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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering building up my first fixed gear. I've never ridden one, but it sounds like fun -- and I LOVE the look of the simplicity of a fixed bike.

But -- I am really concerned about the likelihood of crashing on a FG. I've read stories about crashing while coasting, endo's, etc. Is it inevitable that one will crash on a FG? I am certainly not above brain farts, and I'd be using at least a front brake. I'd like to think that riding fixed is no more risky than riding non-fixed, but...

Thoughts? :confused:
 

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No different than any other bike.

LugNut said:
I'm considering building up my first fixed gear. I've never ridden one, but it sounds like fun -- and I LOVE the look of the simplicity of a fixed bike.

But -- I am really concerned about the likelihood of crashing on a FG. I've read stories about crashing while coasting, endo's, etc. Is it inevitable that one will crash on a FG? I am certainly not above brain farts, and I'd be using at least a front brake. I'd like to think that riding fixed is no more risky than riding non-fixed, but...

Thoughts? :confused:
It is the nut behind the wheel that causes all the problems.

BTW is it inevitable? Well no, no more so than any other bike (I'll point out that the darn things won't stay up by themselves) or perhaps even less as the skill level and experience of fixed riders should tend to be higher than the general cycling population IMHO.
 

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No greater liklihood of crashing

I started riding a fixed a couple of months ago for my commuting and wet weather rides. While it is different it's not some other-worldly skill that requires years of meditation with shaved-headed monks in a remote monastery. Two wheels, pedals; it's just another bike. Practice a little in an empty parking lot or on quiet streets and you'll be fine.
 

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The likelihood of a crash/fall is probably greatest during those first couple of weeks while you're still getting used to the bike. Just about everyone has an incident early on when they need to brake or something and forget they're riding a fixie. They then lock their legs as if they were about to coast, but since the pedals keep moving on a fixie, they get thrown up out of the seat. Most of the time the rider just bounces an inch or two and then recovers. Occasionally, depending on the circumstances, they end up loosing their balance and falling. The likelihood of this happening increases if the new fixie rider is attempting to make a panic-stop.

Making emergency turns/dodges is also trickier on a fixie, as you balancing the bike is different when you have to keep pedalling. This might also cause problems for a new rider.

But after a couple weeks or so you get used to this stuff and learn to keep your legs relaxed and moving and whatnot. Once you learn that, riding a fixie is just like riding a regular bike. Just try and be extra careful at first and you should be fine. Avoid the urge to go racing in traffic until after have some road time under your belt.

And for God's sake use your brakes. Skidding is kewl and all that, and it's a terribly ineffecient way to stop, and it's quite to easy to loose your balance in an emergency stop if you're not prepared properly.
 

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Tips For the beginner...

I have been riding fixed for a few years. However, since I am not exclusively riding fixed, I do tend to forget I'm on a fixed every now and then.

There are two circumstances that get me every time.

1. Saturday a week ago something flew into the back of my jersey and was "sticking" me. I sat up (both hands off bars, swatting at my back) and then...coasted...or at least tried.

I bounced up an few inches and dove for the bars. Forget about what ever the creature was in my jersey...

REMEMBER-Those on the road short, jersey, helmet or what ever adjustments must be done while spinning.


2. Last Fall (the season, not the action), I was coming down a steep hill. I was spinning pretty fast and realized that the right turn up ahead was at least a good 45 degree turn. I dove into it and lightly tapped my pedal against the road. Clearly, I was going way too fast for the turn, but the 165 crank arms saved the day.

So, for starting out, I'd bet you will forget a time or two. Go with shorter crank arms and platform pedals (no clip ins, at first).

I wouldn't worry about crashing...no more than usual. You will have a blast and the fixie will become one of your favorites.
 

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I concur. There's nothing inherently more dangerous about riding a fixie, as long as you have a brake. As for pedals, clipless or toe clips are a must - don't let anyone try to tell you that it's somehow safer to have bare platforms.

When I first strated about 5 years ago, I had at least one "oh sh*t" moment per ride, as I tried to do something like bunnyhop a curb or coast, or use a turn signal with my braking hand. But nothing serious ever happened - just a few intense little wake-up calls.

Keep your wits about you, take your corners wide, use a brake, and keep your feet on the pedals. You'll be fine after the first couple of weeks. You're getting really good advice by all the other responders here, by the way. They know of what they speak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the tips! I'm open to further suggestions, too.

I'm considering 165 cranks -- I ride 170's on my road bike. I'm also thinking of using a flip-flop hub...

