height, saddle angle or just by riding on a frame which is slightly too large even if you think it's the right size for you. I'm sure there's probably a few other bad-fitment cases I didn't mention.
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Old 12-29-20, 05:14 PM
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Lastly, shorter cranks improve cadence/enable higher sustained cadence as the reduction in leg movement/reduced angles of leg movement inadvertently causes less oxygen uptake to the blood for the same RPM of cadence compared to standard/longer cranks (170mm) therefore when riding the body attempts to compensate for this decrease in oxygen uptake from the shorter cranks by increasing cadence (a higher speed of leg movement with a smaller pedal-turning circle instead of an otherwise lower cadence with a larger pedal-turning circle - with 170mm cranks) in order to get the same amount of oxygen circulating as before, on longer cranks. For this reason shorter cranks are also quite popular for those cyclists training for competitive events in order to improve the sustained cadence they are capable of (but obviously they switch back to longer cranks when the time comes for actually competing in the event they have been training for, in order to not be down on torque versus their rivals). Shorter cranks are basically a win-win for road cyclists especially non-competitive ones. For MTB on the other hand, even non-competitive MTB, it's not so clear cut as every bit of torque can be quite important, for traction as well as acceleration. Thanks for reading and sorry for the multiple posts, needed to raise my post count. Good luck once again and season's greetings!
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