So I had learned to ride fixed on a stock bike I bought back in December, and just recently I decided to convert an old road bike. I had been running a gear ratio of 48/18, so I thought I'd try 48/17 this time around. How much different could it be, right?
The stock bike has handbrakes, which I'm thankful for, since it's saved me many times when I was still learning to skid stop. On my conversion, I took the handbrakes off and marvelled at the simple machine that stood before me. Then I took it on the road and freaked out. Skidding took a hell of a lot more effort and strength than I was prepared for.
When I determined the gear inches, I found the difference between the two bikes to be around five (the stock bike was 70, my conversion 75). Also, because I took the brakehoods off the bars, I lost my preferred grip for executing skids. So fighting the inertia of the 5 extra gear inches apparently is enough to kick me in the butt.
On the bright side, it makes riding 70 gear inches seem effortless in every aspect of riding.