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Why I use brakes on my fixed gear(6 posts)

Why I use brakes on my fixed gearPsalm 147-10_11
Mar 17, 2003 10:01 AM
Went for a 30 mile ride on my fixie this past Saturday and broke my chain on a steep downhill.

As we approached the crest of the hill, I told my riding buddy (on his road bike) to take the front. He did and we quickly decended. When my computer showed 28 mph, I began to feather my front (and only) brake. Before I knew what happened, I heard a click and felt the cranks spin freely. The chain wound up around the rear hub and left a nasty scratch around by bottom bracket, but incredibly, the wheel did not lock up, nor did I go down. I pulled my feet out of the clips and managed to stop just fine. Can't imagine what I would have done without a brake though as the road ended in a T intersection shortly after the bottom of the hill. His top end speed was 38 mph. Yikes!

Now, I'm trying to figure out why the chain broke. I'm sure I was exerting some backward forces to slow my speed, but I can't imagine that the pressure was stronger than what was excerted when I was climbing the other side of the hill. When I think about it, the chain might have been a bit too loose. I wonder if it just hopped off the chainring when I hit some rough road or was pedalling a bit too choppy.

Any thoughts?
What kind of chain do (did) you have on the bike?cdale02
Mar 17, 2003 10:09 AM
I'm using a track type chain on my fixed gear ride. It is super thick.... especially compared to the 8 and 9 speed versions.

You may want to consider one of those if you are not currently using it. Surly can hook you up.
Campy 9 speed.Psalm 147-10_11
Mar 17, 2003 10:31 AM
I'm not sure the 1/8 inch chain would fit on my chainrings. That would certainly give me a bit more confidence though...
I think I'll add a rear brake, in addition to front.Continental
Mar 17, 2003 10:58 AM
I don't currently have a rear brake on my fixed gear, but why not? Style, appearance, coolness. I see no downside to a rear brake on a fixed gear.
It's a good idea, and the law (some states) nmDougSloan
Mar 17, 2003 11:28 AM
could be a chain tension problem...ukiahb
Mar 17, 2003 5:14 PM
The chain was too loose on my fixie when I first built it and it tried to jump the rear cog and broke a tooth off. IIRC the recomended tension is 1/2 " play on the loosest section, have mine set that way and has been OK so far.