Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Fixed vs Geared

mgcycleguymgcycleguy Posts: 292
I've just started riding fixed to try and improve my riding and for a little variation. But was wondering what people thought the relative training effort would be between riding fixed or geared ?

... from my stats i've got so far, its not totally clear yet, but over a flatish 50ks I seem to be running at similar HR (maybe a few % higher with the fixed), and of course my overall speed is slower ( 4-5% slower on the fixed) as you'd expect..... but I was expecting my stats to show the fixie was much harder... it feels much harder out on the road, and my legs post ride certainly feel fatigued, ( unlike when I ride geared)

... was wondering anybody else's experiences ?

Thanks

Posts

  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Relative training effect is, waste of time ime, unless you intend racing on a fixed wheel.

    A couple of things jump out,

    1) Why is your av. speed lower on the fixed if your ridding flatish 50ks?
    2) Why would ridding a fixie be harder? Which leads to my third question
    3) If your legs didn't feel fatigued when ridding a geared bike, perhaps you weren't ridding hard enough?


    But I'm a big believer in train as you race, if your racing on a fixed then yes. If you're racing on gears or main goal will involve ridding a geared bike then learn to ride the gears hard.

    Saying that fixies can be good fun and that's what it's all about really.
  • Frank the tankFrank the tank Posts: 6,553
    I went out for my first ride on a fixed today and I found it very un-nerveing, I feel as I'm not in control of the bike, junctions and right turns seemed particularly hairy. Part of me says flip it back to single speed whilst OTOH part of me says give it a bit longer and see how it goes. Thing is I don't feel confident especially if emergency stops came into the equasion.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    In the first week you think riding fixed is harder (maybe it takes that long to get used to not coasting?), but after that it feels the same.

    If you're geared right, the only time it's slower than gears is on long or steep hills and very fast downhills.

    After 6 months of only riding fixed on a big gear, i'd say it's pretty much the same as with gears... but less versatile.
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    I just went down the cat and fiddle on a brakeless fixie! In the wet!

    I tried to go down as slow as possible for safety reasons. It's unbelievable how much force I had to apply to stop the cranks from going beyond 100RPM. Because I was pushing backwards, I could feel that I was using all those small/supportive muscles which rarely get used, unless i'm pushing round the entire pedal stroke. Hamstrings are totally mashed. I couldn't walk afterwards though. :roll:

    Incredible workout though!

    Cat_Fiddle_Macclesfield_profile.jpg

    You don't want to see what I did to the rear tyre as I skid down the last bit going 30+ mph. :?

    The good thing about fixed riding is that it forces you to use a wide range of cadences. I used to be a spinner exclusively (some people have given me the nickname "the tiny gear engineer") but putting a 60x14 on my fixed gear allowed me to push bigger gears and replicate a climb workout on the flat and i've since found a use for all kinds of cadences depending on the terrain.

    People shout about how not being able to coast reaps massive benefits for your fitness but, in my opinion, it's overhyped and it's not really a big difference from normal riding, unless you're going to do the majority of riding through traffic, where a lot of coasting is involved.

    At first, you don't feel in control of the bike. This is normal and is the same for every new bike. Once you get used to it, you'll feel in more control, compared to a bike with a freehub.
  • mgcycleguymgcycleguy Posts: 292
    I went out for my first ride on a fixed today and I found it very un-nerveing, I feel as I'm not in control of the bike, junctions and right turns seemed particularly hairy. Part of me says flip it back to single speed whilst OTOH part of me says give it a bit longer and see how it goes. Thing is I don't feel confident especially if emergency stops came into the equasion.


    ... felt exactly the same way... but couple of weeks in and im feeling 100% more confident... I've modified my clipping in technique, so starting is now sorted... stopping is still a bit interesting, but I'm now doing 99% of the stopping with my legs, only using the brake for the last half turn of the final pedal stroke...

    ... as you say an emergency stop might be interesting... but I assuming I will discover at that point how to do a skid stop... lol
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    Bhima wrote:
    I just went down the cat and fiddle on a brakeless fixie! In the wet!
    idiot.

    Are you sure it was 60/14 or was it 50/14 ?
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    Infamous wrote:
    Bhima wrote:
    I just went down the cat and fiddle on a brakeless fixie! In the wet!
    idiot.

    Are you sure it was 60/14 or was it 50/14 ?

    60x14. It's not really as big a gear as it sounds. 1 tooth added to the front is a lot less than taking one away on the back.

