The Chainlink

Maybe because I'm 50, love technology, prefer to keep my intestines on this side of my abdominal wall OR all of the above, I just do not understand the love of "fixies". I mean what is so wrong with shifting gears. I just can't see myself enjoying my 25 mile RT commute without gears.

They certainly look cool but can someone please explain these brakeless beauties to me.

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I am sure you will love it when you'll ride a fixed gear bike. I have been riding it for a while, my father gave me as a gift on my birthday. He bought it for me and when I am riding it gives me a feeling of happiness on two wheels. I am so much addicted to my bike that I ride my bike everywhere, whether I have to go to work or anywhere, I just take my bicycle along with me. I would strongly recommend to get a fixed gear bike and then you'll experience the magic.

Zoetrope said:

 

I'd love get a ss or fixie one day for all the reasons people have given for them and against multi gear bikes. Hope to see more info pop up about them around here, as cl seems pretty roadie/hybrid centric.


Juan, we need to experience things that we are not aware about. You might have a better ride but I would suggest you to give a thought and just try it some or the other time. You'll definitely feel the difference of comfort and workout.
Juan Primo said:

Yeah, I don't know what it is about fixed gear but I feel like I have better traction on turns.  I can't imagine why unless I'm just imagining it.

Just don't lean over too much in the turns.

Hey man, nice one!
He might be not aware about fixed gear bikes. Let me help him.

Hey, I think you shouldn't be underestimating fixed gear cycles, you could check this out

http://www.criticalcycles.com/ and then you might change your perception. Fixed gear rides are the cheapest, elegant and strongest in manufacturing. Just give a thought, no offense.

Juan Primo said:

Yeah, I don't know what it is about fixed gear but I feel like I have better traction on turns.  I can't imagine why unless I'm just imagining it.

Hey Jacob.  You might misunderstand me, but I ride a fixie.  I was saying that traction FEELS improved when I'm riding fixed.  I feel I have more control on cornering on a fixie than on a coasting bike.  I don't know if there's an actual difference or it's just something I'm making up.

Ditto to the original post that referenced Sheldon Brown's article on fixed gear. How could you disobey our God? http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html

"There is an almost mystical connection between a fixed-gear cyclist and bicycle: it feels like an extension of your body"

This should be enough for anyone to at least try it. I built up my first fixed gear about a year ago, and still make a point to ride it periodically around the city. You definitely need to build more skill to ride one safely, but it pays off and is extremely fun. Stay safe. 

Hey Juan,

Good to hear that. Yes, you are absolutely right a fixed gear bike has more control, I have been riding it for more than a year and I do feel the same way till now. Moreover, the comfort factor is awesome because these cycles have been designed in such a way. I appreciate your comment :)

Juan Primo said:

Hey Jacob.  You might misunderstand me, but I ride a fixie.  I was saying that traction FEELS improved when I'm riding fixed.  I feel I have more control on cornering on a fixie than on a coasting bike.  I don't know if there's an actual difference or it's just something I'm making up.

Agree with you TK, there is a strong bong between my fixed gear and me. My cycle is critically important for me and the day I skip riding, it feels I am lacking something.

T.K. 8.4 mi said:

Ditto to the original post that referenced Sheldon Brown's article on fixed gear. How could you disobey our God? http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html

"There is an almost mystical connection between a fixed-gear cyclist and bicycle: it feels like an extension of your body"

This should be enough for anyone to at least try it. I built up my first fixed gear about a year ago, and still make a point to ride it periodically around the city. You definitely need to build more skill to ride one safely, but it pays off and is extremely fun. Stay safe. 

I'm over 50, love technology, and have ridden only fixed for years and years.  A primary reason was coming from decades of inline skating I sought in a bike the same direct connection to ground.  Another reason was performance potential.  Fixed is common in circus acts and can be pedaled backwards.

The simplicity, lowered maintenance, lowered weight, no need for shifters here in flatland, extraordinary control, all these commonly heard reasons are true.  Unparalleled intimacy of connection is a big one.  Brakeless is a separate issue one shouldn't conflate.

I put in thousands of miles a year fixed, and done a few centuries with no physical complaints, but frankly I couldn't do a routine 25 mile commute on any bike.

Personally I think fixies are such a unique experience as to be an apples and oranges comparison with road bikes.  They're more like a double unicycle.  May as well ask why BMX?

Nobody uses a BMX to commute every day unless they don't have any other choice.  I prefer to use the right tool for the job.  If I want to jump ramps and do tricks, I ride a BMX.  If I need to commute, I use a single speed with a freewheel, fenders, and very good front and rear brakes.  If I want to ride off-road, I use a mountain bike.  If I liked riding on a velodrome, I would use a fixed gear.  Just because you CAN use a particular bike for a particular use, doesn't mean it's the correct tool for that use.

I like to use a car analogy when explaining fixed gear bikes to non-bike people.  Let's say your normal commuting street bike is like a Ford Focus: middle of the road, not too fast, but peppy enough for city driving, and reliable and comfortable.  Your mountain bike is your lifted Jeep, with big fat tires and poor gas mileage.  It's comfy and fast and goes off road very well, but if you used it every day you'd be annoyed at its shortcomings.  A fixed gear on the other hand, is like driving a NASCAR or an F1 car.  It's technology that has been specialized for racing on a track, not down the road.  Imagine trying to drive an F1 car on the street.  The turning radius is horrible, the suspension is too stiff, the ground clearance is too low, it's uncomfortable, and the slick tires wear out really fast and don't provide adequate all-weather traction.  Sure it would be fun once or twice to drive a race car on the street, but I'd much rather drive a Ford Focus every day.

That's why I don't ride a fixie.

Nick, you could just as easily say:

"If I need to commute, I can use a fixed gear with fenders and very good front and rear brakes."

I have never ridden a velodrome, but assume that people use much bigger gear ratios. That would probably be a bad choice on the road, for your knees and your safety. Bring that ratio down to something more manageable (I use 47/16), and that bike is essentially analogous to your single speed. This is more like the car equivalent of Manual transmission vs Automatic transmission.

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