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  1. #1
    Lord of the Manor MassBiker's Avatar
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    What size gear for fixed?

    Hi, all --

    A rather famous mechanic who's a friend of mine rebuilt my old Miyata touring bike as a fixed gear.

    I plan to use this bike for stop'n'go Boston commuting, in which my average speed (according to my bikes' computers) is about 14 MPH, tho' I can get up above 30 on a particular downhill pretty easily.

    My pal thinks I'm a Big Strong Bikie Guy, but I'm a lot wimpier than he imagines me to be, and the 76 in. gear that he put on the bike is -way- too big for me.

    I've measured my tire's circumference and calcuated that the 42/14 that he put on gives me a 67 cadence at 15 MPH, about an 80 at 18, about 87 at 20, and 102 at 23, and were I to do more open road riding, rather than traffic, this combo might be good. But for the city, I'm thinking of going for a 42/17 that would give me a 67 in. gear, and cadences of 71, 85, 95, and 109 at 15, 18, 20 and 23 MPH, respectively. It would also make starting off from a dead stop a little easier.

    What do yiz all suggest? An LBS around the corner from where I work said they'd swap the cogs for $15, which seems fair 'nuf.

    Tom Revay
    Boston, Massachusetts

  2. #2
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    It is hilly here and I run 42/17 and If I am going to ride where it is flat I go to the 16t. Most fixed guys I know run around 68 to 70 gear inches.
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  3. #3
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    i started out with a 42/16. while milwaukee isn't hilly it's definately not flat, and i never found myself in much trouble. i now ride a 46/16.

    and $15 to swap a cog = too much. seriously, it takes all of two minutes at the most.
    i ride bikes.

  4. #4
    legalize bikes
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    i started out with a 46x14 (ouch!) then jumped up to a 46x16.

    im very happy with the 46x16. easy start-up, and you can hit some pretty high speeds.

  5. #5
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    [quote]A rather famous mechanic who's a friend of mine rebuilt my old Miyata touring bike as a fixed gear. [/quote**

    What Miyate tourer do you have? I am just about finished converting my Miyata 1000 to fixed. I have been riding 42/16 only on my geared bike for one month now. It is 70.8 gear inches. On the Miyata I have 50/19 which I think is also 70 inches. I have a 17 tooth cog in the back that I will use when I get a little stronger.

  6. #6
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    ignore my post above. now i ride 49/16.
    i ride bikes.

  7. #7
    Carfree Retro Grouch hayneda's Avatar
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    What size tires? A 42/14 is closer to an 80 inch gear on a 700C wheel.

    I'd go down to either a 42/15 or 16.

    On mine I run a 45/16.

    Dave
    Bikes are either fixed or broken

  8. #8
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    700x23c
    i ride bikes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member shrimpx's Avatar
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    i mentioned to the guy at my LBS that i'd like a 15T cog for my 42T chainring, and he almost started laughing. he said that if i want to keep my knees healthy, i should go 42x19/42x18, or 42x17 at the very tallest.

    mind you, this person has tons of fixie experience -- it's almost all he does in the shop...

    so i don't know. i think i'll get the 42x18 and take it from there, moving down as i become at ease with it.

  10. #10
    Carfree Retro Grouch hayneda's Avatar
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    I think 42x18 is a little on the small side. Most folks to go that low are using the fix as a winter training tool to develop their spin. I've riden that low, and found that for everyday riding it's simply too low. I use my fixie for commuting and riding around town, plus an occasional century. I usually cruise at around 20 mph so I use a gear that gives about 90 rpm at that speed--around 75 inches. Sometimes in the winter, I'll swap down 1 cog to a 70 inch gear, or if I'm going to ride a hilly century.

    Below 70 inches, I find that I'm having to spin in excess of 100 rpm just to maintain my normal cruising speed, and downhills really start to suck. With a 75 inch gear, I can get up most hills and the downside is fairly sane up to the low 30's mph. Plus, you know there is no shame in walking a fix up a steep hill.

    Dave
    Bikes are either fixed or broken

  11. #11
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    Im runnin a 52/17 on fixed and 44/15 on SS mtb,flatlands here,some hills but they are short and steep,I havent had to walk yet.

  12. #12
    Senior Member shrimpx's Avatar
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    i did some tests today to see what would be a sane gear to ride in, and was able to get home without changing gears, including about 2 miles of continuous hill climbing which gets really steep for about a street block's length, with a little bit of effort, on a 42x18. the downtown is hilly where i live (portland, or) and 42x18 looks like a decent size to start on... considering that i'm fairly out of shape -- i only started riding every day about 1 month ago, after a few years of vegetating. i'll give the 42x17 a try tomorrow to see how i shape up.

