Sunday, January 2, 2011

fixed freestyle: an insight to where it is going

i want to start the new year with something that thoroughly thought about so here goes:

a conversation between a friend and i sparked up the topic of pegs on fixed freestyle bikes; and with all this silly nonsense about wheelsize, i began to question what the hell fixed freestyle is to me.

here's what i'm thinking: pegs can be found on bmx bikes, and fixed cog bikes can never generate enough speed to do fast lines or huge air due to the fact that the rider is limited to how fast his (OR HER) legs can move. this effect is intensified by utilizing 26 inch wheels and running smaller ratios. that being said, fixed freestyle is ultimately limited to relatively slow tricks as well as whatever we can do with pegs. the prinicple of riding fixed freestyle is that the tricks are limited. very very limited. limited in speed, limited in air, limited. even when fixed freestyle was in it's early stages, keo spins and whatnot were limited in speed according to ratio and rider's strength.

on the topic of pegs, the skill level has reached a point where people can use them effectively, but then now all we're seeing is grinds over technical merit. dont get me wrong, the tricks involving pegs are impressive but it's been done faster and probably less sloppy on a bmx- which goes back to the principle of limited effective speed through the fixed drivetrain.

the shape of frames is changing, and what i found is that it's beginning to look like the "missing link" of the trick bike world.  taking alot from the use of pegs, negative bb drop appeared. instead of becoming a bmx bike that can accomodate 700c or 26", frames are utilizing a taller seat tube (i.e. the nem-pro, the volume, the specialized). the 26" revolution has made a huge impact of fixed freestyle, but in turn it's causing companies to be mind boggled as what should be produced- 26" specific frames or 700c frames.

now it may all seem like i'm being pretty harsh towards the fixed freestyle community, but it all has something good to it. yeah, it's all been done before, but the fact that it's limited makes fixed freestyle impressive. a 180 on a bmx is impressive, a 180 on a fixed drivetrain with 700c's is hard to do and that much more impressive. it may not seem like a huge difference, but if you think about the fact that riders are only limited to their own strength, things become striking to the eye. go back to any picture of a fixed freestyle trick that can be done on bmx- then think about the wheel size, the setup to the trick, as well as the principle of limited motion i keep talking about. it's powerful shit.

where it's going? i dont know. what i do know is that alot of people are moving towards fixed freestyle, and it's a developing culture and sport (if you can even all it that). it's not going to have the speed and air of bmx (unless youre a part of wheeltalk and DEFY ALL CONVENTION AND GRAVITY) or dirt jumping, fixed freestyle has a different set of skills that sets it apart; and this goes back to the whole reason why people like these bikes in the first place- the bike feels unique and a little bit more in tune with every move. cheesy and cliche, it's true.


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