Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting chat

Ridiculous Fixie Question

simonaspinallsimonaspinall Posts: 645
edited June 2009 in Commuting chat
Hi

Quick question about the Fixie Phenom...

Hoooooowwwww does it work exactly?

Is a fixie like a track bike so you pedal forwards and you go forwards, backwards you go backwards and that if you want to stop you release pressure slowly so your knees don't get taken off?

They do have brakes though don't they?

If they are 'fixed' then is it not a bit dangerous should you be travelling at speed?

If it can freewheel - is it bought for ease of cleaning?

I've always owned a full-on road bike with derailleur, have been on the track but never understood the fixie thing - is it not ridiculously hard when going up hill and not having the grunt when going down hill? Or if it is fixed the cadence must be unbelievable going downhill!

Help my confused brain!!!
What wheels...? Wheelsmith.co.uk!
«1

Posts

  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    Hi

    Quick question about the Fixie Phenom...

    Hoooooowwwww does it work exactly?

    Is a fixie like a track bike so you pedal forwards and you go forwards, backwards you go backwards and that if you want to stop you release pressure slowly so your knees don't get taken off?

    They do have brakes though don't they?

    If they are 'fixed' then is it not a bit dangerous should you be travelling at speed?

    If it can freewheel - is it bought for ease of cleaning?

    I've always owned a full-on road bike with derailleur, have been on the track but never understood the fixie thing - is it not ridiculously hard when going up hill and not having the grunt when going down hill? Or if it is fixed the cadence must be unbelievable going downhill!

    Help my confused brain!!!

    okay first off while fixey wixies woo's are the flavour of the month fixed bikes have been around a long time, they predate derailers and freewheels.

    they legaly should have at least a front brake, a rear isn't a bad idea either.

    you can brake using your legs and yes ride in reverse.

    yes hills will need grunt to get up and will be slow down them, bare in mind that london even greater london is not blessed with steep grades so a fixed gear is fine.
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    A fixie IS a track bike, usually adapted to some extent for commuter/on-road use.

    Part of this adaptation must include a front brake, and can include a rear brake.

    And no, you can't freewheel.

    I've never found mine dangerous or overly problematic, but I do live in flat ol' London.
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,300
    So what are the advantages of a fixed-wheel over a single-speed freewheel? The only one I can possibly see is that it forces the rider to pedal constantly, thus possibly increasing the workrate, and instilling a smooth pedalling habit.
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • Ah, thanks for clearing that one up!

    Is it a case of using anticipation (as we all should anyway) with the speed as braking wouldn't be as sharp as you still have motion force pushing on the brakes unlike a free wheel?

    Does it mean you can't go as fast knowing you can't brake like that?

    If that is the case it must be very frustrating with the London traffic and sheer number of traffic lights in the big city....?

    I'm in hilly Leeds where a derailleur is a must! Though the club captain of my cycling club did a social ride on a fixie admirably - Now I know what it entails I have a new level of respect!!

    Apologise for the 'entry-level' of the question - It seems very different to errr...conventional freewheel enabled bikes.
    What wheels...? Wheelsmith.co.uk!
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    Agent57 wrote:
    So what are the advantages of a fixed-wheel over a single-speed freewheel? The only one I can possibly see is that it forces the rider to pedal constantly, thus possibly increasing the workrate, and instilling a smooth pedalling habit.

    That is the advantage...

    Also better for fitness, due to the constant pedalling.

    But yeah, that's about it!
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    On a run to Brighton on Sunday I managed to hit a top speed of 32.7mph (~155rpm, spinny!), and also very nearly made it up Ditchling Beacon. Walked about 50 feet of the last steep bit, for which I was very cross with meself after getting to the top (although not cross enough to go back down and do it again).

    That was on 48:18, which on a double would be roughly equivalent to 53:20 or 39:15.

    Only converted from freewheel to fixed two weeks ago so I was very pleased to manage 72 miles for the day. Wonder how many revolutions that was in total?
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
    surely the advantage is that it marks you out as a soulful, hip, authentic, serious rider who is strong enough to avoid the crutches of gears or freewheels?

    :wink:

    J
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,300
    Fair enough. :D I don't think I'd want to use one in traffic, but they do look very clean machines (which goes for SS as well).
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Agent57 wrote:
    So what are the advantages of a fixed-wheel over a single-speed freewheel?

    You are immediately more fashionable. That is all. (this is FACT and anyone who tries to tell you differently is a posing ponce)
  • I can clearly see that soem consider this a practical benefit and some a bit more sceptical!

    What would be the 'text book' example of where it would be of greatest benefit?
    What wheels...? Wheelsmith.co.uk!
  • Greg TGreg T Posts: 3,266
    A fixie IS a track bike, usually adapted to some extent for commuter/on-road use.

    I'd say a track bike is fixed. Nott all fixed bikes are derived from that stock - they just have a common fixed gear.

