Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Advice from Fixed Gear Experts? And a Look at MKS Stream Pedals

I have been riding my Francesco Moser roadbike as a fixed gear since July. I love this bicycle and ride it considerably more than I thought I would. For an aggressive roadbike, it is puzzlingly comfortable and easy. My bicycle handling skills have improved thanks to this bike and I have grown very attached to it.

But here is the problem - or rather what I keep hoping is not a problem, and would like your opinion about: The frame has a low bottom bracket. In our innocence, we did not notice this when we were building it up, and I don't even think the person who gave me the frame noticed quite how low it was. The bike originally came with skinny tubulars, but we fitted the frame with 700C wheels and 28mm tires - which raises the bottom bracket off the ground more than originally.

The cranks are 165mm, which is already as short as I can reasonably go with here, and just recently I switched the pedals (originally MKS "Touring") to the narrower MKS "Stream". All of this has helped ward off "pedal strike," but I still worry whether it is safe. A couple of people have taken one look and told me that I should get a different bike, with an expression of concern on their faces. Others have told me that it's not too bad and there should be no problem as long as I am not too aggressive on turns and don't take it on the velodrome.

So my question: Is there an objective way to tell? How high should the bottom bracket be off the ground in order for a fixed gear bike to be "safe"?  And "aggressive on turns" seems like such a subjective concept. I think of myself as a bad cyclist and I think of my speed as slow - but I am not sure how to quantify these things. Once I get going, I like to ride 15-18mph on this bike. But I am consciously very careful on corners and slow down on them due to paranoia over this issue.

So far, the MKS "Stream" pedals (purchased from Cambridge Bicycle) seem to have made a big difference, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that perhaps they solved the problem. This is what the lean of the bike used to be in order to get pedal strike, but the Streams have improved things considerably.

Here are the MKS "Touring" (left) vs the MKS "Stream" (right) pedals side by side. As you can see, they are very similar except for the size.

The MKS Streams are basically touring-style pedals that are the size of track pedals. They are comfortable and accept both toe clips and Power Grips. I was worried that my feet might feel cramped on them, but I have felt absolutely no discomfort so far.

Here is another size comparison.

And notice the difference in teeth. The Streams are more grippy.

The ride quality with the new pedals feels the same as previously, with the benefit of additional "room to breathe" on turns. But is it enough?  If I do need to start thinking about a new frame, I doubt that I can find something as good as the Moser (Columbus tubing, Italian quality) in anything resembling a reasonable price range. My best bets are probably to look into Mercian or to wait for the Rivendell "Simpleone".  And if you can recommend a vintage model that resembles the Moser in ride quality but has a higher bottom bracket, I am of course all ears. I do not want a new fixed gear roadbike. I love this one and would prefer to ride it forever. I just want to know whether that is a good idea.

50 comments:

  1. Ride it until you start having a lot of issues w pedal strike, then decide. And as much as I like Rivs, the Simpleone will not be as sporty a ride by any means. It'll be nice....but not like the ride you have now.

    Perhaps put a single speed freewheel on the Moser (borrow a friends single speed wheel) and experiment in turns how far down you can go)

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  2. I wouldn't worry about it. I have never ran into any severe problems with pedal strike besides a scrape on the ground once or twice, and I have pretty long crank arms. If you look at your before picture, you're barely keeping traction on the tires at that point. Any further leaned over and I'd be more worried about my tires skidding out rather then pedal strike.

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  3. On my French road bike-->fixed conversion, the bottom bracket is about ten inches off the ground. I have 165 mm crank arms on a 103 mm spindle with MKS Sylvan Road ("quill") pedals, and have taken pretty aggressive turns at fairly high speeds with no problems. Indeed, I used to have 170 mm crank arms and wide Lyotard touring pedals on a 114 mm spindle, and also had no problems.

