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single speed bike: advice needed

ok i am in need of your valuable help again my fellow forum'ers!
i commute to work with a hybrid which now that i am getting a bit more exprerience/confidence feels quite heavy and slow; more importantly though it puts me on a position different to my race bike which i really need to get adjusted to asap as it still causes me pain when i ride it (yes i am properly fitted)
i would rather not use the racing bike to commute as it is pricier and i wouldnt be worried sick knowing its locked outside my gym etc
so, i thought it would make sense at this stage to replace the hybrid with a cheapish single speed with roadie geometry for day to day commuting - i really like those no fuss bikes which seem to be reallly 'clean' with very thin frames and not much more on - they seem really fast, lightweight, efficient and simple for city commuting
i wanted therefore to have your advice and some pointers as to what you would recommend
i also understand that they come in different size chain rings - how does this affect say, going uphill from one ss bike to another?


  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    My advice is have a go on one first.
    A true Fixie has no brakes,but most allow the rear wheel to be flipped to allow for freewheeling to take effect and fix a brake.
    The bigger the front cog the harder/more stress you will put on your knees.
    They will improve your pedalling technique.
    Recommended brand Plug.
    As for theft,any bike will get nicked,just get a good insurance policy.
  • OranjOranj Posts: 45
    Are you looking to build your own or buy one "off the peg"?

    I had a weighty MTB for commuting which I got sick of, so I built my own SS. Look here: http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/ for inspiration (I know they're fixed gear, but the principle's the same). This is what I ended up with: http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/2008/sept/3/Oranj.htm. I've lowered the gear slightly now to 45x18 (something in the 65-70 inch range is usually about right - you'll struggle up the steepest hills, but probably won't have to get off and walk) and converted it from fixed to single speed with a BMX freewheel - now I can freewheel down those same hills with alacrity. It's much cheaper to buy a complete bike and strip it down than a frame alone - I got my 501-framed donor bike for £70 and sold the rest off - the wheels alone went for £30, so I probably got the frame for "free". The rest of it came from my parts bin, or eBay.

    It's been a great thing to own - the chain needs re-tensioning and oiling periodically and it's on its second set of tyres now, but that's about all. Since those pics were taken I've fitted brackets for a saddlebag for my spare clothes, and for a D-lock, and swapped the pedals for some dual-purpose flat/spd ones, that's all.

    I don't know so much about off the peg, but they all seem a bit overgeared, maybe that's me. Not too many of them have mudguards eyes, which seems to defeat their commuting purpose (in this country, at least). I've seen (and liked) SS bikes from Pearson, Specialised and Giant. Charge also seem to do some reasonable builds. At the top end of the market, BlackJack make some lovely looking things. There's not much in the secondhand market at the moment - it's still a relatively immature fad.
  • doogledoogle Posts: 58
    Just to clear up a point from an earlier post, a fixed wheel bike used on the road must legally have a front brake (the fixed wheel classes as the stopping system for the rear). for a single speed you will need a brake front and rear.

    i use an old road frame with horizontal dropouts so i can tension the chain. i tend to ride fixed rather than single speed but still use two brakes.

    as for gearing i use 46 x 16 most of the time.

    Once you get used to riding fixed you will love it as it is so efficent and will realy help your pedalling efficiency

    Hope this helps

  • sportevesporteve Posts: 141
    thank you all for your input much appreciated!
    oranj i'd love to be able to built my own bike but unfortunately i am not that knowledgeable or technical (what you've done with yours looks amazing btw!)
    i think that my option would have to be an off the peck version
    from my little research i quite like these two:
    http://www.pearsoncycles.co.uk/product/ ... _BIKE_2010

    http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgur ... -Abs8_iABA

    i am just about coming to grips with the difference between a fixie and a freewheeel and i understand that there are bikes with both options - i'll have to check if any of the 2 above does...

    one more question if anyone of you would be so kind: i understand that with these bikes what you put in is what you get - no gears to assist you so hills etc are more of an effort which is great for training and improving your pedalling technique...what happens on decends though? do you have less control? how does the concept of backpedalling and/or having only a front break work?

    cheers once again!
  • Just a thought but could you use a bike with a hub gear, like one of the Sturmey Archer ones that used to (and might still?) have three or five gears. This set up is nice and neat and much easier with maintenance than your racing gears especially in the winter. One site I found from a quick web search - http://new.britishcycling.org.uk/travel ... ee-Bike--0 seems to cover the different options available for easy commuting. I saw one of the staft drive bikes in Copenhagen and it looked fantastic - although I am not sure how efficient or durable they are...
  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Ooooh I like this thread

    I'm in the mood for a single speed for commuting. Got a hybrid and thought I might convert that but all this talk above and advice from another forum (bcttt ahem) has got me thinking that I might be able to convince the misses that it will very cheap.

    Hmmmm... Interesting.
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    Eve - I'm pretty sure you'd want a freewheel single speed bike rather than fixed, so don't worry about that.

    Also, the Charge bike you linked is pretty sweet. I've ridden that around a little while and it is a very comfy setup. Not too aggressive, so if you're uncomfortable on it then something's wrong. I love the look of how clean and simple they are, just push easy to go, push more to go more. The gearing is something you've got to get used to, and will probably vary a bit if you like to spin at a higher cadence or lower one. Just consider the bar setup, since if you're trying to get used to being on a road bike and want to get used to riding the drops or some clip on bars, you'll want to mirror that same position.
  • I've just been doing some quick web drooling on this topic - there are certainly a lot of interesting looking alternatives around. If you have a look at bikeradar you can see some other options than the Charge bikes there - for what it's worth I liked the look of http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... empo-32343 and http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... drat-10010. I did see once on the web that the Trek Soho is available in Japan and other places with drop bars as standard - if you do a google picture search you will find it (it looks great). Good luck!
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