    Many bike types, including MTBs can be fixed and they have their fetish followers.

    To the OP's comments about brakes, track bikes don't have brakes as they are dangerous on a track with close bunched fast riders.

    Riding a fixed without brakes on the roads is just a bad idea and I've only ever seen one guy doing it.

    There is a school of thought that says you only need a front brake when riding fixed as you can use your legs to brake the back wheel.

    There is a counter school of thought that says this is bad for your legs and less effective.

    You can choose your school and slag off the "one brakes enough" fashionistas at your leisure.

    I like riding fixed - not sure why but the following are in the mix

    It only needs a clean up every six weeks or so when my road bike would be crudding up the rear mech in a week

    I can trackstand fixed and look like Bambi on ice trying to trackstand a freewheel

    I think I have to work harder more often when fixed (this is apparently "good")

    God told me to
    Fixed gear for wet weather / hairy roadie for posing in the sun.

    What would Thora Hurd do?
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    _Brun_ wrote:
    That was on 48:18, which on a double would be roughly equivalent to 53:20 or 39:15.

    Only converted from freewheel to fixed two weeks ago so I was very pleased to manage 72 miles for the day. Wonder how many revolutions that was in total?

    Quick back-of-envelope calculations indicates it was a little over 20,000 revolutions. Nice work fella! (I reckon I did just under 30,000 during Ride 24)
  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    biondino wrote:
    Agent57 wrote:
    So what are the advantages of a fixed-wheel over a single-speed freewheel?

    You are immediately more fashionable. That is all. (this is FACT and anyone who tries to tell you differently is a posing ponce)

    and you can do skids with your legs

    I feel it helps you up hills to a degree as the momentum of the wheel helps push the pedals around a bit
    Purveyor of sonic doom

    Very Hairy Roadie - FCN 4
    Fixed Pista- FCN 5
    Beared Bromptonite - FCN 14
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    I can clearly see that soem consider this a practical benefit and some a bit more sceptical!

    What would be the 'text book' example of where it would be of greatest benefit?

    I was being partly facetious. I've done aboput 500 miles now on my fixie and it's without a doubt a good training tool as there's no let-up and you can't use your gears to get you out of tough situations. I can already feel the benefits when on the road bike. Additionally, you have fewer get-outs in traffic - one brake is less effective than two, and you can't freewheel near kerbs or in anti-camber corners etc. like on a proper bike. As a result, you become more aware of the situation around you which can only be a good thing.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I'm in hilly Leeds where a derailleur is a must!

    Not only are there quite a few fixed wheel bikes in Leeds, I've seen at least one brakeless one :shock:

    I'm pretty sure I'd be able to manage my commute (below) on a lowish geared fixed before the end of the year but the final climb would be a bit miserable!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Greg T wrote:
    Riding a fixed without brakes on the roads is just a bad idea and I've only ever seen one complete twatting tool doing it.

    Fixed your post.
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    Greg T wrote:
    A fixie IS a track bike, usually adapted to some extent for commuter/on-road use.

    I'd say a track bike is fixed. Nott all fixed bikes are derived from that stock - they just have a common fixed gear.

    Many bike types, including MTBs can be fixed and they have their fetish followers.

    He makes a valid point, although why anyone would ride a fixed MTB is beyond me.
  • All this talk still seems like fixie riders are at a disadvatage when it comes to braking and how fast you can go before reaching the point where you can't stop as effectively.

    Though it seems a fixie rider would have an advantage with continuous flowing motion and maintaining a constant speed.

    What is the reason you would choose a fixed bike rather than a freewheeling single speed? - This seems much safer and still gets the mixed cadence fitness argument a shout.
    What wheels...? Wheelsmith.co.uk!
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    biondino wrote:
    I can clearly see that soem consider this a practical benefit and some a bit more sceptical!

    What would be the 'text book' example of where it would be of greatest benefit?

    I was being partly facetious. I've done aboput 500 miles now on my fixie and it's without a doubt a good training tool as there's no let-up and you can't use your gears to get you out of tough situations. I can already feel the benefits when on the road bike. Additionally, you have fewer get-outs in traffic - one brake is less effective than two, and you can't freewheel near kerbs or in anti-camber corners etc. like on a proper bike. As a result, you become more aware of the situation around you which can only be a good thing.

    i would like a SS roadie/cross maybe? but i think i'd be likely not to go fixed while i have riden fixed and was fun, i'm used to MTB's and i do love a down hill and thowing a bike into bends so i'd always want a bike that would allow me to do that. though i can see why others would like fixed, it is a hoot.
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
    He makes a valid point, although why anyone would ride a fixed MTB is beyond me.

