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fixed or free?(13 posts)

fixed or free?moschika
Dec 23, 2002 10:54 AM
i thought i posted this last night but i don't see it now.

i checked the archives on this but couldn't find out the answer to my question. what are the pros and cons of fixed gear compared to ss freewheel? i've been riding mtbs with a ss freewheel and am converting an old road bike. but why would i want to make it a fixie instead of using a freewheel?
The nice thing is, you can have BOTH ...Humma Hah
Dec 23, 2002 11:06 AM
By either using a flip-flop hub or by changing the fixed cog for a freewheel, the bike can convert back and forth.

MB1 does this routinely, and I expect to with the Paramount. Free is nice on very long rides and on hills. Singlespeeds can coast down hills at mind-numbing speeds far beyond the spin-out speed of a fixie.

Otherwise, the word has it that fixed-gear is wonderful for teaching a very smooth spin, and gets you used to the idea of always moving your legs. In principle, coasting is laziness. Training yourself to never coast should make you faster.
Dec 23, 2002 11:12 AM
the largest benefit of FG over SS is to compensate for self control; If youre riding a SS/FG for the training benefits of SSing, you'll acheive the same fitness on either...Assuming you have the mental fortitude of NEVER coasting.

If you live in really hilly country, you can gear down the SS for the climb, without the worry of top-ending on the descent.

No worries of pedal-strike on a SS.
Nice to slow down on the SS when riding the neighborhood with the little ones.
Freewheels easier to come by at the LBS.
Wont risk losing a toe when riding in slaps, or an ankle when riding in laces.

Despite the benefits of SS, i prefer FG. Just feels right.
Set her free!LC
Dec 23, 2002 11:56 AM
Given the choice, I still prefer to be free. It has many benefits for convinence and safety. Sometimes it is just about impossible to pedal over potholes and curbs, around sharp corners and some downhills are so steep that you are not able to pedal that fast. Starting and stopping are certainly easier.

The only thing your giving up is that mystical "fixed feeling" that I think is just your subconcious in extreme terror of how bad it is going to hurt when you crash! I tend to ride that kind of a bike to exprore new places where the unexpected hazard around the next corner is always looming and just don't need the extra risk of getting in a situation where I am not able to pedal thru it. If your going to ride the bike along a relativly predicable road that you have ridden many times before or the track then fixed may be a way to get some excitement out of it. I already get plenty of excitement by racing crits and road races, and by mountain biking so I am not really looking for any more danger while training.
Love them both.MB1
Dec 23, 2002 12:51 PM
Fixed is sooooooo efficient it is amazing. For long rides though it can be very tiring. The longest I have ever (in one day) ridden fixed is maybe 110 miles and I was cooked by the end.

SS is just no big deal at all-you just ride your bike and don't think about it.

Can't go wrong either way but I think you would be missing one of cyclings most sublime experiences if don't ride fixed once in a while.
re: fixed or free?fixedgearhead
Dec 23, 2002 5:09 PM
At the risk of starting a fixed v free war, I will state that I have owned bikes with f/frwhl flipflop hubs and after the initial period of playing with the hub have found that I left it in the fixed mode all the time. There may be some percieved advantage to having the freewheel on the other side but to me it was just so much dead weight. I guess if you can only have one bike there could be a justification.You state you already have a ss mountain bike. If you want to ride that on the street just slap on a pair of street slicks and have fun riding a single speed on the street. For fixed riding set up the new bike as fixed and use it on the street. I wouldn't even use a fixed/fixed hub unless you live in an area where the hills are truely monumental. Then there is probably some justification for the extra weight. If you run a freewheel on the off side of the fixed hub you will need 2 brakes for safety sake. Not so if you run just a fixed gear. One is all that is needed as back pedal pressure is used for rear braking. I love the feeling of flying down the hills with my legs spinning out of control at a faster rate than I could ever pedal freewheeling. Like being a kid all over again.
My 2 Cents worth.

re: fixed or free?moschika
Dec 24, 2002 8:44 AM
this will mostly be used for around town which is pretty flat. outside of town it starts to roll. i like the flip-flop idea but you do bring up a good point in that how often would i really be flip-flopping it?

thanks for everyone's input. some of this will depend on $$ and how much a rear wheel will cost in either scenario.
Once every few months?Humma Hah
Dec 24, 2002 10:50 AM
With either SS or FG, the idea is to ride what ya got. Either gets the job done, so the tendency is to leave it as it is for long periods of time, until some planned ride makes it worth changing.

I've singlespeeded 150+ miles in a day, but have never tried it FG. I'll take MB1's word for it that FG gets pretty tiresome after the first 100 miles or so: he's very experienced at long rides.

I'm planning to get to know the bike the first few weeks using SS, then switch to FG for commuting and medium distances. If I decide to try a few brevets, I'll probably revert to SS (I'd like to do a 200k on the cruiser, then 300k on the Paramount, and still be able to claim I rode "my silver singlespeed Schwinn").
Flip/flop is niceGinz
Dec 24, 2002 5:35 PM
I have a Suzue basic flip/flop hub but I NEVER switch. I rode my bike with a freewheel once. Something about the fixed makes it more fun.

Oh well...

I picked up a Suntour flip-flop for mine ...Humma Hah
Dec 25, 2002 6:06 PM
... Flipping it would probably take all of a minute, most of which would be searching for the wrench, but I suspect it will be a once-every-6-months operation. I ought to be riding fixed most of the time once I get the bike set up correctly.
Can a cassette hub be fixed somehow?toonces
Dec 24, 2002 8:49 PM
I ride MTB mainly and have a SS, but I'm thinking about a street machine fixed gear bike. I have an old steel MTB frame and an unused rear wheel with standard cassette body. Can this wheel be used somehow as a fixed hub? I'm thinking no, but I'm new to this so I'm not sure. Thanks for the info.
Surly converterminneso
Dec 24, 2002 11:39 PM
Surly has the converter.
Surly converterspeedisgood
Jan 5, 2003 10:38 AM
Aren't these like 70 bucks? Might as well get a new FG hub at that price. From what I understand (from Sheldon) is that these are geared (no pun intended) for people who want to convert a freebody disc or generally expensive wheel to FG.