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tofurkey hunting
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4,733 Posts
tip one (the big one) don't stop pedalling.....EVER. this sounds like a no brainer. but forget what bike you're on once, and you'll never do it again. avoid the lesson.

frames: track frames work well, but can be hard to come by. geometry might also be a bit twitchy and brake holes may not exist. i prefer to look for older road frames with "virtually" horizontal dropouts. this widens your (ebay) choices and allows you to work in a wide range of budgets. got my first frame, a lugged torpado, for $26.

gearing: at or below 70 gear inches is a good place to start. adjust from there. at least this has been my experience.

turning: go slower into turns to avoid pedal strikes. they are much more dangerous on a fixie. gradually work up to your turning comfort level.

satisfaction: build your own bike. fixies are pretty easy to put together. assembling your own creation is very rewarding. do it at least once.

and here's where your new fixie places you in the universe. SAT style
brakeless fixie : to braked fixie
as
fixed : geared
as
riding a bike : driving a car ;) :p :D
 

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Non non normal
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10,086 Posts
When climbing a steep hill and your pedaling cadence slows down to a dangerously low rate, while standing, push the bike back with your hands when your feet are at the 12 and 6 position to get you through the dead spot and get your feet in the power position of 2 o'clock. You can climb really steep stuff using this technique and save undue stress on your knees.
 

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Registered
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1,006 Posts
Here's a couple

Tip 1: when descending and you're really spinning like mad, on the verge of losing it, do at least one of these two things: a) apply the brake that you have so wisely installed. b) do the counter-intuitive thing and pedal harder, not softer. I don't know why this works, but it changes a scary, bouncy spin into a smoother, more controlled one.

Tip 2: don't take your feet off the pedals when descending
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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22,021 Posts
Stopping:

-Stop so that the foot you normally put down on the ground has the crank at 12 o clock.

-While you are waiting for the light to change, grip the front brake tight, and push on the HB's until the rear wheel comes off the ground.....rotate pedals until one of the cranks is in the 3 o'clock position to allow for an easy start.....clip in...when the light changes push down.

-To avoid bouncing, stay "On top" of the gear.....in other words, concentrate on continuing to power the pedals.

Len
 

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Game on, b*tches!
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13,467 Posts
Good advice on the pedaling harder. It gets easier and really smooths out your descent. It's amazing how fast your legs can go when you don't think about it!
 

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A wheelist
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11,322 Posts
Dave Hickey said:
Do you have a tip for the fixed fan?
Post it here...
To smooth out a fast pedalling speed, imagine that you are twirling 2" long cranks. If you think this doesn't work, try the opposite - imagine you're turning 12" cranks! Whoa!
 

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Yo no fui.
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8,081 Posts
Take your time into brakelessness . . .

We can all rant and rave until the cows come home about the wisdom, social propriety, or essence of brakeless riding. See, e.g. countless other posts. But as a brakeless rider, I feel compelled to insist that you take your time learning the ropes before even considering taking the brakes off.

In "Puma Presents: Fixed Gear 101," a book that's been circulating, the author suggests that if you're going to ride brakeless, you should learn brakeless. Well, this isn't true. If you aspire, for whatever reason (good or bad), to go brakeless, take your time and learn how to ride fixed with a brake. It can be safe, highly pleasurable, and all the faux-zen crap people say, but this takes time.

The skills needed to make it safe, however, take a while, and lots of hours on the bike to learn. Understanding and anticipating how cars and people enter intersections or move on sidewalks, riding hills, emergency moves, skidding, slowing down, and more importantly, stopping, are all based on learned mental processes and subtle physical movements that just flat require a lot of practice to learn and master. Moreover, you can practice riding brakeless with a "holy crap I'm screwed" brake just in case. I, for one, rode "brakeless with an emergency brake" for some two years before daring to take it off. I can now ride safely, both for myself and others.

So, please, don't jump the gun and ruin your experience and prejudice the opinion of others.
 

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Game on, b*tches!
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13,467 Posts
Yes, you don't want to hasten your demise.;) With practice you can get to a point where you will hardly need the brake(s). Anticipating stops, slowing down, accelerating to go through traffic. It is still nice to be able to stop NOW! when you need to,though.
 

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Pablo said:
Understanding and anticipating how cars and people enter intersections or move on sidewalks, riding hills, emergency moves, skidding, slowing down, and more importantly, stopping, are all based on learned mental processes and subtle physical movements that just flat require a lot of practice to learn and master. Moreover, you can practice riding brakeless with a "holy crap I'm screwed" brake just in case.
Perhaps the most useful post on brakeless riding to date. Kudos.
 

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Done with winter.
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2,635 Posts
Random stuff off the top of my head:

Trackstanding: it isn't hard, just takes practice. Don't look down at the bike, pick a point out in front of you, focus on it. As you get better you can look around but don't look down.

