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Track, Singlespeed, Fixed Gear(15 posts)

Track, Singlespeed, Fixed GearJackie Chan
Nov 8, 2002 3:03 PM
What is the diffrence of these three categories? Track bike is just for the velodromes. But I read you can ride Bianchi Pista on the road if you just add front brake (chicken). But what about an old bike converted into a one speed bike? Are they slower than the track since they may be heavier (like old Schwinn, Nishiki etc)hence used only on the roads?Also most of the new bike owners are concerened about the weight of their bikes but in a case of singlespeed seems that nobody realy cares. Get some old Peugeot and make it int a onespeed bike. Could you clarify this for me? I would like to acquire fixed gear bike but before I choose I need to know little more. (and yes I looked at Sheldon Brown's and some other pages)
Well.......MB1
Nov 8, 2002 3:24 PM
A track bike=fixed gear and no brakes. Brakes and freewheels not allowed on the track. Many variations used but generally in a track race it is the rider not the bike (all races for that matter). A track bike can of course be ridden on the road (usually with a lower gear than used for track racing) riders that like to live will add a front brake for road use. Several riders used fixed gear bikes in the recent Would Championship time trial with 2 brakes installed to keep them legal. A fixed gear bike and a track bike are the same thing.

Singlespeed-a one speed bike with a freewheel and 2 brakes. Not legal for track use. Popular as a subset of both on and off road riding.

FWIW my Gunnar Street Dog has a flop rear hub with a single speed freewheel on one side and a fixed cog on the other. I use it as a fixte or a Single Speed demending on the route, my mood and the phase of the moon. Since it has canti brake bosses it is not legal for track racing.
Well.......Humma Hah
Nov 8, 2002 6:04 PM
Its not quite true that singlespeed or bikes with brakes, or even gears, can't be used on a track. Its just that they can't be RACED in the formal formats.

The San Diego Velodrome, for example, has a couple of "anything goes" sessions each week, in which the general public is invited to try out the track on any bike in sound condition. I found myself out on the track one Saturday morning with Eddie B's national-caliber pupils, pacing around at a sedate 12 mph on the Schwinn cruiser, coasterbrake, front brake, chainguard, kickstand and all.

Of course, every now and then they'd explode into action and pull away like Star Trek warp drive effects.
Too many questionshycobob
Nov 8, 2002 3:26 PM
The main theme with the single craze seems to be simplicity. This draws out the Tim "The Tool-Man" Taylor in some of us and the laid back Mr. French in others. With only one gear you definitely aren't going to break any club records so who cares about how many grams you shaved off here and there. Speed isn't an issue either, but it is fun to pass geared riders towards the end of a century. I've built (or stripped down) two S/S bikes and like them as much as my brand new Sampson Ti. Don't you ever wish you had two, three or seven cars in the garage?
Again, Sheldon Brown says it bestTig
Nov 8, 2002 3:36 PM
http://www.sheldonbrown.org/fixed.html
re: Track, Singlespeed, Fixed GearQubeley
Nov 8, 2002 3:42 PM
Well, track bike IS a fixed gear. you can't coast on a fixed gear, as long as the bike in motion, you legs have to follow.
I think when people(at least me)say "track bike" on this forum, they mean track racing bike for velodrome, speed oriented, usually have high gearings like 48-55 big with 14-16 small. Absolutely no brake, that's illegal on the track.
When people(or just me)say "fixed gear bike"here on this board, they probably mean spinning bike, with low gearings 38-42 front, 16-20 back. Usually set up with at least one brake. People ride "fixed gear" because: they want to improve their spin(me), or they like the simplicity of it, or for low maintenance(messenger), or coolness(everyone).
Single speed, just one speed freewheel. What's more to say? Yes, you need brake.
I don't care about weight, do you?
So why do you want to "acquire" a fixed gear bike anyway?
"acquire", I just like that word (nm)Jackie Chan
Nov 8, 2002 4:26 PM
I've got 2 of the 3. Some thoughts.czardonic
Nov 8, 2002 3:46 PM
The Fixed Gear/Single Speed distinction is easy: Fixed Gears have a single, fixed gear (no coasting) while a Single Speed has a singe freewheeling gear.

I can't think of any reason that, all things aerodynamic being equal, a freewheelable bike couldn't hang with a fixed gear on the track. Mixing bikes that can brake suddenly with those that can't is bad news though.

On the weight issue, a bike without shifters, derailers, mutiple chainrings and cogs etc. is going to be lighter anyway, so you can get away with an old heavy frame and not pay a huge weight penalty. Losing all that shifting baggage also makes the bike feel lighter from a psychological standpoint, IMO. Then again, there is a certain counter-culture appeal to single speeding that may include the rejection of weight-weenieism.