    When I lean my bike against a wall like you've shown in the picture, the angle is considerably smaller (meaning it leans over more than yours), so take my comments for what they're worth, which probably isn't much. (However, I can say that your mixte-->fixte conversion is what inspired me to do this one, so thanks for that! Esp. for the recommendation of the Weinmann RM19 flip-flop 27" wheel from Harris--they're the only place in the world that stocks these, and for about half what a custom build would cost. So thanks for the reference!)

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  4. No-no. See, I don't want to get to the point where pedal strike actually happens, as I am pretty sure that I will freak out and go flying off my bike. This is why I am very, very careful on turns...

    Rural - That's what confuses me. You see that picture and think "fine", whereas others have seen the same picture and said "don't ride that bike". Same with the bike in person. Confusing : ((

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  5. I would recommend upgrading to a Sturmey Archer S3X fixed gear hub. It makes a lot of difference in finding your cadence in a headwind and in a tailwind you can ride back at a higher speed.

    I have low profile pedals installed on my Schwinn Madison and have yet to encounter an issue with pedal strike.

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  6. Richard - Okay, that helps. The BB height off the ground is just under 10" on this bike with the 28mm tires. My cranks are 165mm, but not sure about the spindle. The BB on my "mixte fixie" was considerably higher, though I never measured it. I just measured my custom Royal H mixte and it is around 11.5" off the ground and my Rivendell Sam Hillborne is just under 11".

    Norman - I like the idea of the SA S3X, but I also like this particular bike as a single speed. Maybe in the future, I will build up a bike specifically around that hub; I am certainly curious to try it.

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  7. If it hasn't posed much of a problem thus far, I wouldn't worry about it (especially with your recent pedal swap). The bike is nice, fits you, and unless a serious issue presents itself, ride it til the end of its days.

    Cheers!

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  8. do you have a track crankset? or a road crankset with just a single ring? a track crankset will have a narrower "Q" factor. you might also be able to use the current crankset but replace the bottom bracket with a narrower one, provided that your chainline will still be good and that the crank arms don't strike the chainstays.

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  9. it was described (on the packaging) as a track crankset

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  10. Velouria: certainly different people have different ideas and thoughts about safety. What, to one person, might scream "imminent death!" might seem totally reasonable to someone else.

    Could you have the co-habitant watch you making some turns in a kind of controlled environment and advise you how close your pedals are getting to the ground? You can then maybe get an idea of, at a particular turning angle, whether you are in danger of scraping or not.

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  11. keep it that way. judging from how you describe your riding style i'd say you won't have any problems because you probably never lean over as much as to scratch the ground. there's way too much talk about that on the internet. and don't be afraid of touching the ground. because even if it happened (it won't) you won't fall automaticaly. usually there's just a little noise that's gone before you notice and you keep going.

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  12. I think just him watching me will make me fall off my bike : ) Also, when doing "fake turns" in the parking lot and what not, it is impossible to speed up enough so as to naturally lean into a turn as I normally would.

    But we've ridden together, and he says it's hard to tell. I mostly ride this bike alone though, especially since having gotten better/faster.

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  13. My threshold is at least 10"/25.4cm measured from the center of the cranks to the ground. Lower than that, I worry about pedal strike (which did happen to me on the way to work last week on a 650B conversion single speed--not fun!).

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  14. Do you have the clearance to fit 27 x 1 1/8 or 27 x 1 1/4 rims? ERD is 630mm as opposed to the 700C ERD of 622mm. It might mean a shorter reach brake caliper in the front (can't recall what you have), but it would give you some more clearance with the pedal stroke at 6 o'clock.

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  15. There's no objective way because everyones comfort level, skill, and riding style differ. Here's how I'd decide, though:

    Move the cranks so that one of them is pointing straight down at the 6 o'clock position. Lean the bike toward the 6 o'clock crank as far as it will go until the pedal hits the ground.

    If you're comfortable cornering at speed at that lean angle, then you might want to look at finding a bike with a higher bottom bracket[*]. If not, then you are most likely fine keeping what you've got... especially if you've been riding it a lot and haven't had an issue with pedal strike.

    Good luck!

