Physiology of Fixed

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Andymorris, Dec 3, 2003.

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  1. Andymorris

    Andymorris Guest

    I've just got my fixie together and went out for a quick ride.

    I found that when I went up a local hill that I do in bottom gear (32") at around 60 rpm I managed
    to blast up at around the same revs in 57".

    I usually like to spin at around 100 rpm and use a triple and 14-25 9 spd block to keep in a fairly
    narrow band. If I let the revs drop it feels strained. If I get out the saddle my legs hurt after 30
    secs or so.

    On a fixie you just get on with it. Two gears, sitting and standing. It hurts a bit but not
    that much.

    Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?

    --
    Andy Morris

    AndyAtJinkasDotFreeserve.Co.UK

    Love this: Put an end to Outlook Express's messy quotes
    http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/oe-quotefix/
     
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  2. Tim McNamara

    Tim McNamara Guest

    "AndyMorris" <[email protected]> writes:

    > I've just got my fixie together and went out for a quick ride.
    >
    > I found that when I went up a local hill that I do in bottom gear (32") at around 60 rpm I managed
    > to blast up at around the same revs in 57".
    >
    > I usually like to spin at around 100 rpm and use a triple and 14-25 9 spd block to keep in a
    > fairly narrow band. If I let the revs drop it feels strained. If I get out the saddle my legs hurt
    > after 30 secs or so.
    >
    > On a fixie you just get on with it. Two gears, sitting and standing. It hurts a bit but not
    > that much.
    >
    > Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?

    I dunno for sure, but I've noticed that I climb moderate hills easier or faster (but not both) on my
    fixed gear, and also on the same bike with a single speed freewheel. I think it's just the much
    simpler drive train- no chain threading through jockey wheels- and that the bike is just more
    mechanically efficient.
     
  3. On Thu, 04 Dec 2003 00:06:24 +0000, AndyMorris wrote:

    > On a fixie you just get on with it. Two gears, sitting and standing. It hurts a bit but not
    > that much.

    Nah, three. Sitting, standing, and walking...
    >
    > Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?

    The psychology is, I think, on the other side. If you have a lower gear, it seems really attractive
    on a hill, as it should. If you don't, you just go for it. A fixed gear just brings you to that
    point sooner.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | More people object to wearing fur than leather because it is _`\(,_ | safer to harrass rich
    white women than motorcycle gangs. (_)/ (_) |
     
  4. AndyMorris <[email protected]> wrote:
    : Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?

    it's purely in your head. if you don't believe me find a really long hill. it'll seem way harder
    on a fixed.
    --
    david reuteler [email protected]
     
  5. "AndyMorris" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
    > I've just got my fixie together and went out for a quick ride.
    >
    > I found that when I went up a local hill that I do in bottom gear (32") at around 60 rpm I managed
    > to blast up at around the same revs in 57".
    >
    > I usually like to spin at around 100 rpm and use a triple and 14-25 9 spd block to keep in a
    > fairly narrow band. If I let the revs drop it feels strained. If I get out the saddle my legs hurt
    > after 30 secs or so.
    >
    > On a fixie you just get on with it. Two gears, sitting and standing. It hurts a bit but not
    > that much.
    >
    > Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?

    I'm still assembling parts for my fixed, and to choose the right cogs I set my derailler bike into a
    gear I thought was good and decided to leave it there for a while.

    For a few days after, I kept wanting to shift, and reaching for the levers or actually shifting
    before I remembered my plan. Once I got out of the habit, I found that I didn't really want to shift
    anymore. My riding is on relatively flat terrain, and is largely stop-and-go in traffic. I've been
    riding for about two months in the same gear, and haven't noticed any increase or decrease in
    physiological strain or travel times. I am standing a little more often, but it doesn't seem to
    strain my legs and actually feels good to move around on the saddle a little more.

    I did some touring in very hilly terrain this summer, and having 21 speeds saved my life, but I'm
    completely convinced that for mostly flat city riding a derailer is an unnecessary complication. I
    can't wait to ride fixed.
     
  6. Jim Edgar

    Jim Edgar Guest

    AndyMorris at [email protected] wrote on 12/3/03 4:06 PM:
    > I've just got my fixie together and went out for a quick ride.
    >
    > I found that when I went up a local hill that I do in bottom gear (32") at around 60 rpm I managed
    > to blast up at around the same revs in 57".
    >
    > I usually like to spin at around 100 rpm and use a triple and 14-25 9 spd block to keep in a
    > fairly narrow band. If I let the revs drop it feels strained. If I get out the saddle my legs hurt
    > after 30 secs or so.
    >
    > On a fixie you just get on with it. Two gears, sitting and standing. It hurts a bit but not
    > that much.
    >
    > Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?

    You'll find you definitely approach riding differently on a fixed (or singlespeed). If you want to
    make it up a decent pitch, you'll find that attacking the hill and maintaining your momentum is
    the only way.

