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Old 03-19-09, 09:18 AM   #1
love2pedal.com
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Gearing on my Fixie

I am converting a nice early 70s Condor Baracchi (Reynolds 531DB) into a fixie and wondering what gearing I should rig it with. Back in the day (mid 70s) my fixie (we called them fixed-gear back then) was geared at 74 inches.

I am 30 lbs heavier, 35 years older and about 5 mph slower. I will use the bike for 15 mile (or shorter) rides over rolling terrain. The bike will probably be about 20-21 lbs

Is 74 inches still a reasonable and common gearing for a fixie? Or should I go lower.

My inclination is to go lower since I am in worse shape, but at the same time, I can no longer spin at a super high cadence on downhills like I did when I was 19 yrs old.

Recommendations?

Thanks, Dan
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Old 03-19-09, 10:14 AM   #2
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Sounds like a lot to me. Mine's 62 gear inches (39 X 17) but I'm a wimp.
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Old 03-19-09, 10:17 AM   #3
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Lower.
Maybe 65.
at 85 cadence you'll be doing 16 mph
with your 74 inches you're at 18.7 with the same cadence. If you are just rolling along your cadence becomes super slow, and you'll have hill issues.

Or, perhaps you are much more studly than I and 74 is good for you.
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Old 03-19-09, 10:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Sounds like a lot to me. Mine's 62 gear inches (39 X 17) but I'm a wimp.
62 and 74 aren't a lot alike.
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Old 03-19-09, 10:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by love2pedal.com View Post
I am 30 lbs heavier, 35 years older and about 5 mph slower. I will use the bike for 15 mile (or shorter) rides over rolling terrain. The bike will probably be about 20-21 lbs
Based on this information and assuming that you're still reasonably fit 67 gear inches is the right gear for you.

It's best if you started out around 70 and try different gear ratios.
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Old 03-19-09, 10:28 AM   #6
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I use a 42 x 15 which works out to 75.6 (I'm 59 years old, 165 lb. for what that's worth). This allows a fairly comfortable 20 mph on flat ground, 27 mph on descents (yeah, spinning like a hampster in rotating cage), but is "stand up and work" on steep and/or long climbs.

Rick / OCRR

PS: We still call them "fixed gear" and don't use that other word . . .
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Old 03-19-09, 10:48 AM   #7
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After experimenting a little, I'm pretty happy with my 74" setup (44/16). Gives me enough inches for the downhills and I can maintain 90 rpm for the 5 mile long uphill, upwind slog back home.
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Old 03-19-09, 11:54 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies.

Since the crankset on the bike has a 42/52, I will probably keep the 42 and start out by putting on a 16 for a 69" gear and try it out (and avoid the steep downhills).

Dan
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Old 03-19-09, 12:29 PM   #9
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How well do you go up the hills you tend to ride on your freewheel when you are in 42:16? That should give you some idea.
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Old 03-19-09, 12:36 PM   #10
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Mine's 52 x 19 @ 73.9 inches. On group rides my biggest problem is staying with the group on the downhills.
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Old 03-19-09, 02:21 PM   #11
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It depends on lots of factors (hills, wind, general conditioning, etc).

You don't say whether or not you currently have a geared bike. If you do, you can certainly tell what gear you need to go up hill. That'd be the determining factor for me. I wouldn't want to be stuck with the choice or damaging my knees, going back down or walking.

As far as going down, as long as you have at least a front brake and aren't trying to keep up with a group, you can control your cadence with no problem. I certainly wouldn't recommend that you ride on the road without at least a front brake.

I ride 69". The flatest 15 mile ride I can do around here is rolling with about 700' of climbing and I have no problem.
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Old 03-19-09, 03:08 PM   #12
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If track cogs are as cheap there as here, buy the one you think you'll need and one that's a bit lower. Start with the low one to get used to it again, then fit the bigger one when you need it.

Mind you, that's the advice for those new to fixed gear, you're not, you're returning but it's a strategy that might still work.

Richard
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