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fixies, are they really that great?(32 posts)

fixies, are they really that great?scruffyduncan
Aug 6, 2002 7:42 AM
At present I have a good bike for the weekends and a hack for commuting, errands etc. I am thinking of replacing the second bike with a fixed single speed. I make alot of quick journeys around london during the week, I've heard they're fun to ride and well suited to this purpose and will help improve my form and fitness. I've ridden a fixie for a very short try out ride, it was a little strange but you certainly feel "connected" to the bike. Could anyone share their experiences and give me some advice?


They really are that "great" !!!onespeed
Aug 6, 2002 7:46 AM
I am sure everyone has seen this by now.

It will add a new dimension to your riding when you get back on your regular bike.
Do they actually sell them? no where I can get one already built? (nm)2300 Edmontonian
Aug 6, 2002 8:59 AM
Aug 6, 2002 9:04 AM
re: fixies, are they really that great?MJ
Aug 6, 2002 7:54 AM
Muncher (now Eager Beagle) helped me build up a single speed beater over the weekend - it's not fixed but is certainly the way forward for quick trips around town - don't forget fenders!

unlikely to be along for Surrey Hills Tour - familial commitments

personally I'd be worried about riding a fixed gear in London (with traffic and pedestrians seemingly brain dead) - I think it would tempt me to ride beyond my ability and I'd end up getting hurt...
It is called practice. I ride mine every day in NYC. (nm)onespeed
Aug 6, 2002 7:56 AM
It is called practice. I ride mine every day in NYC. (nm)MJ
Aug 6, 2002 8:01 AM
yeah - I'm sure practice will help and I see plenty of people (usually messengers) with fixies here in London - but I don't think I'll be getting on that wagon - I don't want to practice in traffic... it's dangerous enough with a freewheel

where did you start practicing?

maybe your balls are just that much bigger than mine? :-)

definitely a sweet bike (and seemingly more theft proof than bikes with brakes)
Start practicing in the streets.onespeed
Aug 6, 2002 8:08 AM
It is not as hard as it looks. You really get a feeling for the road as you get more saddle time in. I have a front brake, so I am not a purist. That translates into stopping power when I need it. I would never ride without a front brake. The riders who do are a step above me in their handling skills.

It is a very sweet bike. This is my 80 miles and under riding alone or with a small group bike. It is perfect for rollers and flats and maybe a good hill here and there.
Short answer=yes.MB1
Aug 6, 2002 7:57 AM
The long answer is also yes.

My wife says that fixtes take the thinking out of bike riding. I tend to agree that on a fixte you just ride and it is not a big deal to do normal things.

The advantages seem to be;
Really good feel for what your rear wheel is doing-this is a real plus in rain or snow.
Fixtes are easy to maintain as there a lot fewer moving parts.
Low cost and light weight for your money.
Fixtes seem to accelerate very quickly.

The primary disadvantages are winds, downhills and a loss of top end speed. None of these are much of a problem in town.

Just make sure you run at least a front brake.
How much for nice fixie? nmeschelon
Aug 6, 2002 8:17 AM
You can go dirt cheap oronespeed
Aug 6, 2002 8:27 AM
You can trick it out. Mine has topped out on close to $2000 now.

Aegis frame-600
Dura Ace cranks-150
Campy Record BB-100
Back wheel build with Campy hub, Mavic rim and spokes-360
Carbon Fork-250
Chris King Headset-100
DP front rim and hub-200
Seat Post-80

I know, a bit obsessive.

I live in NYC, so this is my car. I dont take the subways to work so this is my primary transportation.
how do you rateMJ
Aug 6, 2002 8:29 AM
non $2000 fixies on the theft front?

I'm assuming you don't leave yours out very much...
I always carry a lock andonespeed
Aug 6, 2002 8:33 AM
I have it covered on my renters insurance.

I will lock it up anywhere.

I would hate to have to have it stolen, but it can all be recreated with money. No big deal. I have 2 Meraks at home to ride in case of a real emergency.
Aug 6, 2002 8:37 AM
I went the cheap (but very cool) single speed option so I wouldn't be paranoid about locking up my nice bikes on the street

particular motivation was provided by a friend who after a paranoid episode of mine asked if I owned the bikes or the bikes owned me...

anyways - I still won't lock up my nice bikes on the street so I haven't been able to answer him yet...
$100 bucks.Steve_0
Aug 6, 2002 9:05 AM
Pick up a nice 70's era roadbike at a garage sale. $50.
Throw on a trackc-cog. $20.
If you wanna go 'safe', pick up a track-hub. $30-$70.
For me, it's a single speed.............Dave Hickey
Aug 6, 2002 8:18 AM
My single speed has become my regular ride. I ride this Bianchi more than my geared bikes.
Well.....Eager Beagle
Aug 6, 2002 8:29 AM
I ride a ss lots - daily commute in the winter, occasionally for a change in the summer.

I can get the comments about different cycling. You just get in to a different mindset - nothing to think about except peddaling - it's nice.

I would struggle with a fixie in English, esp, London conditions - just too much traffic around. It's tedious having to pedal all the time if you aren't really moving anywhere. Mebbe you can get that used to it, but I don't have the time/inclination to find out. I would certainly not entertain a no front brake set-up - virtual suicide over here.

