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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Should I have brakes on my fixed gear?
Purists will tell you brakes are not necessary on a fixed, that it's possible to slow down or stop by back pedalling. Obviously, it depends on how you'll use your bike, but if you ride a fixed gear bicycle on the street, we highly recommend brakes. It's actually illegal in some states to ride without a mechanical brake of some kind on the bike, so our bikes are equipped with brakes, front and rear. Brakes are particularly handy on steep down hills (especially those with a stop light at the bottom), in heavy traffic, in bad weather, or on crowded bike paths. Plus, on drop bars the brake hoods provide some great additional hand positions.
Q. Is it difficult to learn how to ride fixed?
No, but like using clipless pedals or rollers for the first time, there is a short learning curve.
• The first few rides should be where you won't encounter traffic. Get used to clipping in at low speed, like from a stop sign, since the pedals will be moving as you try to get the 2nd foot clipped in. Note: the track stand is a handy skill to develop for riding in traffic, and much easier to master on a fixed than a freewheel.
• Get used to the concept of no coasting. It’s very disconcerting (and potentially dangerous) to forget this and stand up to coast over train tracks. The pedal rotation will try to throw you forward. Practice raising off of the saddle an inch or two while still pedaling to protect rims and body parts on the rough sections. After a few rides it will become automatic to just keep pedaling!
• Cornering on a fixie is unique. Wabi frames are designed with a higher BB shell height to allow for pedal/pavement clearance needed during cornering.
• One of the joys of a fixed gear is attacking hills. They are very responsive to your pedalling input. On the downhill portion, you get to work on high RPM leg speed training! Again, you can’t coast, but you can apply back pressure to the pedals to help slow it down.
Classic: The Classic offers what you would expect from a high quality steel frame—very solid road feel and great vibration absorption. It's a great climbing bike and excellent for longer rides.
Special: The Special is the traditionalist's choice, due to the craftsmanship of the lugged and brazed frame. The road manners are incredible; it feels very connected to the pavement and secure, especially on rough sections. This bike soaks up road vibration and is, in our opinion, the best one for long distance riding comfort.
Lightning SE: The Lightning SE is the choice of weight-conscious riders. This is the ultimate performance choice due to the thinner walled, over sized Columbus Spirit tubing and the road type frame design. With the lighter steel, oversized tubing, low frame weight, and rigidity of the bottom bracket area of the frame, the Lightning SE is the best of the three for acceleration and hill climbing.
In summary, it's not really a good/better/best thing; it's more a question of what you're looking for in the ride or the aesthetics. All three fixed gear/single speed bikes are a joy to ride.