Forum home Road cycling forum Road general

Fixed gear road racing?

stickmanstickman Posts: 791
edited February 2011 in Road general
I know that the first few years of the TdF were fixed gear only, from then on I just assumed people didn't bother, but now I know that in UCI races a fixed rear cog is banned.
Does anyone know when? And any other info on the history of fixed road bikes in races.
Bikes, saddles and stuff

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
More stuff:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
«1

Posts

  • WooliferkinsWooliferkins Posts: 2,060
    I don't know when the fixed ban arrived, but the derailleur was legalised in '39 though some riders used them in 38 with a fine
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    Yes, Desgrange said using a derailleur is like cheating!
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    stickman wrote:
    Yes, Desgrange said using a derailleur is like cheating!

    I think that it was the freewheel that he objected to "Are our races seriously threatened with decadence by the freewheel? Will the Tour de France be undermined by this infernal invention?"

    He also argued that "an ambitious rider has no more need of a woman than an unwashed pair of socks".

    Ah...le French.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The difficulty is when you have mixed groups, some riding fixed and others freewheel - because of the inertia in the drivetrain, it takes a split second longer to ease-up on fixed which can cause all kind of problems in a bunch. If you want bunch racing on fixed, ride the Madison or Points on the track or try some Alley Cat racing...
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    When someone brings out a better component and the UCI come out with their usual rubbish and ban it it's bad enough but banning fixed feels really wrong, like cycling treason.

    Fair point about mixed riding, would be good if the TdF etc. had an all-fixed road stage or an all-fixed time trial stage.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    Fixed has been banned in mass start races for quite a while due to the reasons Monty Dog outlined. It was banned in time trials only recently though; I think shortly after Stuart O'Grady used a track bike in the 2005 Giro prologue. Most British Time Trialling (outside the National Championships) isn't under UCI regulations so you still see fixed gears there.
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    I'm always surprised there hasn't been more of a revolt against the UCI. The way they censored about with the rules of competitive cycling is unbelievable. I don't think there is another sport where the international governing body are quite so machiavelian.
  • ZachariahZachariah Posts: 782
    So does this mean a SS freewheel would be OK, but a fixed cog would not? Has anyone ever bothered racing, say, a short crit with a SS?

    If someone was desparate to race fixed-wheel, couldn't they just ensure their freewheel was 'accidentally' jammed?
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    You could race single speed, but you'd have to choose the course carefully to make the most of an even speed.

    There's no real advantage in riding fixed in a RR, so why bother?
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    Don't know if there is any UCI rule against singlespeed - or hub gears, I don't see how even they could have a valid reason.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    blorg wrote:
    It was banned in time trials only recently though; I think shortly after Stuart O'Grady used a track bike in the 2005 Giro prologue.
    Was that because O' Grady used fixed or they banned it anyway? Do you have a link to this, would be interesting to read?
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    This was O'Grady's bike.

    I don't know if they banned it in TTs in response to him but I do know it wasn't banned then and it is now, in events that come under UCI jurisdiction. My track bike is basically a TT frame and I was interested in using it for flat TTs as I can get a better aero position on it compared to my road bike+aero bars. Basically I can get the bars lower on the track bike and the saddle further forward in relation to them.

    To be honest I don't think allowing fixed in mass races would be safe. There are so many times where you need to make micro-adjustments to your speed in the bunch and you generally do this by easing off the pedals rather than by braking. Going around corners in a bunch fixed would be interesting to say the least; I have had pedal strike on tight ones as it is. I started track racing this year and it is honestly only possible to bunch race there (IMO) on the basis that no-one has brakes gears or freewheels so you just don't get the speed changes you see in a bunch on the road.

    It certainly wouldn't give any advantage. I have a good sprint and sheltering on the right wheel generally find it easy enough to up the gear pick up the speed and sprint around someone. One of the surprises of the track was just how much more difficult it is to do this, you need to make your move much further back and it is much harder to get past.

    There is no good safety argument for disallowing a fixed gear in TTs though, that is your standard UCI rubbish.
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    Great link thanks.

    Maybe i'm wrong but I can't imaging riding fixed in a bunch wouldn't seem totally normal. When riding fixed in traffic I simply make any minor speed changes with the rear brake. Remember in the TdF some riders chose fixed years after gears were allowed.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • Drfabulous0Drfabulous0 Posts: 1,539
    GarethPJ wrote:
    I'm always surprised there hasn't been more of a revolt against the UCI. The way they censored about with the rules of competitive cycling is unbelievable. I don't think there is another sport where the international governing body are quite so machiavelian.

