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  1. #1
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    Greater workout, ss or fixie?

    I ride a Peace 9'r with 32x18 gearing. I decided to pick up a track bike to help build my endurance. I got a Fuji Classic Track. It is currently a fixie with 46x15 gearing, and has a flip flop hub (just need to pick up a freewheel.)

    So here is my question. Is running my Fuji as a fixie a greater workout compared to running it ss? I've been riding it almost every night since I bought it on 15-20 mile jaunts, and will be increasing this mileage steadily over time. I am curious if anybody has any input/experience since riding fixie seems to be a great workout, but I wonder if it is actually easier since I don't need focus on spinning as much.

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    Go down a hill and then ask that question.

    There's probably a mild workout benefit to not being able to coast on flat ground, but you can relax and let your legs go with the flow. But riding downhill without using any brakes... That's a whole different story.

  3. #3
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    This guy thinks there is no training benefit to riding a fixed gear.
    I commute on a fixed gear and bought his reasoning.
    I tried commuting with my bike set up SS.
    I didn't like it, and switched back to fixed after a month.
    I don't think it really makes a huge difference either way. I think what's important is you put in a solid effort on whatever bike you're riding.

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    I have. a fixed road bike that I love. It will stay fixed for two reasons. One is that it IS harder than SS (more of a workout). I compare it to running, as you MUST keep your legs moving at all times. Thor is right on riding flats, though---really won't matter ss or fixed, as you're having to constantly pedal. I'm in a hilly area, so fixed definitely is harder.

    Second, it's just plain fun. Now, I don't do any of the hipster skids or tricks, and that's not what I'm referring to as fun. It's just more engaging to ride. I love it. If you're running it on the street, please run a front brake, at least.

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    mountain biking will help you build power, where road biking will help you build a good base. Where fixed gear comes into that equasion, i dont know. But i just cant imagine it to be very good to not have any recovery time. I just need to coast occasionally. Also, as far as going down hill on your fixie, sure it will be a workout, but is it working out the same muscles that you want stronger? I cant see that being a huge gain if you're trying to be a stronger mountain biker as you'd always be pedaling forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    mountain biking will help you build power, where road biking will help you build a good base. Where fixed gear comes into that equasion, i dont know. But i just cant imagine it to be very good to not have any recovery time. I just need to coast occasionally. Also, as far as going down hill on your fixie, sure it will be a workout, but is it working out the same muscles that you want stronger? I cant see that being a huge gain if you're trying to be a stronger mountain biker as you'd always be pedaling forward.

    Cycling period will help build power. Are you saying riding up a 20% grade on-road doesn't require power? Regarding recovery time, you've got plenty of time for that AFTER the ride. I know a few guys that have done double centuries on their fixed. You don't NEED to coast.

    Also, by keeping your legs moving, even downhill, has advantages. As I'm pedaling like a gerbil on a sugar rush downhill, I've found over time, my pedaling has smoothed out. Really helped my technique. Also helped my endurance level.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the responses. I have already noticed that my hill climbing ability is getting better on the fixie. As for going down hill, I try to use my legs as much as possible to slow/maintain my speed, but I do have brakes on the bike so I use those when needed.

    What made me ask this question originally is that I ride with some ss'ers on the road, and they always seem more tired than I am. I know that I am physically more fit than they are, but it did make me wonder who was getting the greater benefit.

    I don't plan to change to ss any time soon as I am really enjoying the fixed experience. I was just curious since I am on the bike almost everyday as I am using it to work on my endurance.

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    Check out roadbikereview--the sister site.

  9. #9
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    I commute on a fixie. Now when I am mtn biking, my legs are constantly spinning, as if they are still on the fixie. Even when I am slowing and coasting, I am still spinning the cranks lightly. It seems to help me explode up out of corners in a hurry.
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

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    Riding fixed has helped force me to improve my cadence. I can spin 200rpm now. That's a useful skill for SS Mountain biking but not for geared road riding.

    Obviously he makes sense that motivating yourself to ride in a certain manner is better than riding a fixed gear. I race fixed gear on the road so I ride fixed gear on the road. Geared road bikes are ****ing boring. I ride a nice old steel Trek that I've redone for my geared rides when they start getting towards 100 miles.

