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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 12-17-06, 11:02 PM   #1
aal
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Gearing for downhill

Sorry for the ignorance, but which is better for controlling the bike on downhills - bigger or smaller gearing? I had thought that low gearing would give you more "stopping power," and control, but I've got a fairly low gear, 68.2, and it is impossible for me to stop the bike without the brake when coming down even what might be considered moderate hills. I'd trade some of the uphill benefits if a higher gear made it better on the downhills. Otherwise, maybe I just need to go even lower.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:34 PM   #2
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lower gear = more stopping power = increased cadence
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Old 12-17-06, 11:44 PM   #3
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That gearing sounds about perfect. Eventually you will use the brake less.
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Old 12-18-06, 01:24 AM   #4
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Ride down moderate hills as slowly as you can, as often as you can. This will develop your slowdown muscles (yes, that's the technical term).
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Old 12-18-06, 01:48 AM   #5
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Dont fool yourself, trying to slow down in the middle of a hill is hard. What you might want to try is going down the entire hill slowly and with as much control as possible.

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Old 12-18-06, 07:16 AM   #6
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I'm gonna say use a smaller gear, only cause you gotta get up that hill too. But using a smaller gear will be harder to slow down and stop because the mechanical advantage the rotating wheel has on the cranks.

Maybe more important, use a brake.
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Old 12-18-06, 07:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by me thinkst
I'm gonna say use a smaller gear, only cause you gotta get up that hill too. But using a smaller gear will be harder to slow down and stop because the mechanical advantage the rotating wheel has on the cranks.

Maybe more important, use a brake.

you got that backwards.
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Old 12-18-06, 07:41 AM   #8
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Don't let the genie out of the bottle, it's a lot harder to get him back in than it is to keep him in.
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Old 12-18-06, 10:01 AM   #9
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use clipless pedals
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Old 12-18-06, 10:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by me thinkst
But using a smaller gear will be harder to slow down and stop because the mechanical advantage the rotating wheel has on the cranks.

Maybe more important, use a brake.
uh...using a smaller gear, the wheel has less mch adv over the crankset than it does on a higher gear. duh?
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Old 12-18-06, 10:22 AM   #11
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I just got myself a fixie over the weekend and already almost killed myself going down a hill. But, I have no brakes either. I was trying to go slow the whole way. The big problem I had was all the stop lights in the middle of the hill.
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Old 12-18-06, 10:36 AM   #12
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What I've been doing (I'm a newb too, been fixed +/-6 weeks) is doing a little skid on each revolution going down a hill to scrub some speed and keep from becoming an out of control freight train. I just wait till my strong foot(left for me) is forward and skid a bit. Then, I let the cranks go around again till my left foot gets to the front. Skid again. Repeat ad nauseum or till you get to the bottom, whichever comes first.

Your mileage may vary.

BTW I'm running 52X21
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Old 12-18-06, 11:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvleph
I just got myself a fixie over the weekend and already almost killed myself going down a hill. But, I have no brakes either. I was trying to go slow the whole way. The big problem I had was all the stop lights in the middle of the hill.
Fer the love of Pete, please put a brake on. It is much more fun with a brake. Safer too.
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Old 12-18-06, 11:37 AM   #14
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I don't like to go slow on downhills so I have a brake.
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Old 12-18-06, 11:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fixer
I don't like to go slow on downhills so I have a brake.
Same here. Do you also ride often with freewheelers?
Al
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Old 12-18-06, 12:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvleph
I just got myself a fixie over the weekend and already almost killed myself going down a hill. But, I have no brakes either. I was trying to go slow the whole way. The big problem I had was all the stop lights in the middle of the hill.
put on a brake! I would never recommend anyone to riding without a brake when you JUST started. I didn't start riding brakeless for a couple months after i started riding fixed.
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Old 12-18-06, 12:21 PM   #17
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your legs are going to be in no condition to ride brakeless no matter how long you've been riding freewheel... i cant understand riding brakeless on the street anyway... but makes even less sence when you are new to fixed gear in general...

while i dont find myself using my brake that often... when i do have to use im usualy glad its there... since otherwise i would be in lots of pain...

as far as the OP's concerns... i agree with placid casual 100%... working your legs repeatedly and constantly is going to be the best way to build the muscles needed to stop the bike with your legs alone...

-pete
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Old 12-18-06, 01:12 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Same here. Do you also ride often with freewheelers?
Al
Oh, that too......and I often like to sit tight and draft in the middle of a freewheeling pack.
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Old 12-18-06, 01:21 PM   #19
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Now I am not saying my legs are in great condition, but skateboarding for over 15yrs has put them in pretty decent condition. The only reason I ran into problems on the down hill was due to my lack of experience. I was not paying close enough attention to the lights (mind you I was going down the wrong way on a one way). Yes, I know that makes me sound stupid, but the other street was cobbles.
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Old 12-18-06, 02:54 PM   #20
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Put the brake on, use it while you're learning. Be Tao about it... don't take it off when you *want* to get rid of it, take it off when you no longer care if it's there or not.
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Old 12-18-06, 03:01 PM   #21
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Any suggestions on a front brake? I am sure my wife would appreciate it.
Sorry for the hijacking.
To get back on track I am running a 46x16.

Last edited by lvleph; 12-18-06 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 12-18-06, 03:15 PM   #22
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any dual pivot caliper with decent pads. If you ride in the rain invest in some salmon koolstops.

there is no reason beyond style to ever take it off.
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Old 12-18-06, 03:22 PM   #23
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any dual pivot caliper with decent pads. If you ride in the rain invest in some salmon koolstops.

there is no reason beyond style to ever take it off.
Simplicity!
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Old 12-18-06, 03:25 PM   #24
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actually a nice older single pivot might be good enough but there are a lot of crappy ones out there, even the best aren't as good as a new one and you will probably end up spending the difference when you replace the crappy old pads anyway.
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Old 12-18-06, 04:54 PM   #25
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i've ridden alot of pads in the rain... some of them suck when wet... some work just fine... before you sink extra green into new pads make sure you'll need them...
i have a set of campy veloce daul pivots on my roadie... they work phenominal... found them on ebay for 30 bucks, brand new... the original pads work fine in the rain...
-pete
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