Beginner

Discussion in 'Fixed & Singlespeed' started by surfinbird, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. surfinbird

    surfinbird Guest

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    I am wondering if you have a fixed gear bike, and you stop pedaling, do the pedals keep moving and hit your feet or can they spin freely?
     
  2. BackBayBrewing

    BackBayBrewing New Member

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    If you are on a fixed gear, and you (attempt) to stop pedaling, you are likely to get pitched over the handle bars if you are going fast enough. Yes, the pedals do keep moving. That is where the name comes from. The gear is fixed to the hub, as opposed to what you think of as a "normal" bike where there is a ratchet system (or freewheel) in the hub. On a so called normal bike, when you stop pedaling, the wheel continues to spin, but the chain, and your pedals can stay still because the hub is "ratcheting." On a fixed gear however, when you stop pedaling, the wheel continues to spin, and because the gear, is directly attached to the hub without any kind of ratchet, the chain continues to spin which in turn continues to drive the pedals until the wheel comes to a stop.

    It happens to almost everybody when the first start riding fixed. You forget that you are riding a fixed gear at some point, and you simply try to stop pedaling. If you aren't ready for it, the pedals will push back on your feet and can actually propel you over your handlebars. It is very common right after ascending a hill. You get to the top and want to sit back on the seat and stop pedaling for a little breather. You get quite the surprise when you try it.

    Coincidentally, even though you probably think of a bike with a freewheel or cassette as a "normal bike" the first chain driven bikes were all fixed gears, including the first ones used in the tour de france. The riders had what are called "flip-flop" hubs with a different gear mounted on each side. When it came time to ride up a mountain, they would sit down on the side of the road, take the wheel off and flop it around for the easier gear, and get back on with the ride.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009

  3. Sean

    Sean New Member

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    A common compromise is a flip flop hub. You can put it on one way, and it is fixed ( you must always pedal ), or put it on the other way, and you are single-speed. You can stop pedaling, but you still have the simplicity of a single speed bike; no gear changes, no nonsense.

    Luck.
     
  4. tajcrews

    tajcrews New Member

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    Just put your feet in the air like when you were a kid and you wont have any problems. Seriously though, as already said yes your feet move if the wheel is moving on a fixie.
     
  5. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

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    OK then what is the purpose of riding a fixed.

    I understand the freewheel, and remember the old bikes I had with a "coaster brake" but why ride a bike like a fixed where you have to take you feet off the pedals to just coast along specially down a hill? Wouldn't it be better to ride a coaster brake style bike?
     
  6. Andrew

    Andrew New Member

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    There's no real purpose to riding a fixed. That is, no purpose that is different to riding any other bike.

    As BackBayBrewing said, the first bikes built had a fixed gear. Some kids bikes still do. It really is as simple as some people just like riding fixed!

    There are supposed benefits to riding fixed though. Your pedalling style will benefit by becoming smoother and more even, and discourages a leg bias. The French call it 'souplesse'. If you're a keen road cyclist this may be of interest to you. Many roadies train on fixed through the winter for precisely this reason.
     
  7. Burr

    Burr Cranking Old Guy

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    I think the Velo track bikes are fixed and constant! I think!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  8. BikingViking

    BikingViking Guest

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    So I'm guessing you would definately want some brakes if you were riding a fixed gear bike so you dont go flying down a hill with your cranks spinning?
     
  9. Andrew

    Andrew New Member

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    Brakes (or a front brake anyway) are certainly useful! And a legal requirement in many countries. Many fixed have only a front brake and some/many have no brakes at all. I personally wouldn't ride without at least a front brake... well, depending on where & terrain that is.

    You have a lot of braking in the rear with your legs (that's not leg breaking!!). Recently, a court in Germany accepted that leg braking meets the legal requirement for a brake on a bicycle.
     
  10. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

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    When I was a kid, around 13-14 yrs old. I had a nice BMX bike and was the first in town to have a freewheel. My buddy got one 3 days later. He was the first to wear completely through his tennis shoe and actually grab foot with his rear tire. He wasn't wearing socks. I rode that bike for 3 years and it had brakes 3 times and each time I kept them on less than a month I always went back to just dragging my foot on the rear tire. My mom thought I was stupid to ruin my shoes like that but she allowed it to continue because I bought my own shoes. The only problem I can see with the foot on the rear tire method with a fixy would be maintaining some control with one foot going around in circles as you try to drag the other on the tire. A little practice and I would say it would be second nature in no time. Like unclipping from your pedals.
     
  11. Ted

    Ted Guest

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    I ride a fixed and there's no easy way you just go with the flow. The momentum feels more energetic if that makes any sense.
     
  12. darkangel

    darkangel Guest

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    How could you brake fast enough if you needed to when using your shoe?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2009
  13. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

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    Easy, just whip your foot back to the tire and drag it. I could lock a tire up and skid a tire down to the tubes faster than you could say "Watch out your tire is gonna blow."


    PS, I didn't edit your post as it says above. I have more buttons and hit the wrong one so it says I did but really I didn't, really trust me.;)