    Really? What about Formula One?
  • I'm a bit in favour of the UCI's very conservative stance on technological development - stops the sort of nonsense that has infected swimming in recent years. But they do seem to be horribly arbitrary and inconsistent at times and is there a well formed, documented procedure for assessing and incorporating technological changes ? Why, for instance, have they decided now to allow disc brakes on cyclo-cross bikes ?
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    stickman wrote:
    Great link thanks.

    Maybe i'm wrong but I can't imaging riding fixed in a bunch wouldn't seem totally normal. When riding fixed in traffic I simply make any minor speed changes with the rear brake. Remember in the TdF some riders chose fixed years after gears were allowed.
    Racing in a bunch is really very different, to an extent I think you would have done it to appreciate what it is like and how one rides safely in a tight bunch. Racing is also very different than a group ride, where I have ridden fixed safely with others on freewheels. To be honest racing is dangerous and crashy enough as it is without having people fixed in there. You almost never touch your brakes in a race frankly.
  • blorg wrote:
    stickman wrote:
    Great link thanks.

    Maybe i'm wrong but I can't imaging riding fixed in a bunch wouldn't seem totally normal. When riding fixed in traffic I simply make any minor speed changes with the rear brake. Remember in the TdF some riders chose fixed years after gears were allowed.
    Racing in a bunch is really very different, to an extent I think you would have done it to appreciate what it is like and how one rides safely in a tight bunch. Racing is also very different than a group ride, where I have ridden fixed safely with others on freewheels. To be honest racing is dangerous and crashy enough as it is without having people fixed in there. You almost never touch your brakes in a race frankly.

    if you are riding so close in a bunch, then brakes are of little use anyway.
    Recipe: shave legs sparingly, rub in embrocation and drizzle with freshly squeezed baby oil.
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    I don't think anyone has mentioned the other really good reason not to ride Fixed in a race, pedal strike. Even with short cranks you'd probalby suffer from it on most crit circuits (there is a reason for banked corners on the track) and a lot of road racing circuits have tight corners that would be lethal riding fixed at race speeds as well.

    Single speed should be fine for the same reason, probably not a good way to win races (outside cross) but at least it would be safe.

    EDIT - Blorg beat me to it.
  • blackhandsblackhands Posts: 950
    A final word - in the days when fixeds were used in the TdeF with stages being much longer, riders tended to ride alone.
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    blorg wrote:

    That was in interesting link

    And it nearly worked !
    http://bikeraceinfo.com/giro/giro2005.html#stages
  • Interesting debate going on here about fixies and whether they are trend or transport - have a butchas http://bit.ly/c6ERSO
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    I read in CW how someone won a hillclimb on a singlespeed. People should compete on singlespeed more.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • stickman wrote:
    I read in CW how someone won a hillclimb on a singlespeed. People should compete on singlespeed more.

    a lot of hill climbs in the UK are won on fixed, especially those hill that are a constant high gradient
    Recipe: shave legs sparingly, rub in embrocation and drizzle with freshly squeezed baby oil.
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    That's great, and great that fixed is still allowed :)
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • TommyEssTommyEss Posts: 1,855
    Hill Climbs are technically Time Trials though, so are outside the UCI rules - hence no issues.

    Have seen some seriously light fixed wheel hill climb specials - right down into Weight Weenie territory, 6kgs or there abouts.
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 4,749 Lives Here
    30 years ago I used to ride fixed for 10 mile TT's and managed sub 22's, this year I will be back on fixed riding TT's.

    There something motivating about the constant unrelenting drive from fixed over 10 mile, I love it.
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    '30 years ago',

    On 531 bikes?
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 4,749 Lives Here
    stickman wrote:
    '30 years ago',

    On 531 bikes?

    Yep probably about 26/7 years ago my track bike was Columbus and my road bikes 531.

    Believe it or not but we ain't really progressed much from then to now
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    The good old days when bikes were bikes :)
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Monty Dog wrote:
    You could race single speed, but you'd have to choose the course carefully to make the most of an even speed.

    There's no real advantage in riding fixed in a RR, so why bother?

    A mate of mine turned up to race at a crit I was racing in on an Allez. Just before the start he snapped the rear gear cable. He was going to pull out but i said to him if he did just a few laps to see how he went then at least his entry wouldn't be wasted. Needless to say the sod went off and won the race much to the annoyence of the second place man who hadn't noticed my mate not changing gears for the duration. :lol:
Sign In or Register to comment.