    I've found that on my geared bikes, a certainly laziness creeps in - you tend to ease up as the
    pitch increases, then downshift until you find a more comfortable spot in the gearing. A ride or
    two on the fixed/singlespeed cures that in a big hurry, and will make you ride geared bikes in much
    the same way.

    Hope that helps,

    -- Jim
     
  7. Matt Cahill

    Matt Cahill Guest

    > Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?
    >
    >
    I just started riding fixed gear myself and I have noticed the same thing. I don't know for fact but
    I do have a theory:

    The fixed gear carries you legs through what might otherwise be a weak spot in your pedal motion. I
    think people just naturally are able to put more power in the pedals when they are around the
    3:00/9:00 position then when they are around 6:00/12:00. When churning up a hill at low rpms on a
    free wheel type bike you end up slowing down with each stroke at the weak spot and you have to power
    your legs through that spot instead of the bikes momentum helping to carry you through that spot.

    What do you all think of this theory ?
     
  8. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    <snip>
    > On a fixie you just get on with it. Two gears, sitting and standing. It hurts a bit but not
    > that much.
    >
    > Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?
    >
    >
    Ain't it amazing what you can get up and over if you don't have any choice?!

    I found the same thing when I was commuting fixed a few years ago. I used to get up and over hills
    in my 42/16 that on a geared bike took dropping to my 39/23 to get over.

    Part of this goes back to my theory that you only get as strong as your smallest gear. If you only
    have one, that's how strong you get.

    Mike

    >
    > --
    > Andy Morris
    >
    > AndyAtJinkasDotFreeserve.Co.UK
    >
    >
    > Love this: Put an end to Outlook Express's messy quotes
    > http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/oe-quotefix/
     
  9. AndyMorris wrote:

    > I've just got my fixie together and went out for a quick ride.
    >
    > I found that when I went up a local hill that I do in bottom gear (32") at around 60 rpm I managed
    > to blast up at around the same revs in 57".
    >
    > I usually like to spin at around 100 rpm and use a triple and 14-25 9 spd block to keep in a
    > fairly narrow band. If I let the revs drop it feels strained. If I get out the saddle my legs hurt
    > after 30 secs or so.
    >
    > On a fixie you just get on with it. Two gears, sitting and standing. It hurts a bit but not
    > that much.
    >
    > Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?

    Partly psychology, partly a few pounds less weight.
     
  10. Someone asked:

    >>Is there any physiology going on here? or is it purely in my head?

    Matt Cahill wrote:

    > I just started riding fixed gear myself and I have noticed the same thing. I don't know for fact
    > but I do have a theory:
    >
    > The fixed gear carries you legs through what might otherwise be a weak spot in your pedal
    > motion. I think people just naturally are able to put more power in the pedals when they are
    > around the 3:00/9:00 position then when they are around 6:00/12:00. When churning up a hill at
    > low rpms on a free wheel type bike you end up slowing down with each stroke at the weak spot and
    > you have to power your legs through that spot instead of the bikes momentum helping to carry you
    > through that spot.
    >
    > What do you all think of this theory ?

    I sometimes ride with my wife, and when I first converted her to fixed gear, 25 years ago or so, I
    would notice the top run of her chain drooping every half stroke of the cranks, as this was
    happening.

    However, as she became more habituated to fixed riding, this stopped, and the top of her chain stays
    taut all of the time, so there can't be any flywheel effect in play here.

    I too, like most fixed-gear addicts, have found that I can comfortably climb in a considerably
    higher gear on a fixer than on a multi-speed coasty.

    Some of this probably results from lighter weight.

    Some probably results from the more effecient drive train.

    Some probably results from knowing that you don't have the option of shifting.

    For me, at least, some comes from the confidence that nothing is going to skip or slip...I get
    nervous standing pedaling on multi-speed bikes.

    Sheldon "Ficksed" Brown +------------------------------------------------------+
    | You only get as strong as your smallest gear. | If you only have one, that's how strong you get.
    | | -- Mike Shaw |
    +------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
    Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
    http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  11. > Part of this goes back to my theory that you only get as strong as your smallest gear. If you only
    > have one, that's how strong you get.

    Doesn't that mess up your knees, or is that an extreme case and with bad form?

    --
    Phil, Squid-in-Training
     
  12. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    "Mike S." <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Ain't it amazing what you can get up and over if you don't have any choice?!

    That's not true only of fixies, but cassette choice as well. After my accident, one of my first
    "real rides" was up South Mountain (the paved way, that is...) and I decided to do a little
    climbing, and turn around partway up when it started to hurt. I didn't want to push it since my low
    gear was a 42-21 since I wasn't really planning a climbing ride when I started. However, just as I
    started the climb, a guy on a CF Trek with full US Postal kit rode up behind me.

    I couldn't bring myself to stop since I had opened up a gap on the guy (and after all, the TdF would
    start in just a couple days). I was amazed how much harder it was than previously by the time I got
    to the top, figuring I had lost more fitness than I had imagined.