  13. #13
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    rThe 42/18 might get you on the down hills, really gets your spin up. I would rather lug up than scream down
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  14. #14
    Senior Member shrimpx's Avatar
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    you think a 42x17 would be a good one to start off with?

  15. #15
    Carfree Retro Grouch hayneda's Avatar
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    From what I've read on the fixed gear mailing list, I would say that 42x16 seems to be a very popular and oft used gearing. As I said earlier, I like 42x15, but I'm a bit of a masher.

    When folks around here ask me for a specific recommendation, I always go with 70 inches (42x16) as it seems to satisfy the most folks.

    Don't be afraid to order up two or three cogs and play around with your gearing. That's part of the fun of a fixie.

    Good luck,
    Dave
    who loves all bikes, but has a special place in his heart for fixies
    Bikes are either fixed or broken

  16. #16
    Lord of the Manor MassBiker's Avatar
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    A week and a half ago, a pal'o'mine who works p/t at a bike shop helped me change from a 42/15 to 42/17. That's a 67" gear and it has made all the difference!

    I commute 16 - 24 miles round-trip each day. I've taken to riding up Boston's tallest hill, and then going down into the city on a road that has only a few red lights, rather than my usually flatter, more traffic-light-ridden route, so that I don't have to stop as much. I'm finding that I like climbing that hill every day, and though I can't get to the 35+ that I'd ride down on my freewheel, I do get to 26 MPH or so, spinning for short bits of time at 130 rpm.

    I'm going faster than I usually try to do, as well. This bike is very comfortable at 18 - 19 MPH, at a 90 - 95 cadence, which is about a mile or two faster than I normally cruise at. Between choosing the hillclimb, and then not loafing so much on the flats, I'm def'ny getting a better aerobic workout than before. My legs are also getting a bit of a burn to them, and that's good too.

    I'm still not making good track stands. My buddy tells me to go to a field someplace so that when I fall, it won't hurt as much. But when I've had to stop, I've gotten the hang of holding the front brake, pressing down on the handlebars to cause the rear wheel to lift, and then rotating my right foot to the 1 o'clock position to be ready to stomp when the light changes.

    I can see the day when I go to a 42/16. I only wish that the guy who built the bike didn't put me on a 15, 'cause it was just a wee bit too much.

  17. #17
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    MassBiker........I'm glad 67" works for you. I like to ride anywhere from 65" to 79", depending on terrain and the group I ride with. It is also a good idea have a small collection of cogs handy. I am building another wheelset for another fixie and this time I'm going with a fixed/fixed rear cog.....15/17.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member chip's Avatar
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    Fixed gear heavy bicycle 2
    light bicycle aluminum 3:confused:

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by chip
    Fixed gear heavy bicycle 2
    light bicycle aluminum 3:confused:
    alright. i read your reply last night, and it made no sense to me whatsoever. i used every last bit of my brain to try and decipher your post, but i couldn't do it. i chalked it up to being tired and soon went to bed.

    it's a new day, i'm not tired, and i still cannot figure out what it is that you're trying to say.

    if anyone here should be using the :confused: icon, it's me, because i'm completely at a loss as to what your reply is supposed to mean.
    i ride bikes.

  20. #20
    Lord of the Manor MassBiker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by chip
    Fixed gear heavy bicycle 2
    light bicycle aluminum 3
    Originally posted by fore
    if anyone here should be using the :confused: icon, it's me, because i'm completely at a loss as to what your reply is supposed to mean.
    He means,

    "I saw the heavy, fixed gear bicycle [labeled 2 in the drawing] riding from the side street toward the intersection where my light aluminum bicycle [labeled 3] was approaching. Just then, the light changed to green, and I sped up. I looked to my left and saw my mother-in-law, and then felt the worst pain I've ever had. Next thing I know, I wake up in this hospital bed with my right elbow stuck in the the heavy, fixed gear bicyclist's left nostril. And that's all I can tell you, officer!"
    Of course, the heavy, fixed gear bicyclist has is foot stuck in the light aluminum bicyclist's throat just behind his uvula. That makes it more difficult for the light aluminum bicyclist to explain himself.

    Clear? Good! Glad to be of service, etc.

  21. #21
    Fresh
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    track bike gear ratio

    I'm riding a 48/14 gear ratio on my track bike. It's too big! Ha, it's bearable but honestly in a heady wind and riding uphill I am literally fighting to keep moving. Would a 48/16 make a huge difference?

  22. #22
    RuffRyda illenvillain's Avatar
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    damn Lauren...and im *****ing about my 44/14
    i see you coastin

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    where do people find threads from 03?

  24. #24
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    Probably using the search function.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Thetank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dayvan cowboy View Post
    where do people find threads from 03?
    i guess the search feature is really an altogether new concept for most people.

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