    Pedaling all the time does help prevent lactic acid build up.

    To his other article about how it can make your pedal stroke worse, it just means that most roadies aren't actually trying to be smooth while pedaling. The bike isn't doing the work if you're riding it correctly either. You should be pushing yourself forward. Rarely do I "coast" down a hill. If I do, I'm loose and neutral with a very smooth cadence. Not bouncing around. I don't disagree with his statement about rollers. The rollers statement covers his slight inaccuracies from earlier.

  11. #11
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    ride it fixed with a low gearing. your legs and abs will burn. i fix my cross bike now and then and go ride. i have a low ratio for tech spots and it makes you really work on downhills.

  12. #12
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    I rode fixie this past winter on a semi fatbike, it didn't seem more tiring than SS. As far as "recovery time" coasting, all I had to do was just let the cranks spin around without putting pressure on the pedals. Despite adding at least 5 pounds in additional tire, tubes, and fat rims in fixie mode, it seemed no more tiring than 29er, 2.1 tires and freewheel mode. Maybe it was the fresh exhilaration of riding when most everyone else packed it up 'til spring.

  13. #13
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    Tough question. I've done a couple touring rides with my fixed gear. I prefer fixed gear in a lot of circumstances. It certainly helps you pedal smoothly at high rpms. If you try and burn out from stops, it builds up power- same with trying to stop without brake use.

    However, fixed gear is easy to climb with. The momentum of the wheel keeps the chain moving, which means your feet do less work. Downhill is obviously the opposite.

    If you want to get in better mtbing shape and work on your bike handling skills, I'd say get a cross bike and hit a few on the local trails with it fixed once a week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    However, fixed gear is easy to climb with. The momentum of the wheel keeps the chain moving, which means your feet do less work. Downhill is obviously the opposite.
    This simply isn't true. Given the same bike, the fixed version won't give you some magical power to climb. I've heard this from several people. They think because the "wheels keep your legs moving", pedaling is easier. But think about it, how can this be true? I'd go into laws of physics and useless blabberings, but it should be common sense.

    It's all just psychological.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    This simply isn't true. Given the same bike, the fixed version won't give you some magical power to climb. I've heard this from several people. They think because the "wheels keep your legs moving", pedaling is easier. But think about it, how can this be true? I'd go into laws of physics and useless blabberings, but it should be common sense.

    It's all just psychological.
    I'd love to get your laws of physics and other useless blabberings. Go ride a fixed gear around for twenty minutes, then go flip it to SS. Dead spot at the bottom of the pedals. Or try biking around on a fixed gear and stop pedaling. I think it is common sense that it helps, though I am fairly positive I didn't say anything about any magical powers. Just easier. I'm certainly open to being wrong, just prove it, rather than having your magical power of referencing physics and my subsequent and sudden understanding of it.

    This is what I understand: pedal down with x amount of force on fixed gear, you will get some portion of that force toward the upstroke.

    Pedal down with x amount of force on a SS, your foot stays right where it is, unless you try and lift it back up, but the entire effort is on you.

    In conclusion, I'm probably a moron, but from my experience riding a fixed gear and from my (apparently) flawed rationale, this simply isn't true.

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    What you're saying isn't true exactly... it kinda goes back to the writer's argument. What you're talking about is using some of the wheel turning energy in to crank turning energy so you can have a crappy pedaling technique and still get the pedals around to put power down. If you have proper pedaling technique then you don't need the assistance of the wheel. The only difference in climbing a geared bike vs. a fixed gear is the added wasted energy in running the chain through the derailleur.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    The only difference in climbing a geared bike vs. a fixed gear is the added wasted energy in running the chain through the derailleur.
    Which is why I compared it to a SS. Anyway, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with bad pedaling technique- I'd say fixed probably helps develop better pedaling technique, if anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    If you have proper pedaling technique then you don't need the assistance of the wheel.
    There are areas of lower advantage when pedaling- if we remember Shimano tried to deal with this problem- and I certainly do believe that the momentum helps your pedal strokes through these areas.