Starting from a stop: Usually from a trackstand but also with foot down, I push back a few degrees then forward to get a little momentum going, you can usually kick cars off the line like this.

Lockring tightening: Get lockring pliers, seriously. Hozan's pliers are not much more than a Park tool and they work a thousand times better. If you don't get your lockring tight, you cog will slip and strip the threads... bad times.

Routine Maintenance: yeah, it's fixed, yeah there's fewer parts but the few that are there need to be carefully taken care of or bad things happen. Check your axle nuts often as well as your chainring bolts. If they come loose, one will jam your wheel, the other will be noisey and annoying.

Know your route: Make sure you can handle the hills you may encounter or you'll learn the superman move... it's not fun the first time, it's scary as hell.

Learning to skid: nuts on the stem. That's it.
 

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Clear Lake, TX
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3,267 Posts
Take a few seconds to check the chain ring bolts each week.
Occasionally they can become loose, which spells disaster if a few back all the way out.

Use a good flat resistant tire on the rear wheel, like Continental's Gator Skin.

If you usually ride 23 mm tires on a geared bike, try 25's (or 28's of you usually ride 25's).

Keep the low spoke count wheels for the track or your geared race bike.
A good ol' 3 or 4 cross 32 or 36 spoke wheel handles those bumps, cracks, and pot holes that you'll hit since bunny hopping a fixie isn't all that easy.

Always ride with a peanut butter wrench.
 

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What'd I do?
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1,775 Posts
Picking a pedal

The "What pedal should I use" thread comes up pretty frequently. Here's what you need to look at:

1. What are you using the bike for? 1 mile commute, coffee shop runs, getting to my favorite spot to hang out--stuff like that, consider flats with toe clips. You'll be spending more time off the bike than on it, and it may not be worth your while to change your shoes. Longer commutes, joy rides etc, you'll probably want a mountain-style dual-sided SPD (or eggbeaters). You can still walk around in the shoes, but that combination is more comfortable for the longer time on the bike. If the bike is a training bike or you're riding it on the track, you ride it long distance and for racing, you can consider your favorite road pedals, as the wider platform is more comfortable on the road, but not as easy to walk in.

2. What are you most comfortable with? Riding unfamiliar pedal set-ups is dangerous, and can increase the likelihood of injury in an accident. If you haven't ridden cages and clips in a long time, I wouldn't put them on your brand new fixie. The new style of riding is a pretty big variable and using familiar pedals will minimize another variable. If you've never ridden clipless, this may not be the best time to start--best to wait until you ride fixed comfortably.

3. What do you have? Mostly a budget consideration, but a good place to start. You might want to match the pedals you have on other bikes. If they're not on your bike for a reason, then you probably should have gotten rid of the pedals. Shoes and pedals can cause pain on any bike. Since you're constantly on the pedals, and almost certain to keep weight on them for the entire duration of the ride, pain may be increased. This is probably not the time to recycle the pair of shoes you retired last year.
 

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Premium Member
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21,910 Posts
???????

Tig said:
Always ride with a peanut butter wrench.
I like peanut butter but rarely carry a jar of the stuff with me when I ride.
 

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Registered
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Should you break a chain you'll undoubtedly have other things to consider first (like stopping the bleeding), but having a few extra chain links in your bag (and a chain tool) may make the difference between walking home and riding home.
 

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Game on, b*tches!
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13,467 Posts
Or a spare Sram link thingie (whatever they're called.) I Use them on all of my bikes. Saved a few walks home...
 

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Premium Member
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21,910 Posts
A bike is a bike is a bike.

It ain't all that complicated.

Fixed? Get one, ride it. You'll be fine.
 

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139 Posts
Easy Rear Wheel Installation

The easisest way (for me at least) to get the wheel centered and chain tensioned is with a rag.

1. Have the axle nuts loose and get the wheel centered between stays.
2. Stuff a rag between the seat tube and rear tire.
3. Bunch up the rag to achieve the right tension.
4. Making sure the wheel is still centered, get the axle nuts good and tight.

My other tip would be to get the shortest cranks you're comfortable with to avoid pedal strike on fast turns.

And don't let any hipsters/messengers/alleycats tell you you're bike is lame just because it's not an NJS stamped Nagasawa/3Rensho/Bridgestone/etc. :)
 

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31 Posts
my fixed tips

Pedals: Use the cheapest clipless you can. My current favorite is the Shimano 515 mtn pedals

Cranks: All I can state Sugino XD 165's

The tip on slime in the rear tire is excellent.

Carry your own tools.....come on!

Ummmm; its not de riguer but rear brakes help. As well as high bars at most 1" to 1.5" below the seat line. Also, many people this board would disagree on this point....3/32" chains rule.....simply because when you must replace a chain at the bike shop in boohoken New York you are gonna be glad you went with 3/32".

Later,

VTW
 
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