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riding fixie with flat pedals?

Bacteria ManBacteria Man Posts: 61
edited September 2010 in Commuting general
I'm considering flipping my flop and learning to ride fixie instead of SS in this horrible weather (soggy cantilevers have not filled me with confidence when trying to stop). However, I don't like the idea of being locked onto the pedals in case something goes wrong and I have to bail. Is it a bad idea to used fixed wheel with flat pedals?

Posts

  • CraggersCraggers Posts: 185
    If your planning on using your legs to slow down then it's a bad idea... especially in the wet. A decent set of toe clips should do the trick.

    Though if you're gonna use toe clips you might as well go clipless. With a litttle practice you'll be able to get your foot unclipped faster than you would be able to get it out of a toe clip.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    if you have brakes or a brake no probs.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • i rode fixed for a year without clips - ok as long as you hace brakes and cycle at a moderate pace and don't over do it with speed.... however...... since switching going clipless, i could never go back. You will need to learn how to unclip with the pedals moving as you cannot coast and be careful if you have toe-overlap.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I would say no - and not even if you have brakes.

    Man up and ride with locked in feet.
  • andy83andy83 Posts: 1,558
    i actually feel a lot safer clipped in on my fixed, scared the life out of me when i wasnt
  • salsajakesalsajake Posts: 702
    guy on broad st in front of me the other week, locking his back wheel in traffic all the time, sliding around, wobbling and looking like an accident waiting to happen - seriously, what is the point with fixed, I don't get it!?
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    salsajake wrote:
    guy on broad st in front of me the other week, locking his back wheel in traffic all the time, sliding around, wobbling and looking like an accident waiting to happen - seriously, what is the point with fixed, I don't get it!?

    I used to say that. Now I know the truth. Try it...
  • Oddjob62Oddjob62 Posts: 1,056
    salsajake wrote:
    guy on broad st in front of me the other week, locking his back wheel in traffic all the time, sliding around, wobbling and looking like an accident waiting to happen - seriously, what is the point with fixed, I don't get it!?

    Put an idiot in control of any vehicle and it's an accident waiting to happen.
    As yet unnamed (Dolan Seta)
    Joelle (Focus Expert SRAM)
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Oddjob62 wrote:
    salsajake wrote:
    guy on broad st in front of me the other week, locking his back wheel in traffic all the time, sliding around, wobbling and looking like an accident waiting to happen - seriously, what is the point with fixed, I don't get it!?

    Put an idiot in control of any vehicle and it's an accident waiting to happen.

    Good thinking. Greg T to thread! We need to do a little experiment...
  • salsajake wrote:
    guy on broad st in front of me the other week, locking his back wheel in traffic all the time, sliding around, wobbling and looking like an accident waiting to happen - seriously, what is the point with fixed, I don't get it!?

    I'm kindof in the same mindset, at least for the majority of bike journeys. My commute is a bit on the hilly side for fixed and I reckon I could do it significantly faster on SS, even when I'm used to riding fixed. However, this recent spat of bad weather and the knowledge that winter will soon close-in, I'm thinking it would be good to have another way of controlling my speed, especially downhill. Anyway commuting in rain/snow seems to become less about getting there as quickly as possible and more about getting there in one piece.

    I did go for an easy ride on dry roads over the wknd to try out fixed. I think I'm starting to get it, although with flat pedals I can only slow myself on the pedals upward stroke. I haven't removed my brakes and I don't plan to, at least for the foreseeable future. Maybe I should get a set of clipless pedals and shoes, but I imagine we're talking £150 minimum just to try it out. Any products to recommend?
  • salsajake wrote:
    guy on broad st in front of me the other week, locking his back wheel in traffic all the time, sliding around, wobbling and looking like an accident waiting to happen - seriously, what is the point with fixed, I don't get it!?

    Try this thread?

    To the OP- I wouldn't aim to compensate for poor brakes by using a fixed gear. It's not that effective, and allegedly not great for your knees.
    The idea of riding brakeless comes from using track bikes (which don't need brakes, 'cos everyones going the same way at the same speed) on the street... it's illegal and none too safe, IMHO. Brakes are a Good Idea, when you're sharing your track with, well, just about anyone, really!!