    When the other guy arrived a couple minutes later, I noticed he looked at my rear wheel in horror...
    then I realized that wheel had a 12-19 instead of a 12-21. Ouch.

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  13. As much as I hate to admit it, I also have this problem, keeping the chain taunt. Perhaps it's from
    riding my road bike so much inbetween fixed riding. Sometimes, not as easy at it seems. -tom

    "Sheldon Brown" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > I sometimes ride with my wife, and when I first converted her to fixed gear, 25 years ago or so, I
    > would notice the top run of her chain drooping every half stroke of the cranks, as this was
    > happening.
    >
    > However, as she became more habituated to fixed riding, this stopped, and the top of her chain
    > stays taut all of the time, so there can't be any flywheel effect in play here.
    >
    > Sheldon "Ficksed" Brown +------------------------------------------------------+
    > | You only get as strong as your smallest gear. | If you only have one, that's how strong you
    > | get. | -- Mike Shaw |
    > +------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
    > Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
    > shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  14. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "Phil, Squid-in-Training" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > Part of this goes back to my theory that you only get as strong as your smallest gear. If you
    > > only have one, that's how strong you get.
    >
    > Doesn't that mess up your knees, or is that an extreme case and with bad form?
    >
    Hasn't in the 15+ years I've been riding...

    Mike

    >
    > --
    > Phil, Squid-in-Training
     
  15. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:

    >For me, at least, some comes from the confidence that nothing is going to skip or slip...I get
    >nervous standing pedaling on multi-speed bikes.

    Sheldon, if you like I can help teach you how to adjust those pesky drivetrains. ;-)

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  16. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    > >Ain't it amazing what you can get up and over if you don't have any
    choice?!
    >
    > That's not true only of fixies, but cassette choice as well. After my accident, one of my first
    > "real rides" was up South Mountain (the paved way, that is...) and I decided to do a little
    > climbing, and turn around partway up when it started to hurt. I didn't want to push it since my
    > low gear was a 42-21 since I wasn't really planning a climbing ride when I started. However, just
    > as I started the climb, a guy on a CF Trek with full US Postal kit rode up behind me.
    >
    > I couldn't bring myself to stop since I had opened up a gap on the guy (and after all, the TdF
    > would start in just a couple days). I was amazed how much harder it was than previously by the
    > time I got to the top, figuring I had lost more fitness than I had imagined.
    >
    > When the other guy arrived a couple minutes later, I noticed he looked at my rear wheel in
    > horror... then I realized that wheel had a 12-19 instead of a 12-21. Ouch.

    I can't say I haven't done that before! I think mine (I remember doing it, just not the
    circumstances) was climbing, thinking I was in the small ring, looked down at the top, and I was in
    the big ring the whole time! No wonder that gear felt so stinkin' hard and I was going so fast.

    Mike

    >
    > Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  17. Chris B .

    Chris B . Guest

    On Thu, 04 Dec 2003 15:30:26 -0700, Mark Hickey <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>For me, at least, some comes from the confidence that nothing is going to skip or slip...I get
    >>nervous standing pedaling on multi-speed bikes.
    >
    >Sheldon, if you like I can help teach you how to adjust those pesky drivetrains. ;-)

    Well that was cheeky. I agree with Sheldon - I enjoy standing to climb a little more on my fixed
    gear and I climb hills faster out of necessity. I stand to climb more on my multi speed bike now
    than I used to.

    I like the quiet and low maintenance of the fixed gear also.
     
  18. On Thu, 04 Dec 2003 19:13:09 +0000, Phil, Squid-in-Training wrote:

    >> Part of this goes back to my theory that you only get as strong as your smallest gear. If you
    >> only have one, that's how strong you get.
    >
    > Doesn't that mess up your knees, or is that an extreme case and with bad form?

    I'll let you know, but so far, not for me. I think an unaccustomed strain would be more of a problem
    for the knees. Also, climbing out of the saddle seems easier on my knees (harder on the rest of me,
    though) than trying to climb in the saddle.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | You will say Christ saith this and the apostles say this; but _`\(,_ | what canst thou say?
    -- George Fox. (_)/ (_) |
     
  19. Ant

    Ant Guest

    "Jacobe Hazzard" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > I'm completely convinced that for mostly flat city riding a derailer is an unnecessary
    > complication. I can't wait to ride fixed.

    by jove, i think he's got it!

    "blessed are the fixed, for they shall inherit the earth" Matthew 5:5
     
  20. ant <[email protected]> wrote:
    : "blessed are the fixed, for they shall inherit the earth" Matthew 5:5

    2 Kings Chapter 2

    23: And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth
    little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go
    up, thou bald head.
    24: And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came
    forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
    25: And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

    King James Version, naturlich: all other versions are perversions. i can't make it relevant to
    cycling .. but i'm not gonna let that stop me from quoting my favourite bible verse.
    --
    david reuteler [email protected]
     
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