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Thoughts on the fixed gear/track bike culture?
Some of these people are cool and they really have the heart for it. Saw someone riding on a vintage cannondale track frame, that was absolutely beautiful. At the same time I saw a kid who converted a cervelo p3 to a fixed gear and proceeded to crash into a lightpost....
I guess that about covers it...
In principle I would like to ride fixed gear, at least sometimes. I think it would be a good training for me, as it reduces some of the disbalances in the legs. However, I have no interest to 1) make a fool of myself or 2) being associated with the fixie-hipsters, who hacksaw parts of very nice vintage road frames.
So, the jury is still out on that one..
I'll say this. I've seen a lot of idiots on fixies and listened to a lot of dopes wax on about how zen it all is and how you're not real if you ride with brakes, blah, blah, blah. But there's always idiots around. Most of all, the rise of fixed gear culture made cycling cool again for a huge number of people that would never have given it a second look and a lot of those people ended being some of the toughest fighters for cyclists rights. Many of them were the ones who showed up for Critical Mass when it was radical to ride in a group on the street and now show up at neighborhood council meetings when old NIMBYS are screaming about how bikes will destroy their neighborhood. So even if I roll my eyes at the dude with the PBR who won't ride in the bike lane, I try to remember that him and his obnoxious friends are partially responsible for why I have a bike lane to ride in now.

Plus riding fixed is cool... Wink
I remember modifying my old specialized from a 2 ring, 10 cog to a 1x single gear back around the mid 90s. I think I used the 16 or 18 tooth. My idea was to use it as a training bike on the flat roads of Florida. Not even a fixie. Well, it was ok riding alone, but on some group rides, I got dropped a few times on small undulations and definitely on the bridges. Unless you're a track racer, a single gear or fixie just doesn't work, at leat not for me. It makes more sense to have the option to make a more challenging ride, or competitive amongst friends and groups. You can climb, and you can sprint. I understand the culture, it's just not for me. I tried it, but just not practical for my style and purpose.
My thoughts on this is that fixed gear bike riders are breaking the cycling law which requires brakes on a bike no matter where I have lived. They are also riding a bike designed for a specific venue (a track!).
I have two track/pista bikes. One was and is only used on a track (40s-50s Mertens).
The other is a result of the craze over the past 10-20 years and is (I assume) an Asian built Bianchi "track" frame. For one it is a poorly manufactured frame; second, it is a sign that even Bianchi would be influenced by the fad enough to add another "track" frame that was never really intended for track use. Insane! Bianchi as well as all the top end manufacturers make a quality frame intended for tracks specifically so why build another track frame; money! That Bianchi bike was about $1500 new; I got it for $100; bought for the parts I would use off of it. I believe that there will be a glut of used "track" bikes and frames (those specifically built, and those modified) available (some in the junk pile) over the next few years. Oh, oops! Its already been happening. I received a "track" bike built for the road from a coworker who was going to toss it (about 5 years old and cost about $700 new). Serviced it, added front brake and gifted it to a kid. Hope he is still alive! I nearly wiped out just test riding the bloody thing since I ride track bikes (no brakes) on tracks. I assume I'll just give away that horrid Bianchi to someone since I find no value in it, and I'd never embarrass myself by putting it on any track!
(07-16-2013, 04:37 AM)Joe_W Wrote:  who hacksaw parts

Who would cut up a classic, never heard of anyone converting a classic bike to fixed gear using a hacksaw!!! The parts taken off are normally kept and an easy conversion back to stock is common when resold... My 2 cents...

I think they're awesome personally, but problems with gearing come to find first considering how unfriendly they can be with stop and go. Also hard to grasp the non-brake versions where people skid out for fun. That would be a nightmare where I live with all the reckless drivers.

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