    I'm also not quite certain that proper pedaling technique is regularly achieved when standing on your climbs, or doing some mashing while seated, as one regularly does when riding SS/fixed on hill climbs. Again, I'm probably the only one who doesn't resort to fighting up a thousand foot climb with 70 gears inches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I'd love to get your laws of physics and other useless blabberings. Go ride a fixed gear around for twenty minutes, then go flip it to SS. Dead spot at the bottom of the pedals. Or try biking around on a fixed gear and stop pedaling. I think it is common sense that it helps, though I am fairly positive I didn't say anything about any magical powers. Just easier. I'm certainly open to being wrong, just prove it, rather than having your magical power of referencing physics and my subsequent and sudden understanding of it.

    This is what I understand: pedal down with x amount of force on fixed gear, you will get some portion of that force toward the upstroke.

    Pedal down with x amount of force on a SS, your foot stays right where it is, unless you try and lift it back up, but the entire effort is on you.

    In conclusion, I'm probably a moron, but from my experience riding a fixed gear and from my (apparently) flawed rationale, this simply isn't true.
    It is a flawed rationale. First, I've been riding fixed for several years. I have a flip-flop hub, both with the same 18T (geared 48x18---I live in the rockies), and I can tell you, there is absolutely NO difference when I'm pedaling uphill. If you're finding a dead spot at the bottom of your stroke, work on your technique. I don't have this "dead spot" on any of my SS or geared bikes.

    And that magical force that helps on the upward stroke? Where is it coming from? It's taken from the energy in the rear wheel transfered to your pedals on a fixed gear. However, it still takes away your speed, which nets out the force. On a SS, you don't get that "help up", but you also don't lose as much speed, either. So what I'm saying is, try this---hold your speed steady at 20MPH going on a slight incline, then "coast". (Fixed, your legs will obviously just be moving with the cranks). Which went further? Fixed or SS?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    And that magical force that helps on the upward stroke? Where is it coming from? It's taken from the energy in the rear wheel transfered to your pedals on a fixed gear. However, it still takes away your speed, which nets out the force. On a SS, you don't get that "help up", but you also don't lose as much speed, either. So what I'm saying is, try this---hold your speed steady at 20MPH going on a slight incline, then "coast". (Fixed, your legs will obviously just be moving with the cranks). Which went further? Fixed or SS?
    It takes away your speed faster if you are weighting your pedals on the upstroke, so SS. But if you take your feet off the pedals, or manage to keep your foot interaction perfectly neutral, then they both go the same distance.

    Since you live in the Rockies, maybe I can try and pitch to you my general statement here- on long hard uphills, I feel the fixed gear right at the bottom of the downstroke, and I feel the transition to the upstroke. This is even more pronounced when I'm not clipped in.

    Alright, I'm out until tonight. Bike ride and making wood fenders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    It takes away your speed faster if you are weighting your pedals on the upstroke, so SS. But if you take your feet off the pedals, or manage to keep your foot interaction perfectly neutral, then they both go the same distance.

    Since you live in the Rockies, maybe I can try and pitch to you my general statement here- on long hard uphills, I feel the fixed gear right at the bottom of the downstroke, and I feel the transition to the upstroke. This is even more pronounced when I'm not clipped in.

    Alright, I'm out until tonight. Bike ride and making wood fenders.
    Actually, it would still be your SS that should go further. The rear wheel still has to turn the crank, chain, BB and pedals on a fixed.

    If you're feeling the pedal push you at the bottom of your stroke, then you're slowing down at every stroke or your pedaling technique is very inconsistent (through the revolution). Either way, a bad thing. Again, I do not feel this push at all, and if I were blindfolded, going up hill, I wouldn't be able to tell you if I was on a fixed or SS (pending I don't coast).

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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    Actually, it would still be your SS that should go further. The rear wheel still has to turn the crank, chain, BB and pedals on a fixed.
    Ok, that makes good sense.

    I don't feel the push on flats, downhills, and when I'm clipless, very little on hills, unless my legs are getting shot.

