's Forum Archives - Fixed Gear

Archive Home >> Fixed Gear

POLL: running brakes or brakeless?(21 posts)

POLL: running brakes or brakeless?SmogRider
Jun 7, 2003 12:26 PM
a sort of follow-up to my freewheel post below, I'm now tempted to ditch the front brake altogether and try the lever-free lifestyle.

I'm not looking for "hazardous to my health" replies - I kinda figured that out, but after cruising with a couple of brakeless messengers, I gotta say I'm tempted...(my biggest worry is breaking a chain). As mentioned before, my fixed rides consist of flat bike paths, some flat streets, some small, short hills. I have a geared roadie for the hilly rides.

So how many of ya run no brakes and are ok with it?

Jeff aka SR
1 Fixed and 3 Single Speeds . All 4 have 2 brakes each. nmDave Hickey
Jun 7, 2003 6:40 PM
A front brake on minep chop
Jun 7, 2003 9:15 PM
but i try to go out with lighter weight roadies on hilly rides... plus i can't skip and all that stuff yet; maybe i'll never get there as long as i'm on my heavy dog.
front brake on fix, and F&R on SSbuffalosorrow
Jun 8, 2003 5:39 PM
For a while I rode brakeless fix, I had no problems aside from knee pains. To correct knee pains I swapped to a freewheel front and rear brakes and started altered my diet. Now I race cross and need my knees.
2 brakesPaulNYC
Jun 8, 2003 9:05 PM
I don't use the rear, but my knees don't like backpedaling

Had an epiphany on back pedaling recently.dzrider
Jun 10, 2003 6:55 AM
I found that if I do it by flexing my foot - toes toward my shins - and resisting the pedals' momentum on the down stroke it's much gentler to my knees. It feels like the pedals are gonna rip the cleats off my shoes, but I get no feeling of my lower leg being jammed up against my knee cap. It also seems to lead to accelerating with more of a "leg curl" motion when I get back up to speed. Am I the only one who endlessly complicates this stuff?
Had an epiphany on back pedaling recently.PdxMark
Jun 10, 2003 9:58 AM
I seem to be constantly trying different "motions" for backpedaling. Recently I've taken to sliding back on my seat a bit to get better leverage (or is it just smoother?) back-pedal braking.

In the same way that regular pedaling is most efficient in the 70-90 rpm range (give or take), back-pedaling also seems to have an RPM range of greatest effectiveness... or maybe I'm just a newbie. At high RPMs (over 100) or very low RPMs, I have a much harder time with smooth steady braking than inside those ranges.
no brakesnuxx
Jun 8, 2003 9:30 PM
since i use the same bike for commuting/riding around as i do for racing on the track, i ride without brakes. i have no desire to remove brakes every time i head down to the track and then reinstall them afterwards.
2. nm.Steve_0
Jun 9, 2003 3:45 AM
Front brake only. Use it for steep hills and crises only. nmdzrider
Jun 9, 2003 4:49 AM
fixte w/front brake onlyTig
Jun 9, 2003 5:36 AM
I've yet to need a rear brake, so I never added one. I do like a front brake however. I don't always need it, but it helps in emergency situations (you know, the usual bike vs car/dog/moron ones). I also ride the fixte in group rides sometimes, so to prevent wheel overlap crash situations and to keep the paceline operating smoothly, the front brake is helpful.
Fixed w/ front brake only - wouldn't go without + it's illegal..PdxMark
Jun 9, 2003 10:58 AM
here in Oregon, to go without a brake. Besides the likely low possibility of a ticket for that, it will very likely mean that in any collision with a car you'd be held to be at fault. Having a front brake doesn't mean you have to use it.
We won't force you to put on brakes if you don't want to ...Humma Hah
Jun 9, 2003 2:18 PM
We should get him a set of the notecards nmPdxMark
Jun 9, 2003 3:48 PM
No brakesTrevo
Jun 9, 2003 8:56 PM
Running brakeless was the only way for me. Up untill I realized that lots of skidding wears holes in your tires, silly me!
Anyways, Id always been reluctant to run aero lever(s) with my drop bars, my bike says a-lot and I dont appreciate the eye-sore of a single lever and a stoker. Dont know why, just dont like its apperance.
Greg from suggested that I ride smoother. He never skips, skids or powerslides, just slows down and finds a gap.

Just askin' guys...SmogRider
Jun 10, 2003 12:32 PM
Not saying I'm going to run out and do some x-treme traffic assault on the fixed, helmetless and amped up on Red Bull. You can send the cards to the "no brakes" replies.

In related news, I do love Despair Inc.'s products, especially after a supervisor "made" a few of us buy the
i real
motivational ones. Cripes.

In good fun then, for the brakeless guys ...Humma Hah
Jun 10, 2003 2:00 PM

Some folks here use their fixies as their "take it easy" bikes. Riding with just a front brake like that is certainly no worse than the years I spent with just a coasterbrake on the cruiser.

Sometimes I take it easy. Sometimes I push my limits.

The day arrived (going downhill about 55 mph and aware that the coasterbrake could not possibly stop the bike) when I new I needed more. It grew a front brake, and then a rear V-brake. I have, in fact, ridden it with all three, and applied all three simultaneously.
speaking of good fun....SmogRider
Jun 11, 2003 11:15 AM
check my Schwinn cruiser over on MTBR SS. Ft. & back canti brakes, too. No coasters for this one.

3 brakes at once?! wow.

Jeff aka Hollywood
How did you post over there?Humma Hah
Jun 11, 2003 2:28 PM
I searched 2 weeks back for "smogrider" and got no hits. Can you post a link?

3 brakes at once: nearly 45 years of riding coasterbrake bikes creates habits that are hard to break (brake?). It took me a while, when the need arose for hard braking, to not backpedal, even with the other two brakes in my fists. Putting a freewheel on it last summer finally did the trick.

I do sorta miss being able to brake while riding no hands. One day I gotta figure out a way to re-lock those worn-out flanges to the brake body and get that old Bendix back in service.

Now if I could just stop trying to coast on the fixie ...
Never mind ... I think I found it ...Humma Hah
Jun 11, 2003 2:41 PM

Is it done yet? I believe I recognize these forks, the formed tubes rather than solid blades?

That whole post has some neat-looking rides, but nobody over there seems to consider 'em to be serious ridin' bikes! Man, there ain't NOTHING an old Schwin canti can't do (except maybe race) if the engine is up to it.
you got it...SmogRider
Jun 12, 2003 3:22 PM
yeah it's done, just waiting for the *right* conditions for more photos; sun, blue sky. I'm a real photo-weenie, stuff's gotta look good!

the forks are the formed ones and I found them with the brake mounts already on. Once I get everything dialed in - seat, brakes, bars, etc. it will be a nice 'daily driver'. I am looking at different bars. I went the easy route and just got some black BMX bars for the orange/black theme, but they are too tall and too narrow (25").

I've ridden it down some stairs and it just thuds down like a dead-blow hammer. I have a 34t Salsa ring that I will try some mtb with soon. Also want to try some other events where cruisers don't normally show. Fun!

thanks for the inspiration,