Monday, October 6, 2008

Open thread #1: Fixed-gear bikes

I ask this out of ignorance: What are the virtues of fixed-gear bicycles?

At the first Readers' Ride, both Bryan and Peter rode fixed-gear bikes, but it simply didn't occur to me to ask them this question. So, I asked Chris yesterday, and he didn't know, either--only that they seem to be a pretty popular choice among cyclists of late.

So, I hope that you fixed-gear types will reply in the comments. Thanks in advance for the education.

7 comments:

coppercorn said...

The smarty-pants answer is "studliness", but maybe that's limited to brakeless fixies.

So I believe the actual answer is lightweight and low-maintenance. Having knocked the chain off the derailleur on multiple occasions I can see the benefit of the second, but not enough to give up coasting.

Tom said...

I think the obvious answer is that there is no advantage, only disadvantages. But the fun is in the challenge of being disadvantaged. Its kind of like hunters who choose use a primitive bow instead of a rifle. The rifle is obviously is a superior weapon.

Peter Janson Paggi said...

There aren't any velodromes in the Wichita area, so track cycling's out ):

I liked it in Albany due to the fact that it was easier to control my speed in city traffic and on campus. This didn't really translate well to Wichita's highways, though. It certainly is simple to maintain, but then again, the same could be said for a singlespeed freewheel, so I'm kind of wary to put that in the "pro" column. As far as training goes, though, it's pretty great. The heavy gear and constant pedaling, as well as resisting momentum to stop, makes for a heck of a workout, and also really helps with your cadence (I've found, at least). It's certainly not as efficient as a nice aero road or TT bike, but that's why you're not going to see someone riding fixed in the Tour de France.

Plus, it's great to trackstand through a red light when you're in front of a bunch of cars

Fixed Bicycle Gear.com said...

There is no advantage, its like driving a stick shift vs an automatic car. You have more control, you feel one with your car, and its just damn fun ;)

Cordelia said...

FBG, what do you mean, there's no advantage, its like driving a stick shift ? Sticks are far superior and vastly advantageous. :-) Brakeless fixies strike me as suicide machines, human-gerbil on a wheel continuum, but whatever keeps you biking...

Bryan G said...

I love my fixed gear. I now wish I had been riding it longer. The more I ride it the more I like it. I have over 1,000 miles on it so far and I have only had it since the end of May. It does a lot to build strength and endurance. With multiple gears when one hits a hill or a headwind they shift to a lower gear to not have to resort any more effort. With a fixed gear one has to just work harder. Also with a regular road bike one tends to get lazy and coast a lot sine the freewheel allows one to do so. With a fixed gear that is not possible so one always gets the exercise of pedaling.

But one of the coolest things about riding a fixed gear is that a lot of people on a regular road bike with multiple gears think you must have lost your mind to want to ride one.

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