*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

All-Weathers Fixed Gear

This is an old post: the updated one is here.

The 2009 Kona Paddy Wagon I am mostly happy with, but that's because I'd already experimented fixed gear on what's become my 'retro-cross' so I knew what I wanted.  I compromised on my ideal, because I got this bike 25% off.  I love fixed for the interval training it forces upon me, for the quick acceleration, and the low maintenance.  I run both brakes.

What I did to it was put a riser stem at the front, as I wanted my bars just below the saddle, not at my knees.  I am not cool enough for that, nor do I wear ironic shirts and drink crappy beer.  I changed it from fixed/free to fixed/fixed, because I didn't need the free and the two-teeth bigger freewheel seemed as much work to push as the smaller cog, with the flywheel advantage of fixed gear.  I've run it with smaller gear-inches and a 32mm tire in the winter, but it is presently with 28mm tires, 44 chainring and 16 and 18 teeth cogs: 74" and 65".  Put a Brooks B17N on, shellacked cotton tape on the bars, which have been replaced for more regular road bars.  Lost the chainguard.  Have two-sided spd pedals.  To have lots of room for the 28 or 32mm tires I chopped a pair of Planet Bike fenders in half, fabricated some hardware, and attached them to the bike on Sheldon Fender Nuts.  Love those.

Nothing wrong with that bike now, except it is in Canada, and I am in Japan.  Bringing two bikes is excessive, and would have cost me $500 return by plane or by courier.  The bike is not worth more than twice that.

So I might need a fixed gear in Japan for my commute, because there is a long rainy season, and I just want a fixed gear!  It makes more sense to buy a cheap one and keep it here for my future visits after I return to Canada than to send for the Paddy Wagon.  Tokyo's issue is relentless prevailing winds along the riverside bike paths, so I need two different fixed gear ratios for down and up-wind: say 76" and 62".  It would also be nice to have about a 60" freewheel.  I looked into the SRAM Torpedo and Sturmey-Archer S3X, but they both have a lot of lash, losing the point of fixed.  I have decided I can best get the fixed gear ratios of 76" and 62", and the 60" freewheel, with a Surly Dingle Cog and paired chainrings, and a single freewheel.  It's also going to be easier to change between the two fixed gears than I have experienced by flipping the wheel.

I am going to order one of the semi-disposable 'Windsor Timeline's from BikesDirect, and do my few alterations with cogs, chainrings and freewheels, fenders, bar-tape, pedals and saddle.  Most of this I already own.

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