Useful Tips

How to ride fixed gear bicycles


The story of the appearance of such a strange vehicle is very vague. One can definitely say that it came from a track bike and is almost identical to it. The geometry of the frame, the lack of free play and brakes - all these are the achievements of track races. Actually, such features are explained by the desire to minimize the weight of the bicycle, and the relative safety of racing on the cycle track (lack of cars, wind and even coverage) allows this to be done.

But who came up with a bike ride around the city is not known for certain. According to one version, the fix bike owes its popularity to cyclists from the city of New York. The simplicity of construction and unpretentious appearance allows you not to worry that the bike will be stolen or that it will often break.

It is also worth noting that in the United States the speed in cities is lower than in the CIS and is 40-50 km / h versus 60 km / h. It would seem that the difference is not so significant, but in the collision of a cyclist and a car, it plays an important role. So at 40 km / h the cyclist will get off with minor bruises and abrasions, and at 60 km / h, most likely, he will get more serious injuries.

How fix bike works

The fixed gear bike is free. Due to the work of a simple mechanism (sleeve and drum), traditional bikes do not stop moving even when the rider stops pedaling. Fixes do not have a drum, and an asterisk is installed on the threaded sleeve, which transfers force to the pedal mechanism.

That is why the cyclist on such a bicycle is required to rotate the pedals without stopping, and this can be done both forward and backward. To stop, you need to change the direction of their rotation. In the event of emergency braking, the bike is skidding because the resistance of the legs blocks the rear wheel. This is the classic “capercaillie” look like, but more modern models of fixes are still equipped with an additional hand brake.

To simplify their lives, owners of such bikes often use the Toe Clips system, which helps keep your feet on the pedals. Tuclips prevent slipping of the foot and help control the control process.

Benefits of Bicycle Fix

  • High efficiency. Due to the lack of nodes, the efficiency of fixes is maximum.
  • Braking control. Fix bike can be stopped without voltage at any time. The elementary braking system makes it completely controlled by the rider.
  • Maneuverability. Even on rough roads, on ice, or in potholes, such a bike feels great. They are easy to manage, avoiding obstacles in a timely manner.
  • Universality. Such bicycles can be used for city driving, entertainment, sports and cycling.
  • Reverse. Not every bike can go backwards. Fix is ​​ready to untie the hands (or legs!) Of the tricksters. There are even special bike games in which bicycles are actively involved without freewheeling.
  • Exercise bike functions. Fixes are useful for pumping up leg muscles. When pedaling, it consumes twice as much energy as when riding ordinary bicycles. You can master the technique of smooth pedaling, learn how to quickly change the pace.
  • Simplicity of design and lightness. In such bicycles you will not find a single extra detail. Due to this, the design is convenient to carry and, moreover, as mining is unattractive for bicycle thieves.
  • Minimal care. Before you go for a walk, just make sure that the bicycle chain is working. Constant tightening and tuning is not required.
Often, the advantages of fixed gear bicycles include their low cost. This is a moot point, since even with a small number of parts, modern manufacturers find a peculiar growth field here: they make frames from expensive materials and offer expensive bicycle equipment.

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Disadvantages of bicycle fix

  • Lack of brakes
In a classic bike with a fixed transmission, there are no brakes as such, which greatly complicates the management of the bike in urban areas. Braking occurs by blocking the pedals, after which the bike starts to use the skid - the so-called skid. But this is quite unsafe braking. This problem can only be solved by installing tick-borne brakes.
  • Blind gear
In urban environments, this feature is a huge drawback. Unlike the track, the terrain in the city is not so uniform, there are large climbs and descents, the overcoming of which will be a real test for the cyclist. Not to mention the fact that from such a ride the knee joints will become inflamed very soon.
  • Tuklipsy
Another significant drawback, which, fortunately, can also be fixed, are the Tuclips. Why the flaw? The thing is that, as we already know, many things in the fix have remained since the time of his track past, including Tuklipsa. It’s just that there are absolutely no sudden obstacles on the track, and in the city it’s full, so a leg stuck in them can easily cause an accident.

