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Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why? - Page 2  

post #16 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

"(Pete Cresswell)" <x@y.z> wrote in message news:<25clrv41mjr8qril3sggacjdfp41i6kq6j@4ax.com>...
> Went into the city today, and noticed at least a half-dozen bike messengers riding fixed-gear
> bikes. Some with a brake, some without. Most with cages and straps instead of clipless.
>
> What's the attraction of fixed-gear. I'm guessing it must be something practical if these guys are
> doing it.

They're light, low maintainence, and theft-resistant.

I work across the street from one of Portland's messenger hangouts. The fixed gear bikes are
distinctive- a thief would have to be pretty ballsy to steal one. He (she) probably couldn't fence
it easily- who wants a bike that won't coast?

Cages and straps make sense when you're running in and out of buildings, up and down stairs. Even
SPD shoes have problems with marble staircases.

Of the bikes I see regularly, I'd guess that 30% are fixed-gear track bikes, 30% are fixed-gear
converted road bikes, 30% are conventional derailleur bikes, and then there's the cargo bikes like
this: http://www.efn.org/~cat/html/longhaul.htm

Jeff
post #17 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

No one yet has mentioned the superior track stance capability - highly desirable for messengers and fun for everyone else.

Still, the "purist form of cycling" argument is my favorite.
post #18 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why? . . . Okay, but how do they gear these bikes?

Okay, but what I want to know, is how do they gear these fix-gear bikes? Are they on the low side,
and do they spin like crazy? Or what?

- Stan Shankman

"(Pete Cresswell)" <x@y.z> wrote in message news:25clrv41mjr8qril3sggacjdfp41i6kq6j@4ax.com...
> Went into the city today, and noticed at least a half-dozen bike messengers riding fixed-gear
> bikes. Some with a brake, some without. Most with cages and straps instead of clipless.
>
> What's the attraction of fixed-gear. I'm guessing it must be something practical if these guys are
> doing it.
> --
> PeteCresswell
post #19 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

Pete-<< What's the attraction of fixed-gear. I'm guessing it must be something practical if these
guys are doing it. >><BR><BR>

They are - -fun -practical in pisspoor weather(nothing to get crudded up) -good for short training
periods, as they make ya pedal all the time, pedal smoothly -cheap

Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
(303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
post #20 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why? . . . Okay, but how do they gear these bikes?

Stan-<< Okay, but what I want to know, is how do they gear these fix-gear bikes? Are they on the low
side, and do they spin like crazy? Or what? >><BR><BR>

42 or 44 in front, about a 16t in the rear, what ever gear inches that works out to-

Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
(303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
post #21 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why? . . . Okay, but how do they gear these bikes?

Stan Shankman <stantheman@visi.com> wrote:
: Okay, but what I want to know, is how do they gear these fix-gear bikes? Are they on the low side,
: and do they spin like crazy? Or what?

usually in the 60 or 70 gear inch range. mine is 48/17 (76") at the moment. which is about 90 rpms
at 20.5mph or 132 rpms at 30mph. the local terrain is relatively flat (boise, idaho) .. well, unless
you head into the hills where it sure isn't, but i don't do that on this bike. ;-) there are at
least 2 other fixed gears in town that i know of.
--
david reuteler reuteler@visi.com
post #22 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

"(Pete Cresswell)" <x@y.z> wrote in message news:g9elrv0s7epoj3vbq0vgmo9tkua0f9lnob@4ax.com...
> RE/
> >Short answer: Feels Good!
>
> What's your perception of the danger factor?
>
> Seems like the rider is in deep doo-doo if a foot comes off a pedal while underway.

Nah. The first time I rode a fixer I spun my feet off on a steep downhill. No problem, I just rode a
while holding my feet out to the side. Downhills are the only tricky part of fixed gear riding,
there's a sense of panic in the beginning when your feet start moving too fast. You get over it. You
don't want to drop a chain on a fixer though. In the beginning, you have "fixer moments", like
"clipless moments", when you forget you can't coast. These don't result in anything more than a
brief startle. It's still a good idea to take your first few rides solo with benign road conditions,
just until your reflexes adjust (much like learning clipless). After that, even switching bikes
doesn't seem to present any problems, everything becomes reflexive.

You know how good a bike feels with a brand new drivetrain? A fixer feels better than that with a
dirty and worn one. A well set up and maintained bike feels like an extension of your body. When you
return to a derailer bike, even a nice one, it feels hopelessly clumsy.

The advantages of derailers are overrated. Fixed gear bikes are not much slower even on courses
favoring derailer bikes. I've done rolling terrain time trials on both, and figure there's less than
a 10% speed disadvantage. For stop & go riding, or flattish roads, fixed gear bikes are at least as
fast as multi-speed bikes.

From a utilitarian POV, fixers are very economical. That is if you don't set one up with all the
chi-chi boutique parts that are becoming so common. Ideally, you make a fixer by taking a derailer
bike and throwing stuff away. A dumpster 10/12 speed bike becomes an svelte, elegant, machine once
liberated from all that crap.

