Thinking about a fixed

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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Si
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby Si » 16 Nov 2013, 10:52am

A fixed is neither the devil in carnate nor the ultimate zen of cycling...it's just another kind of bike. Some people will like them, others won't and yet others still will think they are OK but no big deal. I'm afraid that I fall into the latter - I have one, have had one for many many years - I enjoy some aspects of it but certainly wouldn't have it as my only bike.

It has advantages: low maintenance, cheap, gives a good workout in a limited time, gives a certain 'buz' when you are properly on top of the gear, and goes up some hills quick. But also has some disadvantages: doesn't handle as well, can be a pain if there are a lot of fast downhills, can be a pain on long steep uphills.

The handling thing is why I run it as a SS. Pay no heed to the naysayers who probably haven't mastered/understood the benefits of SS....SS can be lots of fun to ride...but again I wouldn't have one as my only bike. The main reason I like running it as a SS is that the handling is just so much better. It's based on a sort of crit-bike with very fast handling - the fixed negates this to an extent due to the risk of pedal strike and not being able to get your body in the correct position when leaning it over all the way then immediately chucking it the other way. And being SS it still has the low maintenance, low weight and low cost advantages.

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meic
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby meic » 16 Nov 2013, 11:13am

Fixed is just a way of showing off that you are a super fit rider.

Riders who are only moderately good need gears to do any distance, at least around here.

The forum is littered with threads from people struggling with gears that only come down to 30". My success as a cyclist (Audax, child towing etc) is based entirely on me being the owner of bikes with 24" gearing that is used a lot.

I wouldnt even have a bike that only has a double crankset, a minimum gear of 60", fixed or single speed, is not for me.

Though of course if I had one and could ride it, it would keep me superfit. However even if you look at the self selecting world of enthusiasts doing Audax or Sportives, only a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction are capable of using a fixed gear bike. Or, of course, kids and grannies with baskets in Norfolk.
Yma o Hyd

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Si
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby Si » 16 Nov 2013, 12:39pm

meic wrote:Fixed is just a way of showing off that you are a super fit rider.



Not really. I know plenty of people who use them for nipping around town. These people would run away screaming at being asked to do a ride of more than 30 miles on any bike, yet they find the fixed fine for urban riding with the advantages that have already been listed. In your area maybe a fixed takes thighs of steel, but not everywhere is as hilly as where you are.

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jonbott
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby jonbott » 16 Nov 2013, 12:51pm

I had a fixed for winter back in my youth,did a 200k audax in high wycombe at 15 on it
couple of years ago tried to get back into it,but found the long hil down and up to and from work to hard going up and very scary going down :(
I do remember waay back on a very hilly leisure riding swapping the rear flip flop down to a 65inch gear and flew up the hills!
always used a fixed for the anual hillclimbs too
they take a bit of getting used to,try before you buy :)
I`m def too old for this!

tatanab
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby tatanab » 16 Nov 2013, 12:59pm

Just do it, expand your cycling experience.

There is no need to spend much money just to try it out. Find a cheap secondhand frame, anything without vertical dropouts. Ebay is good for cheap chainset, bars and stem etc, or perhaps from your own box of bits. If you like the sensation then you can assemble something better.

I've had a fixed in my stable almost since I started club riding 45 years ago. It does not get used much these days because I have other machines I prefer to ride, and consequently I am not as fluid as I used to be. Even 30 years ago I toured central Wales on a 65" gear and had no problems with hills, but that is an age related thing I suspect.

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661-Pete
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby 661-Pete » 16 Nov 2013, 5:41pm

This sort of thread certainly has the effect of 'outing' the fixie clique! :wink:

philg wrote:Don't be put off by the naysayers, who may or may not have ever tried one.

Perfectly true: I've never tried one. I've also never jumped out of a plane without a parachute, but that doesn't stop me advising people not to do that...

tatanab wrote:Find a cheap secondhand frame, anything without vertical dropouts.
That will exclude the majority of frames, nowadays.... :|
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

mark a.
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby mark a. » 16 Nov 2013, 6:45pm

I'd love one (I've tried a couple and enjoyed it), and will probably buy a 2nd hand one after the fad has passed a bit and people sell their nice ones for not much money.

My mountain bike is singlespeed. I love the fact that it's minimal maintenance. A roadie fixie would even less maintenance since it won't have suspension and it won't get as muddy.

I also think fixed gear/SS bikes look good. No "ugly" derailleurs or big hub gears.

thirdcrank
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Nov 2013, 7:25pm

dalifnei

I've done a lot of riding fixed over the years and if you haven't completely made up your mind already, I'll offer this concentrating on your situation:-

Fixed is a lot easier to keep running properly in winter when the roads are thick with salt and muck and it gives smoother braking on dodgy surfaces (but nothing short of studs will keep you upright on ice.)

You mentioned big hills and the size of hills is a very individual thing. If you struggle, it doesn't matter how quickly others can romp up. The steeper the hill, the harder you have to try if your only gear is "right" for the flat. In the heyday of fixed, cyclists were able to use all the main roads which tend to follow the easiest routes. I think riders were also more relaxed about walking up hills. It's not only a matter of climbing as it goes without saying that you have to pedal downhill as well as up. No big deal on gently undulating roads but more of an issue on steep descents. You're talking about commuting, where you will be familiar with the gradients, but speed control is important. A fit rider can obviously pedal faster and more smoothly than an unfit one, but you can't set off down an unknown hill assuming everything will be OK. Unless you keep the speed within your own pedalling capabilities, there may come a time when the bike takes over and your legs are being driven by the bike, rather than the other way round. You may get away with it with no more than a change of underpants, but I've seen riders thrown off when they lost control. All this means that riding safely down a big hill can be almost as much effort as riding up it.

I mentioned EdinburghFixed on another of your threads. He was an afficionado, to the extent that he undertook a quixotic End to End ride on fixed. He eventually packed, IIRC with excruciating knee pain.

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jonbott
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby jonbott » 16 Nov 2013, 7:36pm

do remember one club ride charging down the hill around Truro and not being to slow for the roundabout at the bottom where the bike overtook me!
you do have to concentrate on a fixed and make sure the chain is in line and not too slack but you need a bit,so you can do those `trackstands`!
I`m def too old for this!

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BeeKeeper
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby BeeKeeper » 16 Nov 2013, 8:55pm

It looks to me, coming back to the original question posed by the OP if the inclination to get a fixed wheel strikes, you should lie down in a darkened room until the feeling has passed.

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jonbott
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby jonbott » 16 Nov 2013, 9:29pm

BeeKeeper wrote:It looks to me, coming back to the original question posed by the OP if the inclination to get a fixed wheel strikes, you should lie down in a darkened room until the feeling has passed.

:lol: suppose it depends where you live
I`m def too old for this!

dazza500
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Re: Thinking about a fixed

Postby dazza500 » 17 Nov 2013, 11:57am

I think you're better off with s fixed/freewheel option.
Trouble is a good one costs will over £500 and the cheap Raleighs ect are heavy and horrible!