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Are you faster on fixed ?

Discussion in 'Fixed Gear and Single Speed' started by PpPete, 12 Feb 2012.

  1. I'm quicker on fixed

  2. I'm quicker on gears

  3. I've never compared

  4. Gears? What are gears?

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    My fixed is based around 25 year old (approx) Reynolds 531 framed Carlton I bought off Ebay for £80, powder coated, and equipped with whatever gubbins I have lying around in the garage. The other day it's front wheel was fitted with a studded tyre in case of ice, but I decided that was un-necessary so at the last moment before setting off I swopped it out for a Fulcrum 7 which had 700x25 slick on it.
    Rode 38 km .. mostly flat loop, but with one or two nasty little lumps which were at the limit of what I could get up with a 74" gear on. Time was 1h 23min.... which I was rather pleased with, first time I've averaged over 16 mph on a solo ride.

    Today, in similar meteorological conditons, dressed in the same clothes, I rode exactly the same loop on my "best bike" - a Van Nic Yukon, with full Campag triple drive train, hand built wheels... I bike I have spent a lot of £££ on. Time 1h 22 min and I had to bust a gut to beat the previous time.

    The weight of the two bikes is very similar, and it got me thinking whether in fact, if I got my gearing dead right and improved my downhill spinning a bit I would actually be faster on fixed over this sort of short distance.

    Any one else made any comparisons?
  2. mangid

    mangid Über Member

    Average on my Langster is ~17.7, average on Roubaix Pro is 20+, definite difference. Roubaix, is slightly lighter, but the responsiveness when putting the power down is definitely noticeable.

  3. Pennine-Paul

    Pennine-Paul Goth on a bike............

    cant compare to riding same route on a geared bike as I only ride fixed
    ( with the occasional foray in the hills as a s/s) but on gently rolling hills
    I'm as fast as geared bikes on my commute but just cant keep up descending steep hills

    Ascending hills is a different matter,up to about 10% definitely faster,anything steeper
    and I'm overgeared,I had some young whippet drafting me on my commute uphill for
    about 2 miles till I got stopped at some lights,he turned right using the pedestrian crossings
    and cycled off at snails pace, a broken man:laugh:
  4. zigzag

    zigzag Veteran

    there is no definitive answer, it all depends on the terrain, length and gradient of the hills
    Aperitif and lukesdad like this.
  5. GrasB

    GrasB Veteran

    Nr Cambridge
    Define 'faster', if I keep my my fixed gear & road bike (my other bikes have significant aero advantages which are independent of the gearing system). The fixed delivers the lowest watts for a given, gear obtainable, speed which makes it faster when in a straight(ish) line on the flat plus shallower gradients (+7 to -3.5% on a 80" gear). THe geared bike is faster through tight corners & down steeper gradients & ultimately hits a higher peek speed. Over an entire ride the average speed is about the same for similar conditions.
  6. colly

    colly Re member eR

    I have yet to find out.

    I am building a fixed at the moment and in preparation went out today on my road bike and made a point of staying in just one sproket/chainring combination all the way round. 50 x 19 which I think will approximate to something like 42 x 18.
    It was a loop I have done before and it contains more than a few lumps and one which I really thought I would struggle with.
    I didn't struggle on any of the climbs although It was slow and a bit of a push at times. My average was about 1.5mph slower than I would usually expect. Having said that I was not 'trying' as it were, just enjoying the ride.
    I did find that I slipped into changing gear, I think, 3 times. Done pretty much unthinkingly, kind of on automatic, when I was beginning to spin out on the flat or on a slight downhill gradient. I wasn't even aware until the road began to rise up again.

    I am looking forward to finishing my new ride but I'm wondering how I'll cope with not being able to coast.
  7. Jezston

    Jezston Über Member

    I can definitely get off quicker and reach higher speeds on gears, but I seem to be able to hang around the 15-20mph mark a lot easier fixed than geared.
  8. dave r

    dave r The Little Diesel

    Holbrooks Coventry
    For me no difference, top end around 20mph on both gears and fixed, average speed 15-16 mph both on gears and fixed.

    This poll is flawed, theres no provision for us that see no difference.
  9. Bicycle

    Bicycle Guest

    I have several little, local loops, a 70-miler to my in-laws and I used to have a 22-mile thrice-weekly commute to work.

    Gears were quicker on all of them. In some cases significantly.

    I'm middle-aged and not in great shape and riding a 69" bodged-up fixie on an old steel road frame.

    I'm ride between Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Wales. The gradients may in part explain the greater speeds on geared bikes.

    For all that the geared rides are always quicker, fixie rides are always better.

    See right for an accurate portayal of me descending the Malvern Hills flat out: :hyper:
  10. Ian H

    Ian H Guru

    Funnily enough, although two of my fastest 400kms were on fixed, I am ultimately faster on gears. But fixed is fun.
  11. Sorry, can't compare, I hardly ever ride my cob-webbed geared bike over the same terrain as my fixed but from experience I would say there is not a lot in it. My fixed is a bit lighter and up to a certain steepness at least as quick as gears but obviously not as fast on a longish downhill. Also the longer the route the more energy sapping a fixed becomes.
  12. gaz

    gaz Cycle Camera TV

    South Croydon
    Inner city, they are about the same. Never ridden my fixed/ss on the hills I ride my geared bike on.
  13. italiafirenze

    italiafirenze World's Greatest Spy

    It must have something to do with not being able to coast on the fixed gear meaning more time is actually spent applying power combined with a reduction in drive train losses.

    Must it?

    I think I'm faster on my road bike but I would also say using a fixed gear has made me faster on the road bike due to improved efficiency and less tendency to coast.
    Ian H likes this.
  14. Nigel182

    Nigel182 Veteran

    Pretty much the same for me did the FNRttC Southend in March....Geared Bike Average 10.6
    again in Dec but Fixed Gear average 11.7 only thing faster was max speed due to coasting downhill.
  15. Smurfy

    Smurfy Naturist Smurf