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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 05-09-07, 03:46 PM   #1
Ken Cox
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58.1

This afternoon I changed my 17t cog for a 19t cog.

With a 42t chainring and 700X23 tires, that gives me 58.1 gear inches.

For those not familiar with gear inches, the phrase gear inches refers to the equivalent amount of effort a Penny Farthing Big Wheel would have if it had a Big Wheel diameter of however many inches.

My fixed gear bike at 58.1 gear inches requires as much effort to pedal as a Penny Farthing Big Wheel having a Big Wheel diameter of 58.1 inches.

Most factory fixed gear bikes come with a 16t cog and a 48t chainring, and, with the typical 700X23c tires, this comes out to 78.8 gear inches.

I have comfortably ridden as high as 82 gear inches, but at 82 gear inches I had no downhill control.

I rode at 72 gear inches for quite awhile, and consider this the all around best set up for my riding area.

However, since I like to experiment and learn, I have recently gone down to 64.9 gear inches, had a great time, and improved my spin dramatically.

So, today I went for a short ride at 58.1 gear inches and found it illuminating.

It makes my spin transparent.

Further, I find the amount of control and improved handling profound (back pedaling tightens a turn, forward pedaling widens a turn).

I think I could safely ride without a brake at 58.1 gear inches.

I suppose eventually I'll go back up to 72 gear inches, but I think I'll stay here awhile and see what else I can learn.
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Old 05-09-07, 04:37 PM   #2
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My 1x1 runs 52 inches in it's fixed configuration.

You can't get moving fast enough to worry about stopping.
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Old 05-09-07, 04:45 PM   #3
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wow, you'll have to learn to spin to get up to speed.

and i thought my ratio was pretty low (43x16, 70.9 gi)
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Old 05-09-07, 05:09 PM   #4
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Ordered a philwood cog and coming in on friday..i wonder how its feel..51/20 67gi comparing to 51/16 83.3gi...
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Old 05-09-07, 05:22 PM   #5
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i've ridden as high as 48x14 (about 90 gear inches), but i usually run 36x14. i can get just as fast as people who ride 48x16. spin is crucial.
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Old 05-09-07, 06:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox
This afternoon I changed my 17t cog for a 19t cog.

With a 42t chainring and 700X23 tires, that gives me 58.1 gear inches.
that's the same gearing I have!
I've been thinking about going up to a 46t chainring tho, I'm a little sick of spinning out. but damn is it nice on hills.
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Old 05-09-07, 07:07 PM   #7
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Spinning is underrated. Response time is faster, acceleration is quicker. Great for stop/start traffic. Good move to go for 42 x 19.
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Old 05-09-07, 08:23 PM   #8
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58.1.... sheesh, i don't know if i could go that low. just seems like it'd hinder your max speed without insane cadences. i don't think i could dip below 65 but if it works for you, good.

myself, i want legs of steel.
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Old 05-09-07, 08:44 PM   #9
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I'm at 76 gear inches and thinking about going higher. Of course most of my riding is open road and I go fast. Control (speed modulation with the cranks) is not important. If I need to stop...well, thats what a brake is for. If I were riding in a dense urban area, I'd definately gear down, at least some of the time. Frankly, for me, going brakeless doesn't make a lot of sense. Sure its fun sometimes, but I'd rather put all my energy into going forward and maintaining as much speed as I can most of the time...you can't do that brakeless.
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Old 05-09-07, 09:29 PM   #10
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I don't advocate riding brakeless.

I only noted that at 58.1 inches I can stop, even on my steepest downhill, without much skill or strength.

I rode to work tonight, 7.5 miles and THREE stoplights, in 30 minutes.

15 mph.

At my regular gearing, 72 gear inches, I do this in 23-26 minutes, depending on how many lights I hit.

19.5-17.3 mph.

72 gear inches corresponds to the highest gear in which I can come to a complete stop going downhill on my steepest hill, in my local riding area.

When I return to 72 gear inches, I expect to have gained spin and speed.

Let's see what happens.
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Old 05-09-07, 10:55 PM   #11
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The Felt TK2 I just ordered is 48x15. My current fixie is 42x15. I'm really considering stepping the felt down to a 48x17 or 48x16
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Old 05-10-07, 12:14 AM   #12
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I really like this idea. I'm running 74-ish inches. It's fun and fast, but I get the feeling that all that techy stuff would be alot easier with lower gearing.

I want a pista concept running 58.1 with risers and white rims, but I am too old and too stupid.
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