    [*] It may be tough to find an italian road bike with a much higher bottom bracket... Your best bet is to look for models that have been designed with criterium racing in mind (where people pedal mind numbingly fast through 90 degree corners). A bike designed for track racing may also be appropriate, but you will likely need to make some modifications to fit brakes.

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  16. you could also shorten the chain a little. and install a longer fork. but as i said. i think you're good.

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  17. I know very little about your bike but I have an opinion. This bike scares you and you are never going to be able to relax and enjoy it. Every turn when you are leaning, every pedal strike, imagined or real, will have you on edge. Why go out on a bicycle that you are worried about crashing on? I think you should get a different bike. My opinion is worth what it costs but it is genuine.

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  18. Sounds like what you need most is reassurance. Having read through your post and comments and looked at the picture, I say your set-up sounds just fine. I'd have to see you ride it to determine if you'd be okay on a track or crit racing, but I wouldn't give a second thought to just riding around on roads.

    Now, stop worrying; go ride your bike; have fun. :-)

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  19. It's a road BB with a spindle that's way too wide. I even had to move the ring onto inner bolt spaces. Replacing that with a track BB would give us at least 1cm maybe more. And that's probably worth another couple degrees of lean.

    We'll replace the BB after the holidays, in the meantime it would be nice if more of you posted the bottom of pedal to ground numbers from your SS conversions.

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  20. My vote: put a Sturmey kick-shift coaster brake 2-speed hub on this bike - and look for a PENNYFARTHING! ;)

    My Legnano's BB is centered at 9 inches off the ground - and I pedal through most corners.

    I LOVE the low CG that this affords - in my opinion, BB height in relation to wheel axle centers must make some difference.

    Being perched atop a bike with a HIGH BB - like the Pashley Roadster - does not inspire the same confidence of balance.

    Good luck, and keep trying different things!

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  21. I've never ridden a fixed gear bicycle, but when I first started riding a road bike and leaning a considerable amount when turning corners, I simply made sure that the inside pedal was up (or not necessarily all the way up, but certainly not all the way down). It took a bit of practice to get used to that, but now it's second nature and eliminated the pedal strike issue.

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  22. >MDI said...
    >
    >We'll replace the BB after the holidays

    Oh, we will? That will be a nice holiday gift : )

    Phil - No, there isn't enough clearance. As is, the rear tire is millimeters away from the brake bridge.

    JimP / Gorilla - You have a point. I am very, very comfortable with the bike with the exception of this issue, which I was not even aware of until it was pointed out to me. But I am fairly new to fixed gear and to road cycling in general, so even if one out of 10 more experienced people who sees this bike starts making a big deal about the BB, it obviously makes me nervous and makes me question the bike. On the other hand, if enough people tell me not to worry about it, I will gladly follow that advice once and for all and shut up. I feel very good on this bike, so I am only too willing to be reassured.

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  23. nowforthen - You can't do that on a fixed gear bike, because you can't coast. That is why it is a problem and fixed gear bikes typically have high bottom brackets.

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  24. Take a look at that picture of your bike leaning against the wall. Now try to visualize yourself in the saddle, turning with the bike at that angle. That's a pretty aggressive turn, don't you think?

    I think the bike is fine. The low BB is probably a big part of why you feel so comfortable on it. Ride it and smile.

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  25. Steve - I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure I have leaned that far over on freewheel roadbikes. Not on a regular basis, but on hilly roads at 25mph+? I think so. And while I never go that fast on the fixed gear, there are other issues to consider aside from the lean: namely, bumps on the road. But I like the "ride it and smile" approach; I think I'll stick to that.

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  26. I agree reduce your Q factor as much as poss. Beyond that ask yourself, who decided that 165mm is the minimum length for cranks? It is probably due to mass production efficiencies of vast far-eastern factories. Plenty of companies made shorter cranks in the past and some still do. Many riders swear by the increased 'spinability' of short cranks. Useful article on short cranks here: http://www.myra-simon.com/bike/cranks.html

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  27. quote from Sheldon Almighty:

    "My latest experiment is taking place on plastic Trek frame I picked up in a barter deal. I had a pair of TA 150 cranks that used to be on my kids' Cinelli BMX bike, so I've put these on the Trek. I'm running a 45/17, which gives a gain ratio of 5.9, just a bit higher.