    When I'm riding mine in the summer I go to platforms with cages. You definitely feel it then.

    Arg. Now I'm really leaving. Have an awesome day!

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    " is it working out the same muscles that you want stronger? I cant see that being a huge gain if you're trying to be a stronger mountain biker as you'd always be pedaling forward."

    A bit OT maybe, but to address this comment...our bodies will limit strength gains in a muscle group based on what the antagonist groups are capable of...it prevents serious imbalance. Working on stronger triceps but not making headway...strengthen the biceps some. Want a stronger posterior chain but you are stalled....work on the antagonists....abs, hip flexors, quads. It's a general rule of thumb that powerlifters follow when working on weak points. Cyclists might be able to gain something from their example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalamath
    " is it working out the same muscles that you want stronger? I cant see that being a huge gain if you're trying to be a stronger mountain biker as you'd always be pedaling forward."

    A bit OT maybe, but to address this comment...our bodies will limit strength gains in a muscle group based on what the antagonist groups are capable of...it prevents serious imbalance. Working on stronger triceps but not making headway...strengthen the biceps some. Want a stronger posterior chain but you are stalled....work on the antagonists....abs, hip flexors, quads. It's a general rule of thumb that powerlifters follow when working on weak points. Cyclists might be able to gain something from their example.
    Well said. This is something that I do by going to the gym, and hitting the free weights and cardio rower. When riding ss it is very important to keep the leg muscles balanced to help prevent knee issues.

    I went out today for a solid ride at Bradbury State Park. After only a week and a half of riding my fixie, I noticed several benefits. I seem slightly less winded, and better able to power up hills. I also tend to pedal through techy areas more instead of just coasting through them and losing speed.

  24. #24
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    ride fixed on the trails.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2EYCgCp7pM

  25. #25
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    Cool vid, but we don't have trails like that here in Maine (or rather I don't ride trails like that is Maine.) We have tons of rocks, roots, drops, etc where coasting is often needed.

  26. #26
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    No real solid arguement for/against fixie. I ride a fixie and a 29er SS now. I usually switch it up day by day. I have a ODO on the 29er but not the fixie. If I ride a week on the 29er only my speeds seem to peak by Wednsday and level out from there. If I do Mon/Wed/Fri 29 and Tue/Thursday fixie I seem to elevate my 29er speeds quicker. I am not sure why other than maybe muscle support. Maybe there are different muscles being used on the fixie but maybe having them strong provides a stronger support mechanism for the SS muscles? Maybe it is all in my head, either way fun keeps happening on both bikes!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    This simply isn't true. Given the same bike, the fixed version won't give you some magical power to climb. I've heard this from several people. They think because the "wheels keep your legs moving", pedaling is easier. But think about it, how can this be true? I'd go into laws of physics and useless blabberings, but it should be common sense.

    It's all just psychological.
    I always find these arguments interesting; they always come down to perception vs science/ physics and both tend to be error prone. The reason is not psychology, its physiology; we are all different and the amount of energy expended is often irrelevant to performance. Because we are an organic machine, comfort often plays a bigger part than efficiency. When pro cross country riders were first introduced to dual suspension, their perception was riding their old hard tail was faster, but the stop watch proved otherwise. Regardless of your pedaling style, no one is able to produce equal torque through the full 360-degree pedal revolution. Umarth said it felt easier for him to climb with a fixed gear, suggesting more comfort in overcoming the nature peaks, valleys and flat spots that can be mitigated but never done away with. More comfort usually means one can increase sustained energy.

    If umarth was a pro rider and his true limits were known, such as computer graphed VO2 Max, Hour-watts-power-output, then caloric efficiency becomes the end game, but we are not there. Physics tells us the energy to climb from point a to b is a zero sum gain, but as I said before, we can take advantage of our physiology and make it easier to expend more energy. Here, I would think the end game would be speed. I wouldn't pit umarth against physics, I would ask him if he was also faster climbing with a fixed gear. And while one could claim it was easier to go the same distance at the same speed, it would seem a pointless claim.
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    I always find these arguments interesting; they always come down to perception vs science/ physics and both tend to be error prone. The reason is not psychology, its physiology; we are all different and the amount of energy expended is often irrelevant to performance. Because we are an organic machine, comfort often plays a bigger part than efficiency. When pro cross country riders were first introduced to dual suspension, their perception was riding their old hard tail was faster, but the stop watch proved otherwise. Regardless of your pedaling style, no one is able to produce equal torque through the full 360-degree pedal revolution. Umarth said it felt easier for him to climb with a fixed gear, suggesting more comfort in overcoming the nature peaks, valleys and flat spots that can be mitigated but never done away with. More comfort usually means one can increase sustained energy.

