Wednesday, December 12

I got fixed

I found out about this quick and dirty conversion at

Turned my disk freehub into a fixed gear by replacing my brake rotor with a cog. I precisely centering a cog under the rotor, secured it with two visegrips, and drilled out the rotor bolt holes. I used cutting oil, high quality drill bit, and a variable speed drill.

Even so, I was not able to drill through the second to last hole. It was a snug fit but the bolts were able to draw the cog down.

I can now experience direct drive. (Zac enlightened me about my mistake. Direct drive has no gears and applies to a unicycle, high wheel, and kid's tricycle. Mine is a fix, fixy, or fixed drivetrain.)

On the snow covered neighborhood streets, I eagerly took my first fixed ride. It was different. Started with pedal at 2:00, pushed down and then got lifted up off the seat from the upstroke before I got my other foot clipped in. Unclip one foot to stop and the other keeps turning. Trying to brake with back pressure going downhill felt really weird. Definitely using the leg muscles in a different way.

It is like learning to ride again. As long as I'm maintaining or increasing cadence while seated or standing in a straight line, the fixed felt familiar. Starting, slowing, stopping, and corners felt strange. Imagine how singletrack and ttfs will feel! The endos and crashes will feel the same, successful negotiation of ttfs will be something else. New skills will be needed.


RF said...

awesome! I am impressed that you got everything to line up well enough for it to work. seemslike just a slight "off center" of that cog could cause drastic changes in change tension, but it doesnt sound like that is a problem. imagine nagivating log crossing and rocky sections like that! It is amazing what people can pull off on fixie's but it will take practice!! does it feel any more efficient?

dale said...

The center was tight, probably 2mm off center would have required the cog to be filed. The tight and loose chain spots seem about the same as the freewheel side.

I think it is less efficient because I can't take full advantage of gravity with coasting.

I was committed psycologically to ss'ing exclusively from the start this past year, yet it took my legs about 8 months before I felt comfortable. Different mindset, expectations, physical abilities, and skill emphasis from suspended gearie.

I don't have that same commitment to riding fixed. The first experience is usually the most difficult and disconcerting. I didn't care for my first ss 29er rides a couple years ago. I think my physical and mental abilities weren't adequite. But I eventually came back to it and now enjoy it.

Likewise, after some time fixed, I may need to put it aside for a while and then come back to it in order to really commit.

dale said...

I rode over 15 miles yesterday - to the bank, tranquility (only road and parking lot rideable), and a great dark ride around Standing Bear Lake.

Found out I usually stop pedalling when the front tire slides. Also, when standing on the pedals I hesitate after the 12 and 6 position.

With no freewheel (or deraileur)noise, only heard the sound of snow crunch. Riding with just the reflected city lights on Standing Bear, it was a very cool experience.

dale said...

Well, I removed my rear brake assembly and cleaned the bike. It looks cleaner in multiple ways.

RF said...

post some pics of the freshly cleaned look!

I hope you can still put the freehub back on for moab. the many rocks there often require "pedal ratcheting" to avoid obstacles