Author Topic: technique, particularly descending  (Read 5873 times)

Nelson Longflap

  • Riding a bike is meant to be easy ...
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2016, 12:25:32 pm »
Does anybody actually enjoy descending at speed on fixed?

Anything over around 175 rpm gives me serious concerns about my mortality; it isn't fun (for me, although if you get a kick out of danger, or can't resist a challenge, you may feel differently). Substitute your own limit if 175 isn't fast enough.  I like lowish gears so high cadences are familiar, and OK up to a point ( in my case things start getting uncomfortable at around 150 rpm).

To enjoy super-fast downhill spinning you need to switch off your imagination and don't worry about a chain unshipping, a pedal grounding, or just getting the line through a corner slightly wrong.

I'm inclined to agree with zigzag that ss is safer, and certainly faster downhill ... but, but, but when the gear is just right, riding mile after mile on fixed at a rock steady cadence feels more efficient than any freewheel (single or otherwise). I think that's part of the "zen" that fixie fans seek.

I'll continue my schizophrenic way running fixed:free in the ratio 60:40. Both feel right depending on (1) the terrain (ss feels best on hilly rides), and perhaps more importantly (2) how I'm feeling ( fixed feels more of a challenge, largely because of fast downhills, but it's great when I'm up for it).
The worst thing you can do for your health is NOT ride a bike

benborp

  • benbravoorpapa
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2016, 01:03:21 pm »

To enjoy super-fast downhill spinning you need to switch off your imagination and don't worry about a chain unshipping, a pedal grounding, or just getting the line through a corner slightly wrong.

I'll admit to enjoying things that most would consider foolish but it is usually on the proviso that I have more control over circumstances than might appear. I'm 'moderately' circumspect about descending on fixed and save the enjoyment for roads whose dangers I know well. Imagine my surprise at encountering an unmarked, temporarily filled trench cut across the entire road less than a minute from home - it hadn't been there when I left in the morning. The surprise that I felt at discovering the wheel/fork/head tube/teeth wrecking hole was soon overwhelmed by the surprise gained from an extemporary bunny hop, on fixed, comfortably north of 50kph. Oh, the height. The sheer height. And then the forward rotation...
A world of bedlam trapped inside a small cyclist.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2016, 04:41:00 pm »
I'm comfortable descending on my fixed up to around 150 rpm, once above that I start to move into the my old legs are struggling to keep up territory. 150 rpm on my fixed equates to around 30mph and most hills round here don't involve much above 30mph, we've only got a few steep enough to get speeds above 30. I'm also fastidious about looking after my chain which tends to help confidence on descents.
   

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2016, 11:23:16 pm »
Gentle reverse pressure on the pedals will keep the revs to a sensible limit on graded descents.  For steeper inclines just feather a brake or two.  Spinning up to max can be fun once or twice on a ride, but let comfort and commonsense rule on long events.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2016, 09:20:54 pm »
Rim brakes don't work well as drag brakes because they heat up really, really quickly.  On my first ever fixed ride, when stupidly I went straight out and did 56 miles, a longish descent had the front and only brake pads smelling like a burnt pan handle.  Burnt brake pads aren't the real issue; it's what is happening to tyre pressures as the rim gets hot.  There will be some sort of equilibrium temperature, no doubt, where the rim loses heat as fast as it gains it from the brake, but if it's more than about 100 deg C then a tyre topped off to 120psi will be up to 150psi snd it may be thinking of popping off the rim.  If you ride fixed in hilly areas, you probably want a front and rear brake so you can alternate between them.

I'm not a spinner on the level of some here but I can manage about 35mph downhill on 48 x 18.  Use your ankles as well as your knees.  48 x 17 is also a sensible gear - always gear for the downhills and let the climbs look after themselves - but 44 x 18 means you have to be really, really good at spinning.  I used to TT on 48 x 14 and that is easier for the ups and downs than you might think, with the drawback that acceleration is woeful.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2016, 09:33:55 pm »
I've always used about 63-67", which is nearer 44*18. It's what was recommended by the club riders back in the day, when everyone used fixed, before no-one did, before everyone started doing it again. These days I'm nearer 67" than 63", but otherwise I've stuck to it. I tend to use a 52 or 50 ring and larger sprockets than that, though.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2016, 04:16:43 pm »
Thanks for all of the suggestions and information. I'll try to put some of it in to practice (I don't think that I'll be unclipping...).

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2016, 11:49:35 pm »
I haven't done much fixed riding for months. Went out on Sunday and it was a flat route until suddenly I found myself doing 62kph and 197rpm briefly. It was a bumpy single track lane. No big deal. I only hit the brakes when a car appeared coming the other way.


Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2016, 11:58:17 pm »
Must have been quite a sight

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2016, 10:35:29 am »
Having an S3X, I change up.  However, even with that, 50kph is scary.  Bolder legs than I may have a higher geared set up.  A 77" mid gear would give over 100" top.
Getting there...

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2016, 04:26:25 pm »
S3X

Wow, I had not realised that such a thing existed. (Side note, searching for "S3X" in Google is, err, "interesting".)

I will considering converting an old mountain bike to this.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2016, 04:47:17 pm »
Must have been quite a sight

Indeed, it was a 4x4.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2016, 04:48:39 pm »
Does anybody actually enjoy descending at speed on fixed?

