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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 03-22-07, 10:00 PM   #1
davidmcowan
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What?!! A Gearing Question??

so I'm making it up the hills at 42x15 which requires me getting out of the saddle and mashing a bit. But I feel like most other times I'm fine. Pretty much what I've read though in that my legs push it not my lungs and heart. When I hear about people operating at higher cadences with a tougher gearing I'm astounded. How do you do it? Should I be okay with the mashing and more flat speed? Or is spinning up and flatting out at a lower speed better? I want to try and do RAGBRAI in this final gear choice so I'm hoping for some input.
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Old 03-23-07, 05:53 AM   #2
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you're thinking too much. Just ride and enjoy.

I will say that you probably shouldnt consider a ride like RAGBRAI on a SS if youre not comfortable with how your gearing relates to your fitness level.
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Old 03-23-07, 05:57 AM   #3
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nothing wrong with getting out of the saddle and mashing a bit.
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Old 03-23-07, 06:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmcowan
so I'm making it up the hills at 42x15 which requires me getting out of the saddle and mashing a bit. But I feel like most other times I'm fine. Pretty much what I've read though in that my legs push it not my lungs and heart. When I hear about people operating at higher cadences with a tougher gearing I'm astounded. How do you do it? Should I be okay with the mashing and more flat speed? Or is spinning up and flatting out at a lower speed better? I want to try and do RAGBRAI in this final gear choice so I'm hoping for some input.

awwww. how sweet.
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Old 03-23-07, 07:28 AM   #5
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awwww. how sweet.
That was helpful. THanks for taking the time to reply.
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Old 03-23-07, 07:46 AM   #6
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i think spinning is better most of the time. there will be times that you would need to mash but in my experience it usually takes more energy.

but most of all, listen to what your body is telling you. and ride more if you want to try ragbrai.

all the best.
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Old 03-23-07, 12:57 PM   #7
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Go with whatever gear makes you faster than the people you ride with in sprints =]
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Old 03-23-07, 01:04 PM   #8
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42*15 is a pretty steep gear..42*16 is pretty good.
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Old 03-23-07, 01:11 PM   #9
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I agree with goldener. In my experience longer distance rides over rolling terrain are very nice with a gear around 70".
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Old 03-23-07, 01:35 PM   #10
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agreed x2

the guy i know who is doing transiowa this year (320 miles in one go) recently switched all the way down to 42x18.

on a recent century ride, even with a 42x16 i still couldn't keep up on the downs...

what does this mean? i don't really know now that i typed it all.

something about lower gears and happy spinning legs to go the distance
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Old 03-23-07, 03:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmcowan
so I'm making it up the hills at 42x15 which requires me getting out of the saddle and mashing a bit. But I feel like most other times I'm fine. Pretty much what I've read though in that my legs push it not my lungs and heart. When I hear about people operating at higher cadences with a tougher gearing I'm astounded. How do you do it? Should I be okay with the mashing and more flat speed? Or is spinning up and flatting out at a lower speed better? I want to try and do RAGBRAI in this final gear choice so I'm hoping for some input.
David,

I think that (at least some of us) would love to help, but your question is a little unclear. Maybe if you clarify, people can try again at answering.

If I can attempt to answer, I'd say that you should find a gear that allows you to climb without blowing up if climbing is something you do regularly, and let that drive your speeds elsewhere. A gear that is great for flats but can't get you up hills does you no good when you can't shift.

As for other peoples gearing choices and fitness/performance, that isn't worth considering heavily. There are too many variables.

I'd say the general consensus though is that you're better off feeling good on a hill and spinning on the flats than feeling good on the flats and mashing too hard on the hills. Maybe not, but at least that is what I prefer.
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Old 03-23-07, 03:30 PM   #12
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if you want to get better at spinning, consider investing in some rollers.
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Old 03-23-07, 04:17 PM   #13
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Maybe you should spend some time on a multigeared bike to gain some experience with how you work best over a range different ratios.