    If umarth was a pro rider and his true limits were known, such as computer graphed VO2 Max, Hour-watts-power-output, then caloric efficiency becomes the end game, but we are not there. Physics tells us the energy to climb from point a to b is a zero sum gain, but as I said before, we can take advantage of our physiology and make it easier to expend more energy. Here, I would think the end game would be speed. I wouldn't pit umarth against physics, I would ask him if he was also faster climbing with a fixed gear. And while one could claim it was easier to go the same distance at the same speed, it would seem a pointless claim.
    I see what you're saying. However, it doesn't compute in this particular instance. We're not talking about two completely different bikes---they're both set up exactly the same, same gearing, same geo, same rider, etc. with the only exception being one is FW and one fixed. Climbing a hill, I can't see any advantage from one to the other. There is no magic in fixed gears that will somehow make the climb any easier (given the same bikes, as stated above). I (nor anyone I know riding fixed) have never experienced this "push" at the bottome of a stroke from riding fixed. I'm not saying that Umarth isn't experiencing that, but what I'm saying is with proper (and most efficient) technique, this would be a non-issue. Also, I realize I don't have the same physique as Umarth and perhaps for him, this way of pedaling is the most efficient FOR HIM.....at this point in stage. However, it's still not the best that he COULD be doing.

    I took guitar lessons when I was younger. Always had a habit of putting my palms flat against the back of the neck. I was better doing it this way than placing my thumb on there. However, as I got better, I realized that there were limitations, such as not being able to finger chords/notes as fast, and even clamping down on the strings was more tiresome. Eventually, I broke that bad habit and now I shred.

    Point is, we're not talking about Umarth, me or you. Generally speaking, there should be no difference riding fixed or SS up a hill.

  29. #29
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    I switch between my commuter (geared) and my fixie on a daily basis. I ride one to work in the morning, and the other one at night. I find that I tend to hit the dead spot at least once on my commute. I think that my body feels as though my feet will automatically come back around. Normally, I think about my pedaling (keeping it circular,) but once in awhile, I guess I forget. However, this is an extremely rare occurrence on my mountain bike. Perhaps the woods/trails keep me more focused on proper riding technique.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Regardless of your pedaling style, no one is able to produce equal torque through the full 360-degree pedal revolution. Umarth said it felt easier for him to climb with a fixed gear, suggesting more comfort in overcoming the nature peaks, valleys and flat spots that can be mitigated but never done away with. More comfort usually means one can increase sustained energy.
    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    I see what you're saying. However, it doesn't compute in this particular instance. We're not talking about two completely different bikes---they're both set up exactly the same, same gearing, same geo, same rider, etc. with the only exception being one is FW and one fixed. Climbing a hill, I can't see any advantage from one to the other.
    No, I think I'm spot on here; and me thinks you protest too much The magical force umarth was discussing is called inertia. It's the extra energy it took to wind up those 700c hoops giving back; i.e. mass in motion tends to stay in motion.
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    I'm feeling a little guilty about stealing this thread away from the OP's questions. I do think it is ridiculous to try and base an opinion off a perception of my pedal stroke that you will likely never get to analyze. I looked for an article or two to explain something either way, but no mas.

    After riding this weekend, I do have a couple more thoughts about riding fixed:

    - souplesse- fixed makes you have to spin/mash depending on terrain, which will at least push the extremes of your comfort zones. I think it has helped me spin higher and longer without loosing form, as well as develop more power. Topping it off, it has made my knees stronger so that the long days in the mountains don't murder me.

