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Singlespeed Intrigue(11 posts)

Singlespeed Intriguetrout_bum
Nov 13, 2002 10:55 AM
I've got a growing interest in getting a single speed both as a commuter and as a training alternative. What is a typical gearing setup for one of these fixed gear bikes? Would I ride my same road size?
gearingSteve_0
Nov 13, 2002 11:05 AM
selecting proper gearing is simple if you already have a road bike. Simply experiement with gearing of your MG bike until you find one versatile enough for all your riding needs (usually low enough to get up the steepest hills, but high enough that you dont top-out too quickly on descents.

I prefer 72 inches for mostly-flat land. If youre a masher, youd probably prefer higher. If you live in the mountains, you may prefer lower.

Number of gears is irreleveant to body positioning, so yes, you would ride the same road size.
And some other questions ...Allez Rouge
Nov 14, 2002 7:55 AM
Should someone who is intrigued by single-speed bikes start with a freehub, or a fixed gear? Does terrain or type of riding make a difference here?

(It's easy for me to envision riding a bike with only one gear, since that's what most of us started with as kids. But the notion of a crankset that never stops turning strikes me as very odd.)

And from the philosophical end of the arena ... is part of the attraction of these bikes that they are so simple, so pure?
And some other questions ...Steve_0
Nov 14, 2002 8:30 AM
IMO, it doesnt really matter WHERE you start (fixed or free). Terrain CAN make a difference, in steep terrain you can gear down lower for climbing, and coast for descents. On a fixed in the same terrain, you could possibly top-out on the descents.

One thing I'd like to point out about single speeds, though. A disciplined rider with a geared roadbike can certainly emulate a singlespeed simply by not shifting. A lesser disiplined rider could limit his deraileur. Given this, if someone desires a singlespeed soley for training purposes, there's no REAL need to spend $$ on a singlespeed. Turn some screws and your set.

As you guessed, (at least in my case) the attraction is in the simplicity of the machine. I never worry about maintenace, repair, componentry upgrades, etc. I prefer fixed over SS because I certainly dont (and dont know anyone that does) have the discipline to constantly peddle. ALWAYS. (youd be suprised how often you subconsciensly coast unless you ride a fixed).
That's a good suggestion ...Allez Rouge
Nov 14, 2002 9:38 AM
... about emulating a one-cogger on a geared road bike. I guess that was so obvious, it plumb evaded me. I'll give that a try.

Riding rollers gives me some idea of how often I coast while out on the road. Actually I first noticed this a few years back when I joined a gym and couldn't figure out why I could easily ride my road bike two or three hours but was worn out after 15 minutes on a stationary bike. About midway through the second session it hit me: I was always pedaling. Still, I take your point. Riding a fixed-gear would no doubt be a real eye-opener.
That's a good suggestion ...LC
Nov 14, 2002 10:05 AM
I would at least put some tape around the STI levers so you get that sense of, "Hey I am really stuck in this gear!"
And some other questions ...desmo
Nov 14, 2002 9:24 AM
(It's easy for me to envision riding a bike with only one gear, since that's what most of us started with as kids. But the notion of a crankset that never stops turning strikes me as very odd.)

Actually if your first bike as a kid was a tricycle then you've already ridden fixed.
Yeah but that was a TRIKE, not a BIKEAllez Rouge
Nov 14, 2002 9:32 AM
Yes, I'm just being picky. :)

Good point. Although I cannot claim to remember anything at all about what it was like to pedal a tricycle ...
I think terrain does matter.LC
Nov 14, 2002 9:59 AM
If I lived in a flatter area I would have started with a fixed, but not around here as it is just too dangerous. I try to treat my SS (with a freehub) as if it were a fixed and only coast when my life is in danger or my legs just can't keep up. I do race and am used to sticking to a training regiment, so if I choose to ride the SS I try to use it. My cadence computer has seen rpm's of 200, so I am not really trying to work on faster spin ability as much as leg strength. If I needed to go over 200 rpm then I could put myself in serious danger.

I like riding my SS on my regular training routes. It makes it seem like I am experiencing them for the first time again. Every little up and down hill is more noticeable and the big hills are definitly more of a challenge. I have not done it for a long time but I already think it is making me stronger and even if it doesn't, it is just plain fun!
I think terrain does matter.letsGoOn2
Nov 26, 2002 9:13 AM
"...I like riding my SS on my regular training routes. It makes it seem like I am experiencing them for the first time again..."

You just hit the nail on the head! I'm much more aware of the terrain and my surroundings (I ride brakeless) when I'm on the fixie. You really have to concentrate on keeping your momentum while looking down the road to make sure you've got a clear path. This type of riding does not encourage mental or physical slackery.

I made this stupid analogy the other day:

When you're driving down a road, you see your environment.
Ride a bicycle on the same road and you can feel the environment.
Ride a fixie and you become a part of the environment.
I think terrain does matter.fixedgearhead
Dec 5, 2002 11:35 AM
I think I would caution the fellow to be sure to practice on his new fixed gear bike before he sets out on his daily commute. I can remember the first time I rode fixed. I came up to a stop sign in the area that I usually ride and just tried to coast. Forgetting that the pedals don't coast. I was almost launched into oblivion. I could just see him doing a faceplant and scuffing his wing tips and trying to explain the new look of bandages to all his office compadres. Just a thought.

fixedgearhead