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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 01-21-07, 07:10 AM   #1
fetch
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Advice for beginner's gear ratio

First off i want to say that these forums have been a huge help in my quest to ride ss/fg.

been riding for about 4 years now (im 23) and only recently wondered about SS/FG riding (im just a commuter but looking to make this as another form of workout/fun, so im looking into the tech-side of bikes). living in honolulu, hawaii i only see a few ss/fg riders, definetly more in the last year than ever. im always tempted to ride up and ask them about it but i didn't want to bother them on their routine, so i used my 1337 google skills and researched for the past few months before and i've finally decided to build my first track bike.

Honolulu is pretty flat, well atleast where i ride to work and hangout. a ride a few hills but nothing steep at all, just quite long and steady ascents. looking for a good ratio for quick acceleration, starting and stopping.

was thinking 44x17, anyone have experience OR live in hawaii that wanna ride when i get it together?


cheers!

Last edited by fetch; 01-21-07 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 01-21-07, 09:21 AM   #2
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Have you ever needed to replace a cassette on your road bike. Which cog did you wear out and what ring did you use when doing it?

Use Sheldon Brown's gear calculator to figure how many gear inches that was, and just make sure that your FG bike is set up as close as possible to the gear you used most on your road bike.
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Old 01-21-07, 09:36 AM   #3
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ahh i see, makes sense. thanks!
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Old 01-21-07, 09:52 AM   #4
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I dont know if I would make it as close to you road bike as possable. I put mine a bit higher (really it was the only cog i had laying around) and found out that I could and should be pushing a higher gear on my road bike. actually it has helped me get stronger. The only thing i had to do different was move the saddle forward of my road postion, one because i used a shorter crank and two to help spin easier. I needed to make it up the little hills i have here and not spin out on flats. i used 42x15 and really like it. i just my 02 cents.
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Old 01-21-07, 10:01 AM   #5
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What I did when I built my first fixed gear was ride my commute and around town every day for 3 or 4 days in one gear as much as possible. If I needed to shift down, made sure to remember that, if I needed to shift up spinning down a hill (granted, spinning on the fixed is way easier) made a note of that, too. From there it's just a matter of picking somewhere in the middle.

If it helps, I ride 46/16 in Pittsburgh, which is pretty hilly, so you end up pushing up the hills, but you don't spin out so quickly going down them.

Edit: But I started running a 44/16. I didn't switch to a 46t up front for probably 4 months of riding the fixed gear 125+ miles a week.
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Old 01-21-07, 12:12 PM   #6
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whatever ratios are similar to the most common gear you rode in when you rode a geared bike.

i started out at 40/14 and a couple months later i switched to 46/16, which is essentially the same ratio.
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Old 01-21-07, 01:03 PM   #7
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I ride 48x16 on the almost completely flat roads of Champaign, IL. I rode on the 9th out of 10th gear on my old Raleigh, however, and just chose the gearing that made sense compared to that. It's almost impossible to tell you what gear to choose for your legs, but you should be able to grow into almost any gear with time as you will gain strength with riding. That being said, 48x16 seems to be at the higher end of what most people ride on the street simply due to the difficulty of starting from stoplights and such on steeper gearings.
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Old 01-21-07, 01:05 PM   #8
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42x16 is pretty sweet. nice for a flat city where the only hills are overpasses.
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Old 01-21-07, 01:10 PM   #9
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it's better to start too low than too high

cogs cost less than doctor visits
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Old 01-21-07, 01:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euphoria
it's better to start too low than too high

cogs cost less than doctor visits
You can also get a flip-flop wheelset (the popular Mavic CXP-22's laced to Formula hubs for $140 or so are a great beginner flip-flop) and run two different cogs for different situations if you were so inclined. Get a 48 tooth up front and run an 18 and a 16 in the rear.
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Old 01-21-07, 01:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telix
You can also get a flip-flop wheelset (the popular Mavic CXP-22's laced to Formula hubs for $140 or so are a great beginner flip-flop) and run two different cogs for different situations if you were so inclined. Get a 48 tooth up front and run an 18 and a 16 in the rear.
+1, that sounds like a great pair of gears although I would run a 47 up front for much better skid patches---18 and 16 versus 3 and 1---yikes! Anyhow the basic idea is sound, a 70-ish inch gear and 75-ish inch gear will get you through most stuff and give you a good idea of what you like. FWIW I do long road rides and about town cruising and love 70.
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Old 01-21-07, 01:55 PM   #12
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thanks for the help, a lot of good points here for me to take in. i was just thinking about a flipflip hub and how i could go about that while riding home just. logged on and bam! its like xmas... or something haha.

gonna head over to my LBS and see what stuff i can pick up.


thanks again
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Old 01-21-07, 01:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fetch
thanks for the help, a lot of good points here for me to take in. i was just thinking about a flipflip hub and how i could go about that while riding home just. logged on and bam! its like xmas... or something haha.

gonna head over to my LBS and see what stuff i can pick up.


thanks again
You will be charged way too damn much for any wheelset from your LBS unless they specialize in carrying cheaper fixed wheelsets. Use the nets for your wheels.
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Old 01-21-07, 01:59 PM   #14
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Well here is a quick reference that i got off another forum I'm on for gear inches and skid patches. Good luck.

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Old 01-21-07, 02:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telix
You will be charged way too damn much for any wheelset from your LBS unless they specialize in carrying cheaper fixed wheelsets. Use the nets for your wheels.


yeah im gonna see how much they charge compared to some intrawebz prices in my head. shipping to hawaii makes baby alvis cry
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Old 01-21-07, 04:19 PM   #16
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I really like running 42/16 on the street you get alot more response out of your efforts but your top speed suffers
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Old 01-21-07, 05:33 PM   #17
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The gear you use most frequently on your road bike will be close to the gear you want, but probably a little too low. Go with something maybe 5 gear inches higher. The drive train on a fixie is more eficient, allowing you to go with a little higher gear. Also, remember that you'll have to pedal down those hills so a bigger gear will be nicer there. As for climbing, you'll be surprised how big a gear you can actually climb in.
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Old 01-22-07, 03:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fetch
was thinking 44x17, anyone have experience
Yes. I think that's a great starting point. I'm running 44x17 and 46x17 fixed and 42x17 on my singlespeed commuter.
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Old 01-22-07, 03:27 AM   #19
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i ride 44x14 in seattle, which is perty hilly, but then again there are some hills i have to avoid with this gearing. when i rode 40x14 i could pretty much tackle most hills 'round here.

but everyone's different, i think it mostly depends on how strong you are. buy two cogs and play around with different sizes and see what works best.
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