    - Learn to pedal while floating off the saddle. When you're going through a fast section, it is nice to roll through roots and rocks without having to break from pedaling. You keep your speed. I attribute this to fixed gear commuting on the crappy streets of Eugene Oregon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    No, I think I'm spot on here; and me thinks you protest too much The magical force umarth was discussing is called inertia. It's the extra energy it took to wind up those 700c hoops giving back; i.e. mass in motion tends to stay in motion.
    Yes, but there were side effects to when the 700c hoops pushed his legs forward---it took away the forward momentum of the bike. There is no free lunch or free energy being created. This is the same question I asked Umarth at the beginning of the thread---if you had your legs limp on the fixed and coasted on the SS, which would go further? Of course the SS would, because it's not carrying the weight of the legs, cranks, etc. So when the pedals do push your legs forward, it just makes it that much harder to get your feet to go another revolution. Now this is just based on one guy's (or girl's) experience and his particular pedaling technique. With every single other person I've talked to, this is a non-issue, because it just doesn't happen. Which brings up the next point....

    I've NEVER had an experience on a SS where the forward momentum of the bike was greater than my ability to pedal forward (when climbing). Meaning, throughout the revolution, never did the hubs disengage (not sure of the correct term. They didn't click backwards is what I mean), which is what you're saying happens on a fixed, essentially---On a fixed, when the bike is faster than your pedals, it pushes your legs forward--on a SS, hubs click.

    BTW, you didn't finish the thought: Mass in motion tend to stay in motion, UNLESS acted on by an unbalanced force.

    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I'm feeling a little guilty about stealing this thread away from the OP's questions. I do think it is ridiculous to try and base an opinion off a perception of my pedal stroke that you will likely never get to analyze. I looked for an article or two to explain something either way, but no mas.

    After riding this weekend, I do have a couple more thoughts about riding fixed:

    - souplesse- fixed makes you have to spin/mash depending on terrain, which will at least push the extremes of your comfort zones. I think it has helped me spin higher and longer without loosing form, as well as develop more power. Topping it off, it has made my knees stronger so that the long days in the mountains don't murder me.

    - Learn to pedal while floating off the saddle. When you're going through a fast section, it is nice to roll through roots and rocks without having to break from pedaling. You keep your speed. I attribute this to fixed gear commuting on the crappy streets of Eugene Oregon.
    I agree with you that fixed definitely has helped on my spin and endurance. Keeping the pedals pumping the entire time is hard work, but I love it. Used to be a runner and riding fixed is almost like running.

    And I thought Oregon has some great bike paths and lanes??

  33. #33
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    There is no free lunch or free energy being created. This is the same question I asked Umarth at the beginning of the thread---if you had your legs limp on the fixed and coasted on the SS, which would go further? Of course the SS would, because it's not carrying the weight of the legs, cranks, etc.

    BTW, you didn't finish the thought: Mass in motion tend to stay in motion, UNLESS acted on by an unbalanced force.


    And I thought Oregon has some great bike paths and lanes??
    And like I've said- there are places in any pedal stroke where you can't get the same amount of force as others. Which is why the cycling industry has made several cranks and gadgets to combat this. Even on a good cyclists, the quads are stronger than the hammies. When I'm fighting a big uphill, I feel the momentum on each half cycle. It is not a poor pedal technique issue.

    I actually bought my first fixed gear because I thought it replicated and complimented my running better than geared/SS. So it is cool we have that.

    Oregon, like everywhere else, can't keep street level of service up. There are a lot of great paths in Eugene, but that doesn't always get me to where I need to be.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    BTW, you didn't finish the thought: Mass in motion tend to stay in motion, UNLESS acted on by an unbalanced force.
    But isn't inertia the unbalanced force that caused the mass to move in the first place? My head hurts; I need to go polish some spokes.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    But isn't inertia the unbalanced force that caused the mass to move in the first place? My head hurts; I need to go polish some spokes.
    Inertia is the objects RESISTANCE to change in motion. It's what keeps the object in motion. In this case, your legs are the unbalanced force that puts the resistance on the object in motion (the bike). Bring it back to it's original state of motion---at rest.

