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  1. #26
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    Which gear combination (on say a compact crank set) would you try to maintain if you were to simulate a single speed bike? Is there a "typical" gear combination for those single speed bikes? Thanks.

  2. #27
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    For offroad I ride 34x17 SS. Road is currently 43x16. Both 110 bcd cranks. I'd go higher on road if I was a flatlander
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  3. #28
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
    Which gear combination (on say a compact crank set) would you try to maintain if you were to simulate a single speed bike? Is there a "typical" gear combination for those single speed bikes? Thanks.
    Something around 70 gear-inches is usually appropriate.

  4. #29
    Seņor Member cali_axela's Avatar
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    Assuming it's a 34-50 compact and you're sticking with the same size tires and cranks on your single speed as your current bike: using your current 50-20 gear will be 67.5 g-", which is between a couple common single speed setups on the lower/easier side: 44-18 (66 g-") and 44-17 (69.9 g-"). Sticking in that gear for awhile should give you a good idea whether one of those gearings will work well for you. Try going up or down one cog if 50-20 seems too easy or hard after a full commute of sticking with it.

  5. #30
    Lover of ALL things Bike Singlespeed92's Avatar
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    I'm not quite in the 50+ bracket yet (I'm 39),and am more mtn bike than roadie (though I get manymore road miles in,but I digress...); I sold my Vassago Jaberwocky earlier this year (April or May) to help fund an Xtracycle build,making this the first time in a decade I haven't owned a dedicated (and very muc so used) SS......I'm currently sceming how to build another budget SS to play on. I used my old Monocog (sold last year when I built the Jabber,I'd had that black bike for 9 years) for commuting back in my working days,though it was considerably shorter a commute than yours. I just love both the simplicity and the challenge
    Vintage mtn bike,CX'er,29"er SS,and a Do It All Surly

  6. #31
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    I'm still reading all the great replies, thanks so much.

    It appears that some people really look down on an SS bike in favor of a fixed gear bike. Why?

    What does a FG bike provide that an SS bike doesn't? Besides the obvious differences, between freewheel and fixed, I don't really get the bias.

    Perhaps an SS doesn't make sense, I really don't know, but the idea is intriguing.

    Someone asked about the elevation gain in my commute. I don't know, but it's slight, maybe 150 feet total in 14.5 miles. The biggest rise are a couple bridges that span apx. 1100 feet.
    Last edited by GFish; 10-17-12 at 04:24 AM.

  7. #32
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    re: SS and fixed, I would suggest going with a flip/flop hub so that you can put a fixed cog on one side and a SS freewheel on the other. That way you can try both setups with the same bike and go with the one you like best. I change mine from time to time and enjoy both.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  8. #33
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Some say you are more connected or more "at one" with the bike riding fixed gear, some will say you are more in control as well with fixed gear. To speed up you pedal faster, to slow down you pedal slower and/or apply back pressure on the pedals. If you are used to coasting to a stop, or coasting to clip-in, then you are in for a surprise because when the bike is moving so are the cranks. Hit youtube and vimeo for fixed gear rides and pay close attention to the pedaling that the riders are doing. One of those things that "doing" is more explanatory than trying to put it into words.

    Nothing wrong with single speed, personal preference and what works for each individual rider. Co-exist and enjoy the ride no matter what configuration or style or format your bike is in.
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  9. #34
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFish View Post
    It appears that some people really look down on an SS bike in favor of a fixed gear bike. Why?

    What does a FG bike provide that an SS bike doesn't? Besides the obvious differences, between freewheel and fixed, I don't really get the bias.

    Perhaps an SS doesn't make sense, I really don't know, but the idea is intriguing.
    SS really doesn't get you much that you couldn't accomplish simply by not shifting gears on your multi-speed bike.

    I find FG is a better workout; you can't slack off since you're pedaling whenever the bike is moving. It breaks you of the insidious habit of coasting and enforces a smooth pedaling technique. You learn how to spin smoothly and how to mash effectively. And it's so darned quiet!

  10. #35
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    SS really doesn't get you much that you couldn't accomplish simply by not shifting gears on your multi-speed bike.