There are many reasons to ride a one speed bike. I ride my fixed gear because it makes me feel connected to the bike and to the road. I ride a single speed MTB because it is both liberating to be without gears (like being a kid again) and it is rewarding to tackle a trail with one speed that you once thought required a triple. I ride a single speed trials bike to save weight and money on replacement parts.
I've got 2 of the 3. Some thoughts.Jackie Chan
Nov 8, 2002 4:35 PM
thank you all. I will be riding on the road and that's why I asked what is the difference. Also hills. I just saw some videos (part of 2002 TDF)where in early TDF days those guys climbed huge mountains with one speed bikes.
well saidScottland
Nov 8, 2002 5:30 PM
czardonic, I like what you said here about counter-culture. I caught myself today counting grams and thinking of buying carbon bottle cages. But then I thought again, is this all really necessary? Am I a weight weenee, too?

The idea of "just riding a bike" (like a kid) is quite inviting.
You can build 'em any way you like, but the key ...Humma Hah
Nov 8, 2002 5:56 PM
... is to get into the spirit of it. Singlespeed is a whole different way of looking at cycling, and fixed gear is even more radical.

Singlespeed means you've stopped blaming the bike for YOUR limitations. Wanna go faster, pedal faster. Wanna climb a hill, pedal harder. Realize that the weight of the bike is a small factor in performance, and the real key is the motor's power to weight ratio. Its quite liberating, and most who try it are AMAZED at what they can do without all the gears.

Fixed gear is even more basic, and is steeped in tradition. It is supposed to be very good for your spin, as well. This is riding from 100 years ago.

Track racing is stripped-down fixed gear, done on a glass-smooth banked track where stupid-light bikes can get away with it. The power output of the folks who are good at it is stupendous, and they have quads like tree trunks. It is fairly soggy with tradition -- this was one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, spectator sports in the early 1900's, and produced high-earning superstar.

I have one gearie that I use as my beater bike, a 40+lb singlespeed that gets about 4000 miles a year, and I'm building up a retro fixed-gear roadie. I'll ride single and fixed as long as my body can stand it. For me, whatever makes me ride in the first place, doing it without gears scratches the itch deeper. If I wanted to do things the EASY way, I'd use a car or motorcycle.
I finally got into the spirit tooLC
Nov 8, 2002 8:37 PM
I was really scared with the big hills around here, but I finally felt I was strong enough to handle it. I built up a singlespeed just to see if there is something to it and now I can definitly say that it is alot of fun. I even took it on its first race training ride and did not any trouble staying with the group...except when i had to wait for them at the top of the hills :) There certainly is a mental advantage knowing that all you got is that one gear. Your legs don't really get much choice except pedal harder or pedal faster.

The frame I am using is literally a piece of junk that was laying on the side of the road, probally from the late 70's. Even though it was someone else's junk, I saw it had potential with the horizontal rear drop outs that makes it easy to adjust the chain tension and it even happens to fit me really well. Now I wish I could SS up one of my other frames, but they all have very short vertical rear drop outs that make it unlikly to work and maybe knowing that I am riding a piece of junk gives me an even greater mental advantage which would be lost.
Nooooo!Scottland
Nov 8, 2002 10:40 PM
Nooo! You guys are completely maladjusted and misguided pathetic fools! Stop your macho madness! What is desperately needed is a return to the weight-shaving mentality of the late-nineties, including carbon water bottle cages (or none at all--better), the lightest jerseys available (NO REAR POCKETS), lightest carbon-sole shoes, no cyclocomputer or hrm, no powerbars, lightest helmet (or simply headsweat--or even just lance hairstyle and nothing else-best), titanium speedplays, no socks (some gm savings) no sunglasses, thinnest chamois available, alien carbon seatpost, no braze-ons, and positively no bar tape. Come on now--let's get down to brass tacks--are you serious or not? DISCARD ALL AMENITIES AND REDUCE TOTAL BIKE/RIDER WEIGHT TO 116 POUNDS. Liposuction and randon hacking off of appendages may be necessary as well for the hills...not to mention shaving all nasal and naval hair...(ears too)--come to think of it, are genitals even REALLY necessary? GET NEUTERED!! HUGE WEIGHT SAVINGS
Uhh, what is the point you are trying to make? nmLone Gunman
Nov 9, 2002 6:21 AM
Or just pedal harder?Humma Hah
Nov 9, 2002 1:02 PM
The thing about getting to the top of a hill faster on a singlespeed is not so much macho as it is a matter of avoiding pain. Singlespeeders learn to judge just how much its gonna take to climb a hill, and put out the power to do it as fast as they possibly can without going anaerobic until the very top. On long hills, we learn to climb right at our AT. The reason for doing this is very simple: to get the suffering over as soon as possible. Slogging even slower up the hill is WORSE.

Since gearies have the option of downshifting to granny and taking the hill at something close to their normal cruise power, I'm never surprised when a singlespeeder reports out-climbing gearies. Geared bikes CAN climb as fast, if the riders are motivated, but singlespeeders are ALWAYS motivated to climb fast.