    The gear I had today was more like a 50/11. Don't know though, wasn't my bike! (had the ok to ride it in such conditions though)

    I've done it before a few times in the dry and there's not much danger in it to be honest. For most of the descent, I was aiming for 20mph, but I kind of lost control on the steep bit at the end. :shock: :lol:
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Bhima wrote:
    Infamous wrote:
    Bhima wrote:
    I just went down the cat and fiddle on a brakeless fixie! In the wet!
    idiot.

    Are you sure it was 60/14 or was it 50/14 ?

    60x14. It's not really as big a gear as it sounds. 1 tooth added to the front is a lot less than taking one away on the back.

    The gear I had today was more like a 50/11. Don't know though, wasn't my bike! (had the ok to ride it in such conditions though)

    I've done it before a few times in the dry and there's not much danger in it to be honest. For most of the descent, I was aiming for 20mph, but I kind of lost control on the steep bit at the end. :shock: :lol:

    I think he meant 'idiot' due to the fact you're riding fixed on the road without brakes
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Bhima wrote:
    I just went down the cat and fiddle on a brakeless fixie! In the wet!

    I tried to go down as slow as possible for safety reasons. It's unbelievable how much force I had to apply to stop the cranks from going beyond 100RPM. Because I was pushing backwards, I could feel that I was using all those small/supportive muscles which rarely get used, unless i'm pushing round the entire pedal stroke. Hamstrings are totally mashed. I couldn't walk afterwards though. :roll:

    Incredible workout though!

    Cat_Fiddle_Macclesfield_profile.jpg

    You don't want to see what I did to the rear tyre as I skid down the last bit going 30+ mph. :?

    The good thing about fixed riding is that it forces you to use a wide range of cadences. I used to be a spinner exclusively (some people have given me the nickname "the tiny gear engineer") but putting a 60x14 on my fixed gear allowed me to push bigger gears and replicate a climb workout on the flat and i've since found a use for all kinds of cadences depending on the terrain.

    People shout about how not being able to coast reaps massive benefits for your fitness but, in my opinion, it's overhyped and it's not really a big difference from normal riding, unless you're going to do the majority of riding through traffic, where a lot of coasting is involved.

    At first, you don't feel in control of the bike. This is normal and is the same for every new bike. Once you get used to it, you'll feel in more control, compared to a bike with a freehub.

    Anyone else smell something here? :roll:
  • mgcycleguymgcycleguy Posts: 292
    .. isn't it ilegal not to have a front brake on a fixed road bike ?
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    I ride 54x14 daily, even tried 54x13 today for the first time. for reference....
    54x14 = 101 inches
    53x13 = 109 inches
    60x14 = 112 inches

    I can barely slow down on 101 inches, nevermind skid, nevermind slow down going down the cat and fiddle. I'd have 2 brakes if I could. Also, you can't simply buy a 60T ring from a LBS, you'd have to find an obscure TT crankset or get a carbon ring made.

    What an idiot*.


    *not just for riding on the road brakeless, but generally.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    I know how he does it, he throws a banana skin down just in front of him then skid stops on that because there's no way you're stopping that gear by back pressure alone.
  • mgcycleguy wrote:
    .. isn't it ilegal not to have a front brake on a fixed road bike ?

    Pretty much, you're legally required to have 2 brakes, so while technically you could have a rear brake and your legs (why?), riding without 2 is definitely not legal.
  • mgcycleguymgcycleguy Posts: 292
    mgcycleguy wrote:
    .. isn't it ilegal not to have a front brake on a fixed road bike ?

    Pretty much, you're legally required to have 2 brakes, so while technically you could have a rear brake and your legs (why?), riding without 2 is definitely not legal.

    .. I always thought you needed 2 brakes unless its a fixed wheel bike, in which case you only need a brake on the front wheel.... or is that all just urban myths created in my own head !!!
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    60x14 is about the same as 53x12. More gobsh!te.
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • majormantramajormantra Posts: 2,094
    Bhima wrote:
    60x14. It's not really as big a gear as it sounds. 1 tooth added to the front is a lot less than taking one away on the back.

    The gear I had today was more like a 50/11. Don't know though, wasn't my bike! (had the ok to ride it in such conditions though)

    I don't believe you. And also, 50/11 is a BIGGER gear than 60/14 - it's 119.5 inches if you've got 700x23s. I simply don't believe you could get around somewhere that wasn't perfectly flat on that large a gear.

    Also, why ride brakeless? There is no good reason.

    Matthew
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    I just found out it was a 51x15 gear. Just felt bigger because I was going downhill. I'm not talking garbage here, it's not that dangerous and a good workout for your hamstrings.
    Also, why ride brakeless? There is no good reason.

