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Hi hope somebody out there can answer this question.

I am buying merlin's single malt bike with a flip flop hub/rear wheel set up, now the bike comes supplied with brakes but as it's a fixie I feel that they may not be up to the job, would I be better off buying an sram force set and swapping them over (I use these at the moment on my racer and rate them highly)

Also I haven't found a review of this bike on any of the sites I visit, so your views/reviews would be good.

Thanking you in advance.

23 comments

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Harry.horler [2 posts] 2 years ago
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If you are riding fixed the performance of your brakes should not matter as much as when you ride with a free wheel. You may not know this if you have never rode fixed before. You control the bike not the other way around.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 2 years ago
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fatbeggaronabike [800 posts] 2 years ago
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As I stated it has a freewheel / fixed rear wheel so harry brakes are important I find stopping before I hit something so much nicer

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 2 years ago
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You stop with your legs though...

That's sort of the whole point of a fixed gear.

Plus you can do this kind of stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOjx6qI2sIk

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ColT [280 posts] 2 years ago
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Raleigh wrote:

You stop with your legs though...

That's sort of the whole point of a fixed gear.

Plus you can do this kind of stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOjx6qI2sIk

Hardly the 'whole point', but anyway...

It's quite common to run with just a front brake as your legs effectively become the rear brake on a fixed gear. I personally run with both, (basic Shimano long reach) just in case there's a real need to stop quicker than my legs will allow. (I think it may be a legal requirement to have at least the front brake, but I may just have made this up/read it on Wikipedia.  3 )

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sm [375 posts] 2 years ago
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Get a front brake. If you're running a low gear then stopping quickly with your legs will be nigh on impossible. Plus you don't want to be buying new tires every month.

Riding fixed. There's three ways to look at it.
1) You're on the track, no brakes. You stop with your legs, slowly.
2) You're a hipster. You spin a small gear and burn your way through tyres.
3) You commute fixed because its fun and low maintenance. You stop using your front brake.

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dave atkinson [6201 posts] 2 years ago
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4) you commute fixed because it's fun and low maintenance. you fit brakes because brakes help you stop your bike, which is often helpful

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dreamlx10 [153 posts] 2 years ago
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You must have a front brake, you do not need a rear brake as long as you have a lock ring on the fixed cog. If you don't have a lock ring you must have a brake on the rear as well.

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Jaltham [60 posts] 2 years ago
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5) You train fixed to increase muscle strength and how fast you can "spin." When you start doing long distances, especially descents, brakes are useful to save your legs! I run 48-16 to train on and I can already tell the benefits after two months!

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fatbeggaronabike [800 posts] 2 years ago
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I so wish I hadn't said fixed now It has a freewheel so the brakes and their efficiency is rather important so could someone out there answer that question instead of telling me that you use your legs to stop on a fixie because, 1 I already know that and 2 I won't have a whole velodrome in which to stop.

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djb123 [86 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd suggest not jumping the gun. Try 'em out and see whether you're comfortable with the performance. In my experience even the low end Tektro brakes are effective enough (though I've only recently moved from old and battered single pivots, so anything is an improvement). Only thing is that they lack the little centering screw, making adjustments trickier.

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antonio [1117 posts] 2 years ago
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I have recently been to Merlin's showroom and was struck by the Merlin Malts good looks and the almost giveaway price. I just love the clean lines of a track or fixed road bike, plus they are so versatile, but for me the bull horn bars would have to go. A cheap conversion to the versatility of drops and aero levers for me, one brake or two, it's your choice. Riding solo I'm happy with one, out with the club, unless I'm on the front all day, a brake on the back wheel is reassuring.

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Miles253 [198 posts] 2 years ago
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A set of brakes is favourable, if you do get a set of Force brakes you can be sure the stopping power will be good, whereas other brakes can be a touch weak. I always used a shimano caliper for my own peace of mind

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dreamlx10 [153 posts] 2 years ago
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"In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness."

FIXED gear bike, front brake only as long as you have a lockring, with a freewheel on the other side you must have a rear brake as well.

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bashthebox [751 posts] 2 years ago
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My beater SS has a tiagra front brake (good) and a miche long drop rear horrorshow (horrible, obviously). But it stops me, will lock up if I tug on it in an emergency. But it's just so wangy.
Anyway, midrange brakes are more than good enough. Force seem a little OTT if you ask me.

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Flying Scot [917 posts] 2 years ago
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Has no one seen Premium Rush?

BRAKES ARE DEATH!

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shay cycles [318 posts] 2 years ago
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For a freewheel you MUST have two working brakes.

I've got discs on my commuter but my road bike is almost 30 years old with single pivot campag record brakes to match and they are fine, really - even riding in bunches with everyone else on modern dual pivots an discs. Sure the new ones are better but the old ones still do the job of grabbing the rim to stop the wheels turning - you may have to squeeze the lever a bit harder so that's just what you do!

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jellysticks [95 posts] 2 years ago
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Bit late for reviews if you're already buying it...!?

But regarding brakes:

1) running a singlespeed freewheel - BOTH brakes are absolutely essential, and the ones which come fitted are most probably fine, assuming a good setup/tune.

2) running a fixed gear - technically (in terms of physics...) no brakes are necessary but a minimum of a front brake is a VERY good idea, and preferably both, just so you can definitely stop safely and quickly. You may go down to one/none after a while but not sure what the legality of zero brakes is...best to check.

Enjoy - one gear (or "no gears" to the non-cycling...) is fantastic*

*multi-geared bikes are also great.

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Scoob_84 [374 posts] 2 years ago
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Don't go zero brakes. The hipsters do my head in thinking its cool to have to skid to break and put themselves and more importantly others at risk with their inability to control their bikes.

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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I think the brake question really depends on what size gear you are running, if its anything under 65 inches, you may not be traveling at a speed that would justify the spend on more expensive brakes, a decent set of blocks may do the trick.

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fourstringsisplenty [58 posts] 2 years ago
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This is like reading exam answers by students who haven't read the question!

I'd try the brakes it comes with, fatbeggar. If they're not great, you could upgrade, either the blocks or the calipers, later.

Do try fixed as well, though - it's great fun! (And if you do, I'd recommend keeping both brakes, it's just safer. You don't have to use them, but they're there if you need to.)

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giff77 [1217 posts] 2 years ago
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I would echo what four strings has just said. Use current brakes. Upgrade if necessary. Law says that you must have a front brake if riding fixed. Rear being optional. Though if you plan to use the flip flop then you must keep the rear. Personally I would keep both even if you run fixed only. It just gives extra control and stops you skidding. Above all else expect to have a huge grin on your face as you and your new steed truly become one.

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fatbeggaronabike [800 posts] 2 years ago
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Enough already thanx to all the replies (even if some of them weren't helpful) as fourstrings said read the question  24

I bought the bike mainly for the frame and running gear out went the bulls, miche piste bars TT brake levers (bit of drilling and cable routing [still thinking about reworking the front cable into the stem then down and out to brake]) and this is what I turned it into