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Fixed Gear Questions...(17 posts)

Fixed Gear Questions...scary slow
Oct 29, 2002 8:57 AM
I am converting an old road bike over to fixed gear. I am not sure what gearing to use. I was considering a 42x16, but having never ridden a fixie, I am not sure the pros/cons of larger gears versus smaller gears. Mostly, I am concerned about slowing/stopping. The terrain here is mostly flat with a few rollers here and there.Also, are clipless pedals the preference or should I pull the old toe clips out of the attic?
Oct 29, 2002 9:09 AM
I run 42x16, and the roads here are mostly flat with a few rollers... consider this:
- 42x16 will give you a cadence of around 90 at a speed of around 30km/h (19mph). How fast/slow can you pedal?
- what gear do you like to cruise in on your geared bike?

As for the second question... imagine tightening straps if you can't coast. Clipless may not be as retro-cool, but it's probably a lot easier.
Don't fear the fixedbigrider
Oct 29, 2002 9:10 AM
Try the 42/16 and see. That is not a bad starting point but if it is real flat you may want to change to a smaller rear cog. Don't worry about slowing and stopping, just make sure of the following:

Have a good front brake that is well adjusted.
Learn to apply back pressure for stopping from slow speeds
even though you can use the front brake if you want.

Put on the clipless.
I run 42/16 and clipless fixed & 42/17 freewheel.MB1
Oct 29, 2002 9:16 AM
Moderate hills around here with a tiny bit of steep stuff. If you can get into and out of clipless pedals on the fly there shouldn't be much of a problem. If you fumble getting into and out of your clipless pedals clips and straps may be better for you.

42/16 is a good place to start, you can always experiment later.

BTW that conversion is not a "Poor old Schwinn" is it? ;-)
I run 45 X 17 and 42 X 16...Dave Hickey
Oct 29, 2002 9:35 AM
Gearing is almost the same on both bikes. If your going to do some changing of gears remember 1 tooth in the back does not equal 1 tooth in the front. In other words, 42 x 16 is not the same as 43 x 15. I run 45 x 17 on one bike and it's at 69.7 gear inches and 42 x 16 on another thats at 69.1 gear inches.
42 X 16 is close to a 39 X 15Tig
Oct 29, 2002 3:16 PM
Since I have a 39 inner ring laying around and not a 42, I'll be using a 15 on the back, which should give me about 68.6 gear inches. I'm a spinner and have only a few bridges, so I should be in good shape. I'm still waiting for Sheldon Brown to ship me a flip-flop wheel... Then the fun begins!!!

My economy single speed project will cost a little over $220 (thanks to eBay and a good estate sale). I'll post a photo when it gets finished.
Let me know when it's done. I'll bring mine down........Dave Hickey
Oct 29, 2002 6:15 PM
and we'll go for a ride. The last time I was in town, I did about 25 laps at Memorial Park loop. I've never ridden on the roads in Houston only because I'm not familar with the area.
I run 54 x 21 on my SS (not fixte)MJ
Oct 29, 2002 10:15 AM
which is probably in the same ballpark as 42x17 gear inches wise - though I haven't done the math - that's what happens when you build a bike out of cool cheap jumble sale parts and live with a few hills in your neighbourhood
Tricks for the FixedGregory Taylor
Oct 29, 2002 10:19 AM
Picking your gearing should (at least in theory) depend on what you are going to use the bike for. If you are looking for a ride to devlop a quicker, smoother spin - the traditional reason to ride a fixie - then lean toward the easier gearing. Otherwise, go with a gearing that matches the combo that you do most of your riding in. For example, if you mostly ride in a combo that pulls about 75 or so gear-inches, pick a combo for the fixie that gives you that gearing. My fixie runs 46 x 16 gearing, which is a good compromise as I'm spinning pretty good at anything over 20 mph, and gives you enough gear to see 30 mph on the flat if you REALLY work it.

Frankly, I wouldn't worry about stopping or slowing. A good front brake is enough. I, on the other hand, use a normal two brake set up. I've never regretted having the extra brake.

Finally, I use dual-sided mountain-type clipless pedals on the fixie. Very easy to clip in, much easier than toe clips.
re: Fixed Gear Questions...Steve_0
Oct 29, 2002 10:31 AM
42x16 is a great place to start...this is a very comfortable gear for general-riding for most people.

Unsure of your concerns about slowing/stopping though, gearing doesnt affect braking whatsoever.

pedals are a matter of personal preference; if you prefer clipless on the roadbike you'll probably prefer them on the fg.
Thanks for the input....scary slow
Oct 29, 2002 11:48 AM
I am going to use the clipless pedals since I have an extra set of looks. I am building the bike because I have an excess of old parts lying around collecting dust. I am sure that most have the problem that I do, you can't get rid of old parts no matter how badly they are worn out. I will probably be using it to commute on primarily and was hoping that the fixed gear would smooth out my pedal stroke in the process.
I like to gear very, very low.Alex-in-Evanston
Oct 29, 2002 12:30 PM
42/18 for road riding all winter. The fix is for touring, training and fun. If I wanted to go 25mph I'd bring out the gears. When I do get back on the gearie in March/April, watch out. I never feel stronger all year than on that first ride.

I'm with youtimfire
Oct 29, 2002 5:08 PM
While I admit that I'm haven't been riding a fixie for long, I'm currently riding a 39x16, a slightly higher gear than you, Alex. So far I only use my fixie for shorter commutes, and actually I wouldn't mind going slightly lower.

--Tim Kleinert
Just starting too and got another QLC
Oct 29, 2002 9:27 PM
I want to try this nonsense too. I just put together a single speed to see if I like that kind of thing. I found a frame for free and had enough parts laying around to build it up. I am using a 7 speed cassette hub and have one 18T cog sandwiched in a bunch of spacers. Got a 46T chainring up front. My frame has forward facing horizontal rear droppouts and I am using a Shimano steel quick release to secure it. Only problem is that when I climb steep hills standing up, the wheel slips forward, the chain falls off and I fall down...lose some skin...not very happy. I really liked it though when it does not slip, but I am afraid to put any major power to the thing. Any tricks to keep it from slipping?
Just starting too and got another Qeddie m
Oct 30, 2002 5:02 AM
I ride a fixed gear with a standard 5 speed hub with a quick release. A freewheel single speed shouldn't slip any more than an ordinary derailler hub. With the fixed, the back pedaling tends to move the hub , so you need to tighten the quick release way tight. I find the road hub OK, but I would prefer a solid axle with real nuts.
On longer downhills, I think a rear brake can be useful, but not completely necessary.
BTW I ride a 40X16, but I'm old.
i agree with the other poster...Steve_0
Oct 30, 2002 5:15 AM
you shouldnt be slipping at all. either tighten the QR or replace it (or replace with a solid axle, but Ive never had a problem with QRs)
Get a 174mm solid axle...Dave Hickey
Oct 30, 2002 7:24 AM
10mm dia if it's a Shimano hub. I paid $3.00 for mine. Go to the local hardware store and buy a couple of 10mm nuts and lock washers. No more slipping.....