Fixie Cross Training.

I was thinking the other day about how you could cross train on a fixie for unicycling effectively, and the major difference I saw was that unicycles have shorter cranks. So now I’m thinking that if I were to put shorter cranks on the fixie I’m getting, would it not be similar to hill training on a Unicycle?

What are other people’s thoughts on a fixie vs. unicycle in terms of similarities.

i think unicycling up hill is easier because you have a handle to grab onto and pull hard on for more leverage,

Sure it would help with cross training, but why a fixie and why short cranks?

You shouldn’t try to make it like a unicycle, you should make it different. Use long typical bicycle cranks (170-175mm), clipless pedals (work your hamstrings), and have road gears…why ride a fixie if cross training? I love switching to my road bike and being able to coast sometimes, it makes everything different about the ride.

I find that when I rotate between my road bicycle and my 36er (both ungeared and geared), it affects my legs completely different. It also affects my back and my neck completely different.

My goal once it gets a little warmer is to unicycle to work 2-3 days a week, and bicycle the other 2-3 days of the week.

i love the look of fixie bikes, just moved back to Vancouver and they’re everywhere! but honestly i find them to be a little…stupid?
ive tried them and its just too scary, once you really get movin, theres really no stopping you right away…yeah you could have brakes, BUT NOBODY DOES haha.

ill stick to my fixie unicycling

I thought of getting a fixie, they seem like a lot of fun. I’ll probably just get a road bike.

The idea shouldn’t be to try to turn the bike into something more like a unicycle. Riding a bike is too different from a unicycle for that to really work.

I have a fixie bike. Riding the fixie bike is not at all like riding a Coker. Body position, mindset, muscles used, pedaling motion, and more is all different. Don’t try to turn a fixie bike into something that rides like a unicycle. It won’t work out.

A fixie bike can be good for cross training. It depends on how you ride it and where. My fixie has a flip-flop hub. One side of the hub is fixed and the other side has a freewheel. Both sides have the same gear ratio. I ride the bike differently when it is fixed and when it has a freewheel. When I have the freewheel I’ll get the bike up to speed and then coast a bit. My pedaling won’t be even, I may pedal a revolution or two then slow down the pedaling so freewheel starts clicking, then get the pedaling back up to speed. More chance to rest and more chance for being lazy. You can’t do that when fixed. The fixed gear forces you to keep pedaling just like a unicycle. In that sense it keeps you from developing bad pedaling habits. It also keeps you from being lazy.

A fixie bike also gets you to pedal at all sorts of different cadences depending on how fast your are going. If you’re going fast you’re going to be spinning like mad. If you’re going slow you’re going to be pushing the gear. In that sense it is like a unicycle. With a geared bike you typically keep your cadence constant (around 90-100) and use the gears.

Keep the fixie as a bike. Ride it like a bike. Don’t try to turn it into a unicycle. Ride it for cross training when you need to go on a longer ride where the unicycle isn’t practical. And use both front and rear brakes on the fixie. Riding with just a front brake or brakeless is not sane for regular riding around.

Some good comments here.

First of all I should specify that I didn’t buy a fixie for the purpose of cross training, I got it because I get a sweet deal on fixies (its actually a flip flop, but it doesn’t come with brakes, so it will be a couple months before I have it set up for SS) at work, and I really wanted a bike that fit me.

Right now I ride a bike that doesn’t shift, is always stuck in the hardest gear and I generally don’t particularly enjoy coasting so I figured a track bike would be fun, plus I really like a lot of the tricks I see done on them and I think they would be fun to learn.

I’m still curious about riding short cranks, but the way everyone is talking it sounds like they aren’t really worth the investment. I did some research online and it seemed too like most benefits of switching to shorter cranks weren’t really the kind of stuff I’m looking for, and that a lot of the benefits are actually old wives tales.

An issue with fixies is pedal strikes. You can’t raise the inside pedal and coast through a turn. You have to pedal through turns even when the bike is leaning over. A good pedal strike will cause the rear wheel to lift off the ground and most likely cause a crash.

