Dedication to Fixed?

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  • I'm going to be 40 this year, arguably middle aged, and I do get to wondering if it's still wise for me to be kicking around on fixed gear bikes. Or at least, would I get more enjoyment out of cycling if I let go of the whole 'fixed' thing?

    I definitely enjoy bikes that are on the more simplistic end of the technological spectrum so of the 11 bikes I currently own, while only 3 are fixed, only 1 is geared. (A retro mtb with a cargo fork and I run it geared as I feel like it's more functional that way.)

    I've been thinking about treating myself to something nice this year as a 40th birthday present to myself and I'm finding myself looking largely at geared bikes, perhaps a svelte road bike or maybe something more functional, a modern gravel bike with 1 x 11 or 12 and hydro brakes etc etc.

    Thing is, I borrowed my mate's Genesis Equilibrium last year to give the 'normal' bike thing a go and I was pretty underwhelmed. I suspect inserting gears into my current 'riding practices' (is that a thing?) might mean my average ride would be 5 or 10 miles further or 2 or 3 miles an hour faster but does that necessarily mean it'll be either any more fun or any more 'meaningful'?

    TLDR: Have you moved on from fixed gear and how do you find it?

  • If your still enjoying it keep doing it, just vary it up and see what takes your fancy and when it does. Age is not relevant.
    I still find my self on fixed more often then not because most my rides are less then and hour and urban, just go with your gut and what makes sense on that occasion.

  • I'm 45, have no gears on any bikes.
    Use a track bike for Audax and this year have completed a couple of 200km, a 300km and have a 400 and 600 before LEL.
    I live and ride in hilly South Wales.
    The bike is completely impractical on a normal level but I love it for the simplicity, my wife just received her Project One 12 speed Di2 Emonda and while it is a beautiful bike I have no pangs of desire.
    If there is any time to do whatever you want then 40 something is it, maybe get a geared loaner or hire for a long weekend to see if you're tempted........

  • not 100% sure but i think @youramericanlover rides fixed

  • I rode pretty much only fixed for last 20 years with a bit of singlepeed and a very small bit of geared riding for around 12 months in the middle.
    At 54 I am now riding a geared CX bike. I am preferring it now whereas when tried 10 years ago I didn't.
    Still find having to faff about with gears and brakes a pain, especially cleaning/maintaining through winter but still enjoying it more - higher top speed, can tackle more tricky single track climbs and just generally less tiring for same distance.

  • I’m sneaking up on 50 and of my 12 bikes, 2 have gears and only another 2 have freewheels. I’ve only got the geared bikes because riding fixed with my wife is a pain, we have very different riding styles.
    The chap next door (hello David) is 78 and he has a collection of over 40 bikes all track, all steel,(except the TT trike) all bought new and kept in tiptop condition, he’s never owned a geared bike and rides at least 15 miles a day.
    I say be more Dave!

  • Dave 4 President!

  • Definitely still enjoy it.

    About 50miles seems to be my max on a ride and I have wondered if moving to gears would be the way to increase that but I don’t think riding with a freewheel really makes any difference. I don’t really have a fixed and a singlespeed version of the same type of bike though so hard to know.

    When I borrowed the Equilibrium last year I think I had some fantasy of dancing on the pedals up climbs followed by descending at speeds I’d never done before and they didn’t materialise, the climbs were just as hard and I ran out of gears on the descent anyway so ended up at the same kind of terminal velocity as if I had a ss freewheel.

    I think there was something of a lack of achievement too. Do a hilly 50 mile ride fixed or a singlespeed mtb ride and you can really feel like you’ve achieved something (even though it’s probably something that those that can knock out 100 mile Fixed rides might not be so proud of) but do the same with gears and it’s like, well off course I managed that, I’ve done it fixed.

  • Or at least, would I get more enjoyment out of cycling if I let go of the whole 'fixed' thing?

    No. I’m slightly older than you. I have bikes with gears but the fixed gear bikes put the biggest smiles on my face. Nice to have gears for knee preservation reasons, but I’d always choose fixed if I could.

  • There are frames that will let you do both thing.
    But besides that, at approximately the same age as you, last month I got back to riding a not so modern steel fixed gear after almost 10 years of geared bikes (some really good ones) and I surprisingly found it so much better. The constant pedaling that got me back into cycling in the 00’s felt so much natural than that thing where sometimes you’re tempted to just let go coasting. From my own point of view I’d tell you that if you feel more comfortable riding fixed, why would you change? It should be a decision based on your own pleasure, not an accessory dictated by an age number.

  • While I am not reaching 40 yet (I am in my 30s) I do tinker a lot with bikes and was always curious to try all kinds of bikes. My current range of bikes is diverse but I usually kept a fixed gear around because of the joy and simplicity it brings. I even did a bike packing trip on a fixed gear once and I used to own a fixed gear folding bike. The thing is my other bikes bring me great joy as well. Just for different purposes. So I would say: Yes, let go and be more open. That doesn’t mean you have to stop riding fixed.

