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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 08-12-09, 08:22 PM   #1
PartyPack
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Long climbs on a fixie and other stuff

Hi, I'm starting to really enjoy long distance riding and will be completing a few 200km Brevets over the coming months. I currently have 3 bikes, a 15 1/2 kg touring bike that has a full 3x9 road triple up front and a MTB 9 speed up back. A heavy, slow but stable ride. I use a handle bar bag on the front and it doesn't appear to effect the stability. I also have an old hand made steel road bike with fairly extreme geometry that will only take 19 or 20mm tyres and has a large seat to handlebar drop. As much as I love that bike it's not made for long distances. Finally I have a stock build Surly Steamroller which I love. I've taken it on several 70km rolling rides at good speed as well as riding it 30km round trip to work several times a week. I really like riding fixed and would like to use the Surly but I'm not really sure it's the best bike for the job but more on that later. I've been reading through the LD forum and see that there are a few of you that do longer rides fixed and seem to really enjoy it. My main question for you is how do you handle the long climbs? I'm fairly light and fit, and don't have any problems pushing the 66.6 gear inches the Steamroller is running up most shorter hills I encounter, but I do it by getting out of the saddle and attacking them. I'm really not sure that would be a doable strategy on a longer climb.

I was thinking of getting one of the new Sturmey Archer S3X (bad name I know) 3 speed fixed gear hubs which would give me two climbing gears, running 28mm tyres and 48 x 18T would give me 44.6, 53.5 and 71.4 (direct drive) which should see me over most climbs. It seems like a nice hub and with a shifter mounted on the seat post I could quickly swap back to the standard fixed 19T wheel at will. Does anyone here use that hub?

I find the Steamroller really comfy to ride and aside from the long climbs my other concerns with using it would be how it would ride with a handlebar bag. As anyone tried a bike with similar geometry with some weight up front? Ideally I would probably use a Salsa Casseroll frame instead, but I already have the Steamroller and really like riding it.

Any thoughts or comments would be great.
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Old 08-12-09, 09:27 PM   #2
lonesomesteve
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I don't have experience with the S3X, but I've thought about using the same set up on my converted single speed Bianchi Volpe. Seems like it would work pretty well for Randonneuring. With the gearing you're talking about the long descents will be more of an issue than the long climbs.

I currently run about 68 gear inches and long climbs in 5% to 6% range are pretty doable, and steeper short climbs are okay. It gets tough when it's steep and long, especially late in a long ride. But with 44.6 as a low gear you should be able to handle long and steep reasonably well. That's actually not too far off the lowest gear on my geared bike. I'm wondering if you might even want to go with higher gearing so the mid gear is your cruising gear and you have something taller for long descents and tailwinds. Just a thought...
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Old 08-12-09, 09:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by lonesomesteve View Post
I'm wondering if you might even want to go with higher gearing so the mid gear is your cruising gear and you have something taller for long descents and tailwinds. Just a thought...
Yeah the thought had occurred to me. With 3rd gear being direct drive though I wonder what sort of frictional losses the hub might have in 1st and 2nd. That would make 1st around 57/58 gear inches keeping 2nd around 68/69. It sure would make climbing easier than not having it, but 57 is not really that low on my geared bike on a long climb. Although you do tend to just get on with it on a fixie
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