In what order to maintain a road bike vs a fixed gear bike over 10000 miles?
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  1. #1
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    In what order to maintain a road bike vs a fixed gear bike over 10000 miles?

    What is the maintenance order for an entry level sora (or Microshift for me) road bike vs a fixed gear bike (say, the trek District , although I guess belt is different from chain) after 10000 miles?

    I can look up how much these things cost, but I don't know what will quit first, so of you guys could tell me after 1000, 2000, 5000, I'd appreciate it as I would be interested in an objective comparison of the two in terms of cost, speed and braking and hill work aside.

  2. #2
    Cycling induced anoesis
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    I never owned a fixie, so can't offer anything in comparison to geared, but IME with geared bikes, after ~10k miles I'd be on my third set of tires, third chain and if the bike had any cup/ cone (loose ball bearing) assemblies, would likely overhaul them (disassemble, clean, re-grease, reassemble).

    I'll add that the level of maintenance (ex: cleaning/ lubing the drivetrain), riding style and road conditions all have an impact on how long many wearable parts will last. FWIW I'm light and a spinner, so I tend to get more wear out of many components - and I do an annual 'tear down' which (I think) helps with longevity.

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    The drivetrain is sitting exposed, right on the outside of the bike. It's really variable. Just keep an eye on things and you'll be fine. This is another of those things where you're asking for a deterministic, quantitative model when really all there are are statistics and since there's only one of you, they're pretty meaningless. (Incidentally and just to split hairs - the pedaling stuff isn't a statistical model, that really does follow a deterministic model to a very high degree of precision.)

    If I had to rough-guess, I'd say I probably go through two sets of tires, three or four sets of brake pads, maybe three chains, and probably one cassette in that distance. Depending on my luck and how chintzy I was about buying tires, anywhere from zero to dozens of tubes. I could get things to last longer if I didn't ride in bad weather and if I was willing to spend more time cleaning stuff. The fixie chain probably lasts longer, the cog probably doesn't last as long, and the chainring probably has about the same life as whatever your favorite ring on your multispeed bike has. Although if someone told be that 1/8" vs. 3/32" drivetrain selection had a big effect on wear life, I wouldn't be surprised. You can back-calculate the 1000, 2000 and 5000 marks from all this.

    Kinda not sure what you're getting at here. Are you wondering what spares to stock? Trying to figure out cost per mile? (Less than a car, probably cheaper than running in name-brand shoes by mile, probably about on par by time.)

    EDIT: Oh yeah, and if you insist on skip-stopping a fixie, you'll thrash the rear tire in a much, much shorter period. If it sees velodrome use only and only with the tires hooked up, probably a lot longer than the same tire ridden on the road.

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    I noticed that the bike messengers around my neighbourhood all ride fixed gear, and one of the reasons cited online for riding fixed gear in general was that it's cheaper to maintain so I wanted to see "how much" cheaper. I also noticed they pass and drop me all the time, which I'm gonna chalk up to fitness :-)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfd986 View Post
    I noticed that the bike messengers around my neighbourhood all ride fixed gear, and one of the reasons cited online for riding fixed gear in general was that it's cheaper to maintain...
    Meh, keep the gears and save the knees....

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    Meh, keep the gears and save the knees....
    Along the knee saving vein, what are your layers for Below 30 degrees Fahrenheit? I'm currently doing fine with a base layer, cycling shorts over that, and tights over that. I wanna avoid chronic knee problems but I also tend to overheat if I wear too many layers. I figured I'd ask you since I remember you were a more seasoned rider and therefore I figured probably encountered or successfully avoided knee pain brought about by cold (tenosynovitis of the knee)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfd986 View Post
    Along the knee saving vein, what are your layers for Below 30 degrees Fahrenheit? I'm currently doing fine with a base layer, cycling shorts over that, and tights over that. I wanna avoid chronic knee problems but I also tend to overheat if I wear too many layers. I figured I'd ask you since I remember you were a more seasoned rider and therefore I figured probably encountered or successfully avoided knee pain brought about by cold (tenosynovitis of the knee)
    Sorry, my limit is about 35 degrees, so I guess I have to HTFU.

    To answer your question, everyone's different, but down to 35 I can get by with Bellwether Windfront tights (they're actually pants). I do ok layering my upper torso, but not on my butt/ legs, and can ride for extended periods with unpadded shorts/ pants (like I said, everyone's different).

    Re: avoiding knee pain/ injuries, I suggest keeping them warm because that'll keep them looser. That given, too warm trumps cool/ cold.

  8. #8
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    I haven't found my lower temperature limit, but I put on knee warmers at pretty warm temperatures. Maybe even lower 60s. I feel like keeping my knees warmer helps keep them a lot healthier, something I've had trouble with in the past.

    You have to experiment with your layering to find out what's comfortable. Being able to adjust mid-ride is very helpful. So, things like knee or leg warmers that I can take off later in the day, a jacket that has zips to play with, etc. are good.

    One of my former teammates used to messenger. He said that fixies are a combination fashion statement and reaction to the bottom falling out of the demand for messengers. I actually don't think the difference in maintenance cost at the bottom is that big, at least with Shimano or retail-purchased SRAM, but since initial purchase is a big part of cost of ownership, especially if it's something subject to repeated theft and vandalism, the cost of shifters and derailleurs (and brakes, if you really have a death wish) becomes important. Some sources have also cited a glut of old track frames available for cheap in the '80s and early '90s. It's a very easy way to get a chewed up old bike with horizontal dropouts back on the road too.

    The chain is a little cheaper. Cheap cogs and singlespeed freewheels are cheaper than cheap cassettes and multispeed freewheels, but not by much, due to supply. Singlespeed chainrings are a lot cheaper. Singlespeed cranks are ironically harder to find for cheap, but it's not like a double crank actually needs a chainring mounted in both positions. For people who want to live to ride another day, plain brake levers are dirt cheap, while integrated shifters... aren't. I de-evolved one of my bikes to downtube shifters because I feel integrated shifters are too expensive, without enough improvement in function, for a save-me-money/transportation bike.

    At the end of the day, the only wear parts not present on a brakeless fixie, but present on a massed-start road bike, are the brake pads and the cables and housings. Not much, and I think brakeless is really dumb for a street fixie.

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