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Stopping distance- fixie vs. freewheel(11 posts)

Stopping distance- fixie vs. freewheeltemplecat
Nov 18, 2001 1:56 PM
Test rode a fixed gear bike for the first time yesterday.
I can see how it can strengthen the legs! The thing I'm concerned about is needing to stop in a hurry on the fixie,
especially in group rides or traffic congestion. Any general hints on technique would be appreciated.


Use the brakes and backwards forcespookyload
Nov 18, 2001 2:15 PM
If you never get comfortable switch to a single speed freewheel.
re: Stopping distance- fixie vs. freewheelclimbo
Nov 18, 2001 2:41 PM
you need to learn to skid stop if you have no brakes. Lean forward over the bars to unwewight the back wheel slightly, put backwards pressure on the cranks and you will skid. This can stop you pretty well but it gets harder the faster you go. Up to 20 or 25 mph is hard, you need plenty of strength in the legs to stop the rotation.
related question: flip-flop hub info neededCT1
Nov 18, 2001 3:27 PM
Any recommendation for a 28-32 hole flip-flop hub for a older 70's style "6 speed" frame (126?mm dropout width). Also info on the fixed and "free cogs".

related question: flip-flop hub info neededwalter
Nov 18, 2001 6:01 PM
Harris cyclery is your best bet. Check out

I converted an old Schwinn LeTour with satisfactory results. Many hub choices. Basically you can go with a Russian brand called Sovos or an Asian called Suzue for +/- $30. You can also go Campy Record or Phil Wood for well in excess of $100. For a street bound trainer I'd personally stay at the lower end. (In fact, I did when I found an NOS set of Sunshine hubs with legit track nuts for about $30)

The older frame is best. Horizontal dropouts makes the conversion much easier. Also the 126 mm spacing is closer to the 120mm used on track frames. I "flip-flopped" the bottom bracket spindle and mounted the chainring on the inside of the spider and ended up with a straight chainline w/o having to mess with wheel dishing.

It's different and fun. You can develop a better cadence and you can also fall over while trying to ride backwards in an attempt to impress your 5 year old daughter.
Nov 18, 2001 6:06 PM
You want (need) a front brake on the street. A rear brake is of no real use since as mentioned above the rear wheel unweights during stopping.

Grab the front brake and resist the pedals with your legs and stopping will be a safe process.

In my first post I didn't really talk about freewheeling. Many use the freewheel if they become fatigued or don't want to spin at 150+ rpm going downhill. No downhills here in Fla so I'm fixed only.
andJack S
Nov 19, 2001 7:16 AM
put your weight "back" so you don't endo. Fun to watch, but not fun to experience!
related question: flip-flop hub info neededCT1
Nov 18, 2001 6:31 PM

I did read SB's site but there wasn't any specific info on the hubs. Most of my web search turned up 40+ hole BMX type FF hubs that don't sound too appealing to me. I'll check the Harris cyclery site for more into on the two that you suggested.

Oh, the freewheeling option sounds VERY appealing to me as I have plenty of hills in my local riding zone. In fact I will probably start with a regular cassette hub since I KNOW how to deal with that. I can easily space a single cog for a starter system.

However, the FF hub sounds interesting because it gives you the option of going both ways.

just click the links to "fixed gear", it's all in that page nmclimbo
Nov 19, 2001 5:39 AM
re: Stopping distance- fixie vs. freewheelGreg Taylor
Nov 18, 2001 7:45 PM
The stopping thing is only really an issue if you don't run a brake, at least up front. I wouldn't ride a fixie on the street without a brake -- yes, I know that messengers do it all the time....I'm not a messenger.

Actually, I have mine set up with brakes front and rear, which works great. I use a front and rear brake because (1) I like a redundent system, and (2) I had all the parts to put a back one on anyway.

Group rides, etc, aren't much of an issue either. The only thing that I notice is that you have to watch yourself when the speed changes in a paceline -- like in situations where you would let up or freewheel to keep from climbing up someone's wheel if the pace slows a bit. The fixie doesn't seem to lose speed as fast as a "normal" bike: it appears to carry more momentum when you back off. You also have to be aware of the bike's limits in cornering (you can bang a crank, and you can't weight the outside pedal when you carve or overcook a corner), and when decending the big stuff.

Finally, the cheapie Suzue flip-flop hubset (at either Harris Cyclery or Loose Screws) is a great deal. I got the hubset (fr. and rear, spaced 120mm) for about $50. They are very basic, but they work well and have a nice finish. Well worth the money. The only bad thing that I could say is that they aren't sealed well, so I wouldn't use it to build a bad weather bike.
re: Stopping distance- fixie vs. freewheelxyz
Nov 19, 2001 7:12 AM
I wouldn't recommend a fixed newbie riding a fixed with a group. Defeats the purpose and is dangerous to others.