What's better on ice - FG or SS
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  1. #1
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    What's better on ice - FG or SS

    A few weeks ago I went down on patch of ice riding my fixie, while my riding partners on geared bikes stayed upright. It was on a straight flat stretch of road. It was no big deal - I bounced right back up with no damage a just a couple bruises. But it got me to thinking whether the constant pedalling contributed to the fall. I've always felt more stable pedalling rather than coasting on wet roads, but maybe that's not the case on ice.

    I'd be interested in other's opinions. Tx

  2. #2
    No Crybabies
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    ss

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE
    A few weeks ago I went down on patch of ice riding my fixie, while my riding partners on geared bikes stayed upright. It was on a straight flat stretch of road. It was no big deal - I bounced right back up with no damage a just a couple bruises. But it got me to thinking whether the constant pedalling contributed to the fall. I've always felt more stable pedalling rather than coasting on wet roads, but maybe that's not the case on ice.

    I'd be interested in other's opinions. Tx
    I think I have better balance by being able to coast over slippery sections with my feet level and weight back. You can always choose to pedal if you want.

    Nonetheless, if it's so slippery that you have to worry about this, I'd be more concerned about a car sliding into me.
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  3. #3
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    On real ice I'm not sure it matters much, since the quick and dangerous wipeouts involve front-wheel slides. But I find the fixie tricky, as Fixed said, because if you coast you can fishtail around and still keep your weight balanced. On the other hand, some very skilled fixie riders swear by the fixed in slippery conditions. Sheldon Brown used to argue that the constantly turning wheel gives you instantaneous signals of loss of traction, allowing better control. I guess my feet aren't that sensitive.

    Nonethess, I commute year-round on fixed gears. But I try to avoid ice ;-)

  4. #4
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    It dosent matter to me as long as I have the right tires.

  5. #5
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    SS is better for control anywhere. The notion that fixed gear gives you more control is ridiculous.
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  6. #6
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    Words of advice from a guy who has about an hour of saddle time on a road bike...


    Sometimes the best thing you can do over a technical/slippery section (on a MTB anyway) is to keep your weight neutral and low, and keep changes to a minimum. It would be nearly impossible to do this while still pedaling. Sometimes less input is the best solution.

  7. #7
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    Ya I'd have to say a S.S. would be better so you could coast over the ice section. With a fixed the pedaling is going throw the balance off just a bit but enough to cause your tires to loose traction.
    Humbug!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    Sometimes the best thing you can do over a technical/slippery section (on a MTB anyway) is to keep your weight neutral and low, and keep changes to a minimum. It would be nearly impossible to do this while still pedaling. Sometimes less input is the best solution.
    So true.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia
    On real ice I'm not sure it matters much, since the quick and dangerous wipeouts involve front-wheel slides. But I find the fixie tricky, as Fixed said, because if you coast you can fishtail around and still keep your weight balanced. On the other hand, some very skilled fixie riders swear by the fixed in slippery conditions. Sheldon Brown used to argue that the constantly turning wheel gives you instantaneous signals of loss of traction, allowing better control. I guess my feet aren't that sensitive.
    The worse the weather the more inclined I am to grab the fixie. The main reason is that I can control my speed without grabbing either brake and especially not the front. Poor conditions yield low and slow riding regardless of drivetrain but the fixie will let you brake with all your weight just like coming down a slope on a mtn bike. And just because your pedals/feet are turning doesn't mean that you can't effectively coast over the ice. Think light and nimble young whippersnapper. The feet can be turning but they don't have to be applying speed.

  10. #10
    Good news everyone!
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    Yeah but it's very difficult to keep your weight as neutral and balanced when your legs are moving. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is going to take some serious finesse. The one good part would be that braking could probably be done fairly smoothly which is ideal on slippery surfaces.

  11. #11
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    The very best thing on ice is Scotch.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by blakcloud
    So true.
    +1.

    I like fixed, and ice probably has your number regardless, but sometimes on a bike that can freewheel, I've been able to pucker up and coast through. On fixed, not so much.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    I disagree. Fixed is like driving a manual transmission. The only issue i have is not being able to fit studded tires on my fixed bikes. This means a lot of rear brake dragging while pedalling on ice to keep the rear under control riding a mountain bike- geared.
    Quote Originally Posted by serious
    SS is better for control anywhere. The notion that fixed gear gives you more control is ridiculous.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argentius
    +1.

    I like fixed, and ice probably has your number regardless, but sometimes on a bike that can freewheel, I've been able to pucker up and coast through. On fixed, not so much.
    +2

    Slippery conditions are always easier if you can stop pedaling, just let the bike go, and focus on not skidding out.

  17. #17
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    you know.....I have gone down on the ice on fixed, ss and geared. It has ALWAYS been the front wheel sliding out from underneath and it happens so fast that I haven't got time to react.
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

    "There's no sense being stupid unless you show it."

  18. #18
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    filtersweep: I disagree. Fixed is like driving a manual transmission.

    Wrong analogy. I drive manual and guess what, all I have to do is hit the clutch and voila ... "freewheeling" in the car. With automatic you are always connected - like with a fixed gear. So there.

    Regardless, arguing that a fixed bike gives you more control does not carry much credibility in the biking world. Sorry.
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  19. #19
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    Studs and paranoia mostly keep me upright on ice. I much rather brake with my legs on ice than use the brake levers.

  20. #20
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    I do not see how you can come up with an absolute view on this issue - the answer should be "it depends". You have to consider all aspects of riding.

    For braking it may be that the fixed, ridden well, might be able to effect better control of the rear wheel as it gets close to the threshold of slipping. For accelerating I do not know, but my "gut" tells me that I have a little more control on a fixed than a SS, but logic tells me it should not make any difference as when under power a SS is the same as a fixed..

    For most cornering I can se that the small shifts in the balance point as you rotate the pedals on a fixed might introduce a slight front/rear imbalance that someone coasting on a SS might not. I think it may be the same when descending down a hill that is a coast on a SS - the inevitable and usually very small movements that follow from rotating legs and pedals are less stable than someone coasting on a SS.

  21. #21
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    Doesn't matter. Pick the right tires and if you find yourself still crashing, get some ice skate training wheels....err.....skates.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious
    filtersweep: I disagree. Fixed is like driving a manual transmission.

    Wrong analogy. I drive manual and guess what, all I have to do is hit the clutch and voila ... "freewheeling" in the car. With automatic you are always connected - like with a fixed gear. So there.

    Regardless, arguing that a fixed bike gives you more control does not carry much credibility in the biking world. Sorry.
    actually I'd liken fixed to broken CVT.
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  23. #23
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    Fixed. I like the fact that your connected and using every ounce of energy to stay upright. It's also great balance and endurance training if your going to do any CXFG. Studded tires help but the best thing is to make sure you are seen in traffic (i.e, blinkers and lights). Good luck and try to keep your front wheel out of an ice groves.
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” - Albert Einstein

  24. #24
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    SS for me.

    There is far more to controlling a bike on ice than rear wheel traction, IMO/IME. SS lets you concentrate your attention and effort wherever it is required.

    I've hit the ice several times and it usually is not while attempting to apply fine control to the rear wheel (via a rim brake or the drivetrain). On the other hand, I have stayed upright through some dicey situations that required the kind of quick balance correction that isn't going to be enhanced by having to pedal.

  25. #25
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    Yeah, fixed, geared, whatever, the only thing that'll keep you upright on ice is studded tires. From personal experience, I'd say that a freewheel makes things slightly easier as it's a whole lot easier to get off and push a bike with a freewheel.

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