JCS CYCLES

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"Finally! A bicycle shop for the rest of us!" - Bill , JCS Cycles Customer

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March 5th, 2012


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Located on the Pinellas Trail

Pinellas trail

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    Bicycles and Accessories for Commuting, Touring, Cargo, and Recreational Cycling
    "The bicycle enables us to escape many other machines: We use it for transportation, sport, recreation, and make it a way of life." - Jobst Brandt


    Fixed Gear Focus

    Mundo with baskets
    First Year Storefront Full of Fixies

    From our very first year in business we have sold, and rode fixed gear bicycles. Not just for racing, a "fixie" makes a great bicycle for either commuting or recreational riding. Fixies are simple yet elegant. No derailleurs, shifters, or cassettes. One chainring. Brakes are optional, although we use at least a front brake and don't sell any without at least one brake. Maintainance is simple. They cost less on the average than geared bicycles, are good for improving your pedaling mechanics when you are training, and the fun factor is through the roof.

    You don't coast. You can't. That's why it's called fixed. The rear cog is screwed onto the rear hub and locked with a lock ring that left hand threads against it. The pedals keep going around when the wheel moves. Try to coast, and you get a quick reminder of what you are riding. People that are "fixie fanatics" will tell you about a "feeling of oneness" or a "mystical connection" with the rider and bicycle. We think this comes from the experience of constantly pedaling while you are moving. Riding a fixie teaches you to pedal through the corners and pedal downhill. You are more involved with riding because you never really disconnect from the bicycle by coasting.

    Early Tour de France Gear Change
    Early Tour de France Gear Change

    Once upon a time, all bicycles were fixed. The Tour de France was ridden on fixed gear bicycles from the start until the mid- 1930's. Mountians and all. Riders didn;t have the support teams they have now, you were stricltly on your own. When you came to a climb, you would hop off, use a wrench, "flip" your wheel over to a larger cog for the climb, then "flop" it back after. Today we still call our fixie hubs that have a fixed cog on one side and a one gear freewheel on the other "flip-flop" hubs. Now you know why.

    Derailleurs were introduced to racing after a period of rodshifters, and the geared bikes quickly became the norm for racing. But fixed gear bicycles have still been used until today for winter training, shorter distance time trial racing, track, and short hill climbs. Track bicycles don't have brakes, and are built for going around in a circle, so the geometry is not really well suited for the road. "Toe overlap", which results in your foot hitting the tire on sharp turns, and different head tube and seat tube angles than road frames, make for a bicycle that can be a little ricky to hadle at first on the road.

    Horizontal Drops
    Horizontal Drop with Internal Set Screw

    Manufacturers solved this problem by producing fixed gear frames better suited to road riding. There are holes drilled for brakes, relaxed head and seat tube angles, and less steep front ends that don't have toe overlap. Sometimes called "messenger geometry", they still have the horizontal drops of a track bicycle that you really want to maintain proper chain tension. Many of the manufacturers will add allen bolts inside the drops for this purpose, or cyclists will use "chain tugs" to increase or decrease tension. Chains and chainrings are typically wider at 1/8", adding strength and stiffness. Maintaining proper chain tension is essential for power transfer in fixed gear bikes, and a sloppy chain is prone to faster wear and easy breakage.

    Custom SURLY Steamroller Build
    Custom SURLY Steamroller Build

    Yes, you can convert older road bicycles to fixies. We have done this for dozens of customers. This works as long as you have a semi-horizontal dropout that allows he wheel to be re-positioned as the chain "stretches". Modern vertical "drops" make for a tough conversion, requiring a special hub that's a bit pricey.

    Others we have done are singlespeed bicycle conversions, using a one gear freewheel that is basically a BMX cog mounted on a hub, either a flip-flop or freewheel. A singlespeed allows you to coast, but you do lose the benefits of pedaling fixed, especially the chain stiffness and subsequent power transfer. And another benefit with fixies is you can always stop if your brake cables snap by resisting pedalling and skidding. Our head mechanic had just this experience once on a steep hillside when his one brake mount failed. He lived to tell about it by doing a 50 yard skid. And gaining even a greater admiration for his bicycle.

    LEADER Fixed
    20,000 Commuting miles on this

    With our fixies, we sell either completely built bicycles or start with a frame and fork. We have built many different color options of cranks, chains, handlebars, and wheels over the years on our "custom builds". You wind up with a very "personal bicycle" that is a one of a kind, just for you. A fixed or singlespeed bicycle really makes for a great bicycle for commuting or running errands. While the wheel base length of fixed gear frames is typically short, it is possible to add a rear rack. A good choicefor this are one of our TOBA racks, which extend back from the rear axle farther, preventing heelstrike on panniers or baskets. A large messenger bag can do the trick, too.

    Low cost of maintenance, really not much to go wrong, and here in Florida the terrain is basically flat. A fixed gear or singlespeed might be the perfect choice for this area.

    The late Sheldon Brown has alot of fixed gear information on his website, including a testimonials page, which can be found here.

    Many color options available
    Many color options available


    We are a proud to be a member of

    Adventure Cycling association