    Matthew

    1) It's not my bike. I had no choice.
    2) It's a friend's track bike - on the track, brakes are not allowed.
    3) I've done it before with brakes and I didn't need them. I'm not that stupid!

    Most fixed-gear messengers I know do 30mph down main roads without brakes, dodging cars and people. Hundreds of people ride brakeless. I don't think 20mph down an empty road is dangerous compared to riding in traffic. I admit it's still a bit dodgy, but when you've done it a few times on a bike with brakes and you're confident that you don't need them, it's not a problem. It's not the size of the gear which makes stopping/backpedalling hard, it's the ammount of force needed to do it, which is related to speed. So if you go at 20mph for most of the time, you'll be able to control the bike. Go beyond that and the power required to stop the bike increases exponentially with speed. In order to stop today I had to do a bunnyhop to get the back wheel off the floor when going 30 so I could try and slow its momentum and allow me to skid on to a flat side street.

    Infamous - as for my fixed bike, you can get 60t chainrings. Got mine off a mate, not a LBS. It's all he had and I needed a chainring urgently. I'm pretty sure you can get 62t ones too as i've seen some fakengers using bigger rings than mine round town in an attempt to look cool. I think my gear is about the same as a 50/11.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    Bhima wrote:
    I just found out it was a 51x15 gear. Just felt bigger because I was going downhill. I'm not talking garbage here, it's not that dangerous and a good workout for your hamstrings.
    Why say 60x14 then?
    Bhima wrote:
    It's not the size of the gear which makes stopping/backpedalling hard
    Yes, yes it is.
    Bhima wrote:
    Infamous - as for my fixed bike, you can get 60t chainrings. Got mine off a mate, not a LBS. It's all he had and I needed a chainring urgently. I'm pretty sure you can get 62t ones too as i've seen some fakengers using bigger rings than mine round town in an attempt to look cool. I think my gear is about the same as a 50/11.
    Yes you can get 60T rings, but they're not exactly common. And what's this toss about fakengers on 62t rings ? messengers and fakengers are well known for using small gears... SO THAT THEY CAN RIDE BRAKELESS. Most will ride in the 60-70 gear inches range. Most trackies don't even ride with 100+ inches.

    And now you're riding 60x14 ? I thought you claim to be a spinner ? now you're on a massive gear (you'll probably average about 60rpm on a fast ride)... amazing.
  • nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
    Now then Bhima, I've never had a pop at you before because I quite like the way you try unconventional stuff out for yourself and don't just rely on received wisdom, but this:
    Bhima wrote:
    Also, why ride brakeless? There is no good reason.

    Matthew

    1) It's not my bike. I had no choice.
    2) It's a friend's track bike - on the track, brakes are not allowed.
    3) I've done it before with brakes and I didn't need them. I'm not that stupid!

    ...is just bloody daft mate. I've got a friend with a brakeless track bike too, does this mean I have to borrow it and go hurtling down my favourite descents - no choice? There's a little hill near me that until last week I'd never, ever used the brakes on. Last Thursday, though, a myopic driver pulled out of a layby in front of me while a car was coming the other way; if I'd had no brakes I could very well have been killed.
    Bhima wrote:
    Most fixed-gear messengers I know do 30mph down main roads without brakes, dodging cars and people. Hundreds of people ride brakeless.

    Most sales reps I know drive like a**eholes, and hundreds of people drink-drive, so that makes it alright for me too then? For f**ks sake...
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    'in hell how good are these messengers?

    Comp records (tt'img) are all roughly 30mph but these messenger guys are hitting 30 on a smallish fixed gear while carrying their bags and stuff and dodging cars!
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    Infamous, I think you've misunderstood what i've said.

    Let me clarify:

    I don't ride around on a 60x14 fixed gear, although I just happened to try it out once. I am a spinner - I just said I put it on for big gear training. That's MY bike, not the one I used to mess about on yesterday, which was 51x15. If you re-read what I wrote, you'll realize that you've got the two mixed up.

    nasahapley - when I said I had no choice, It's because I really wanted to do it but my fixed gear is currently in another city, so I borrowed an old banger from a mate.
  • grahamcpgrahamcp Posts: 323
    Bhima wrote:
    The gear I had today was more like a 50/11. Don't know though, wasn't my bike! (had the ok to ride it in such conditions though)


    Did your mate look disappointed when you came back in one piece?

    :lol:
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    What shoes and pedals did you use for this ?
  • CyclingBantamCyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
    Have you ever read 'Billy Liar' Bhima, can you hear a marching band?
Sign In or Register to comment.