    I find FG is a better workout; you can't slack off since you're pedaling whenever the bike is moving. It breaks you of the insidious habit of coasting and enforces a smooth pedaling technique. You learn how to spin smoothly and how to mash effectively. And it's so darned quiet!
    And all this time I have enjoyed coasting!! Darn
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  11. #36
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Significant Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    And all this time I have enjoyed coasting!! Darn
    I'm not a big fan of coasting, but it makes life simpler when you're trying to put on unzip a jersey or reach way round into a back pocket for something.

    To the OP, fixed gear riding has several benefits that a single speed cannot offer.

    - It forces you to pedal through higher cadences under lighter load conditions and while descending
    - It gives a continuous workout
    - Fixed riding permits more precise, intuitive control of speed
    - The higher cadence forces you to "round out" or smooth out your pedal stroke, improving your overall efficiency
    - The combined effect is to broaden your power band - the rpms at which you can continue to put out significant power to the pedals
    - It's ultimately more fun.

    Okay, the last one is purely subjective.

  12. #37
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Today's 28.6 mile (round-trip) commute was all about simulating an SS bike. I used the 48 x 17 combination for the entire commute without shifting, even from dead stops, a couple bridges and one small incline.

    I forgot to check avg. speed both directions, maybe this doesn't matter. But time wise, there was no difference between a regular commute and today; less then an hour in each direction.

    Today, I proved to myself at least, that I could do this. The ride wasn't to difficult, although the late night ride home, between 11:30pm and 12:30am, I usually back off to unwind from work.

    As for the gearing; I like the upper limit and could reach 20 mph. But really didn't like the gearing for riding into a headwind. If I go this route, I may opt for a 46 x 17 combo.

    All the fixed gear talk has perked my interest, I'd like try a fixie sometime, too.

    Thanks again for all the insight.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFish View Post
    Today's 28.6 mile (round-trip) commute was all about simulating an SS bike. I used the 48 x 17 combination for the entire commute without shifting, even from dead stops, a couple bridges and one small incline.

    I forgot to check avg. speed both directions, maybe this doesn't matter. But time wise, there was no difference between a regular commute and today; less then an hour in each direction.

    Today, I proved to myself at least, that I could do this. The ride wasn't to difficult, although the late night ride home, between 11:30pm and 12:30am, I usually back off to unwind from work.

    As for the gearing; I like the upper limit and could reach 20 mph. But really didn't like the gearing for riding into a headwind. If I go this route, I may opt for a 46 x 17 combo.

    All the fixed gear talk has perked my interest, I'd like try a fixie sometime, too.

    Thanks again for all the insight.
    Lower is probably better. High cadence is a developed skill, and lower gearing helps that. Plus, if you are tired after a shift, a lower gear is always easier to push.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  14. #39
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Single speeds are great and a lot of fun, but for a utilitarian commute of that length, I think I'd stay with a geared bike. I still think you should get the single speed though. I converted by freewheeled single speed to a fixed gear bike and I really love it.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  15. #40
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    re: SS and fixed, I would suggest going with a flip/flop hub so that you can put a fixed cog on one side and a SS freewheel on the other. That way you can try both setups with the same bike and go with the one you like best. I change mine from time to time and enjoy both.
    This. I have a flip/flop hub on my SS bike and usually ride it fixed, reverting to the freewheel if I'm going to tackle more hills than I think my aging knees will enjoy on the FG.

    As for gearing, the earlier suggestion of around 70 gear inches is one I would second. I ride 42/16. It allows me to get up most gradients (though anything over 10% had better be short) and allows me to spin along at a good pace on the flat.

    I wouldn't claim that a FG/SS is superior to a geared bike, it's just a different experience. And it's surprising how much fun it is, I find myself using this bike most of the time when just riding around for recreation or transportation.

  16. #41
    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    I keep my flip flop hub on the SS side because of the few times I find necessary to coast. More than 99% of the time I keep pressure on the pedals but there are times I'm more comfortable coasting. Clipping in and out is one of those times. Faster descents are another. I also feel more secure in traffic being able to coast. On the open road though I may as well be riding fixed gear. I don't let off. By the way, I'm using a 44 - 16 setup.

    I have a geared bike back home in NY. Too many hills.
    Last edited by Frankfast; 10-20-12 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Add on.

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