Benefits of Single Speed/Fixed Gear

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by dhk2, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    At our club swap meet last night, someone brought in a Fuji Track in my size, 58cm and flush with cash from just selling two saddles, I couldn't resist. Been thinking everyone needs to try one of these at least once, and that the J.C. Higgins and Western Flyers of my youth really didn't count :)

    The bike only has a cog on the freewheel side now, with 42/16 gearing, which was fine until coming up my home hill. The climb is 200 ft vertical gain in about 2500 ft, with the main section at around 13-15%. The gearing had me alternating on/off of the saddle, pulling hard on the bars, ~ 6-8 mph with a cadence around 30. This is a far cry from my triple 30/25 gearing which I use on lazy days getting up the same climb at a cadence of around 75.

    Conversely, on the flats tomorrow with a couple of buddies, I'll probably be spinning 110+ in places to keep up (20-22 mph).

    Given that my main goal is doing faster hilly centuries, does it help to train on this thing at the forced high/low cadences, or should I just stick to the triple for my "serious training" rides?
     
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  2. ghostpedal

    ghostpedal New Member

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    Sorry, I'm not answering your question directly, but welcome to fixed gears! Once I owned a fixed gear, I rarely rode anything else. I have come to do 50 milers on it and love it. Every ride is an adventure. You get low rpm work, high cadence spinning, and everything in between. Have fun and good luck!
     
  3. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Thanks for the support. But from the lack of responses, I'm gauging that there isn't much support for training with a fixed or single-speed. Suppose the rule of "specificity of training" applies, maybe training at extremes of high and low cadence isn't optimum, since we don't ride/race that way on our multispeed bikes.

    Rode fixed-gear today for the first time, and there are definately some new skills and habits required that will take a few rides to learn :)
     
  4. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    Hey, welcome to the Alternative Sex Symbol Bikes (ASS - for shot!!). Actually I just made that up but you can use it.
    I built up a single speed(63 inch gear - its hilly here) earlier this year for training on and I love it.
    Its all steel and I've put SKS race guards on it for our current winter(our race season).
    Its so cool to pass fit looking people on multi speed bikes on what looks like a slow bike while spinning my one gear hard out - trying to look like its not taking much effort !!

    How has it helped me?
    I've got more spin speed now(had it up to 170 which is a lot for me, on a slight downhill slope).
    I probably have slightly more leg strenght although I think its hard to tell. There certainly is no escape going up hills like on my multi speed.
    I could ride harder hills on it but don't want to do my knees in - I'm 45 so want to last to cycle race for years to come.

    The main benefit for me;
    Having something DIFFERENT to ride. Change as good as a holiday stuff.
    The pleasure of cycling in a more simple way. Of conquering a hill that on a multispeed would be realatively easy.

    Ride it, enjoy it:)




     
  5. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    I posted this on another forum a few weeks back:

    I doubt there are measureable improvements to cardiovascular or metabolic fitness to be gained in riding a fixie over gears/freewheel. There are none to be lost either, provided that you can sustain the power output required to a obtain the desired physiological adaptation.

    Typically the only time people coast on a freewheel, like going downhill, stopping for lights etc, they are just turning their legs over on a fixie simply because they have to and are not generating much power (indeed they may be generating negative torque). Plenty of stories of riders going 175+rpm downhill in a small gear fixie and wondering if they'll survive!

    But it makes a great change up and is good for specificity if fixed gear riding is part of your targets/goals (like track racing) where effectiveness over a wide range of cadences is required.
     
  6. hair-bear

    hair-bear New Member

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    I rode fixed last winter and it sucked! I was completely useless come march and it took mat 'til July to get any kind of speed back. I also have a displaced AC joint, do to being pitched over the bars when i relaxed, instead of the pedals just spinning my legs round, the back wheel locked causing a nasty fall.
     
  7. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Thanks for the responses. Agree it's probably not something anyone needs to do, but I'm hoping that spinning at 135-140 rpm will smooth out the pedal stroke and maybe make higher-cadence riding more effective. And climbing at 20 rpm pulling hard on the bars is so tough, it would seem it has to be good for something. Of course, you can practice either of these extremes on a multi-speed bike any time you want to just by flicking the levers.

    After 5 days of riding SS/fixed, I can definitely see why freewheels and gear selection took over the cycling world :)
     
  8. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    Training with a fixie or single speed isn't as easy(on the knees...:eek: ) etc as a multi but I think there are benefits to be had(as above).
    I think(sure, not very subjective) that I've gone faster this season partly through persevering with my single speed.
    If you've still got it - keep riding it. Alternate it with your multi speed.
    :)




     
  9. 9606

    9606 New Member

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    Help me with terminology -

    A fixed gear, by definition is a single speed.
    A single speed need not be a fixed gear bike.
    Yes?
     
  10. chris@polar

    [email protected] New Member

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    Fixed gear is usually referred to as a bike with no freewheel and usually has only 1 gear ratio.

    Single speed is usually referred to as a bike with one gear ratio, but with a freewheel. ;)
     
  11. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    There have been fixed hub systems in years gone by that had more than one cog and enabled you to change gears but this is very uncommon.
     
  12. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    QUOTE=9606]Help me with terminology -


    A fixed gear, by definition is a single speed.
    A single speed need not be a fixed gear bike.
    Yes?[/QUOTE]========================================================
    Reads fine to me :)
     
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