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fixed gear or rollers?(19 posts)

fixed gear or rollers?varmit
Sep 3, 2002 3:30 AM
I would like to smooth out my spin a little more this winter. Which option gives the best return for the time used? I suppose that the ultimate would be a fixey on rollers. I already have a stationary trainer to use for power training. Also, anyone have any info on cheap frames, in addition to Surly, with horizontal dropouts - kind of rare these days. Thanks for any input.
re: fixed gear or rollers?Sherpa23
Sep 3, 2002 4:54 AM
Why would you want a fixed gear to improve your spin? A fixed gear is used for getting the maximum pedal time for a ride because you cannot coast. If you want to improve your spin, you can use rollers but really you need to do some high rpm intervals. And after hearing some people tell me that they are doing these intervals at 95rpm, I need to clarify. When I say high rpm, I mean 155+ rpm for 5 minute intervals.
re: fixed gear or rollers?climbo
Sep 3, 2002 5:24 AM
do you want to ride outside or inside?

fixed gear helps your spin because if you are not smooth, you'll bounce all over the road, that's why many people have them. It makes you spin properly, otherwise you'll have a horrible time on it, especially at higher RPM's.

Get one, they are cheap, low maintenance and a lot of fun.
re: fixed gear or rollers?Sherpa23
Sep 3, 2002 6:32 AM
I am not debating the cost, reliability or fun of a fixed gear. What I am saying is that simply riding a fixed gear will not improve your spin. This is not directed to anyone in particular: do not delude yourself into thinking that if you can be smooth on a fixed gear, then that makes you a good pedaller. All it takes to be smooth on a fixed gear is to sync that dead spot on the top of your pedal stroke with the part where you get back on the power. Because the pedals go around by themselves, it allows the rider to be lazy as he or she does not need to do the work to ensure a smooth spin. A better approach to improving your spin is to do high rpm drills on you road bike like I suggested above.
I have been correctedclimbo
Sep 3, 2002 6:46 AM
sorry, I'm not delusional and I know you are not directing it an anyone in particular, neither am I. I was in-kind replying to "varmit" about how much fun they are and I actually disagree that you can be lazy on a FG. If you do not control your pedal stroke on a fixed gear for the entire revolution, it will not work. For me, if you get lazy, your pedal action becomes erratic and the bike bounces around. This in turn teaches you to pedal smoothly almost without thinking.
155 rpm? Really? I consider myself a competent if un-bill
Sep 3, 2002 5:52 AM
spectacular cyclist, but I've never managed more than about 120-125 rpm's. I just can't do it. I think my stroke is reasonably smooth -- I've had rollers for a couple of years now, and I get out and do some miles, too.
I've wondered about this -- I'm 43, so maybe reflexes have slowed a bit.
Any thoughts as to why? Do I just need to work harder to achieve a higher rpm? Which leads to the next question -- why would I need to do that?
155 rpm? Really? I consider myself a competent if un-Sherpa23
Sep 3, 2002 6:39 AM
Do you really think that if you put on a 39x18 and pedalled down a slight incline as fast as you could, you could not pedal faster than 125 rpm? I think that you are selling yourself short. Pedalling faster is a neuromuscular pattern that each person needs to develop. I do know that some people who are older, 60's, cannot spin as easily any more. It is possible, however, to retrain your muscles to do this. I would think that at 43 if you worked on developing a high rpm cadence it would not be too hard. Of course, this is only if you want to develop that.
155 rpm? Really? I consider myself a competent if un-Veloflash
Sep 3, 2002 10:38 AM
Sherpa is correct. Just work at incrementaly increasing your cadence through developing your neuromuscular system. I regularly do 130+ rpm loaded 5 minute intervals on a trainer. Unloaded no resistance would be a breeze at 155 rpm.

Just look at some track statistics. Average speed for 40k points race 54 kph.

Average cadence using a 91.8" gear = 127rpm
155 rpm? Really? I consider myself a competent if un-willin
Sep 4, 2002 11:06 AM
Im 43 years old and yesterday I hit 170 rpm going down an incline, spinning a low gear.

Spinning fast doesnt take muscles, takes control.

