Re: Fixed-Gear Bikes: Why?
"(Pete Cresswell)" <email@example.com> wrote in message news:firstname.lastname@example.org
> >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.