Al
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Old 03-23-07, 04:54 PM   #14
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If you run low gears, i will fly past you at traffic lights, up hills, down hills, on the track.

Think about that for a second. Do you really want me to fly past you? I will make you feel so small with your ***** gears.

Big gear = big legs = better training = more power.
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Old 03-23-07, 04:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by tbrtbx
If you run low gears, i will fly past you at traffic lights, up hills, down hills, on the track.

Think about that for a second. Do you really want me to fly past you? I will make you feel so small with your ***** gears.

Big gear = big legs = better training = more power.
Yes, dear.
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Old 03-23-07, 05:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbrtbx
If you run low gears, i will fly past you at traffic lights, up hills, down hills, on the track.

Think about that for a second. Do you really want me to fly past you? I will make you feel so small with your ***** gears.

Big gear = big legs = better training = more power.
fly past me into at a traffic light into a car cuz you couldnt stop after huffing and puffing behind me for 4 blocks cuz it took you that long to get up to speed riding up a 10% grade and your knees just cant take skidding when going at a decent clip? or at the track past the line while im waiting cuz i already beat you, because the nice spin ive developed from riding everything from 68 to 82 while riding on the street allows me to get my feet going like hamsters on speed because while you were building up those beefy thigh muscles i was working out both the fast and slow twitch muscles and developing a good cadence so i dont bounce in my saddle when cranking hard when i put on the big gears?

heh. just playing, but theres more to training than pushing a big gear, and more to being fast than having big legs.
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Old 03-23-07, 05:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Maybe you should spend some time on a multigeared bike to gain some experience with how you work best over a range different ratios.

Al
And if your geared bike has wider tires or longer cranks, don't listen to a certain other forum member and use gain ratios or gear inches (depending on the bikes differences) to help compare.
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Old 03-23-07, 05:34 PM   #18
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My coach has me train on a 42x18. It's an easy spinning gear for the flats and harder on the uphills. If you were to have a bike that had only one gear, you should chose the gear that would allow you to ride in all terrain.

If you want a better cadance, ride downhill without resisting with your legs. Also try sprinting on level groud with a low gear while trying to maintain the sprint for as long as possible; after 30 seconds sit and maintain the cadance for as long as possible.

I've been winning cat 3 crits with junior gearing (max gear= 42x18 /100 gear inches) cadance is what makes you go fast.

Watch your knees, If you're new at riding fixed, the muscles and tendons that support your kneecap aren't used to the constant rapid motion. If you mash on hills, your knees will get upset with you.

I can't gear me fixie higher than 42x16 because the hills irritate my knees even after a year's use. It's becase Kansas city has quite a few short, STEEP hills scattered about.

Stay fixed and have fun
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Old 03-23-07, 06:11 PM   #19
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BEAN CUP!!!
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Old 03-23-07, 06:29 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by onetwentyeight
fly past me into at a traffic light into a car cuz you couldnt stop after huffing and puffing behind me for 4 blocks cuz it took you that long to get up to speed riding up a 10% grade and your knees just cant take skidding when going at a decent clip? or at the track past the line while im waiting cuz i already beat you, because the nice spin ive developed from riding everything from 68 to 82 while riding on the street allows me to get my feet going like hamsters on speed because while you were building up those beefy thigh muscles i was working out both the fast and slow twitch muscles and developing a good cadence so i dont bounce in my saddle when cranking hard when i put on the big gears?

heh. just playing, but theres more to training than pushing a big gear, and more to being fast than having big legs.
Most of us are urban riders, i think. Now, unless you live in holland, there will be a few hills.

Unless you have a steep long hill, you will never be able to push hard enough to feel your legs burn. Your lungs will burn before your legs do. So, you won't develop strong powerful muscles, you'll develop long-distance-runners-muscles. For this reason, low geared bikes cant sprint properly (essential in traffic).

Just ride a fixie with a big gear for 6 months and you will understand.
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Old 03-23-07, 06:31 PM   #21
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^^^^ In retrospect, each to his own. ^^^^
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