Perhaps the way to go is a flip-flop - fixed on side, ss the other - that way you'll get the option, and it'll make it more versatile at the same time - better on hilly routes too.

With MJs, we made a 2 speeder - high and low ratios for on road/off road/hills - that works well.
they are ideal for traffic,pukka
Aug 6, 2002 9:06 AM
track stops at lights are real easy,dont have to be on the brakes the whole time plus it teaches you to ride better by observing the traffic and anticipating things on the road ,i road one for 6 years in london before i moved to new york
your legs are your brakes!
But what happens when...Eager Beagle
Aug 7, 2002 12:22 AM
as happens to me from time to time, someone nudges you from the side and puts you off balance. if you legs are your brakes, you are gonna either go on (into the on-coming traffic/kerb), or down with the bike? At least with a ss you can coast to keep/regain your balance, and brake at the same time?
My Mt bike is a single speed...Lowend
Aug 6, 2002 8:37 AM
I converted my 96 Jamis into a single speed. It is great and my hill climbing has defenitely improved. I do most hills faster now and in a higher gear. Dont't think I will ever ride another geared bike off road again.

depends on your definition of 'great'.Steve_0
Aug 6, 2002 8:44 AM
FGs/SSs are simple, SIMPLE machines. They appeal to me because you dont need to keep up with the BS technology 'gains' that bike manufacturers push on consumers (i.e., 105/ult/DA/6sp/7sp/8sp/9sp/10sp, etc).

Ive had the same FG for 10 years. The only 'upgrade' ive had is when i decided to change from a 17t to 16t cog. Never had to adjust anything more than chain tension. For this reason alone, i think theyre 'great'. Total bike cost: about 100 bucks.

The side benefits of fixie/SS riding have been previously stated enough; increased strength and speed as a result of normal, everyday riding. A disciplined rider can experience this on a 'geared' bike, but human nature is to utilize the machinary at hand to lessen our suffering.

FG's have nothing over SSs if the rider, again, is disciplined enough NOT to coast.


So, if you're out for simplicity, FG/SS is the way to go. If you're out for Off-season training, FG/SS COULD be the way to go. If you're out for toys, FG is NOT the way to go.
re: fixies, are they really that great?GTDave
Aug 6, 2002 9:15 AM
I am quite happy with mine, I ride it for winter training,
and for overgear drills on hills. It has really been a
good tool for improving my overall ability. Both Bianchi and Fuji have "ready mades", as do others. Have a look at the Harris Cycles portion of I highly (personally) reccommend two features on a fixte
1. a front brake
2. a rear hub with a real (reverse-threaded) lockring

dropping a chain is NO FUN don't do it.
No, they're betterRay Sachs
Aug 6, 2002 9:16 AM
I have a total of about $150 in my fixie (most of that in the rear wheel) and there are long periods of time when it's my favorite bike. Just find an old road bike with horizontal dropouts, replace the freewheel with a single track cog (and a bb lock ring to make it tougher to unthread it), strip all of the unnecessary derailures, shifters, and cables off, and off you go.

I was nervous about riding in traffic at first, but quickly realized its PERFECT for riding in traffic. The ability to modulate your speed with your feet and accellerate instantly allows you to take your place in urban traffic and move along with it seamlessly. Also, great in funky weather and as close to no maintenance as a bicycle can get.

It's easier to climb on than a geared bike for reasons that remain a mystery to me. The downhills will really smooth out your spin, OR ELSE. Its also strangely addictive - you won't feel like a real cyclist on your geared bike after a while.

I've heard from a lot of people who criticize fixed gear riding, but I don't know that I've ever known ANYONE whose actually tried it who didn't grow to love it.

Here is a great fixie photo galleryDave Hickey
Aug 6, 2002 9:27 AM
fixed gear is the best riding you can do...Djudd
Aug 6, 2002 9:28 AM
incredibly cheap to build and maintain. Fixie riding will increase your power output and even out your spin. Take your time, read and research and you'll find building a fixie is cheap and easy. good luck
if your in londonctisevn
Aug 6, 2002 10:09 AM
then you need to check out and look at their il pompino frame. that would make a NICE fixie. I have an on-one inbred ss mtn bike that seems pretty well made. To answer your query tho, yeah they're perfect for the use you describe. Ive got a surly steamroller that I use for alot of errands and as my primary ride. I just did ragbrai on it and had a blast. Its great for knockin around town too though, you just hop on it and go. slightly less likely to be stolen as well. If youre looking for a complete build, Id talk to brant at on-one. Im sure hecould build up an il pompino and since your in the UK there wouldnt be much shipping.
Fixed riders: what crank arm length do you use on the road?Tig
Aug 6, 2002 11:40 AM
I always used 165's on the track. What are you guys using on the road?

160mm Track, 172.5mm Road, 175mm MTN. (nm)Quack
Aug 6, 2002 11:57 AM
Oops! Misunderstood. I use 160mm cranks on the road FG. (nm)Quack
Aug 6, 2002 12:03 PM
170's on the road.Alex-in-Evanston
Aug 6, 2002 1:44 PM
175 for the road bike, but shorter on the fixie for obvious reasons.

170. nmSteve_0
Aug 7, 2002 3:08 AM
re: fixies, are they really that great?dcm311
Aug 6, 2002 12:43 PM
I'm selling a cheap fixie on ebay. E-mail me if you want the link to it.