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Why "Fixed Gear", and not "Fixed Gear/Singlespeed"?(17 posts)

Why "Fixed Gear", and not "Fixed Gear/Singlespeed"?Auriaprottu
Jan 19, 2004 2:58 PM
I hope I'm not treading on anyone's toes here, but I've had this question for a while.

Is there some reason that people are more interested in road fixies than road (freewheel) singlespeeds? It would seem that the greater versatility of singlespeeds (ability to coast, safety, etc.) would make them at least the equal of fixies with regard to Web content, but that isn't the case. There just doesn't seem to be the interest in SS road bikes that exists with fixies. Seems to me that the two should be sharing space, with neither taking a higher level of importance. Why are all the "cool points" and forums like reserved for fixies? Is it the messenger thing? The track thing? What? Thanks in advance.

BTW- this is not a troll post. I admit that lugged brakeless bikes w/ high-flange hubs look sweet, but if you've got both brakes on a horizontal dropout frame, the aesthetics are basically the same. I don't get it.
Jan 19, 2004 3:58 PM
Single speeds are the same are multi-speed derailleur bikes, if you leave them in one gear. Fixed bikes are importantly and inherently different -- you can't coast.

Maybe singlespeeds don't have the cult following because they just aren't as different from 99.99% of bikes available. You either can coast or you can't.

I don't think it's really about aesthetics primarily.

not a scene point thing...wooden legs
Jan 19, 2004 5:46 PM
... well at least not entirely. singlespeeds are great bikes with tons of plusses, and plenty of messengers use them by the way, but fixed gears are a totally different riding experience from all other drivetrain setups. i think it's the combination of the purest simplicity, that it represents the roots of all cycling aka classicism, that it trains your legs differently than a freewheeled bike (single or geared), and scene points aka coolness factor. i think what you describe as the greater versatility of singlespeeds are some of the same reasons people would say fixes are superior, or at least more interesting.

there are sites dedicated to single speeds, both freewheel and fixed, on the superweb too: is probably my favorite.
rider involvementArnold Zefal
Jan 19, 2004 7:57 PM
fixed gear riding demands a very high degree of rider focus, and pays back large on the commitment. a singlespeed road bike is the polar opposite, just a cruiser. not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think fixie dedication is a lot more than just cruising around on a bike and that's reflected in the websites you mentioned.
Most of the rides I have posted for the last month have been SS.MB1
Jan 20, 2004 6:32 AM
We love riding our Single Speeds but they are more or less just normal road bikes that don't shift.

Fixtes have enough differences that some folks feel free to go on and on about them-perhaps to convince others to try riding fixed too. (Actually I feel that way about fixed also).

We like both fixed and free, each is great, each has it's place.
Which one do you ride?cmgauch
Jan 20, 2004 6:36 AM
Often, you have to go fixed for it to sink in. It is a bike experience unique unto itself.

I've never heard anyone run down the SS or the people that ride them. Many ride both, even on the same ride. It's all good.

Why does the SS not get equal play on the Web? Maybe the mystical fixie skills that develop spur riders to evangelize about the experience. Kinda like snake handling or speaking in tongues.
How was your Sunday ride? Take the Fuji? (nm)jtferraro
Jan 20, 2004 12:21 PM
Nevermind...I saw your report! (nm)jtferraro
Jan 21, 2004 6:36 AM
Well, I'm talking myself into a fixed/free flip-flop hubAuriaprottu
Jan 20, 2004 12:26 PM
I've wanted to ride SS for some time now, and I've got the parts (lugged, horizontal 126mm dropout frame, 27" freewheel) for a cassette-spacer singlespeed, but all the talk of fixies has me wanting to try at least a flip-flop rear hub. That way, if I don't like fixed, I'm not stuck with a bike I don't ride. My concern is twofold: at 40, I'm not sure I want to pedal constantly, even as I realize it'll help get me in shape. The other concern is safety- I want to be able to stop quickly, as with a geared bike, and not worry about pedals striking the ground on turns and all that. Are they safe in traffic? I'm totally new to riding fixed (I have a geared bike), but I'm addicted to tinkering, and would like to build a bike whose aesthetics resemble the purity of a track or messenger (but not all trashed out/mismatched rims & tires/teen angst stickers/electrical tape on the main triangle tubes/cards in the spokes like messenger bikes are) bike.

