Fixed Gear Cycle (How to)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fixed Gear Cycle (How to)

    To all:

    I'm glad we have so much disscussion about the fixed gear thing!

    Tell us your ideas on:

    Crashes
    Logs (how to time your pedal stroke)
    Rocks
    Roots
    Turning on off-cambers (how not to snag a pedal)
    Using brakes (no need for rear brake?)

    I guess we are at a span of time in Fixed gear cycling where we are all about expanding our riding into new areas. Share your stories and learnig experances with us.

    Thanks all
    Proformance Cycle
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  2. #2
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    Crashes
    Logs (how to time your pedal stroke)
    Rocks
    Roots
    Turning on off-cambers (how not to snag a pedal)
    Using brakes (no need for rear brake?)

    -I have found that crashes are a lot slower so you generally get up with nothing broken.
    -You just keep everything turning and if you time it right..........it's smoooooth.
    -Rocks & roots...due to the nature of the drive (direct) the wheels tracks over what you commit to. You generally can't spin out.
    -Run 700c wheels for better BB clearance.
    -On a fixie you actually do have back brakes...it's just getting used to using your own strength to slow you down, and you have to do your best to anticipate the stop. Also, it is amazing how much control you gain when you learn to use the front brake to "scrub" speed.
    "Roll your own......." Smokebikes.com

  3. #3
    Harrumph
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    Crashes- striking a pedal in a turn is the most common, but not that terrible.
    Logs (how to time your pedal stroke) - You can pic up the rear wheel and back pedal before getting to it to time a pedal kick or to roll over without striking a pedal. But I've found that for logs that I can get the chainring over (with just a front wheel lift, no extra body english to hop the rear over) I can completely maul a pedal and the momentum of the wheel keeps it cranking over the log.
    Rocks - I don't even think about pedal strikes anymore, once you get used to the rear wheel moving around a bit, it doesn't even matter. Drop the hammer and pedal through rock gardens, all you have to worry about is pinch flats(no shifter thingy's or discs hanging out back there.
    Roots - Just keep pedaling, which is convienent because you don't have a choice
    Turning on off - you will very qickly gain a "6th or even 7th sense" (Sooper Troopers) as to just what lean angle you can get. And really the drawback is that you can't coast and weight the pedal, but you can get a pretty good lean in.
    Using brakes - Front brake is a must IMO (especially off road) You simply don't have enough brake with just the rear in steep loose conditions. And once you get used to the "rear brake" there is an amazing amount of feedback you get through the pedals that can't translate through a cable or hyd fluid.

    I'd highly recommend it, you WILL become a better rider.
    Last edited by G-reg; 11-06-2006 at 10:26 AM.
    Slowly slipping to retrogrouchyness

  4. #4
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    Nice spokes!!

    Elaborate on the spoke pattern................

    PLEASE.

    good info thanks.


    C.

    Quote Originally Posted by G-reg
    Crashes- striking a pedal in a turn is the most common, but not that terrible.
    Logs (how to time your pedal stroke) - You can pic up the rear wheel and back pedal before getting to it to time a pedal kick or to roll over without striking a pedal. But I've found that for logs that I can get the chainring over (with just a front wheel lift, no extra body english to hop the rear over) I can completely maul a pedal and the momentum of the wheel keeps it cranking over the log.
    Rocks - I don't even think about pedal strikes anymore, once you get used to the rear wheel moving around a bit, it doesn't even matter. Drop the hammer and pedal through rock gardens, all you have to worry about is pinch flats(no shifter thingy's or discs hanging out back there.
    Roots - Just keep pedaling, which is convienent because you don't have a choice
    Turning on off - you will very qickly gain a "6th or even 7th sense" (Sooper Troopers) as to just what lean angle you can get. And really the drawback is that you can't coast and weight the pedal, but you can get a pretty good lean in.
    Using brakes - Front brake is a must IMO (especially off road) You simply don't have enough brake with just the rear in steep loose conditions. And once you get used to the "rear brake" there is an amazing amount of feedback you get through the pedals that can't translate through a cable or hyd fluid.

    I'd highly recommend it, you WILL become a better rider.

  5. #5
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    Ah:

    The once infamous Wrapped Spoke Pattern.

