So after purchasing a 2nd track bike for the 9 yo over the weekend, and watching him fearlessly ride up the velodrome slopes for the first time and all over the grass as well yesterday . I was mulling over the differences between riding a geared bike and a fixie.

I'm naturally pre-disposed against the concept of missing out on the "reward" sections of a ride where I can freewheel after getting to a certain speed or after slogging up a slope, but I guess there's something to be said about starting fire with two sticks... or using your fingers to count over using an office suite application.

Anyway... we come to another "What do I need to know about..." question.

Have you made / attempted the jump from riding geared to fixed ? Care to relate your experience and what you learned , what would you do better if you could it all over... or *gasp* have you opted to go back to geared ? 

What sort of gearing would be recommended ? - is it based on the lowest gearing on what I'm riding as geared at any point during a trip - or is that unrealistic ?  Are knee problems a factor to consider ? 

Front brakes or Rear ? - Are fixies with  disc brakes viable ?  

any other aspects.... 


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I still haven't found a decent explanation for why you rarely see fixies outside a 2km radius of Taylor Square.

I take it that's under the "any other aspects"  feedback.

It takes a good km or so to line them up properly, sometimes you miss first time round... ;-)

Highly recommended.


I ride a singlespeed (i.e. no gears but has freewheel) for my principle commute/utility ride.

Have done for years, wouldn't go back to derailleur.

42 at front, 16 at back, 26 inch wheels with low rolling resistance rubber.


I can ascend Phillip St fine despite 53 year old knees.


Principal likes:

  • light so easy to handle on stairs and trains
  • very cheap to run, no mech/cable wear and chains & sprockets last for ages of course
  • reliable
  • no risk of busted mech
  • top speed is quick enough around town without getting up to particularly hazardous speeds
  • no risk of fluffed change or stopping in high gear



  • none.

Hmmm. You make a good case...

But I still don't want one. And a fixie is out of the question, too.

à chacun son goût

Why'd you need to get your knees replaced in your thirties? ;-)

I use a Single speed bike when I am in Adelaide, with 46/16 and 700c wheels; and as a single speed it is great. I have climbed some of the hills around Adelaide on it, but generally only the ones that are up to 6 or 7%. If I was using it back home in Sydney where there are quite a few short but steep climbs I would probably want to gear it down a bit, maybe to a 44 or 42 on the front.

It has a flip flop hub, so I tried it for a while as a fixie, and just couldn't handle it on the roads. Even with front and rear brakes I was always so nervous about being able to stop if I needed to in an emergency, that I ended up just riding really slowly and in particular slowing down for lights and things so much further out than I would with a freewheel. I'm sure that once you learn how to do emergency stops on it, it would get better, but it really wasn't something that I enjoyed or saw any real advantage in, so I have put it back to ss.

I ride a Trek District singlespeed with a belt drive (55-22 ratio I think). Like Martin I think the advantages basically come down to simplicity:
■ Almost zero maintenance, no chain to clean or lube just hit the belt with a water blaster every couple of months
■ very cheap to run, no mech/cable wear
■ reliable
■ Improves fitness due to need to dance on the pedals up hills (a kind of forced HIIT)

Now that IS an interesting bike!

Also very, very quiet. Sort of ninja stealth mode bike


■ Improves fitness due to need to dance on the pedals up hills (a kind of forced HIIT)

I can do that anytime I like on my derailleur bike(s).

And when I can't do it again, I can shift to a lower gear for more HIIT.

It's a win-win!


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