Messengers don't make a lot of money, and certainly would have to worry about an expensive bike
being stolen. Those issues make fixers, especially conversions, a no-brainer. For
commuting/recreational/fitness riders, fixers in the winter simplify maintenance, eliminate a bunch
of mechanical problems, and give a better workout during shorter riding hours.
post #23 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

The Fixedgear Gallery:= Web Site: http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/

Some of the regulars of rec.bicycles.tech in the Gallery, I'm sure there are many more:

418 Suzy Jackson's Bitsa 413 Peter Chisholm's Calfe 313 Tom's Scorcher

-tom

"(Pete Cresswell)" <x@y.z> wrote in message news:25clrv41mjr8qril3sggacjdfp41i6kq6j@4ax.com...
> Went into the city today, and noticed at least a half-dozen bike
messengers
> riding fixed-gear bikes. Some with a brake, some without. Most with
cages
> and straps instead of clipless.
>
> What's the attraction of fixed-gear. I'm guessing it must be something practical if these guys are
> doing it.
> --
> PeteCresswell
post #24 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

(Pete Cresswell) wrote:

> Went into the city today, and noticed at least a half-dozen bike messengers riding fixed-gear
> bikes. Some with a brake, some without. Most with cages and straps instead of clipless.
>
> What's the attraction of fixed-gear. I'm guessing it must be something practical if these guys are
> doing it.

1) Kudos, because you can handle it
2) Easy trackstands at traffic lights, although true messengers would ignore them
3) Less to go wrong
4) Much lighter weight - no gears, less chain, one brake (or no brakes at all - some of the NYC
messengers really are that mad)
5) Not the easiest bike for a passerby to steal, because most people wouldn't be able to ride one
without practice.
post #25 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

"Video barbam et pallium; philosophum nondum video". - Gellius

On 19 Nov 2003 13:35:06 GMT, Peter Chisholm wrote:

>Pete-<< Seems like the rider is in deep doo-doo if a foot comes off a pedal while underway.
>>><BR><BR>
>
>Not really and like all things, this takes a little skill, technique and finese-

I think you do a real disservice by dismissing the potential for mischief if you pull a foot at
speed. At high cadences, the resulting imbalance can, and often has, caused even highly accomplished
track sprinters to crash. Occasionally you hear of someone riding one of these incidents out, but
that's hardly the norm.

Try it yourself: spin 'em up to 140 rpm or more, then disengage one pedal. Get back to me (once
you're able to again) with the result.
-------------------------------
John Dacey Business Cycles, Miami, Florida Now in our twenty-first year. Our catalog of track
equipment: eighth year online. http://www.businesscycles.com
post #26 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why? . . . Okay, but how do they gear these bikes?

"Stan Shankman" <stantheman@visi.com> wrote in message
news:<3fbb2f05$0$75899$a1866201@authen.newsreader.visi.com>...
> Okay, but what I want to know, is how do they gear these fix-gear bikes? Are they on the low side,
> and do they spin like crazy? Or what?
>
> - Stan Shankman

They're geared however the rider likes.
post #27 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why? . . . Okay, but how do they gear these bikes?

In article <3fbb2f05$0$75899$a1866201@authen.newsreader.visi.com>, "Stan Shankman"
<stantheman@visi.com> wrote:

> Okay, but what I want to know, is how do they gear these fix-gear bikes? Are they on the low side,
> and do they spin like crazy? Or what?

Many folks are a bit high of "medium" whatever that is for them. When I commuted on a geared bike, I
used the 42x17 almost exclusively, so much so that if I tried to shift it often wouldn't. Part of my
decision to switch to fixed for commuting was from only using that one gear, the other part is when
my BB shell cracked, so I needed to replace the bike and decided to try fixed, knowing I could
switch to singel speed if that didn't work. I set it up with a 42x15 thinking I might want to move
to a 40 in front, but it's been 5 years and I'm still happy with that gear for my fairly flat 3.25
mile each way commute. 42x16 is a bit more common, I tend to like slightly higher gears. I went with
a front brake too but do see folks around here who go brakeless, especially so the messengers in San
Francisco.

This: <http://www.stanford.edu/~dru/fixie.html> doesn't show that I've switched to a Brooks Champion
Flyer, but is otherwise accurate, especially the pics showing how filthy my bike generally is.

Drew

--
Drew W. Saunders

dru (at) stanford (dot) eee dee you
post #28 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why? . . . Okay, but how do they gear these bikes?

"Stan Shankman" <stantheman@visi.com> wrote in message
news:<3fbb2f05$0$75899$a1866201@authen.newsreader.visi.com>...
> Okay, but what I want to know, is how do they gear these fix-gear bikes? Are they on the low side,
> and do they spin like crazy? Or what?
>
> - Stan Shankman

I don't know how "they" gear theirs, but mine is geared to suit me at
48/18, equating to about 73 inches. Low enough for small hills, but comfortable on the
flat at 20mph.

But, don't worry about what others do, try it and then do what suits you. You can get a fair idea of
what you need by simply riding round in one gear without freewheeling on a geared bike - what you
need to know is what will just get you up the steepest hill you are likely to encounter, then go
from there.

Andrew Webster
post #29 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

Is the gloved hand a lost art? Years ago, I was commuting home and met a gentleman in his mid 60's
who used a gloved hand for braking on his fixed gear. -tom

"(Pete Cresswell)" <x@y.z> wrote in message news:6iglrv8jf7kf6pfv6bkhgm3qqljbju0ej8@4ax.com...
> RE/
> > you are always attached to a brake.
>
> Can you stop as fast as with brakes?
> --
> PeteCresswell
post #30 of 57

Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?

David L. Johnson wrote:

> Just with your feet? No. No matter what magic people ascribe to their fancy skidding stop methods,
> no way a rear wheel can stop you as fast as a front wheel.
>
It takes me at least 50 metres from a moderate speed of, say, 20mph. Or the length of the straight
at Calshot velodrome (140m round) - I was riding there last weekend.

There is a particularly evil technique, used by the no-brake messengers, called a "skip stop" which
involves throwing your weight forwards to lift the rear wheel, stopping it in mid-air which is
comparatively easy, then bracing yourself against the pedals as the wheel comes back to earth. The
tyre does the braking, and you will get through a lot of them.
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