    When I first get on the bike after riding with longer cranks, it feels a bit funny at first, but within a very short distance it's just fine. I go just as fast, climb just as well. For a given speed, my pedal rpm is higher (though my pedal speed is the same) but the short cranks make it easy to spin much faster than I normally would.

    After riding this bike for a few miles, when I get back on "normal" cranks, they feel a bit weird and long at first, then I get used to them after riding a couple of minutes.

    I think people really obsess too much about crank length. After all, we all use the same staircases, whether we have long or short legs. Short legged people acclimate their knees to a greater angle of flex to climb stairways, and can also handle proportionally longer cranks than taller people normally use."

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  28. heh, i know velouria will hate me for this, but i think the TA cranks have the lowest Q factor of all. a set of those with shorter lengths (as samuel chilbolton mentioned) plus a narrow BB (110mm?) and the MKS stream pedals, and that's about as far as the bike can be modified to maximize the lean before pedal strike occurs.

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  29. Samuel Chilbolton - I agree with Sheldon's quote. The only reason I'd want shorter ones on a fixed gear would be for clearance. But it is not practical to expect to find shorter cranks than 165mm today, which is what I meant. Besides, I have cycled with cranks 165mm-175mm and I don't think I can feel the difference. On th eother hand, I am pretty sure I can feel differences in the Q factor.

    somervillain - Not at all, it's just a matter of affordability. If I end up riding this bicycle in the long run, I will consider refurbishing the frame (clean up, repaint, re-decal) and fitting it with vintage components.

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  30. I used to scrape pedals on my road bike when pedaling at speed through a tight turn. I never crashed but did get bounced around once - yes I was lucky to only scrape up my nice quill road pedals and mangle my pump. That was 20 years ago when I was foolhardy, but lucky.
    One my fixed gear mountain bike turned commuter the bb height is 11" and I run 170mm cranks - I have never struck a pedal. I just don't take turns crazy tight and slow down if it's a really tight turn.
    Try this as an experiment: while standing to the side of the bike - lower a pedal to its lowest position and lean the bike over until it touches the ground. If that is more of lean than you would be comfortable with then you should be good to go. If you are comfortable leaning that much in turns while pedaling then its time to look at shorter cranks (160s ?) and or a narrower bottom bracket spindle.
    Good luck, Mark

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  31. With that much lean, your tire contact patch is getting pretty tiny - I'd be worried at that point about carrying too much speed into a corner that has sand/marbles (gravel)/whatever - I've taken some nasty spills getting that aggressive going into corners and hitting bad stuff. No pedal strike involved.

    Powergrips - used 'em for years, finally gave them up for clipless this summer, when I got blisters using them with sandals.

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  32. I would not worry about pedal strike, especially with the new pedals. the pic with the old pedals exhibits a pretty extreme lean angle. When actually riding it may _feel_ as though you are leaning that much, but I've wiped out (back tire sliding) at a much lesser angle. the new shorter pedals would increase lean angle markedly. You'd have to ride like a hellion to scrape the new pedals. Or just make sure you are on a steeply banked velodrome while doing it. :)

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  33. I would be inclined to dismiss the input of people who tell you that you need to replace your bike after no more than a visual inspection of your BB height/pedal clearance situation. All of the fixed gear bikes I have owned had 175mm cranks and varying BB heights and I found that pedal scrape lean angles were best learned through experience and that they almost never resulted in wrecks (and those that did result in wrecks were generally during cyclocross races). The outside of most of my pedals are scraped and gouged, whether they are on fixed gears or not, and I promise you that this is just a part of cycling and not the result of choosing the wrong frame for your fixed gear conversion.

