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Fixed-wheel bikes

September 1, 2008

Chicago Tribune has a great article, with explanatory graphics, on the hottest trend in cycling: No brakes, and they like it.  If you are interested in a fixed-wheel bike, or in the trend of people riding them on the streets, you should definitely read the article.  It covers both the design and the legal controversy over fixed-wheel bikes.

It is not quite true that fixed-wheel bikes “have no brakes”.  These bikes rely on the rider’s skill with the non-coasting drive train to bring the bike to a stop.  This is not a trivial trick, and the article rightly says riding a fixed-wheel bike on the street is no place for a beginner.

A simple compromise is to equip the bike with a front brake.  The front brake does 85% of the stopping on a bike anyway.  But the “purists” don’t like anything attached to their bikes that isn’t absolutely needed to move the machine.  I don’t screw around: my bike has top-quality front and rear disc brakes, with massive tires.  When I want to, I can apply a hell of a lot of drop-anchor.

The article made no mention that cheap, dime-store bikes often have such dysfunctional brakes that they may as well have none at all.

Categories: bicycling, Geeky
  1. September 1, 2008 at 17:11 | #1

    What a swell idea: bikes with no brakes. I suppose the people who ride around in the dark on their bikes with dark clothing and no lights of any kind will be all over this (and there is no shortage of such people—although I suspect there’s a significant attrition rate).

  2. September 1, 2008 at 18:04 | #2

    Have little fear Gerry, while some morons will adopt this because they think it’s cool, most of the riders are in good enough shape where they can easily stop themselves.

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