Category: Fixed Gear

Swobo Sanchez
I ride my Swobo Sanchez to work at least once a week, being a bike tester I have to switch bikes often. Riding a fixed gear bike takes a little be of a different mindset and a few ‘habits’ to break. I occasionally try to coast, but not as often as I used to, but I need more improvement on my mounting/dismounting technique. Here’s what Sheldon Brown has to say:

Mounting Technique

Riding a fixed-gear bicycle requires proper mounting technique. Many cyclists have bad mounting habits, such as swinging the leg over on-the-fly, or starting up by shuffling their feet against the pavement. These techniques work even worse on a fixed-gear bicycle than they do on a freewheel machine.

Getting your first pedal into the proper forward-and-up position is a bit trickier with a fixed gear, since you can’t just spin the pedals backward. The trick is to put your foot on the pedal, then lift the rear end of the bicycle up so that you can turn the pedals.

I used to lift the bicycle up by the edge of the saddle, but I damaged a Brooks Pro that way–the rivets that held the leather top to the saddle frame pulled out from being stressed in this un-anticipated direction!

My friend Osman Isvan recently taught me a much better technique: The trick is to straddle the bike, put one foot on a pedal, lock up the front brake and press forward on the handlebars. The forward force on the bars will lift the rear wheel enough to let you revolve the pedal to where you want it.

Dismount Technique

You can dismount in the normal manner from a fixed-gear bicycle, but advanced fixed-gear riders might enjoy learning a special, very cool-looking dismount that can only be done from a fixed gear:

Instead of getting off to the side of the bicycle, the fixed-gear rider can go straight off the back. This technique works best if you ride with clips & straps, but if you are really proficient in disengaging from clipless pedals, try it at your own risk.

As the bicycle slows to near walking speed, disengage your left foot, then wait for the right pedal to get to the bottom of its circle. As the right pedal starts to rise, straighten your right leg and let the motion of the pedal lift you up. Let go of the handlebars, let the saddle move forward between your legs, and put your left foot on the ground. As the bike goes ahead, grab it by the saddle.

It takes a bit of courage to try this, but it is actually very easy to do. It is also extremely impressive to watch. When executed properly, it is very smooth, and you can go from riding to walking in a single fluid motion, without ever coming to a stop.

Interestingly, I found this video of Nick James demonstrating the one of the latter ways of dismounting from a fixie:

Any other tips on how to mount/dismount from a fixed gear bike?

My assumption that the reason why the Swobo Sanchez does not have water bottle bosses is because of the ‘Track Style’ that the bike tries to achieve. Since my Deuter Backpack does not have enough room for my non-casual friday stuff, I decided to install a water bottle holder on my handlebars.

To hell with style, being hydrated under 90 degree heat really beats looking cool.


RL posted an excellent tip on our Mountain Bike Site. He used a pipe cutter to cut the steerer of a fork. I used my smaller pipe cutter to cut the handlebars of my Swobo Sanchez.

The pipe cutters cut straight and they are usually about 10 bucks for the big one, that’s money well spent.

People have been asking about a review on the Redline 925. I actually wrote one a while ago for another site. But here’s an update on how well the 925 has been doing in the past 9 months.

My Redline 925 went from this…

To this…

I took off all the fenders, guards, rear brake and replaced it with my custom bars, XTR brake lever and clipless pedals.

I’ve been riding the 925 for a long time now. In fact this is my first fixed gear bike and probably my last(because I’d hate to ride another fixie…).

For those of you wondering what the big deal about the Redline 925 is, well it’s this simple; the bike is really fun to ride.

No matter who ever tries out this bike, the all fall in love with it. Moe and Priscilla rode it and now they both want one! At the Ride of Silence, a couple of the guys there test rode the 925 and both claimed that the bike rode really nice. Another thing most people say about the Redline is that it has a “softer ride.” No, the tires were not low in air pressure. But the over all feel of the bike is very forgiving.

I’ve ridden road bikes before and they are harsh when it comes to the vibrations and over all road conditions that bicycle wheels have to roll through. But with the Redline 925, yes you still feel things, but it’s not that brutal. I suppose it’s the steel frame…you know what they say; “Steel is Real!” That saying might just be the ticket to why this bike feels so good.

The 42×15 gearing allows me to fly on the flats and even climb some of the local hills in my area. I’ve yet had the desire to change my gearing on this bike because of the fact that it’s I’m neither spinning too much nor having a hard time spinning. This gearing even allows me to stop skid easily…I’m getting better at it!

Another great strength the Redline 925 has is taking off the line at the stop light. I’ve had many occasions where I am waiting for a light to change and once it turns green, I mash on the pedals and zoom through the intersection. I remember pulling up to lycra wearing roadie at a light, I said good morning to him, he sizes me up and has this bewildered look on his face as he’s grazing over my bike with his eyes. The light turned green, I mash on the pedals and leave the dude behind…

To me, being able to dash out of an intersection rather quickly is a big plus. Sometimes you just need that boost to help you get your momentum up or to assert your place in traffic.

Problems:
None what so ever! I’ve yet to experience any mechanical problems with the bike. Well, actually I’ve had to true my front wheel once, but that was because I hit a pothole. As long as you perform basic bicycle maintenance, you’ll be fine.

Summary:
This bike kicks ass, and it’s totally affordable at $499! If you want a fixie/SS at a low price, then get the Redline 925. You will NOT be disappointed! Oh and one more thing, I LOVE their logo…


Out of Air

As I was riding back to my mom’s (that’s where I leave my kids and park the truck) on Friday, I noticed that the rear of the Swobo Sanchez was wiggling. I slowed down and stopped and noticed that my rear tire was really low on air. I was about 1/2 mile away from my final destination, so instead of changing the tube, I grabbed my SealnFlate can (sort of like a fix-a-flat) and tried to inflate the tire.

For whatever reason, the SealnFlate did not work, it actually made it worse by sucking whatever little air I had left on my tire. Fine, I still had my CO2 pump in my Deuter Backpack that I usually carry when I go mountain biking. I hook up my CO2 pump to the tire, push the trigger and… nothing, no pssss, nothing… WTF? Oh crap, I remembered that last time I went mountain biking at night with RL and Priscilla RL got a flat and I offered my CO2 pump.

RL using my CO2 pump

So, I was SOL. I ended up walking the last half mile to my mom’s house since I didn’t want to call my sister to pick me up. (Grace was working Bingo that night). So I will make sure that I carry my mini-pump from now on and forget about those ‘fix-a-flat’ in a can doo-dads and the CO2 pump.