    I used to be nervous about it though, and my solution was to stand and pedal through turns. When you're not seated, you are more inclined to rock your bike in the opposite direction of whichever pedal is angled downward (see a video of Djamolidine Abdoujaparov in a sprint to see an exaggerated version of what I'm talking about), therefore, when your inside foot is down, your bike is more upright than when the same foot is up. That said, I still think that the most important thing is to NEVER listen to those who cite their own "expertise" in order to try to ruin your relationship with your bike. These people are not to be trusted. Use your own experience to tell you how well your bike fits your needs.

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  34. Velouria: As long as you're not riding on velodromes, don't worry. If you haven't scraped your new pedals, you're not likely to. After all, you're not likely to find banked turns on the streets or roads you ride.

    Samuel: I ride 170 mm cranks on all of my bikes, including my fixie. (Then again, that bike probably has a higher bottom bracket than the Moser.) I find that it's more comfortable than having different lengths on each bike.

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  35. A technique used during turns on motorcycles could be useful for you. Have you seen a motorcycle race? The riders always lean their bodies into the turns which allows the motorcycle to stay more upright, allowing for more aggressive turns. (I'm not suggesting you try dragging a knee, however!) Leaning into the turn is useful in everyday riding, as well, and I do it on both my motorcycle and bicycle, and I'm slow on both. If you lean somewhat into the turn, you can keep the bicycle more upright during the turn, and therefore reduce the chance of a pedal strike.

    You might also consider attaching some piece of solid easily deformable material (styrofoam?), to one side of the pedals near the outer edge. Then ride some turns and afterwards check if the styrofoam ever touched the ground.

    Dan.

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  36. "should be no problem as long as I am not too aggressive on turns and don't take it on the velodrome." I have never been on a velodrome, but my thought was that because the track is banked, the angle of your bike to the track stays quite constant, near 90 degrees. So, while pedal bite is a fear, I would think it would be more on the mean streets than the velodrome.
    I have had pedal bite a few times, and it scared me, but never threw me....
    I would love to see a picture of the bike head on, leaned over to the point where the pedal hit, to get a sense of how steep that angle would be on that otherwise great looking bike. I can't appreciate it from the side.

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  37. @Dweendaddy: In the velodrome, the angle of the bike to the track is roughly 90 degrees when flying through turns, but that's only part of the picture. Much of the time during races--at least during the quite ill-named "sprint" races-- is spent at very slow speeds when getting into position, and in those cases the angle on the cyclist's right decreases dramatically.

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  38. I have been on the velodrome in Vienna (Austria), and hope to ride there eventually. The wooden track there is sloped pretty dramatically; I would not dream of taking my conversion on there.

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  39. Hey There, your blog is a first for me & I think it's wonderful. I have 8 fixies including those that I race on the track. Most of the training i do on the road is on my fixie (a Merckx road frame) w/a large group on geared bikes. I've rarely caught a pedal (when it does happen there is a HIGH pucker factor no doubt about it)! What you have to do is 'learn' to 'steer' not lean. One only steers their bike a few degrees, most is leaning. A skills drill you can try on any bike is to learn steering- head to an empty parking lot, ride through the parking spaces (same direction not across them) then make a sharp 'U-ey' at the end into the next space and continue. You will find that you'll start taking the opposite wall wide, so you can cut the turn (the faster you go the better the bike feels/handles). As you go through the apex you don't want to coast (can't on the fixie) At this point you want to keep the bike perpandiculiar to the ground by 'pushing' the bike upright and steering the bars around the curve (you lean your body into the turn your inner thigh should be pushing on the seat). I know this is hard to visiaulize. Search for a youtube video of motor cycle road race as they go around turns they push the bikes upright and lean their bodies in. Keeping the bike as upright as possible alows your pedal to be at 6 o'clock and not strike the ground. hope this helps!