    Nice!
    Proformance Cycle
    [email protected]

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proformance Cycle
    To all:

    I'm glad we have so much disscussion about the fixed gear thing!

    Tell us your ideas on:

    Crashes
    Logs (how to time your pedal stroke)
    Rocks
    Roots
    Turning on off-cambers (how not to snag a pedal)
    Using brakes (no need for rear brake?)



    Thanks all

    I ride a road fixie and like to run my ss fixed when the trails aren't crazy steep. Riding fixed I can't get my ass back far enough because I can't coast.

    I really haven't crashed riding fixed mtb.

    Logs, I just keep pedaling and hope for the best.

    Rocks, see logs.

    Roots, Keep pedaling and hope for the best.

    Turning on off camber, same as logs, rocks, and roots.

    I installed a rear brake on the mtb after riding without for when my legs are tired. It also saves a hassle if I want to run ss.

    It will definately turn the same old trail into a new adventure and teach you a big lesson on momentum.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for “I suck at brake control.” Here’s a free tip: get better."

  7. #7
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    Gotta lose the ego...

    Everyone will pass you on a downhill and the majority of those passing you will not have a clue as to the type bike you are riding, so you just have to let that ego go and remain calm and concentrate..pedal,pedal,pedal.
    I dont run a rear brake but a front is a necessity in the woods. There is a lot of control with "resistance" braking and it is critical for me to always keep the rear wheel under control all the time.
    Big logs..fu#$ it..i get off
    Big drops..same
    Sometimes im able to reposition the pedals before i bash em by unweighting the rear wheel but it happens so quickly and instinctivley that i dont realize ive done it until after the obstacle.
    Small drops i just be sure to loft at least the bb/pedals over the lip..same with small "ups"
    rock gardens,root feilds,etc its just pedal-n-go..
    Ive not crashed yet because of pedal bashing...
    On climbing there is an advantage to a fixie when you are doing a tempo/spinning climb. You get a push from the rear wheel so it helps keep the pedals turning over and you can use that momentum to drive you over roots/tech stuff. Of course when it comes to grunt time then there is really no difference, just on the tempo type climbs.
    The satisfaction i get from fixie riding comes from the total concentration it takes and it really absorbs you completely into the moment...
    Is riding a fixie super difficult...not really,its easier than i imagined.
    Is riding a fixie faster...nope,it`s slower..
    A group of fixies is really fun though as everyone stays pretty close ...

  8. #8
    Bike Junky
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    I have a bike set up with a White Industries ENO rear hub with a Surly stainless 18T cog. I tried fixed once and never went back with this wheel. (I do have have a couple of just singlespeeds.) Rigid fork, old-school XT cantilever brake on the front, no rear brake. Set up on an old Trek OCLV frame = stupid light bike. Steering around obstacles will take precision up front, I don't think that I would even try riding with a suspension fork.

    My first recommendation is to learn to ride "light" on the bike. You have to be ready for the inevitable pedal strike here or there. Be prepared for the rear-end to jump around when you do. Keep your weight forward (but down) on that front wheel in hopes that you will still be able to ride it out.

    Cornering: You will eventually learn to take a slightly different line around corners... You need to let the bike take a slightly wider path toward the outside of a corner. You'd be surprised just how far over you can still lean the bike and not strike a pedal. I think it just takes some confidence and a little bit of experience.

    Obstacles: I break it down into two different categories because they feel very different to me, one being Flatland/uphill the other being downhill. Flatland and uphill obstacles are relatively easy: you're going to un-weight that front wheel, balance the bike while pedaling and attempt to place that front wheel on the top or downside of the log/rock. As soon as you get your front wheel where you want it to go, you need to shift your weight to that wheel and get it off your rear end. You will be letting your rear end just come along with you, "ride light" because depending on the size of your obstacle, be prepared to hit a pedal. Ride it out. Going up hill, this is a little easier because speed is not an issue. On the flats, it's only slightly harder. Downhill is a completely different story for me, I still don't feel like I have it figured out... Downhill in general is a challenge. Your legs are spinning like mad, it's hard to get any acceleration and body movement to un-weight that front end. Things come up fast!

    Rock Gardens: Good luck. Point and shoot... just keep those legs going around. You're likely going to hit a rock here and there. Sometimes by shifting a bike from side to side you might be able to avoid a hit, but chances are if the garden has any challenge to it, you're going to hit something. Be prepared to go over rocks that you might have otherwise tried to get around.