    Either way, time yourself going up a hill on both fixed and SS. You'll find that there is very minute difference, if any.

  36. #36
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    I have mixed opinions on this. I sometimes commute SS, sometimes, fixed. On a fixed gear, you are constantly peddling and when you switch back to SS, it is amazing how much you notice your self coasting--through turns, at the top of hills, etc. In that regard, riding fixed is a better workout because it forces you to keep going and pedal constantly. It also helps you to develop spinning at a high cadence. On the other hand, it is a lot more work to constantly spin a single speed. When riding fixed, it is very easy to let the upstroke on your spin slide when because the inertia of the pedals pushed your leg back up. In other words...you can easily fall into the trap of pushing down, scraping back, but then letting your leg "coast" up to the top of the pedal stroke. I find scrambling up hills is actually easier on a fixed gear than a single speed because your inertia keeps the pedals moving. So in that regard, riding single speed is a better workout if you force yourself to constantly pedal, as you are using all muscle power and not relying on the inertia of the cranks.

    In the end, it doesn't matter. Ride what you have. Somedays I like to ride singlespeed, other days I like riding fixed.

  37. #37
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    I would think fixed would be harder. I would be worn out before I started riding trying to fit in those skinny jeans.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by skankingbiker
    I find scrambling up hills is actually easier on a fixed gear than a single speed because your inertia keeps the pedals moving.
    Better not let p nut hear you say that
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    Either way, time yourself going up a hill on both fixed and SS. You'll find that there is very minute difference, if any.
    Sorry, still can't drink your koolaid. I too rode a fixie almost exclusively for about 3 years, including 3-4 4 star centuries and when I was in survival mode, standing and just riding each pedal down climbing a hill, I could definitely feel the pedal raise up at the bottom just enough to set up the pedal on top the other side. As I said before, "It's the extra energy it took to wind up that 700c rear hoop giving back." (okay, I'm paraphrasing myself) But don't take my word for it, take your fixie out, position the right crank arm at 1:00, and stand on the pedal. If the pedal stops dead at the bottom, your right. If the pedal continues around the back side, I'm right. Oh and be careful, this is what usually throws new fixie riders over the handlebars.
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  40. #40
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    I would think that riding fixed would be more of a work out because of the extra effort it takes when descending. On the road or on trails. That's how I've felt. On flats or climbs, I find the effort for both SS or fixed to be about the same..As long as the gear ratio, chain tension and all other variables are nearly the same as well. No science to present or debate, just the way it feels to me personally.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Sorry, still can't drink your koolaid. I too rode a fixie almost exclusively for about 3 years, including 3-4 4 star centuries and when I was in survival mode, standing and just riding each pedal down climbing a hill, I could definitely feel the pedal raise up at the bottom just enough to set up the pedal on top the other side. As I said before, "It's the extra energy it took to wind up that 700c rear hoop giving back." (okay, I'm paraphrasing myself) But don't take my word for it, take your fixie out, position the right crank arm at 1:00, and stand on the pedal. If the pedal stops dead at the bottom, your right. If the pedal continues around the back side, I'm right. Oh and be careful, this is what usually throws new fixie riders over the handlebars.
    Ok, but that push still killed your momentum. If it's "giving back", it's also taking away. And who's to say you wouldn't have made it up with a SS? You wouldn't have got your "push", but you also would've kept the momentum going, making it easier to maintain speed.

    Maybe your perception might be it was easier with a fixed, but just as in your example with the HT vs FS earlier, perception doesn't really matter---only the final result.

    Lastly, your proposed experiment doesn't make sense. I never said there was no push---only that it takes away something in return. So set that up with a SS and see which goes further.

    BTW, I've been riding fixed longer than you have.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    BTW, I've been riding fixed longer than you have.
    I only said I rode fixie "exclusively" for three years, I have been riding a fixed gear bike since 2000. You still might have ridden fixie longer than me, but I have a lot more fun than you do
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  43. #43
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    Well, I was just referring to your newbie comment. not a fixed newbie here. As far as the fun part, you're probably right. Probably not at mile 90 on your centuries, though!

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