{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

midtoad May 11, 2009 at 5:26 pm

So, if I don’t want to look like a hipster poser, I can just take that front brake off, and I’ll be cool, right? Wrong! I’ll just be asking to end up in hospital, or worse.

I started riding fixed nearly a year ago when I added hard-court bike polo to the grass-court bike polo I’d been playing for ten years. The last few months I’ve made a concerted effort to never use that front brake, and I can go weeks without needing it. But when I do need it, I need it!

The fact is, you can stop faster with a front brake than without it (but no problem, I’m open to being proven wrong). Let me say that *I* can stop faster with that front brake. Sure, I can skid to stop, but that brake still seems more effective.

I think it might take years to be as effective without a brake as with it. If that makes me a poser in the meanwhile, that’s okay by me.

JEK May 27, 2009 at 4:33 pm

The fastest way to be a poser on a fixie is to ride without a brake because you think you’ll be cooler without one. That’s what posers do: pose as something they are not.

If you are comfortable riding without a brake, good for you. It doesn’t make you “hard core.” Just brakeless.
If you prefer the added security of a brake, that’s great too. All the rest is nothing more than hot air.

The only ones that are really hard core are the ones who ride freewheel bikes without brakes. You just don’t hear from them too often…

NatMc May 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm

this issue is always so funny to me. it is absolutely a style-enjoyment versus speed/safety-enjoyment argument. simply put, you cannot ride as fast and close to the limit if you don’t have brakes. so when talking about the “purity” of the experience, the messenger wannabes have to admit that they have to ride more slowly if they don’t have a brake. How could you possibly ride at full speed through the city (car doors, trucks, potholes, crazy pedestrians, etc.) with only the ability to slowly reduce speed? you can’t, at least not without crashing often. case in point: i regularly split lanes of traffic on my commute and i’m constantly getting slowed down by no-brakes riders also splitting lanes but riding slowly as they come to intersections just in case a car pulls out or switches lanes. if they had a brake, they could ride fearlessly and fast (and so could the poor souls that are stuck behind them). nothing could be more impure and unenjoyable than limiting the way i ride because i’m too cool to install a common bicycle component.

Robert June 18, 2009 at 7:12 am

In NYC traffic, especially during rush hour which is most of the time, if you’re riding without brakes, you’re either a trustafarian with an ironclad health insurance policy that mom and dad pay for, or you love scars and physical injury which you hope will one day help you get laid. I’ve been riding in the city for over 25 years and would probably be dead if I didn’t have brakes on my bike. And I’ve been riding a fix for over 9 and it just isn’t possible to remain in one piece without a way of mechanically stopping the bike. The cabs, buses, cars and maniacs who mindlessly drive them while applying make-up, talking on the cell, texting, eating, reading the paper, running lights or just trying to get across town after a frustrating day of driving in mind bending traffic are too unpredictable to deal with on a bike with no brakes- NYC traffic is essentially anarchy. I don’t find anything hip about getting injured because I’m too hip for brakes; I’ll leave that to the faux hipsters who don’t need to worry about working to pay their rent.

oldguy June 21, 2009 at 9:17 am

explain this please: why ride with no brakes? What is the advantage? If you ride for enjoyment, the experience of being on the bike, why complicate the experience with always having to worry about whether you can stop in time? Why accept a 72% drop in braking efficiency? Why use a heavy tire so you can skid, when wheel weight affects performance the most? Been riding fixed on the road since the 70′s, never saw a reason for no brakes. It’s not a velodrome out there, folks, where everyone else has no brakes, and knows what they’re doing.

IAN CAMERON July 4, 2009 at 6:36 am

All this trendy hot air about fixed wheel cycling. Unbelievable you’d think that modern youngish trendies had discovered that the world isn’t flat. I rode many 1950′s fixed wheel time trials in the Kentish Wheelers and am still a cyclist though much older and so on a greatly reduced scale. Indeed I rode from London to Exeter in one day on a fixed wheel aged about 18 back in the mid ‘Fifties. As for riding with no brakes it is a damned disgrace and the delinquents that do it ought to have their collars felt – only their collars of course because their non-existant brains are untouchable. Get a life you dimits. I am not of course refering to track cycling.

IAN CAMERON July 6, 2009 at 4:45 am

When do you ever get to moderate this comments? Maybe your chain has come off so watch your knackers on the cross bar.

beezy July 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm

maybe if you think about it. part of the reason is that if your buying a front wheel like aerospoke, you have to pay almost $100 more to get a mechined one. riding fixies is not a popularity contest. obviously. some people just cant afford to spend another 100 to be safe.

johnnie July 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Isn’t it against the law (California at least) to ride without a working brake? I don’t feel like getting hassled by the police who have nothing better to do than hand out tickets.

BlueHornet July 17, 2009 at 6:02 pm

This look interesting,so far.
If there’s anyone else here, let me know.
Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.


derch January 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm

@beezy-That might be the worst argument I have ever heard in the history of EVER. Lets just break down this epic statement you decided to share with the world, shall we? “It is not a popularity contest”….hmm well then why the shart are you buying an areospoke? Are you on the track? THEY BREAK! People only buy them for show and are by far the most impractical things on the road. Second, “Maybe people cant afford the extra 100 for a machined wheel”…this actually made me laugh out loud. I don’t know if you have checked out the price on these beauties but the run in the 300-400 range, which could buy you a decent SET of wheels. But yeah…we can’t afford to be safe around here when the new 2010 areo colors come out now can we?

duders March 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm

hmmm…i live about a half hour from seattle in a not too big city. i grew up in this city and have been riding bikes my whole life. i am 28 and do not drive and have never had a drivers license.i ride brakeless. i have only riden brakeless for two years out of the two and half i have been riding fixed. i have spent five days in the hospital for a collapsed lung from a crash from riding a single speed with brakes before i had ever riden fixed.3 days after i got out of the hospital i tried fixed and never went back.then i rode a conversion now i ride a trick track or more appropriately a 700c bmx ,fixed gear freestyle (look it up)…etc. just wanted to say my peace…i assure you i am know trustifarian either… i am a starving artist who works part time assistant teaching and that wreck cost me 60,000…i make 12k a year…i ride fixed because it made riding unbelievable nothing like riding fixed…brakeless or not…land of freedom should have freedoms dont you think…

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