    Cheers,
    W.
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    salsajake wrote:
    guy on broad st in front of me the other week, locking his back wheel in traffic all the time, sliding around, wobbling and looking like an accident waiting to happen - seriously, what is the point with fixed, I don't get it!?

    I'm kindof in the same mindset, at least for the majority of bike journeys. My commute is a bit on the hilly side for fixed and I reckon I could do it significantly faster on SS, even when I'm used to riding fixed. However, this recent spat of bad weather and the knowledge that winter will soon close-in, I'm thinking it would be good to have another way of controlling my speed, especially downhill. Anyway commuting in rain/snow seems to become less about getting there as quickly as possible and more about getting there in one piece.

    I did go for an easy ride on dry roads over the wknd to try out fixed. I think I'm starting to get it, although with flat pedals I can only slow myself on the pedals upward stroke. I haven't removed my brakes and I don't plan to, at least for the foreseeable future. Maybe I should get a set of clipless pedals and shoes, but I imagine we're talking £150 minimum just to try it out. Any products to recommend?

    I would go SS in the wet fella.....riding fixed in the wet is not the best. I ride fixed everyday - about 20 mile round trip, up and down some hills. It is great fun and I think my general abilities have improved, not to mention pedal technique.

    But, don't do it without toe clips or half clips or clipless pedals - you will enter a new world of pain. And try it in the dry first, nothing worse than locking the rear in the wet when you have a panic moment (take a bit of riding to be able to control skid stops.)
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Riding fixed in the wet is fine unless you're a macho leg-braker (which as Buns points out is pointless and can be bad for you). The leg braking is of course an optional extra if and when you need i to top up your hand brakest, but that's a plus, not a minus.
  • andy83andy83 Posts: 1,558
    its a must try, im a convert.

    to be honest skidding to stop is just dangerous. I actually ride fixed a lot more than geared

    its much better for fitness, form, and im actually faster on certain routes, hills get easier when you learn to use the momentum. it also helps if your tired as you wont freewheel :)
  • Maybe I should get a set of clipless pedals and shoes, but I imagine we're talking £150 minimum just to try it out. Any products to recommend?

    you can get em much cheaper than that. I managed to get a pair of shimano SPD shoes for 16 quid in decathlon (admittedly a one off uber bargain - but they do some fairly ok, cheap shoes) and some shimano m520 pedals are only 20 quid or so. I've got some on my SS and they do the job fine - had no problems with them whatsoever. I think the switch to spds is massively overblown, just try em out on a quiet road and clip out way before you stop for the first few rides and you'll never want to go back to flatties.
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    andy83 wrote:
    to be honest skidding to stop is just dangerous.
    Don't be daft, how is it dangerous?
  • _Brun_ wrote:
    andy83 wrote:
    to be honest skidding to stop is just dangerous.
    Don't be daft, how is it dangerous?

    When I was following one through traffic and he kept skidding in front of me and wobbling and sliding around it didn't look the safest and made my attempts to pass him more dangerous than passing a normal cyclist travelling in a straight line!
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Because even if you can control it well (and most people can't - and can you skid stop at all points on the pedal stroke?), it's not as efficient as braking, and in the wet you may as well serenely plough into whatever's appeared in front of you as you'll get no purchase whatsoever.
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    Just because you witness one person riding like an censored doesn't mean what they're doing is necessarily dangerous. You wouldn't extend the same logic to riding no-handed for example, which is a perfectly safe thing to do under the right circumstances but would be completely stupid in others. It's like stating that riding at over 20mph is dangerous.

    Also, I think it's reasonable to argue that someone who can confidently skid the back wheel will have a better appreciation of what's going between the tyre and road, and be able to control it better in adverse or emergency situations. I'd never advocate riding without a front brake of course, which definitely is dangerous.
  • andy83andy83 Posts: 1,558
    _Brun_ wrote:
    andy83 wrote:
    to be honest skidding to stop is just dangerous.
    Don't be daft, how is it dangerous?

    im a big lad, and im scared to try it, dont you think i would love to do it if i felt safe but i just dont!

    check out the video top middle and tell me that aint fun

    http://mashsf.com/videos.php
  • andy83andy83 Posts: 1,558
    _Brun_ wrote:
    andy83 wrote:
    to be honest skidding to stop is just dangerous.
    Don't be daft, how is it dangerous?