    Timing of the pedals: Sometimes when approaching an obstacle at slow speed you can cheat a bit. You can backpedal just enough to (donning flame-suit) skid the rear wheel just a hair to time your pedals better. Where to position your feet in their rotation to clear an obstacle becomes instinct. Again, learn to ride light.

    I haven't really haven't figured out how to really jump the bike or how to get the whole bike off the ground. It's really difficult to get the whole bike off the ground and keep your legs going around so that when you land you don't come to some sudden stop or get thrown from the bike due to the instant acceleration of your legs again when your rear wheel touches the ground.

    For me... like I said, I cannot really describe just how much fun it is to ride fixed gear off road. It adds interest and challenge to almost every aspect of riding. It can make old trails new again. It's amazing how you can finesse your speed and control your bike without touching any brakes... I know that I'm hooked and considering making some alterations to a couple of other off-road bikes.

    If anyone has any good advice on downhill obstacles at speed, please post up.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by funky-funky-chicken
    ........If anyone has any good advice on downhill obstacles at speed, please post up.
    Largish logs on downhills are about the toughest thing I've run across, really hard to lighten the front end unless you really check your speed, then it turns into just another techy slow speed move. No real trick to it, figuring that over time you're reflexes will become more cat like and you'll find the snap timing needed to loft up and over.

    Actually, I'd say logs in general are the toughest skill for fixy riding. I found that if you're worried about pedal strike on a log crossing, ride a wheelie into the log, gives a bit of extra bb/pedal clearance and sets you up to be better able to take the hit when the rear wheel makes contact.

    Learned that bunnyhopping becomes a two step move, more of a wheelie hop I guess. If you're not an ambi-hopper, try to become one. Learn to wheelie and hop with either foot leading, don't rely on your standard lead with the left or right approach. To get the hop, I begin the motion when my lead foot is back or coming over the top of the stroke. Start a seated wheelie, then in one smooth motion as your lead foot is coming thru on the down stroke, just as the cranks are horizontal, pull yourself up out of the saddle while also lift/lofting with your rear foot as it comes thru the back of the pedal stroke. Time the upward effort of your hop for when the rear foot is coming up over the top of the pedal stroke. Feels awesome and seemless once you dial in the move.

    For pedal stirkes in corners, I find it preferable to work the outside line/edge of the trail in the turns. Tires take the outside track, pedals are centered over the trail, giving you a clean look at any obstacles that are lying about. I don't like cutting to the inside on the fixy, means your pedaling over blind terrain and you're giving up the benefit of any type of bermage to the outside, which is always a help.

    Rock gardens, I think 'over' not 'thru'. Pick a high line, stay on top of the rocks and trust that you will have traction to get thru it. Beautiful thing about fixed is the constant, consistant power and traction that's always there. I found that some techy sections are actually easier riding fixed because you can't coast, you don't lose momentum, just keep the legs turning and you'll surprised what you can ride over.

  10. #10
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    "It's like walking....only easier"

    Per my buddy Rudi.

    Took me a LONG time to realize what exactly he meant by this, but then one day the lightbulb came on. Ride fixie long enough offroad, and timing pedal strokes and knowing the location of said pedals while approaching obstacles will become second nature....same as hiking/knowing where your feets are relative to that rock/root/log you are approaching. Speed control is key.

    Pick a different line than you would on a freewheeler. In time, finding the "easier" (??) line will become second nature.

    Don't crash! Get off and walk a section you're not comfortable with....no pride lost here.

    Lose the rear brake, can cause loss of control on steeper downhills (Rudi)....instead rely on that nice big 26/29" disc brake you've created for yourself. I used a rear brake for a VERY short time before truly realizing what he meant about "losing control"....ain't fun.

    Skidding is NOT tolerated......you must instead "drift".....again per Rudi....hehe. Face it, we've ALL done it, just try to minimize it.

    Don't stop pedalling whilst the bike is moving.....ever!

    Slow down. Calm/relax/BREATHE. (Chester)

    Riding fixie offroad can be a very safe venture if you keep your head.....go have fun!

  11. #11
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    Just do it, reflexes and instinct will eventually take over.

    It's a f***in' blast.

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