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hi guys, just wondering if its a good idea for a teenage boy to ride a fixed gear. I am told that its a bad idea for them to mash big gears because they damage their knees, so would that apply to the fixed gear?
I know plenty of kids that age that ride track and race on the track.
Are you referring to fixie as in road riding? i would recommend at least giving them a front brake and a smallish gear (77inch which is a 46T chain ring and 16T sprocket)
yeah i mean road riding. would the 46t and 16t only be okay for the flats? or would he be okay with it on rises? i know most of that probably depends on personal strength, but would a 46t and a 16t be classified as "too tall" for up hill?
What sorta hills are you talking? What's the lads fitness level? Any prior injuries?
Maybe consider a dual chainring and Dingle setup?
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
Yep, front brake + smallish gears to start, if the fitness is there / no prior injuries, it's just a matter of building up strength first then there is no risk of injury ( to the legs from pedalling anyway ).
Smaller cranks are also beneficial to proper technique, they stop you from mashing, force you to spin and are less strenuous on hips and knees. ( 152mm are available ). This is a luxury though, and i'm sure many would say it's unnecessary.
Just make sure he steers clear of heavy traffic for the first few months riding. Actually i'd be more concerned from a "road awareness" perspective and try to build up the necessary skills and experience first. Riding fixed does wonders for this but you need to have good bike control first.
let him learn his road craft first on a free wheel. fixies are great, I commuted using one for quite a while, but I started on a free wheel first, even though at the time I had been driving for close to 30 years (so presumably had some road sense/skills). fixies are not something you can just ride and expect to get straight away, get him used to riding SS first, then step up to fixed. riding SS is a challenge in it own right and does not suit everyone. front brake is a must and a legal requirement on the road. as for cranks, I went 180mm cranks, many track sprinters are doing likewise, the theory being more leverage available at lower cadences so less pressure on knees.
Building more roads to prevent congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity.
- Lewis Mumford
+1 on developing road craft first. I had been riding quite regularly for a couple of years before I tried fixie for the first time and I found myself feeling vulnerable because I knew that it was harder (for a beginner) to control everything.
I've spoken with a few fixie riders who reckon that you need to think much further ahead about what you are doing when riding fixie because of the potential need to slow down quickly and to predict hazards further along the way, particualrly on busy urban and suburban streets.
Perhaps let him hone his skills riding single-speed. Buy a flip-flop wheel and don't let him have the fixed sprocket until he's got a proven track record of safe riding.
thanks for the replies guys. my son does ride a road bike and he wants the fixie for his school commute. on a regular road bike he's quite strong, but wants to start riding a fixie to school. i just wanted to know if he would ruin his knees by riding a fixie for about ~40km each day on school days, with the last stretch being up and down (lower north east road to grand junction for those in adelaide).
+1 on freewheel not fixed at first.
42/16 (or similar gear inches like 48/18) is very common for a good reason - it allows you to maintain a good speed on flats and to get up small/moderate hills without too much grinding.
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Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. H G Wells
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