Up to a point. When I was using my fixed regularly for commuting, there was a short, steep descent where it was easy to get up to 180rpm or higher, which is fun for short bursts. I would be more circumspect on descents lasting more than a handful of seconds.

benborp

  • benbravoorpapa
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #38 on: October 29, 2016, 12:55:15 pm »
Up to a point. When I was using my fixed regularly for commuting, there was a short, steep descent where it was easy to get up to 180rpm or higher, which is fun for short bursts. I would be more circumspect on descents lasting more than a handful of seconds.

I think a large part of my enjoyment of riding fixed was my south London commute. It would often get extended.There were several rollercoaster options from Camberwell out to Bromley. Actually, the experience really was very much like a rollercoaster, trading energy and speed.
A world of bedlam trapped inside a small cyclist.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #39 on: October 29, 2016, 04:07:25 pm »
There were several rollercoaster options from Camberwell out to Bromley. Actually, the experience really was very much like a rollercoaster, trading energy and speed.


What's your route? I used to go from Bromley via Beckenham and Penge, up Crystal Palace Park Rd and down Fountain Drive, then Denmark Hill and through Camberwell to E&C. It's a really good ride on fixed - good mix of gradients but nothing too steep. For the return leg in the evening I would sometimes go via Sydenham Hill, but wouldn't go that way in the morning because it's too steep to be enjoyable to descend on fixed.

benborp

  • benbravoorpapa
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #40 on: October 29, 2016, 05:03:06 pm »
Pretty much identical, that was my preferred route, although anything beyond Beckenham was an extended run. I would mix up the ascents between Forest Hill, Kirkdale, Westwood Hill, CPPR, Anerly Hill or even South Norwood Hill on the way in and any of the alternatives on the way back, although if I took Streatham Common North or Knight's Hill then I would probably do Central Hill as well for the full on up, down, up, down fun of it.

Moving to Brixton was a disappointment but where I'm living now there isn't a decent hill for miles.
A world of bedlam trapped inside a small cyclist.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2016, 08:50:33 pm »
i haven't mastered relaxed descending in few months of riding fixed, so decided that fixed bikes belong to velodromes and never looked back*. dragging brakes on the descents seems counter productive.

*i ride three ss bikes now with 72", 79" and 86" gearing

An interesting thread --- the downhills being my concern too

rather with you ZZ on this, but packed fixed after two gos; riding around Welsh borders / commute downhills of 2-3 km @ 5% and 50-60 kph don`t in my view align with riding fixed. I can well see the zen of realtively flat areas and fixed but with hilly terrain it does seem a big loss to be braking when going downhill so SS (44 x 19 for those 10% climbs ) is at moment and area here my choice, even though it might be `worst of both worlds , fixed and SS`
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2016, 09:02:16 pm »
I'd say it takes a year of perseverance to get used to fixed-wheel riding.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2016, 09:20:47 pm »
And how does it feel after 70?

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #44 on: November 01, 2016, 09:23:26 pm »
I rode Emitremmus on 48/17 at the weekend - my first audax on fixed.

It was enjoyable and there were not many downhills where I had to spend a lot of time braking (though I was resisting the pedals). A couple of uphills were hard, but nothing dreadful. Moving time was 12 minutes slower than last year (geared), but overall time a bit quicker.

A lower gear would definitely be necessary for anything with more hills. I'll stick with it for a bit


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Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #45 on: November 01, 2016, 09:28:33 pm »
A lower gear would definitely be necessary for anything with more hills. I'll stick with it for a bit

This may or may not be true. I remember the great Malvolio (no longer of this parish), but fixer of Legend, lamenting being on a lower gear on the Dorset Coast 200. It's better to walk a few, and roll better for the majority on a bigger gear.

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #46 on: November 01, 2016, 09:53:58 pm »
And how does it feel after 70?

Eff off, Flat-arse.  ;)

Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #47 on: November 12, 2016, 10:42:12 pm »
S3X

Wow, I had not realised that such a thing existed. (Side note, searching for "S3X" in Google is, err, "interesting".)

I will considering converting an old mountain bike to this.
I - ahem - have an 3-speed ASC that I rebuilt (it needed re-shelling and I replaced all the lockwashers and bearings) and don't really intend to use.  Did about 100 dry miles on it to test it.  It's a much nicer hub than the S3X, with no noise and much less lash.  Built into a 36h Rigida 700c rim which doesn't look out of place on a vintage bike.  Shifters for the ASC, which have a unique cable pull, are just about impossible to find but a SA 4-speed trigger and a few minutes with an angle grinder will give you one; one of the detents on the ratchet needs filing down to give the correct cable pull, and one position of the shifter is (obviously) unused.  I did it with a particularly scabby trigger but you could get a nicer one; they were made in their thousands for Moultons and other FW-equipped bikes so they're not hard to find.
Never tell me the odds.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #48 on: November 22, 2016, 10:30:26 pm »
Managed to hit 185rpm on the Kickr just now.  :o

Nelson Longflap

  • Riding a bike is meant to be easy ...
Re: technique, particularly descending
« Reply #49 on: November 23, 2016, 09:35:25 pm »
Does anybody actually enjoy descending at speed on fixed?

Well me  - my 42/17 fixed ride today was a blast, including some short, steep and fast descents, and a 1 km 7% descent which was very spinny :) The Hampshire climbs were great fun too. Fixed wheel was a real plus today  :thumbsup:
The worst thing you can do for your health is NOT ride a bike