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  40. That gear ratio looks pretty high. How many teeth on chainring and sprocket? I think the conventional wisdom is to ride with a gear of 70" or less in the winter or in traffic.

    gear inches = c / w * s
    where
    c = # of teeth on chainwheel
    w = # of teeth on sprocket
    s = diameter of wheel in inches. 700c is close enough to use 27.

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  41. Tom - not at all, it's 48/19 or 68"

    Come on, I know what gear ratios are!

    ... for like almost 5 months now : )))

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  42. I once struck the ground with my pedal when I first started riding fixed on a conversion and knew next to nothing about bikes. It was the first and last time ever, as I got an idea of where that magic degree of lean was and was careful to avoid it thereafter. Luckily I was going slowly so I only jumped a lil bit. I've known other people to strike their pedals on their conversions as well, with a similar story, the first time is usually the last.
    Those are my two sense - in other words, another vote for the ride it and smile policy!
    And I love the question - thanks for another great post!

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  43. I would definately put the narrowest spindle in that bike that will still allow the cranks to slip past the chainstay. But here's something you can try that might put your mind to rest...Take some stiff plastic (like something cut from a plastic bottle )and zip-tie it to the bottom of your pedals, make it hang down 2 or 3 inches and then ride it around and see if you strike the plastic doing what you usually do. If you do than keep trimming it till you don't scrape anymore and then see what sort of cushion you have. You might do it to Graham as well and see how much different it is on that bike. Maybe youre not as close as you think. Or maybe YOU ARE FLIRTING WITH SWEET DEATH EVEN NOW!!!

    I'm trying to remember any crashes that I've had that involved spiking a pedal that weren't really caused by something far, far dumber than just leaning too far...Crashing, this is probably the one topic that I am likely to be the worlds foremost expert on and I just don't remember any crashes that were just from sticking a pedal into the dirt.

    I've crashed going too fast in the rain by sliding out and catching a pedal, but I was already on my way down and the pedal thing just sped things up a bit and kept me from having to watch the second reel of the movie of my life so it actually was sort of a plus. I've planted a pedal any number of times on mountain bikes but that's usually hopping too big a log or pedaling over obstacles that really should have been avoided or handled differently. I've hit curbs and stuff like that with the pedal but that's just from being a dork and not watching where I was going. I know it happens but I wonder whether it's a top ten sort thing or a lightning strikes you on your way to get a flu shot kind of event. This is probably the point where I should admit to the several accidents of undetermined cause that could have easily been caused by pedal strike. When you wake up to sunshine peeping through the leaves and dappling your face while the sounds of the forest murmur quietly in the background, sit up and wonder who left a bike just like yours upsidedown in the rhododendrons, it could be anything... pedal-strike, bear attack, anything. Hell, witchcraft.

    My suspicion is that you haven't crashed often enough or big enough to have damaged your judgment to the degree necessary to ride fixed with the sort of abandon and optimism that allows one to take off ones brakes, ride on tires pulled from dumpsters and meet every challenge with a jolly 'Ello Death,whur've ya' been".

    It's freeing, in a drunken frat-boy sort of way to be able to engage this sport with an attitude of "I'm going to crash HUGE doing this one day, but, prolly' not today".

    Spindizzy

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  44. Velouria - If you ride in a relatively conservative manner and are aware of your bike's turning limits you should be fine.

    If you decide to take up track racing or alley cats... you might want a little more clearance but 5mm is neither here nor there.

    I ran my Raleigh 20 (very low bb clearance) as a fixed gear with 170mm cranks and the only time I struck a pedal was when it was a geared bike.

    The Stream pedals are very nice and my Girl loves them... she has them fitted to her geared Twenty to give her a little more maneuverability.

    The Fiend

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  45. Spindizzy - You are partly right. I have in fact never crashed (knock on wood), don't want to crash, and don't romanticise that bad-ass aspect of cycling at all. But I have ridden a brakeless trackbike - with narrow tubulars and no foot retention - in Vienna (Austria, not Virginia), mostly on protected bike paths and through quite streets. That was the first bike I learned to ride fixed gear on. The brakeless part was fine, because I kept my speed way down and planned my stops. But I really am very conservative, and would not ride brakeless in Boston. The geography and infrastructure are just not the same.

