Fixed gear advice

by PRINCIPIA PHIL   September 14, 2012  

I'm looking advice having put my name down for one of the limited edition Boardman Tk20 track bikes.
Having never ridden a fixed gear before, should i start off with flat pedals until i find my feet or is it easy enough to get the hang of riding clipless on a fixed gear bike. My concern is clipping my second foot in when i get going and clipping out when i come to a stop.
I've been riding various clipless systems (SPDR, SPD and Look) for 11 years now but with a freewheel you have the luxury of getting a chance to stop pedalling to get your second foot in/out.
Also, any advice on a front brake - i've been interested in SRAM's S900 carbon singlespeed brake lever and matching it with SRAM's Rival front brake caliper (in black to keep it as unobtrusive as possible)
Thanks in advance.

11 user comments

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You are better starting flat pedals if you are not used to fixie else you might do yourself some damage or even worse, do the bike some damage.

I just got a "new to me" fixie and thought i'd be fine with it. I have another fixie, but haven't ridden it in years. So on with the SPD pedals. First junction I had a "nearly" moment when I slowed and forgot I couldn't freewheel. Unclipped both feet in a panic and looked like a numpty.

If you don't want to go flat, then take your SPD's and adjust them for the littlest resistance of force needed to keep clipped in. That way you can clip out without thinking.

You'll only need a few rides to remember that you need to keep your legs going and to set a cadence that you are happy with and not going to make you want to freewheel at anytime. The only other thing apart from that is going downhill. If you forget and try to freewheel, Its going to hurt.....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9361 posts]
14th September 2012 - 21:07


Ride fixed with your spd's it will save you from being bucked off the bike when you forget to pedal Smile

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
14th September 2012 - 22:09


Never, ever, EVER ride a fixed gear bike without something holding on to your feet. You have half the braking power and if you slip off the pedals most likely half the walking power Wink

Municipal Waste's picture

posted by Municipal Waste [237 posts]
14th September 2012 - 22:13

1 Like

Use double sided pedals I would.

Flicking SLs around without being able to freewheel is a bitch.

Or learn to trackstand like a hipstah.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
15th September 2012 - 9:37


Raleigh wrote:
Use double sided pedals I would.

That's a great tip - I would never have thought of that, and would have assumed that single sided (ie flat/SPD) would be a safer bet on a fixie.

However, tried riding fixed once - not my thing. I happen to like my gears and my cadence.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [602 posts]
15th September 2012 - 12:37

1 Like

Thanks for all of the advice/suggestions.

I have a well worn pair of double sided Shimano M540's on my winter hack which comes in handy when i use it to cycle to work at traffic lights as you'll click into one side or the other. I've got the resistance on the pedal set very loose for repeated stop/start manoeuvres and have been riding the bike with a fixed gear state of mind this past couple of weeks i.e. trying not to freewheel as much as usual, keeping cadence measured, etc.

Called into my LBS today to see if there's any news of delivery, but nothing to report yet, hoping that the discipline of riding fixed will improve my pedalling technique.

With winter approaching though, the bike mightn't get too much use as i'd want to keep this bike in good nick - well seeing as there's only 92 of them it would be wrong to trash it!

Thanks again.

posted by PRINCIPIA PHIL [59 posts]
15th September 2012 - 23:01

1 Like

Defo double sided SPDs are the way to go. I started back on my winter fixie last week and on the first day I had flats on the bike (long story) and they felt awful - visions on pedal taking out my shin. Felt much better on the second day with SPDs. You don't want them *really* loose either, you don't want an unexpected un-clip when you're doing 90rpm.

Main thing is finding out where your toe overlap is, or whether you have any at all. Most awkward moments come from slow manoevers and sudden front wheel swings...

Good fun though, I'm really enjoying it.


alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [415 posts]
15th September 2012 - 23:22


I've got some Eggbeaters on my fixie. With four engagement points you can pretty much stamp your foot on the pedal and they'll click in.

posted by unsafeatanyspeed75 [4 posts]
16th September 2012 - 8:23


back on the winter bike already?! I was out in my shorts and jersey yesterday!

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
16th September 2012 - 9:49

1 Like

Up here in cold, wet and windy Northern Ireland the winter bike is an all year bike! The Principia Rex Linda McCartney sits in the living room like a piece of art and gets a run when the weather is very settled (i.e. zero chance of rain), the same goes for the Scott Addict but even more so...
The winter hack, a Specialized Allez 16 with Mavic Open Pro CD rims on Ultegra hubs gets a lot of use and has caught it's fair share of superbikes in it's time, so it definitely punches above it's weight.
Looking forward to getting the Boardman TK20 in the next couple of weeks, just came to late for the cycle to work scheme though, it finished this year on the day before i enquired about the bike.

posted by PRINCIPIA PHIL [59 posts]
19th September 2012 - 22:39

1 Like

Personally, I think its really dangerous not to be clipped in on a fixed gear bike. You need to be able to re clip quickly though. Thing is when you get out of the saddle and keep it going over the hillocks, you pull up big time on the pedals; injuries await if you unclip accidentally at such moments. The pedals need to be maxed out on the tension adjustment too IMO.

clipping in on a moving pedal isn't the problem you think it is. you develop that skill after the first ride. The real skill is letting your legs go all floppy so you can do 30 down the hills @200rpm. It panics the f out of you the first time.

btw my fixed gear cost me 90 quid . I quickly stripped the track hub thread on the back so replaced it with a velosolo disk hub setup on an open pro 36h. New BB this winter and its a gooden. I have a 10 mile commute and normally get 2 mph faster(19-20mph) on the fixie compared to the road bike(17-18mph). Thing is its always easier to go fast than slow on a fixie!

posted by wyadvd [126 posts]
26th September 2012 - 2:33