    Maybe that genesis just wasn’t for you. I‘ve built bikes before I didn’t like in the end.

  • course I managed that, I’ve done it fixed.

    I got the same feeling when doing the Dunwich dynamo. First time fixed, then in the road bike. Especially because I didn't manage to beat the KOM I set fixed.

    I find myself trying to use less suitable bikes for everything these days.

  • How about putting a more spinny gear and 2 brakes on your fixed bike and strap some bikepacking bags to it and go on a nice trip instead? I always feel like this is a better way to treat yourself than buying another bike.
    I treated myself to a nice road bike but find it quite boring tbh.

  • I'm the same age but with the opposite thought process. Stopped riding fixed about 7 years ago when my fixed got stolen and I replaced with a geared bike. Now tempted to get another fixed gear bike again, so I can have the simplicity and fun.

    Also, I've had a Genesis Equilibrium in the past and while it was fine, I found it underwhelming too. A more "sporty" road bike is, for me, a noticeable contrast to riding fixed, i.e. feels like you can cover distances at speed with ease, climbing, descending all much quicker, more agile etc.

  • Rumour has it that equilibriums are pretty relaxed and a bit boring geo wise so it might be the overall setup that underwhelmed you. If your 40 yo back can take it, you might get that roadman "sensation" of speed with a racier road bike and some bongo wheels that would give you that geared smile. I have a relaxed road bike and it's great and a bit higher avg speed, but otherwise it has no real impact on my weekend dad loops.

    As a fellow 40yo when I've done SSCX my knees can be a bit ouchy the day after, so there is a little voice in the back of my mind that pops up when I do low-cadence SS grinding (ie your MTB stuff) where I think maybe gears are better for off road stuff. I miss my gravel bike (got nicked).

    Otherwise yeah like Amey said bury me with my fixie. I won't go into the virtues of fixed as ALL of it will end up in That Thread but yeah it's the best, fixed is life.

  • I've been thinking about treating myself to something nice this year as a 40th birthday present

    This might be your problem, a "something nice" fixed gear build will likely feel just the same as any of your previous fixed builds (of which some are very nice btw). A geared build will let you get much more imaginative and at least make you think you can do much longer rides.

    FWIW i'm just shy of 42 and 3 out of my 4 bikes are fixed. The geared bike is pretty much trainer only and when i do use it i often find myself thinking i wish i'd done this fixed. For my 40th i had a friend build me some very snazzy road wheels which have probably done less than 200 outdoor miles.

    I like building bikes but have given up on them being a catalyst to new riding horizons. IME it's generally the ride/company that make it fun and not the bike. Maybe a bike trip someplace special would be a more memorable/rewarding experience than building another bike?

    How much of this is going to end up in SFSS..?

  • This whole thread surely must go into SFSS

    I'm a little older and I'm wondering the same. Hauling up Crystal Palace in a 74inch gear, I've started to think why do this to myself?

    My riding is for transport around town, with only the very occasional longer ride.

    Also, some of you have enough bikes. Poster up-thread has 11 bikes!

  • Just gear down to 66gi, problem solved!

  • You talk about "letting go" of fixed, are you really clinging on to it? Or do you just like it? Stop worrying about what you should be doing and keep doing what you love imo, it's a big part of what makes your builds so good.

    Or just get an aethos

  • Every time I buy a geared bike, I fucking hate it.

  • Haha!
    My thoughts exactly! Well until I got my Standért Kreissäge first cut, it’s as close to a geared track bike as I could find. Which to be fair is what I really wanted. Most road bikes are a little uninvolving and dead feeling imo.

  • some interesting feedback on post fixed life.
    I only started fixed a little while ago to give it a try after having been a roadie for longer.
    The equilibrium is great for a commuter/social rides/touring set-up, but the riding is pretty remote from a fast crit-style build, which as some said above, is what in my experience could give the same renewed thrill as fixed gear riding.

    a fast alloy rim brake caad-style frame with deep carbon wheels could be your ticket, if anything for the puzzled looks of middle-aged buyer friends.

  • I rode exclusively fixed and single speed for 12 years and always turned y nose up at "roadie douchebags with their gears and lycra".
    During lockdown I started riding more and built up a singlespeed CX/Gravel bike with flat bars. About 6 months later I bought a a geared all-road bike. A few months after that I put knobbly tyres on it and turned it into a dedicated gravel bike then turned the CX bike into a geared all-road bike with drop bars. Eventually I sold the CX bike and bought a racey carbon road bike.
    So now I have a geared gravel bike and a geared road bike and they are both an absolute blast to ride.
    What I would also say is that coming from fixed, I find 1x set-ups much more appealing and fun to ride than 2x.

    TLDR Gears are super fun if you have the right bike

  • so you became what you hated once?

  • exactly, my favorite and only bike at the moment is a 2x11 cantilever carbon cx

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Dedication to Fixed?

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