For that reason, fixies often use a slightly shorter crank length than you would on a normal bike. So a fixie might use 170 mm instead of 175 mm cranks, or maybe go with 165 mm cranks. Also choose pedals that have good cornering clearance.

A purpose made fixie frame will often have a higher bottom bracket than a normal road bike. The higher bottom bracket gives more pedal clearance so you don’t have to worry so much about pedal strikes. A road bike conversion style fixie will have the lower bottom bracket of a road bike so you’ll need to be more conscious of potential pedal strikes and also also consider shorter cranks.

The tricks people do on fixies are interesting. I’ve never gotten interested in that style of riding though. A bike for that style of riding tends to have a smaller gear (lower gear ratio) than a road riding fixie. If your goal is to have a fixie for both trick riding and road riding for fitness you’re going to have to compromise on the gear ratio somewhere.

or make it a dinglespeed

Fixie/Unicycle Race

Great combination for training. I have a brakeless fixie with 77.2 geared inches.Climbing hills feel like I an riding my uni 29er. Now can someone tell me where I can race my fixie (50 mile) and uni (16 mile). I challenge anyone out there to a race.

I thought the point of cross training was to do something different, but working the same muscle groups. Based on that, the idea should be to keep it different from the unicycle, rather than making it more similar.

For doing tricks on a fixie you’ll want the lowest gear ratio possible. I’m pretty sure my artistic bike (Bauer, Germany) has a 1:1 ratio. It’s terrible for going anywhere, but it was made specifically for riding around in circles and 8’s in a gym. But there are many differences between a “normal” fixie bike and an artistic bike. On mine, the wheelbase is super-short; the pedals barely clear the front wheel. It has a seat that sets back from the seat tube, funny handlebars, etc. And short cranks. :slight_smile:

i’m going to guess you mean double single speed i.e. a fixed/fixed hub with significantly different cogs on each side? anywhere close?

Pretty much. People make them with a double chainring and a double cog each set with the same total number of teeth. That way you could have drastically different gear ratios without changing the chain length instead of the relatively similar ratios of using a fixed/fixed hub and a single chainring.

I just got my bike today and I quickly learned and agree with pretty much all the advice here.

For one, tricks are bloody hard, especially at a 3 to 1 ratio.

Skidding is awesome, and easy, but if you have uncomfortable toe straps it hurts after a while.

I want brakes.

I think it is actually quite good cross training for a coker for decents, it has a pretty similar feeling in many ways.

It is a blast to ride.

Having messed around building single speeds and fixies for racing last summer I discovered the beauty of riding with just a coasting brake. We built an additional wheel for my mate’s no brake fixie using an ebay coster brake hub and it’s awesome round town. You can lock it up and slide about the place and for normal braking it’s less effort than a fixie.

This is kind of a funny topic as I came into offroad unicycling by way of offroad fixed-gear bicycling! I started out by stripping down a cheap mountain bike into a fixie just to see if I’d like riding fixed gear offroad; I did! The junker bit the dust rather quickly (duh!) then I upgraded and built up a custom Surly Karate Monkey (29er) that I still have. I rode it in a 24hour mountain bike race (solo) and in “road mode” in a local road century. As mentioned here I had a Surly Flip-Flop hub which allowed me to use two different sized rear cogs utilizing the same chain and chainring. On one side I had the perfect ratio (for me) for off-road use on the other side a bit higher gear for faster road use. The Karate Monkey frame has “track ends” which allows you to adjust the tire forward or backward in the frame to take out the chain slack depending on which side of the hub (which cog) you were using. Really easy to fiddle with and a blast to ride! Then I discovered unicycling and my poor Karate Monkey is collecting dust :frowning: I really need to air the tires up and take it for a ride! Perhaps I can cross-train from my cross training? (I’m mainly a runner and unicycling is my cross-training)

Not for cross training, but I’m getting one of these:
Charge plug freestyler
For commute, fun, and also for Trick Track (700c Street riding).
Once I get the hang of riding fixed, it will have to turn brakeless so it’s barspinnable - tho It will be a few months before I get to that level.