A much more rational solution would be replacing the tuklips with contact pedals.

From all of the above, you can conclude that a fixed gear bike is a completely useless thing for traveling around the city, but this is not entirely true, because in that case it would not have become so popular. In fact, such a bicycle will be very convenient in cities where there are no strong elevation changes, and very dense traffic with many traffic jams.

For pleasure

It takes a little practice to feel comfortable on the fix. Most cyclists who try the wood grouse for the first time instinctively try to ride by inertia as soon as the bike accelerates. But you can’t do this on a fix, which is confusing at first. It takes a couple of weeks of regular trips to unlearn the reflex of inertia and get comfortable with the blind transmission.

Of course, you need to decide on this step and go through a period of getting used to. But as soon as it passes, you will gain a completely new pleasure from riding a bicycle. When you ride on a fix, you feel a closer connection with the bike and the road. There is some kind of ultimate, uncomplicated simplicity in a fixed gear, which can be extremely attractive to you. Somehow, as soon as the period of addiction ends, it turns out that riding on the wood grouse is more fun than riding a bicycle with gears and a rattle! If you do not believe my words, read reviews on the fixed transfer.

To keep fit

Riding a fix is ​​a great exercise. When you need to climb the climb, you do not need to think about when to change gear, because you have one. Instead, you know that you just need to get up and push, even if the calculation (transmission) is too high to be optimal for lifting. It makes you stronger.

When you know that you have the opportunity to downshift and calmly climb the hill, it is very easy to succumb to this temptation and do it. When you are riding on a fix, the need to twist harder in the climbs makes you drive faster than you could in other circumstances. A truly steep climb can force you to get down and walk, but on the other hand, you will be able to ride those slides that you can beat on a bicycle much faster than on a freewheel.

On the slopes you cannot roll by inertia, and the gear is too low. This forces you to pedal with a greater cadence than with a multi-speed bike. A pedal with a higher cadence style your legs. High speed makes you learn more even and smooth pedaling - if you do not pedal correctly, you will jump in the saddle.

Many cyclists abuse inertia. Riding on a fix wean from this bad habit. Inertia riding breaks the rhythm and allows your feet to cool. The constant movement of the legs keeps the muscles warmed up and provides good blood circulation.

Sense of control

Fixed gear gives you a very direct grip on slippery surfaces. In particular, this makes the fix convenient for riding in snowy and rainy weather.

This same grip will teach you how to brake the front brake without noticeably breaking the rear wheel off the surface. Many fixators use only the front brake - with a blind transmission, the rear brake is practically not needed.

Due to the closer connection with the bike, you get better control on bumps and difficult corners.

On any road, a cyclist must be able to ride in the saddle to overcome bumps. Most cyclists ride them by inertia. On a fix, a cyclist learns to pass obstacles without slowing down.

Transmission efficiency

The fix is ​​noticeably lighter than a multi-speed bike of comparable quality, due to the lack of a rear brake, durailers, shifters, extra stars. Fix also has a significantly shorter chain.

A properly assembled fix has the perfect chainline. This, as well as the lack of duralumin racers, increases transmission so much that you will feel it.

1/8 "or 3/32"

Many track cyclists use a thicker chain than multi-speed bike chains. The multi-speed chain has a nominal internal width of 3/32 ". On single-speed bikes, including most track bikes, wider 1/8" chains are used. You can buy fixed sprockets in both sizes.

(Some people mistakenly perceive width as a step of a link, speaking of a “highway” step or “track” step. This is a mistake. A step is the distance from the center to the center between the rollers, and all modern bicycle chains have the same pitch, ½ "/12.7 mm )

In most cases, I would recommend using a 3/32 ”multi-speed size. It is lighter, more compatible with your front chainring from multi-speed bikes, and is likely to make the transmission work softer (due to sloping side plates) if the bike is not perfect tea line.

Judging from my experience, 3/32 "chains are no less reliable or durable than 1/8".