Sherpa's right on both the fixie and the high rpms, I think. Riide a fixie slow and there is no spin effort, or aid in smoothing your spin. Ride the fixie at a high rpm--115 plus and its another ball game. But you would get the same effect spinning your own bike fast. (ie 125 plus)

Cheers
nod probably to rollersDougSloan
Sep 3, 2002 12:51 PM
Rollers will give you the best bang for your time buck. You can jump on and immediately start spinning.

Fixed gear can help, too, though, if you have the right gearing and ride varied terrain. I gear mine for 20 mph at 100 rpms, and regularly hit over 30 mph on 1 mile descents -- that's 150 rpms at 30 mph. The fixed gear will force, and I mean force, you to learn to spin fast.

The rollers help in a different respect, too. If you are not smooth, the feedback is immediate and potentially show-stopping. You WILL learn to be smooth. Fixed gear helps with this, but the feedback is not quite so certain.

Doug
my .02lonefrontranger
Sep 3, 2002 1:02 PM
Since I happen to know the area you're riding in...

As I recall, you don't like riding indoors a lot, and even built some DIY 'cross trails on the back 40 to use for winter / offseason training.

I'd look into getting a fixie for the fun factor. Agree with Sherpa on the points of improving spin by using your freewheel bikes, but I did find that my fixie was a great bike to ride in the rolling hills around that area during the off-season. I used to commute to work in Cincy on mine.

A couple of priceless things a fixed gear taught me: how to climb in a correctly "balanced" manner, and how to do "hill starts" and clip in quickly. I also feel that riding fixed gave me fluidity and power; but then when I started riding fixed I was also coming at it from the perspective of an ultramarathon rider with a lousy pedalstroke and a 50rpm cadence. I do credit my many hours riding fixed to my ability to do "speedball" crit starts, because it taught me how to pedal one-legged while feeling around for the click on the other side. I'm usually the first one in my pedal, and often disappearing 'round the first turn before half the field has rolled off the start line.
if fun is the issueDougSloan
Sep 3, 2002 3:38 PM
If fun factor is the issue, a fixie is about a million times better than anything indoors. Would anyone would disagree with that?

Doug
... than ANYTHING indoors? Yes, Doug. I disagree. :-) nmshirt
Sep 3, 2002 4:15 PM
my recent experience colors my perspective :-) nmDougSloan
Sep 3, 2002 4:52 PM
maybe this is the winter to commit to cross training??? nmshirt
Sep 3, 2002 6:32 PM
that was last year nmDougSloan
Sep 4, 2002 6:28 AM
my .02varmit
Sep 4, 2002 6:28 AM
I was sort of leaning more toward using a fixey, as I thought that it would give a little more "real world" training rather than being concerned about slamming my head into my work bench, in the garage, when falling off of the rollers. Of course, I understand that rollers do have their place in training.

You are correct. I really like to get out and ride my cross bike through the field and woods behind the house. It is really a neat and focused workout to get out on a cold winter night and ride by moonlight, with the only sounds being my breathing and the frozen grass crunching under the tires. I was thinking that this would be a nice environment to ride a fixed gear in also. ( Might skip the barriers though.)
cool, just don't ever try riding fixed gear on ice...lonefrontranger
Sep 4, 2002 2:35 PM
One of my more memorable stupid human tricks was going out on the fixie a few days after an historical ice storm. Hey the temps were in the fifties and the stuff was melting, right? Well, just try riding a slick tired fixie on unavoidable patches of inch-thick wet ice that stretched the entire width of my rural route. I made it approximately 2 miles from my front door before I realized I wasn't going to find better going. Then I had to ride all the way back...

I've never fallen so many times on one ride. That includes the time I did an AMBC at Snowshoe, and got caught in a cloudburst while going down the most horrible rooty descent on the course. At least at Snowshoe I had the option of butt-surfing thru the worst bits.

To my defense I can only argue that it had been a really LONG winter and cabin fever made me even crazier than usual.
re: fixed gear or rollers?jradford
Sep 6, 2002 3:18 PM
I do a work out to help my sprinting and I hit about 190 to 200 rpm on my rolers. This helps the sprint when some people and spun out I can still speed up.