    That is a great idea about attaching bits of plastic to the bottoms of the pedals; I will try to do it.

    Re my riding style being careful/conservative enough not to worry about low BBs, one point I guess I didn't make clearly, is that I am gradually getting better at cycling and more aggressive, especially on this bike. I do plan to eventually ride on the velodrome, or at least try (though not on this bicycle) - and while last year that seemed absurd, this year it is beginning to seem realistic. And while I am careful on corners now, it is out of necessity - I do not want to think about the stupid corners and bumps every time I ride this bike; I want to either know it's okay and stop being careful, or get another bike. You can't train and improve on a bike you're scared to corner on, right? Hope that makes sense...

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  46. Few riders dive into a corner on fixed with the same abandon they do on free. To do so requires, at minimum, absolute fluency on the pedals.
    That, or brain dead seeking some badge of honor in the shape of a scraped pedal.
    Learn fluent pedal style first and worry about scraping much later.

    I scraped my pedals with regularity when I raced. That was in ancient times when we all used wide Campagnolo #1037. I looked at the pedals, checked how much scraping was left 'til replacement, and never felt it happening. A non-event. Except just once when I grounded the pedal hard and posted into the air. I was 15 years old, crazy, racing, hitting a reverse camber turn with potholes and lumps of pavement patches. Didn't fall.

    If you watch racers you will see all sorts of wild things happening. Off the track, in the real world, I cannot imagine leaning as far over on a fixed as I do routinely on free. I'm good, but not that good. I only have 600,000km in my legs. I only have 42 years and maybe 50,000km on fixed.
    Stop worrying. Stop listening to self-appointed experts. Ride your bike.

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  47. I'm not a BMX rider, but I just noticed that Redline makes cranks all the way down to 135, and Origin8 makes cranks down to 140. Also, Specialites TA makes road cranks down to 155.

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  48. If you're happy with the bike, why give it up? It's a hell of a bike. There isn't anything you can do to make a bike pedal strike "proof." It's always going to be up to you to know the limits of your own bike and how to stay inside of them, whether those limits are higher or lower; so the issue comes down to whether you're happy with the cornering speeds you can pedal through.

    When I retired my own Campy 1037/a road pedals I had not only scraped away much of the quill, I had put a 45 degree bevel onto the dust covers. More than anything you are simply fearing disastrous results from an unknown where no disaster need occur; accept as I noted the last time the subject came up, through your own fearful reactions.

    Scrapping a pedal need not have any untoward consequences at all if you just keep cool and keep riding.

    And hey, every time you put a pedal down you gain a little more clearance. :)

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  49. I was looking in vain to see a photo that showed how far you can lean the bike. Did I miss it? Nor did I see a dimension for the bottom bracket height, which would have been helpful. I read some of the posts, and noticed that someone commented upon the extra difficulty of using a fixed gear through corners with a low bottom bracket (because you can't control when the pedal will be at the bottom), which is an issue that can easily be addressed by getting rid of the fixed gear and going to a freewheel. I have a track bike (with high bottom bracket). I like it for climbing because the momentum of the bike carries the cranks through the dead spot in the pedaling cycle. Other than that, I see no advantage to using a fixed gear, except for track racing, or for being "hip". You could probably just decide that you were inherently hip, and ride equipment that makes good sense. Getting an actual track frame makes a good fixte in one sense, but a poor all purpose bike in another sense, because a track frame is very hard riding. You need smooth roads to really enjoy a track frame. Ken Rasmussen

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  50. Pedal strike on a bike with a fixed gear? Go clipless with something small, like Speedplays or Shimano SPD's. Save the MKS touring pedals and similar for a bike with a freewheel. I have ridden fixed on and off since the early 70's; it's pretty fucking funny to see new fixed riders flailing at their Kirin-approved clip and strap pedals while they could just be stepping on to SPD's.

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