BTW, the answers are great.
Go for itStarliner
Jan 20, 2004 9:58 PM
A flip flop hub enriches the whole experience of riding a one-speed bike. The fixed rider, in surrendering pedalling control to the bike, is rewarded with a special feeling that borders on the primal - the direct connection one has with the road is pure, simple and basic. How cool is that.

Flipping the hub into SS mode is nice when you do rides with many high cadence descents and/or long distance rides. Trying to keep the butt from bouncing up and down can get old after a while, besides possibly resulting in soreness and impotence :)-

Get a good front brake with good pads and forget about the rear. It should be sufficiently safe in traffic especially in fixed mode, and you'll have the clean aesthetics you want.
Front brake safe "especially" in fixed mode?Auriaprottu
Jan 21, 2004 3:30 PM
I'm not trying to be confrontational here, but I'm not about to try a free SS without a rear brake. That's suicidal. Fixed, yes. Free- no way. How would I keep from vaulting over the bar?
uuhh... learn how to modulate the front brake??...gspot
Jan 21, 2004 3:37 PM
thats where you real power's at, the front. do not just grab a handful of the brake, or you'll vault over the bars indeed. stay calm, even in an emergency situation, and pull the lever slowly and firmly, until you can feel the bike stopping quickly. too much pressure will cause you to 'vault' over the bars, and too little pressure and you won't stop quickly enough.
the ideal pressure on a front brake to stop the quickest is when you can just feel the rear wheel lifting of the ground. back off the pressure a little, or move your weight back over the reartwheel and you'll stop in no time.
the front brake is more efficient and quicker at stopping than the rear.
70% of your braking power is up fornt on a freewheel bike with both front abnd rear brakes.
how 'bout 'dem apples... ??
Well, I'm talking myself into a fixed/free flip-flop hubukiahb
Jan 21, 2004 11:36 AM
If you have a Shimano cassette hub you could go fixed by using the Surly Fixxer, though they are about $70. It is also possible to weld a freehub body to "fix" it and run a BMX casette cog w/ extra spacers (or weld the cog to the freehub body). This approach is not beautiful, but does make it very easy to get the chainline right and is reversible.
I do both:Dave_Stohler
Jan 21, 2004 9:22 PM
I built my Fixed/SS with a Suzue flip-flop hub. With 2 chainrings (42 and 45 tooth) I can ride either a 45/16 fixed or a 42/18 free. I find myself using the free combo most.
around here, that's the combo that works best with the hills, and my 45/16 fixed really only works well on the flatlands along the canal or out in the farmlands. I've rode it in traffic before, but really don't like doing that. There are just too many chances for error in traffic, even with 2 brakes! Besides, it's a pain in the @$$ to have to spin your wheel at a stoplight to get your crank at the optimum position for starting again.
I do both:NoCoasting
Jan 23, 2004 4:34 PM
"Besides, it's a pain in the @$$ to have to spin your wheel at a stoplight to get your crank at the optimum position for starting again."

Learn to trackstand :-).
Jan 24, 2004 5:04 AM
Just engage the front brake (assuming you ride with one), tip the bike slightly forward onto the front wheel, and turn your crank to where you want it. When I'm commuting on the fixie, I don't even think about this anymore - it just happens.

Jan 24, 2004 5:55 PM
At a stop light, my learned and now automatic reaction is to (while standing) grab the top tube with one hand and lift the rear wheel off the ground and step on a pedal getting the cranks into a NNE/SSW position. Works for me...