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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-17-05, 12:29 AM   #1
zoogirl
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Braindead Gear Question

I should know this, but...

I took an old front gear and crank off a very dead Raliegh three-speed. It's a bigger size (more teeth) than the one that's already on my Triumph. I live in an area that's mostly hill. Would I be better off to leave the Triumph as-is or put on the new unit? The cranks are about an inch longer too. Matter of fact, I've already got the left side crank changed, because I totalled the thread where the pedal attatches on the old one. The difference in length doesn't seem noticable at all, much to my surprise.

I know that smaller front gear=easier hills on an 18Spd, but does it still work that way on a single? Would the longer crank even things out? I haven't tried it yet or I wouldn't be asking, but I think the chain will just fit on the larger gear.

Geez, I feel stupid!
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Old 05-17-05, 12:45 AM   #2
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A longer crank won't make that much of a difference. Keep the smaller chainring if you have lots of hills.
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Old 05-17-05, 02:52 AM   #3
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Well I read in the Zinn (sp?) book that matching your crank length to your leg length can help, but keep in mind It increases the probablity of pedal strike, especially on a converted road bike.
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Old 05-17-05, 05:14 AM   #4
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Bigger front gear = heavier gear. If you struggle climbing, this is bad. If you struggle spinning on the downhills, this is good. Crank length makes surprisingly little difference. Only you can decide, Grasshopper.
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Old 05-17-05, 01:17 PM   #5
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Raleigh three speeds typically came with 46 teeth chainrings. The rear sprockets on Raleighs come in different sizes and are changeble with snap ring pliers. I do not know about Triumph rear sprockets. According to Sheldon, Raleigh aquired Triumph in 1954, so there is a good chance the two are interchangeable. Also according to Sheldon, Shimano bmx sprockets can be ground a bit to fit the Raleigh hub. So if your hub is Raliegh standard, (Sturmey Archer), that leaves your gearing choices wide open.
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Old 05-18-05, 07:59 PM   #6
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There are no dumb questions - that's why these boards exist!

I've ridden three speeds, fixed and single spd coasters up hills regularly for a long time, and in my experience it has alot to do with how often you ride hills, what type of grade and how long they are.

If you just have the occasional hill or they are not steep or not too long, you may be fine with the 46t crank.....however, that assumes you will be getting up out of the saddle regularly. If you like to sit and spin for any decent percentage of time on your hills (likely if they are long, ie, going over a bridge daily) a big gear will mess up most people's knees eventually.

Of course ymmv, and very fit younger riders with strong legs should be okay - i was, till it caught up to me after I hit 35.....it's gears for me now, lower the better. If I never had to cross the bridges I'd still have a snglspd but I think those days are behind me for now.

And all things being equal it is cheaper to just swap out the rear sprocket than to replace a crank. Any decent LBS should have cogs with 22 or 24t and if I can change them out with lack of mechanical skills and patience, ANYone can!
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Old 05-18-05, 08:02 PM   #7
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Sheldon Brown's site basically says their cogs fit most SA rear hubs (exceptions noted) ; I bought a Sachs 24t from them to replace the 18t on my SA AW hub and it was a snap (no pun intended).

So if your rear hub is a SA look for the model on the shell and you should be in business.
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Old 05-19-05, 09:58 AM   #8
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Thanks, everyone!
I think I'm just going to leave it alone, then. I can do hills fairly well. Matter of fact, I recently smoked my sixteen year-old son going up 128th to 96th. I was on the Triumph and he was on my Bauer 18spd.

Twice!

Oh, and yes, I do stand for hills. I'm female and forty-five. I always say that bike actually has three speeds -

1) Sitting
2)Standing
3)PITBULL!
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Old 05-19-05, 10:00 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=zoogirl]Thanks, everyone!
I think I'm just going to leave it alone, then. I can do hills fairly well. Matter of fact, I recently smoked my sixteen year-old son going up 128th to 96th. I was on the Triumph and he was on my Bauer 18spd.

Twice!

GO GIRL, GO!!!

You give me hope and inspiration! (just hit the big 4-0.....recently
)
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