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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 12-14-06, 09:48 PM   #1
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The lowest gear

For some reason, I was compelled to acquire and install a 20t freewheel today. As a result, my gearing is now 32-20. 12.9mph at 100rpm with 28" wheels. I almost got dropped by a dude on a rusty MTB.

Randomly, I wonder what the lowest gear other people have used is, and why they did it.
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Old 12-14-06, 09:57 PM   #2
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46X22 SS. Worked fine for the hills of Northern Virginia. Was tired of spinning that fast for nothing in Philadelphia. Came with the bike, and was too poor to do anything about it. To my defense, changing gearing would have required rebuilding the rear wheel or replacing the crank.
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Old 12-14-06, 10:14 PM   #3
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SS MTB stuff is usually geared stupid low, for obvious reasons. For a wind gear I'd run 48x21 on my freewheel side for 60 gear inches if I could find a 21 tooth freewheel
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Old 12-14-06, 10:15 PM   #4
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32x20 with 26" wheels. I got passed by roadkill and a tree.
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Old 12-14-06, 10:26 PM   #5
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32x20 is excellent gearing for foot+ deep, wet snow
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Old 12-14-06, 10:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xlntRider79
32x20 is excellent gearing for foot+ deep, wet snow
and riding up walls.
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Old 12-14-06, 10:34 PM   #7
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hahaha
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Old 12-14-06, 10:50 PM   #8
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hahaha
I can never say "ha ha ha" in my head without thinking...


Seriously though, that is some crazy gearing. I hope your city only slopes downhill, and it is single speed not fixed. I mean, thats not possible, but seriously, spin city...
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Old 12-14-06, 10:56 PM   #9
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i'd say trials bikes take the cake for lowest gearing.
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Old 12-14-06, 10:57 PM   #10
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32x17 on my ss mtb kinda blows if you need to do seven miles of commuting in under 25 minutes...
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Old 12-14-06, 10:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkrobe
32x20 with 26" wheels. I got passed by roadkill and a tree.
You funny b*****d!!
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Old 12-14-06, 11:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamey
i'd say trials bikes take the cake for lowest gearing.

this kid I used to ride bmx with a long time ago set up a bmx bike all trials like for a weird trials/bmx hybrid thing and the gearing was almost a 1:1 ratio.
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Old 12-14-06, 11:25 PM   #13
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I broke the derailleur cable on my MTB, and only had one front sprocket at the time (bam! singlespeed). Unfortunately, I was on site for a ride with some friends who had never ridden offroad before, and they were desperate for some morale-boosting companionship. So I rode 32x28 for 2 hours. Wasn't toooooo bad since they were so slow, and I could still coast downhill. But pretty bad.
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Old 12-14-06, 11:31 PM   #14
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The lowest gear i've ever run on a fixed roadie is about 58 gear inches. It was too low for my liking.
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Old 12-15-06, 12:59 AM   #15
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I looking to build a polo bike with almost a 1 to 1 gearing. Should be fun.
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Old 12-15-06, 07:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkrobe
32x20 with 26" wheels. I got passed by roadkill and a tree.
My SS mtb is now at 32-20 due to crank replacement. It's great for the technical stuff around here, and my friends don't really hammer the flats anyways, so it's kind of fun to actually kill ALL the climbs. The only bad part is that if I need to get a lot of speed for a huck or whatever, I need a long, smooth down to get up to speed, 'cause I can't spin that fast.
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Old 12-15-06, 08:12 AM   #17
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The winter bike I'm building has a 34x18 but mainly because those were the parts that I have handy (It doesn't even really snow that much here)

My single speed cyclocross bike was 39x16, I switched it to 39x18 and I still felt like I couldn't spin fast enough. I would see guys on 2:1 ratio bikes having a much better time on the course but I don't want to put an MTB crank on. I've been contemplating putting on a 19 or a 20 freewheel but the other part of me just says I need to get faster and become a better runner.
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Old 12-15-06, 08:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeroplane
My SS mtb is now at 32-20 due to crank replacement. It's great for the technical stuff around here, and my friends don't really hammer the flats anyways, so it's kind of fun to actually kill ALL the climbs. The only bad part is that if I need to get a lot of speed for a huck or whatever, I need a long, smooth down to get up to speed, 'cause I can't spin that fast.
That's my situation in a nutshell. Almost all of our rides are up and down - very little flat. There are a couple climbs that are really steep and long, which I've been afraid to tackle on the SS. I usually ride them in 22x28 @ ~80 rpm.
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Old 12-15-06, 08:39 AM   #19
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currently i'm riding 36x18... i just got new cranks a month or two ago and didn't have time / money to look around for a chainring to fit the bcd. so i got a middle chainring on ebay for five bucks.

good thing i have a 48t in the mail to me now. soon i'll be cruising at a nice 48x18.
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Old 12-15-06, 08:57 AM   #20
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lotta good jokes in this thread. but my favorite is

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1&gt View Post
the hills of Northern Virginia.


edit: just bein a jerk. i grew up there, and yes there are some geographic features that approximate hills. and i've gotten dropped on most of 'em.

Last edited by dirtyphotons; 12-15-06 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 12-15-06, 09:17 AM   #21
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My bros touring bike has a low gear of 22X28 which works out to be like 20 gear inches. You really have to Peddle as fast as you can just to not call over. But also he has never met a hill he cant climb.
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Old 12-15-06, 10:30 AM   #22
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The lowest i have now is 41/22, i am going to use 44/20 or 45 /20 for my great come back of surgery.. LOL

S/F,
CEYA!
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Old 12-15-06, 10:33 AM   #23
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I had my street fixed on 45x20 for awhile. I dunno, I thought it'd be luxurious, and it was! Felt real good until trying to descend a two mile, steep grade, when I thought my legs would spin right off.
Just for kicks, check out the freestyle scene in Quicksilver, when everyone's bike suddenly has full-on 1x1 freestyle gearing! Just like Kevin Bacon's bike suddenly has a coaster brake, then a hand brake, then is cruising New York, then San Francisco, then Los Angeles. Magic bike! I love that film for the continuity errors alone.
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Old 12-15-06, 11:05 AM   #24
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Right now, i'm running 42-18 with a 26X2" rear tire.
Maxes out at ~22-23 miles an hour, according to the speed radar on my commute, though i could probably spin a little faster if i had clipless pedals rather than bmx platforms.

If real winter ever arrives in boston, i'll drop that down to 42-20 to cope with snow plowing and heavy studded tires.

Off road, i've gone as low as 32X18, which is pretty great for any type of hilly/bumpy riding.
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Old 12-15-06, 11:29 AM   #25
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Roslyn up to courthouse was enough hill for me when I lived in NOVA. That's probably about as steep as it gets unless you get out around Great Falls, tho.
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