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New to fixie riding - opinions/insight needed.(4 posts)

New to fixie riding - opinions/insight needed.teambender
Nov 26, 2003 12:07 AM
Hey guys, I need your help. Eventhough I've been cycling for years and years, I 've never tried "fixed" riding. This winter I'd like to give it a go for training and most importantly the sheer fun of it. The bike I'll be doing the conversion on is a geared steel frame. It's spaced 130 in the rear. I have decided to get some track drops with a hanger welded on to the frame to be able to convert it back to gears when ever needed (see pic below). Other than that, I have not made any decisions on what else to do. I need advice on:

1. A 130mm spaced hub that can be fitted with a fixed cog and a freewheel (for when I get tired).

2. Crank length. I run 172.5mm now but I know I'll need something shorter - maybe?

3. Gearing for rolling terrain. The hills here can be short but steep.

4. Brakes front and rear or front only?

5. Chainline in relation to the BB, crank, hub relationship. I'm asking for pointers on component selection to achieve the best chain line in a 130mm spaced frame. I'll have to buy everything (other than the frame, fork, headset, bars, seat and seatpost) if that helps you make suggestions.

I've done some research, but I seem to keep confusing myself on what will work the best.

Thanks in advance!
re: New to fixie riding - opinions/insight needed.scary slow
Nov 26, 2003 10:38 AM
I am new to this also, but here are my insights:

1. Skip the freewheel. Ride your geared bike when you want to coast.

2. At a maximum run 170's. Corner clearance is a big issue when you can't coast.

3. 42x16 has done me right.

4. You really only need the front brake. I tried front and rear brakes and dropped the rear after the second ride.

5. I got lucky and it worked great the first time around. Good luck with this one.

Again I am new to this so this strictly my opinion and not based on any factual knowledge. Question though, why are you replacing the dropouts? Most older steel frames have drops long enough to allow for chain adjustment.
Some answers..........Len J
Nov 27, 2003 5:10 AM
1.) I have the Fixed/free hub. (I got lucky & scored a Phil Wood on e-bay) It's nice having the option to go free, especially on the second or third day when you are a little tired. It also gives you a bail out gear (if you get it one cog more than your fixed) if you over do it going out & need to limp home. There are several hubs like this, Surly has one.

2.) I run 172.5 on my geared bike, 165's on my fixed. Pedal clearance is an issue, although it is somewhat dependant on BB height, tire size and pedals.

3.) Base fixed gearing (for flat terrain) should be slightly harder than what you would need for your normal speed at your normal cadence. Use a gear chart to determine what this is (if you know your normal cadence & speed). I run 42 X 16 which at 90 RPM is around 18 MPH. Since I do most of my fixed gear riding as Zone 2 endurance riding, this is perfect for me. I have done short but steep hills and they wear my ass out, but make me stronger. The balance with a FG is always a low enough gear for the hills you will ride, an adequate gear for the flats and a tall enough gear for the downhills (remember you can't coast). Cogs are relativly cheap, so make a call, try it & then you can always change.

4.) I use brakes front & rear. What do you lose by having both, other than a little weight. Besides, both are nice when you ride free. If you are going to put on gears, you need both.

5.) Someone other than me will have to answer the chainline question. If I were doing this, I would ask my LBS. If he knew the frame, the cranks and the hub I was using, he would tell me what BB I needed to acheive the best chain line.

Nov 29, 2003 4:16 PM
Every one has given sano advice on 1-4. Heres my 2 cents on number five. Bag the 130mm hub. I am sure the frame builder should be able to cant in the drop outs so that you can space that puppy for 120mm and f' putting gears on it. The only other hang up, and again the framebuilder should be able to guide you on this point, is how big your chainwheel is going to be because you will be most like putting a 42-44t ring where a 39(?) use to be, that is ensure the chainweel will clear the chainstays.

On the brakes this is my personal take. I currently run a flip flop. Once you get used to fixed you will flip flop less and less. That said, lots of nasty city riding (eg: San Francisco, Los Angeles) you'll want to keep the front and rear brakes for your freewheel endeavors.