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  1. #1
    Rides With Scissors Far Rider's Avatar
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    Best gear for offroad singlespeeding

    I recently started running a 60 inch gear on my homebuilt offroad singlespeed bike. Most of the time I can ride except over the steeper sections, where riding a low gear is almost as slow as walking, anyway.

    What gear are you guys using?

  2. #2
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    It depends entirely on your terrain. I could ony suggest that if you're walking there could be room for improvement in your selection. However as I don't know what sort of steep is steep to you it's hard to say. I never walked when racing geared bikes, I've never waked an SS recreationally by the assumptions I got racing, that I ought not have to walk. Still it could be necessary with your terrain.
    Last edited by SamHouston; 12-26-05 at 08:49 AM.

  3. #3
    Rides With Scissors Far Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston
    It depends entirely on you're terrain. I could ony suggest that if you're walking there could be room for improvement in your selection. However as I don't know what sort of steep is steep to you it's hard to say. I never walked when racing geared bikes, I've never waked an SS recreationally by the assumptions I got racing, that I ought not have to walk. Still it could be necessary with your terrain.
    The uphills are long and steep enough to where a lower gear would be nice for riding up. The problem would then be maintaining speed on the downhills and level ground. I have good speed now in the flats compared to last year, when I was riding a lower gear. I am going as fast as I want to in the flats now but again, I am sacrificing the climbing ability. Short hills don't bother me.

    I have seen pictures of singlespeed races where the riders were running up the hills rather than riding, so I guess I need to rephrase my question: given the choice between having speed in the flats and being able to climb anything, which would you rather have?

  4. #4
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    Personally I'd want to rely on my cadence in the flats and stay in the saddle on the climbs. I think it'd result in improved performance to complete the climbs and allow you to increase your gear inches incrementally as your climbing improved over a season.

  5. #5
    Rides With Scissors Far Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston
    Personally I'd want to rely on my cadence in the flats and stay in the saddle on the climbs. I think it'd result in improved performance to complete the climbs and allow you to increase your gear inches incrementally as your climbing improved over a season.
    Good points, and I can see why that would work. As it turns out, I have a larger rear cog that will work with this particular setup I may try.

    I neglected to mention that I have a totally new riding area this year, so I am learning as I go here. Thanks for the advice.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kiecker's Avatar
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    Singlespeeds actually have 3 speeds: go, stop, walk. Use them accordingly and to your benefit.

  7. #7
    Lurker for Life yonderboy's Avatar
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    Run-ups are put in races as an added challege. The hill is not steep enough that you couldn't ride up it. It's just faster to run up it.

    That said, I usually choose the gear that I can ride up the steepest hill, but not spin out so fast on the flats. If it's flat, I'll ride around 2.1:1 (55"). If it's steep, I'll ride 1.6:1 (41"). I ride with a cassette hub and a bunch of cogs.

    One of the reasons I like riding singlespeed is that it forces you to find the flow of the trail--that point where you're maintaining or gaining speed--without pedalling. With proper technique, you can accelerate out of corners without ever pedalling.

  8. #8
    artistic tricyclist
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    i agree, the just about perfect gear for single speed mtb is hovering somewhere around 2:1. 32:16 is ussually pretty safe, its fast enough to keep decent speed but low enough to allow climbing all but the granny gear and big ring in the back climbs

  9. #9
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    I enjoy 32:17 on a 26" wheel or a 32:18 on a 29" wheel.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  10. #10
    artistic tricyclist
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    Kiecker, i thought the 3 speeds were sit stand and walk

  11. #11
    pluralis majestatis redfooj's Avatar
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    2:1 is a good starting point just like 42:16 is for road

    i personally run 33:17 on 26"

  12. #12
    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    I like 38x20 (free) or 38x18 (fixed), offroad.

    On pavement that bike is either 38x15 fixed or 38x17 free.

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