    im a big lad, and im scared to try it, dont you think i would love to do it if i felt safe but i just dont!

    check out the video top middle and tell me that aint fun

    http://mashsf.com/videos.php
  • Alphabet wrote:
    Maybe I should get a set of clipless pedals and shoes, but I imagine we're talking £150 minimum just to try it out. Any products to recommend?

    you can get em much cheaper than that. I managed to get a pair of shimano SPD shoes for 16 quid in decathlon (admittedly a one off uber bargain - but they do some fairly ok, cheap shoes) and some shimano m520 pedals are only 20 quid or so. I've got some on my SS and they do the job fine - had no problems with them whatsoever. I think the switch to spds is massively overblown, just try em out on a quiet road and clip out way before you stop for the first few rides and you'll never want to go back to flatties.


    Actually yeah I reckon I can get a beginners setup for 60 to 70 quid from CRC. Is it really that good though? I'm just not sure-I've had a couple of incidents where I've caught a pedal on a corner at low-ish speed and I've been able to put my foot on the ground and just about save myself. I assume this would be impossible with SPDs.
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    Good to see you're coming round to the idea of SPDs. Clipless pedals are much narrower than flats, so pedal strike shouldn't be a problem as long as your BB height and crank length are reasonably accommodating. You should get used to subconsciously staying more upright while cornering anyway.

    I'd seriously advise against riding fixed without proper foot retention. Losing your grip on the pedals going downhill is definitely dangerous if you don't get your foot out of the way before the pedal comes round and smashes into your heel or ankle.

    To be honest I just don't get the point of one without the other. Pretty much all the benefits of riding fixed are lost if your feet are not stuck to the pedals.
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    andy83 wrote:
    _Brun_ wrote:
    andy83 wrote:
    to be honest skidding to stop is just dangerous.
    Don't be daft, how is it dangerous?

    im a big lad, and im scared to try it, dont you think i would love to do it if i felt safe but i just dont!

    check out the video top middle and tell me that aint fun

    http://mashsf.com/videos.php
    Sorry, but I'm now at a bit of a loss to understand your statement that skidding is dangerous.

    That page reformats itself depending on browser size, so it's kinda hard to tell which one's the middle that you refer to.
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    BTW pedal strike is very rare on a properly set up fixed bike. Track bikes, which make up a large proportion of fixed bikes on the road, have higher bottom brackets and shorter cranks to avoid pedal strike on steep velodromes.

    Combine this with relatively narrow pedals (I have some MKS track ones) and you'd have to be at an angle of more than 45 degrees to risk pedal strike. If I remeber I'll take a picture to demonstrate.
  • _Brun__Brun_ Posts: 1,740
    More than 45 degrees sounds a little optimistic, unless your BobJ is some sort of freak-bike with children's cranks. Dunno what my BB height is off the top of my head, but the cranks are 167.5mm...

    leanmachine.jpg

    I've no idea how close the pedals might have come to the ground, but they've certainly never hit it. Probably will tonight on the way home now.
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    I'll try and take a photo tonight. Anecdotally I'd say they're much further from the ground than yours but I may be imagining it. I do have shorter cranks, and my pedals are quite short, and my frame is track-specific.
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Hmm, so you're right , the lean is nowhere near 45 degrees, though my setup can lean further than yours can. Here's the evidence - the pedal isn't quite touching the ground here:

    pinkbikeleaning.jpg
  • andy83andy83 Posts: 1,558
    _Brun_ wrote:
    andy83 wrote:
    _Brun_ wrote:
    andy83 wrote:
    to be honest skidding to stop is just dangerous.
    Don't be daft, how is it dangerous?

    im a big lad, and im scared to try it, dont you think i would love to do it if i felt safe but i just dont!

    check out the video top middle and tell me that aint fun

    http://mashsf.com/videos.php
    Sorry, but I'm now at a bit of a loss to understand your statement that skidding is dangerous.

    That page reformats itself depending on browser size, so it's kinda hard to tell which one's the middle that you refer to.

    I would love to be able to do it and if you can pull it off fair play to you, but i just dont have the confidence to be able to do it so therefore to me its dangerous

    maybe i shouldnt have said dangerous but actually scary for me
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