    As Charlie the Bike Monger (he of the interweb SS/FG shop) says:
    Riding fixed gear bikes offroad is probably the smallest niche in cycling (after underwater unicycle touring). However it is a growing faction. I occasionally enjoy the fear and thrills of riding fixed offroad. I use a flip-flop hub on my cyclocross bike, that allow me to run a fixed cog on one side and a freewheel the other – I simply stop flip the wheel round to the fixed side and go and scare myself. With no freewheeling, having to pedal round every corner and over every log requires a very focussed mind.

    I think it is "fune" and "exciting" in much the same way as Russian Roulette.

    J
  • jedster wrote:
    He makes a valid point, although why anyone would ride a fixed MTB is beyond me.

    As Charlie the Bike Monger (he of the interweb SS/FG shop) says:
    Riding fixed gear bikes offroad is probably the smallest niche in cycling (after underwater unicycle touring). However it is a growing faction. I occasionally enjoy the fear and thrills of riding fixed offroad. I use a flip-flop hub on my cyclocross bike, that allow me to run a fixed cog on one side and a freewheel the other – I simply stop flip the wheel round to the fixed side and go and scare myself. With no freewheeling, having to pedal round every corner and over every log requires a very focussed mind.

    I think it is "fune" and "exciting" in much the same way as Russian Roulette.

    J

    Haha! Is it really that bad?! Sounds like 'fun' = Lots of close shaves!

    Has any one had any scare stories that converted them off a fixie for life?
    What wheels...? Wheelsmith.co.uk!
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    jedster wrote:
    He makes a valid point, although why anyone would ride a fixed MTB is beyond me.

    As Charlie the Bike Monger (he of the interweb SS/FG shop) says:
    Riding fixed gear bikes offroad is probably the smallest niche in cycling (after underwater unicycle touring). However it is a growing faction. I occasionally enjoy the fear and thrills of riding fixed offroad. I use a flip-flop hub on my cyclocross bike, that allow me to run a fixed cog on one side and a freewheel the other – I simply stop flip the wheel round to the fixed side and go and scare myself. With no freewheeling, having to pedal round every corner and over every log requires a very focussed mind.

    I think it is "fune" and "exciting" in much the same way as Russian Roulette.

    J

    as long as your riding in a area thats doable up, the hills then i can see it would be fun, you would need to watch for pedal strike but that could make a route that normally very easy into something more fun, not sure i'd want to do that but i can others might.
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Has any one had any scare stories that converted them off a fixie for life?

    My very first ride was a petrifying, horrible 10 miler from London Bridge to Putney in rush hour - the bike wasn't set up right for me, so the saddle was too low and too far forward, the bars were too low and rotated too far down, so my knuckles cramped up with the effort (and with fear). I forgot to pedal 4 or 5 times - not fun - and I discovered that when you take your feet off the pedals at any kind of speed the bike wobbles terrifyingly.

    And the next day, on my road bike, I broke my ribs and was out of action for 4 weeks. When I was back on the bike, albeit in discomfort and feeling fragile, the fixie was the last thing I fancied. It took me another 2 months to get up the guts, during which time I very seriously considered selling it.

    But I didn't, and now I love it. It fits me and looks pretty in pink. Hurrah!
  • Oddjob62Oddjob62 Posts: 1,056
    Yup... first ride i was bricking it. Couple of days later it was all second nature. Been riding fixed for the last 4-5 months, and have just sold off my only geared bike, although i'll probably look to getting a decent geared roadie in the future for some long distance stuff.
    As yet unnamed (Dolan Seta)
    Joelle (Focus Expert SRAM)
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,152
    Fixed is for hoxton fakenger ponces.

    SS is the way to go. and that's a FACT! :wink:
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
    you would need to watch for pedal strike but that could make a route that normally very easy into something more fun

    I see this in theory. In practice what happens if you are "watching" for pedal strike and realise midway through a fast bend that you are going to strike a pedal on that log/rock/root/ bump ahead? I mean you can't stop pedalling, you may not be able to avoid, bunny hopping is likely to be disasterous...

    I don't think I enjoy picking splinters and stones out of my flesh enough for that sport.

    J
  • Oddjob62Oddjob62 Posts: 1,056
    SS is the way to go. and that's a FACT! :wink:

    Pshhh... who wants an annoying little clicking thing when you can cruise around in silence? :p
    As yet unnamed (Dolan Seta)
    Joelle (Focus Expert SRAM)
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    Fixed is for hoxton fakenger ponces.

    SS is the way to go. and that's a FACT! :wink:

    :lol:

    MTFU. Coasting is for pussies.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,152
    Oddjob62 wrote:
    SS is the way to go. and that's a FACT! :wink:

    Pshhh... who wants an annoying little clicking thing when you can cruise around in silence? :p

    Me! Especially when the clicking is coming from a lovely White Industries freewheel...

    50x16 SS, the only gear you need.
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • Oddjob62Oddjob62 Posts: 1,056
    MTFU. Coasting is for pussies.
    :shock:
    As yet unnamed (Dolan Seta)
    Joelle (Focus Expert SRAM)
Sign In or Register to comment.