Here are some pix of the frame that should arrive today.
 

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Good luck and...

choose your pedal carefully. You don't have the luxury of coasting for clip-in. Get a pedal/cleat combination you can clip into while pedaling. Although some use Look pedals on their fixte, I could never master a simple clip in with my Look pedals on the road bike so I wouldn't consider putting it on the fixte. I got Crank Brothers Candys and find they're great for me.

YMMV
 

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Ditto on the clipless pedals; dual-sided entry should be a priority; I've used Ritchey mountain pedals and Speedplay road pedals with success, but now I've gone to MKS platforms with clips & straps. That frame will make a nice conversion!
 

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I'm with the no special worries crew. It does take a bit of getting used to and certainly it's possible to drop any bike (or to get hit while you're on any bike), but I don't see why you need to crash at all learning to ride a fixie--I didn't. Take your first few rides someplace comfortable--flat or easy terrain and low traffic. Get used to the bike a bit and take your corners on the conservative side. You'll likely "forget" a few times and try to coast--this is a little jarring, but there's no reason why it should necessarily throw you from the bike. I suspect that you'll get the hang of it quickly enough--it is, as they say, "just like riding a bike."

As for pedals: use what you like. I use Look pedals and haven't had any problems, but if you prefer another road pedal or an mtb pedal, that's fine too. There's no real mystery to clipping in--again, it's a bit different from doing it on a gearie, and you'll get the hang of whatever you choose with a little bit of practice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
fixintogo said:
Ditto on the clipless pedals; dual-sided entry should be a priority; I've used Ritchey mountain pedals and Speedplay road pedals with success, but now I've gone to MKS platforms with clips & straps. That frame will make a nice conversion!
I use Speedplays on my road bike and will stick w/them on the fixie.

The frame just arrived!! :D
 

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racerx said:
Go with shorter crank arms and platform pedals (no clip ins, at first).
IMHO, as a beginner you need to be able to clip in because if your feet come off the pedals you lose most of your stopping power and it can be hard to find the pedals with your feet if they're spinning at well over 100 rpm.

As a newbie fixie rider, I've found it much easier to ride with speedplays than with platform pedals (either naked or with clips & straps).

Riding fixed is definitely no big deal. It's a good idea to ride slowly and cautiously until you get a good feel for the different experience of fixie, but there's nothing inherently scary or dangerous.

The biggest piece of advice I'd offer to a fellow newbie is that stock fixies are often built up with track racing gear ratios and you definitely want to go much smaller. My Pista came with a 48x16 and it's been much easier to ride since I switched to 48x20. I'm probably going to go down a little more, to 42x19.

The smaller the gear, the easier a time you have slowing and stopping. It's also easier on the knees when you're climbing. The down-side is that you can't go as fast downhill, but I'm not looking to set any land speed records, at least not until I have more experience.
 

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Dave_Stohler said:
Not very likely. FG riders tend to be more coordinated and experienced.
That may be true, but that doesn't answer the question of whether there are special dangers to riding a fixie that don't exist on a freewheel bike. There are:

--If you don't keep your legs relaxed, you might get thrown from the seat.
--Emergency turns/dodges are more difficult because you must keep your legs moving (harder to balance).
--Sharp turns may cause pedal to strike the ground.
--If your pant leg gets caught in the chain, it'll lock the rear wheel. (For that matter you also have to watch your fingers, too, when messing with the chain.
--Skidding can be risky, if you're ill prepared.

Riding a fixie IS more dangerous than a freewheel bike. That said, none of these dangers are unsurmontable, as everyone here is a testament to. Once you learn how to deal with the above dangers, it all just becomes second nature.
 

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LugNut said:
I use Speedplays on my road bike and will stick w/them on the fixie.

The frame just arrived!! :D
Frogs or those silly lollipops? I hope not the lollipops. How're ya gonna walk around the coffee shop with roadie shoes?;)

Oh, and don't try to coast. You're likely to get tossed over the bars if ya do.
 

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take it from somone who haas to push risk out of his mind every race. Dont think about crashing. If your thinking and worring about it your more likly to eat it.

Take your time around blocks and parking lots before you hit the streets at full speed. Learn your bike inside and out so you know how far it will go before you clip the ground/ where your foot hits the tire etc.

Alot of people swear riding a fix is more controlled. I dont know about that statment but unless it was to fix a bike I havent ridden a geared bike to work in years.

J
 
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