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Fixed gear or Single Speed?(7 posts)

Fixed gear or Single Speed?coonass
Jul 13, 2001 5:48 PM
I was talking to my LBS about a 'fixed gear' (maybe a Surly) for improving my biking....he said that he would recommend a single-speed, (free wheel) instead. His reasoning is that they are much safer.
My reasoning is why even consider a ss (42x16) if all I have to do is ride my present bike and let the chain stay in 39x15 or 14?? I need some 'xpurt' advice.....
You'll understand the first time you get on a fixie ...Humma Hah
Jul 13, 2001 5:54 PM
... I rode singlespeed for about 42 years, and then got on a track bike and got an education. The first time you forget what you're on and try to coast for a half a second, the thing will try to pitch you to the moon!

Log on to Sheldon Brown's website ( He's the fixie/singlespeed guru, preaches "coasting is BAD for you."

Fixies supposedly improve your spin.

You don't have to settle for one or the other. Sheldon, or any good wheelsmith, can set you up with a "flip-flop" hub, fixed on one side and singlespeed on the other. Ride the track and flatter roads fixie, if you like, then flip to singlespeed for cyclocross, where positioning your feet to clear obstacles makes coasting a good idea.
here's yer expert advise: fixed!club
Jul 14, 2001 4:52 AM
If you want to improve your cycling form, fixed is the only answer. A 1-sp. freewheel bike won't do a thing for your spin. I've ridden fixers since the 70s, currently own 4 (recently gave one away) and have never had a safety problem, never hung a pedal, never launched, and can spin over 200 rpm with no hip rocking or head bobbing. You can too. It'l take you probably two short rides to be totally one with the bike, after that you be stylin'. Before you invest in a Surly, set one up on an old road frame with horizontal dropouts, with a little searching the trash piles and garage sales, likely your biggest single expense will be a $20 track cog. Use 3/32" pitch and you can use a road chain and the inner ring from your trashpile bike. Leave the brakes attached so you have hoods for your hands, and so you can feather the brakes on descents until you get good at it. Stick with a 65"-70" gear to get the most benefit of spinning.
re: Fixed gear or Single Speed?tr
Jul 14, 2001 8:08 AM
I have been riding a fixed gear in the winter for 5 or 6 years now. My rear wheel has a fixed gear in the low 70's on one side and a single speed in the 60's on the other side for climbing days with guys who are riding gears. I think you are right to forget the single speed only notion. If you ride quite a bit then you will have no problem getting used to the fixed gear. I have never been launched or had any problems. You will just have to get used to feathering the brakes on descents. With the fixed, if you are riding in traffic, pedestrian or other, you will get used to anticipating movements. I ride time pedals with mine and have no problems. You will get very good very fast at getting in the pedals as you start up. It really is no problem. Fixed will definitely improve your riding. When i switch over from the fixed to my gears in the spring i always seem to have an extra gear.I think people unfairly judge it to be more dangerous than it is because they really don't want to try it. But, seriously you will be surprised how natural it feels in such a short time. Only the first or second ride will you possibly forget and if you ride relaxed and confident your knee will get popped up and you will just turn the crank through. I think my fixed side is a 42 X 16 like you are considering. Many pros ride fixed for a time in the winter (including Julich and others). If it was good enough for Eddy Merckx to believe in there must be something to it. If people gave fixed gear a chance they would definitely benefit. I was skeptical at first, but i ride it every winter and early spring with fenders. You will be surprised how many people will not even notice that you do not have a derailer.
i have been on my GT, GTB for about a month nowmondo mike
Jul 14, 2001 11:18 AM
getting ready to take off the freewheel and
put on a track cog.

the first roadride i did on it, most didn't
even know that they were all droped by a guy
with 1 gear.

a 42x16 gear with 165mm cranks does wear you
out after about 3 hours. i have found that this
gear is good for about 25mph avg over a couple of
hours, with sprints up to 34mph. with my longest
ride last saturday of 105 miles, avg speed 19mph.

do it! and have fun! thats what it is all about
Jul 14, 2001 10:06 AM
Fixed is just too much fun. I have just converted my old road bike this spring with a flip-flop hub (from Sheldon), and I haven't used the freewheel side yet. Go easy at first, confidence grows quickly.
The freewheel may see some action in fall, if I take it off the road.
fixed for sureKgB
Jul 14, 2001 11:12 AM
I just started road riding last fall,I built up a bianchi cross bike(fixed) over the winter and that has been the bike of choice to ride.I have done two centurys on it.It has improved my overall riding on and off road.I have never been passed on an uphill,downhills another story though,pure hell sometimes.