+/- of riding SS

Emile Flournoy

Formerly known as Yellow-Road
Location
Covington
I'm curious to know what other riders think the pluses & minuses of riding a SS road bike are? I love the simplicity. I mean hell I never use more than 3 gears & 90% of the time only use 2 so the silent simplicity, less weight/complexity of a SS road bike suits me just right. To look at it from the other side of the coin I don't see a large or even a minor loss in not having more than one gear.

In all honesty I am far from an expert & realize I have alot to learn so I welcome constructive criticism of my opinion.

Thanks.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game procrastinator!
I made myself a SS bike, largely from spare parts so it didn't cost me much. I didn't expect to like it as much as I do. I thought I would just use it for trips to the shops and a few easy rides up and down the local valley roads but I have discovered that I can tackle modest hills on it, so I do.

I agree with the benefits you mentioned. I do experience disadvantages too though as soon as I try riding lumpier routes. The 52/19 gear is great for 24-27 km/hr (15-17 miles/hr) and usable to about 32-35 km/hr (20-22 miles/hour) but any faster than that involves too high a cadence for me. I spin out on modest downhills and have to freewheel. The disadvantage on steep local climbs is obvious... 15+% - no thanks! :laugh:
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
I ride gears, fixed and single speed. All have their niche.

I use the 67" SS for short loops and like the work out it gives me. Slow strength training on the hills and fast cadence training on the flats/descents. This bike used to be fixed, but there are too many descents in Kent to make it enjoyable. Have ridden this as fixed for the Castle ride (100 ml), but the last few miles killed me in the shoulders as you can't quite relax as you would do on a geared/freewheel bike.

The fixed is a 95" set up for 10 mile TT's. I only ride our club's evening 10 series now, so never long events, although in the past have ridden a 50 or two on a fixed. A few seasons ago, I was experimenting and comparing a fixed bike with a gears bike and by the end of the season, only 20 seconds separated the two bikes. So now just use a fixed for TT's as it is just simpler and I think on the "perfect" night, will be quicker as it is lighter and has less drag than a geared bike.

My geared bike, which started as a 2x10, was converted to a 1x10, with a 40t chainring and I am using this for the longer leisurely and more hilly rides and find changing down and keeping the revs on the hills a luxury.

One other reason I have for riding a fixed for TT's, is the fact that my Dad rode fixed as did everybody in those days and he achieved a "5" for a 25 and I promised myself that I would wait until I could beat his time before I switched to gears. I am still waiting, although I am 37 years older than he was when he did that ride.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game procrastinator!
Go fixed, far better.
I was talking to @colly about that subject on the Humber Bridge ride on Saturday. (He did it on fixed and I was on SS.)

What puts me off is the idea of riding one in traffic and on poor road surfaces. If I suddenly come across a big pothole at speed, I can bunnyhop it but colly said that he didn't fancy trying to bunnyhop on fixed. I also don't fancy the ridiculously high cadence needed to descend quickly - I would need to be doing 200-220 rpm on some of my local descents.

I can definitely see the advantage on climbs of fixed vs SS. The dead spots on the pedal stroke really kill my legs on my (71" gear) SS above about 8% gradient and 15+% just isn't on for me. I have seen people climb 20% on fixed.

I would love to be able to do away with the chain tensioner. SS on a bike with horizontal dropouts would be the answer for me, and I suppose I could give fixed a go if it had a flip-flop hub. No funds available for that though ... Maybe one day! :whistle:
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
I may have crashed once due to a pot hole on the fixed, but that was in 7 years.

You can still hop the front wheel over stuff, followed by the rear, but not bunny hop.
 
OP
OP
Emile Flournoy

Emile Flournoy

Formerly known as Yellow-Road
Location
Covington
Yall are right, bunnyhopping is an imperative skill on a SS. I failed to mention I ride a freewheel SS Windsor Hour+. The lightness, the razor sharp handling, despite having rim brakes it stops pretty quick. Now when I see any bike w/ a derailleur I think major overkill.
 
I am sure there are some superhumans on this forum who could ride a SS road bike on some of the rides I sometimes do in the Brecon Beacons. Good luck to them, but I wouldn't stand a chance.

I would say the only disadvantage of a SS road bike, for most riders, would be that you have to be selective of the routes you use.
 

colly

Re member eR
Location
Leeds
Taking up fixed a few years ago l did tend to be careful of thr routes l took.
However l found that all but the most difficult of climbs were still manageable.
If l fancy a ride that is hilly with some steep climbs then it has to be the geared bike.
Even so l've tackled and managed some surprisingly long steep-ish climbs on fixed, even ones where l'm slipping down to the lowest gears if l'm on my geared bike.
Being fixed the bike will roll you over that 'dead spot' and that helps.
If its too much....l just get off and push
No shame in that.^_^
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4F

KneesUp

Guru
I sort of get the fixie thing - the direct connection and all that - but like @ColinJ , I live somewhere too hilly to consider it (and my knees are borked from playing 5 a side when injured too often so they let me know if I'm in too high a gear quite quickly)

I don't really get the single speed thing though - I mean, I get the challenge element, but I can (and do, sometimes) replicate it on my bike by just not changing gear. I guess it looks neater.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game procrastinator!
There is a little hill
I don't really get the single speed thing though - I mean, I get the challenge element, but I can (and do, sometimes) replicate it on my bike by just not changing gear. I guess it looks neater.
It also keeps the weight and cost of the bike down, probably makes it less likely to be stolen, and has fewer parts to get covered in gritty crap in the winter.

I made mine because a friend gave me a surplus frame/fork, but I already had enough bikes with lots of gears on so there wasn't much point in making another. It only cost me about £70 on top of what parts I already had to build the SS.
 
OP
OP
Emile Flournoy

Emile Flournoy

Formerly known as Yellow-Road
Location
Covington
I don't really get the single speed thing though - I mean, I get the challenge element, but I can (and do, sometimes) replicate it on my bike by just not changing gear. I guess it looks neater.

I hear ya. For me its not being part of a faddish, hip or cool thing or any organized thought to it. I just like the 1:1 ratio and the stripped down to bare essentials of cycling. I do agree there most definitely does exist a movement of hipsters who soley ride an unbraked, fixed gear single speed bicycle to be part of some kind "cool club" which I want nothing to do w/.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
I made myself an SS, and very quickly the realisation struck me that gears are really rather good, and if I'd thought about it I could have saved all that hassle and simply ridden one of my other bikes about for a bit without changing gear.

It's now my least used bike.

For all that I do appreciate that some folk dig it where I didn't, and respect their tastes.
 
Top Bottom