Fixed wheel/gears.........why ??

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by Dave7, 10 Feb 2018.

  1. Dave7

    Dave7 Guru

    OOPS.......just realised there is a specific section for fixies. Mods feel free to move or eliminate this.
    Serious question.
    Feel free to answer whether you or for or against but I am really interested in knowing WHY.
    The only one I ever tried was 50 years ago.........that one didn't allow you to stop pedalling (until bike had stopped of course). Not sure how I got off it still alive :smile:
    I just don't understand the concept i.e. why not have a choice of gears and be able to free wheel when you want to?
    sight-pin and raleighnut like this.
  2. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    Control, simplicity, efficiency, easier maintenance. I'm never likely to ride one on the roads but I can understand why people do. My personal compromise is a 3 speed: same beefy chain, still up further away from road crud, but freewheel and choice of gears at the expense of 8ish% typical efficiency loss IIRC. A clean derailleur in a gear with the ideal chain line will beat that but there are few clean derailleurs or ideal chain lines in winter.
    HLaB, wicker man, Alan O and 4 others like this.
  3. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    On 3 Wheels
    Likewise I rode one once about 45yrs ago and hated it especially going down the big hill Enderby sits on, nearly the worst bike I ever rode but that accolade goes to Bill Moore's Sister's Moulton. :ohmy:
    Dave7 and sight-pin like this.
  4. ChrisEyles

    ChrisEyles Veteran

    For me it's just something a little bit different to mix things up. I tend to be quite lazy on a geared bike, fixed/SS makes you attack every single hill, and on fixed since you've got to be pedalling all the time you might as well put some effort in.

    I love riding it on flattish/rolling terrain, and have had it out on a couple of dedicated cycling tracks which has also been great fun. On the Devon lanes, flattish and uphill roads are fine, but going down steep bends can be downright scary, and I've had the odd moment where a landrover comes barreling towards you and you instinctively try and brake and freewheel, and get shunted off the saddle and into the handlebars while still spinning like a ninny... which isn't quite as much fun.

    In summary if I could only have one bike, no way would it be a fixed gear, but I do enjoy the one I have.
  5. Ian H

    Ian H Guru

    East Devon
    Whenever I climb off the fixed and on to gears, I think this is bliss: gears, freewheel.
    Whenever I climb off gears and on to fixed, I think this is bliss: silence, simplicity, absolutely connected to the bike.
    smutchin, dave r, mangid and 5 others like this.
  6. OP

    Dave7 Guru

    That is my over riding memory
    raleighnut and ChrisEyles like this.
  7. SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    I find the whole idea of fixed wheels utterly pointless. It's the sort of bike Fred Flintstone would have had. Prehistoric. You might as well ride on a penny farthing.
    The argument about mechanical efficiency only stacks up against multi-geared bikes. There is absolutely no mechanical advantage to a fixed wheel over a single speed freewheel which has an optimal static chainline.
  8. Fixed wheel is great, you pedal backwards and guess what ???

    You go backwards !!

    Great fun when you get the hang of it !!^_^^_^^_^
  9. midlife

    midlife Veteran

    Track stands :smile:
  10. colly

    colly Re member eR

    When I was around 14 or so a fixed wheel was something I cobbled together probably because my mates had one. Fixed wheel with cow horn bars IIRC. Used it for a while and don't recall any mishaps on it. No idea when I gave it up or what superceded it.

    I picked up cycling again some 30 years later and 5 or 6 years ago I made myself up a fixed wheel bike
    SDC10639 shrunk.jpg

    from a frame bought off @biggs682 who gets on here. I loved it. Simple, almost maintainance free, pretty much silent, never hearing the chain rattling because it was just a bit out. I rode it pretty much as my only bike for around 5 years.
    It's quite hilly in Leeds and where I ride and much to my surprise it didn't really stop me getting anywhere I could on my geared bike.
    Obviously there are some hills/routes I can't do on it but they are a struggle even on a geared bike. It's also odd that while getting up hills seems slower, and going down hills is limited the difference in journey times between fixed and geared is negligable.
    I have been off cycling much for a year or so and in the mean time I have aquired a geared bike and made up another fixed.

    I'm riding a geared bike atm, especially as I try to get some cycling fitness back but will always enjoy my fixed bike.

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    woodbutcher, biggs682 and Sharky like this.
  11. 12boy

    12boy Senior Member

    Casper WY USA
    Fixed bikes are good because they:
    Are like beginning riding all over again.
    Are cheap and easy to maintain. Tires, chains and one set of brake pads are the consumables.
    Rims last a lot longer because the brakes are used far less.
    Traction on mud, snow, wet roads or ice seems easier to control, at least to me. There are fixed gear mountain bikers here in Wyoming that enjoy the challenges a 63 gear inch rigid bike presents.
    They are a bit more exercise than single speed or geared bikes.
    They are a pound or more lighter since they don't have sprockets, multiple chainrings, rear brakes or IGH, as a rule. As a rule since Sturmey Archer does sell a 3 speed fixed hub.
    On the negative, I don't enjoy going down steeper hills at 140 rpm.
    All the disadvantages of having only 1 speed are there.
    Setting up a fixie requires spot on chainline and the right amount of chain tension. Therefore, track ends or horizontal dropouts are preferrable although eccentric hubs and bottom brackets, usually expensive, do work.
    dave r, Alan O, colly and 1 other person like this.
  12. Tim Hall

    Tim Hall Guest

    Nonsense. A fixed wheel bike has a chain and gearing, something a direct drive bike, such as a penny-farthing, doesn't.
  13. Phaeton

    Phaeton Guru

    Oop North (ish)
    Is that not made up for by the size of the wheel?
  14. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Everyone had a fixed gear bike in the stable back in the day. Mechanical simplicity, great control and a doddle to get used to.

    Almost thief proof too as the average scrote will break his neck should he nick it.
    tyred, screenman, Alan O and 2 others like this.
  15. Afnug

    Afnug Everything you can imagine is real

    Ride up a hill with the same gearing on fixed and on a freewheel and I'll bet you will be quicker on fixed.
    broady, Milkfloat, rb58 and 1 other person like this.
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