For true retro connoisseurs, there is another option - this is a 1 "x 3/16" chain. This size was common on the track and required special sprockets with half the number of teeth half that of standard sprockets with ½ "pitch. These track racers used a chain without rollers. There are no more chains like that. But roller chains of this size can still be found somewhere.

The chain pitch of 10 mm is even more confusing. promoted by Shimano a few years ago. The idea was to save on weight by making everything smaller. An idea whose time has never come.

Center star alignment

Chain tensioning is crucial and is adjusted by shifting the rear axle back and forth at the dropouts. If you tighten the chain very tightly, the transmission will be difficult to move, even if the pedals are in one position (stars are usually not perfect). The chain should be as tight as possible, but without jamming the transmission. If the chain tension is loosened, the chain can fly off, which is very dangerous on a bike with a fixed gear.

Establish a back axis so that the chain was stretched in the most tight position of rods. Now loosen each bonk and tighten again, but only with the efforts of your fingers. Rotate the crank slowly and follow the chain to find the position corresponding to the highest tension. Lightly strike the taut chain with a suitable tool to make the chainring shift slightly on the spider. Then turn the connecting rod still dumb to find the next position of the tightest tension and repeat this until you need it.

Hands need a little experience to learn how to strike the chain with how much and how much to weaken the bonks, but this is really a simple procedure.

Tighten a little bonki and double-check. Tighten the bonks in a uniform sequence, as is done with the nuts on the wheels of the cars. My usual sequence starts with tightening the bonks opposite the connecting rod, then skip 2 bonks clockwise (144 degrees), tighten one, skip 2 more clockwise, and so on. Never tighten two adjacent bonnos. You can choose the opposite direction of movement, but try to develop the habit of always starting from one point and always going in the same direction. This will reduce the chance of accidentally missing a bonus.

After you center and tighten the chainring, adjust the position of the rear axle to make the chain tension as tight as possible (but without jamming the transmission). Pay attention to how freely the transmission works on a weakened chain. This is how it should work when you are done, but with the smallest possible chain slack.

Rear wheel mounting

When you mount the rear wheel on a fix — or on any bike at the same speed — there are three things you need to set up at the same time:

  • The wheel should stand straight. This basically means that the front edge of the wheel should be exactly in the middle between the feathers of the frame. If the wheel has a symmetrical umbrella, and you centered it relative to the feathers, then the wheel is aligned straight.
  • The chain tension must be correct. (See previous section)
  • The nuts on the axle or cam must be tightened. Note: if you have an axle on nuts, it is vital that the threads are properly lubricated with grease or oil. You should also lubricate the contact surface where the nut presses on the washer that contacts the frame.

Some guys who previously used bicycles with speeds find this procedure annoying. Especially with bushings on nuts. This is because they are not familiar with the way of the “walking” wheel.

Start by setting the wheel in the approximately correct position and tighten the nuts on the axle. They should not be too tight at this stage, just tighten them with more force than they would tighten with your fingers. Check chain tension and wheel alignment.

Most likely the chain will be slightly weakened, but, say, the wheel was able to be delivered smoothly. Loosen one of the nuts and push the edge of the tire to the side of the wheel so that the loose end of the rear axle moves backward. Then, tighten the nut that you have loosened.

The chain tension should now get better, but the wheel is no longer centered between the feathers. Loosen the other nut and center the wheel in the frame. This, in fact, will pull the chain a little more.

The idea is to keep one or the other end of the axle fixed in the frame all the time, and shift the wheel with side pressure on the tire forward or backward.

Little experience is required to get used to exactly how much the axis needs to be shifted in order to correct the current chain slack. But in fact, if one of the sides of the axis is always fixed, this becomes a simple procedure.

I like to first free the right side of the axle, pull the chain a little harder than necessary, and hit the chain with a wrench, as Sheldon describes in the center chainring procedure. Thus, I can move the axis quite a bit forward so that the chain is well stretched. In this case, the wheel will turn a little, and it will be necessary to adjust the position of the left end of the axis, but this will hardly affect the chain tension. - John Allen

Note: this method does not work with bushings on eccentrics, but there are usually fewer problems with them.