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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 03-22-08, 10:45 PM   #1
drainyoo
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Selecting a gear ratio

I'm going to purchase a freewheel but before I do I want to make sure I'm buying the right one. I plan on getting a Miche Advanced crank with a 49 chainring. I live in NYC and there aren't that many hills here. The biggest hill I'll probably climb is the 59th street bridge. Sheldon says that for street riding a gain ratio of 5-5.3 is ideal. I'm considering a 19t freewheel which would give me a 5.4 gain ratio or 69.6 gear inches.

Wanted to see if a 49/19 ratio makes sense for my terrain and to what others have experienced.
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Old 03-22-08, 11:02 PM   #2
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If you're already in good shape that should work fine.

I highly recommend the ENO freewheel, but it's not a bad idea to get a cheapie first.
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Old 03-22-08, 11:15 PM   #3
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I'm in decent shape.

I'm planning on getting an ENO, that's why I want to be sure it's the right one.
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Old 03-22-08, 11:45 PM   #4
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you could probably even go for a 18 or even 17 tooth freewheel. if you're riding mostly flat terrain, you might find you're spinning like crazy.
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Old 03-23-08, 12:39 AM   #5
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Get a few cheaper freewheels, try them out, then pick the one you like best. Once you've done that, get the White industries freewheel in that size.
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Old 03-23-08, 04:55 AM   #6
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For road riding, I fluctuate between 70 and 81 gear inches, depending on the bike, the time of year, and where I'm planning on riding. For NYC riding, I personally would go with 49/18. I recommed starting with a cheaper freewheel because you may decide you picked the wrong gear. A lot of people get stronger after a couple of months and regear their bikes. With experience, a fgss rider develops a fine tuned sense for choosing the right gear and you'll want to change gears eventually. Ultimately, its a good idea to have a freewheel tool and several freewheels. But I would put off getting the ENO until you know what your main gear ratio should be.

Last edited by mihlbach; 03-23-08 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 03-23-08, 05:59 AM   #7
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It's my humble opinion that most people err on the side of running too high of a gear ratio for what ever reason. I live in New York and have come down every year till now I'm at 46/18. I find those with the bigger gears are the ones who pedal slowly, just cruising around. I need to move for my 10 mile commute and the more I can spin, the faster (avg speed) I wind up moving the bike.
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Old 03-23-08, 06:08 AM   #8
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for city riding: acceleration>top speed
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Old 03-23-08, 06:23 AM   #9
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Yeah, I think Zombie Carl got it right.

On flats with little stop-and-go the higher gearing would be ideal, so you have a higher top speed. However, in areas where you won't be riding at top speed too much, you'll gain much more by being able to accelerate faster.

Also, your knees will thank you if you use a lower gear when you've got to be ramping your speed up and down all the time.
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Old 03-23-08, 07:58 AM   #10
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I couldn't see myself wanting to do anything else besides mash on a single speed.
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Old 03-23-08, 08:03 AM   #11
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Do NOT by an eno freewheel (though they are indeed great) until you are sure you are comfortable with your ratio. I would try the 19- ride it for a while- and then adjust up or town a tooth.
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Old 03-23-08, 09:09 AM   #12
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Some good advice here but it seems like most of you are in agreement that I should just purchase some cheap freewheels and test them out. Are the ACS and Shimano freewheels the cheap ones? $15 each. I think I'm going to purchase a 17, 18 and 19.

A side note, will this tool remove all freewheels from the hub?

http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=2335
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Old 03-23-08, 10:04 AM   #13
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Shimano are the cheaper ones. You can go even cheaper but you'll have to destructively remove the freewheels.
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Old 03-23-08, 10:07 AM   #14
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i ride a 46x16 and it's jsut right...both fixed and free. flat city streets and ocassional slopes just the streets o new york. think if the freewheel size is any greater than that...you'll be spinning like crazy... imho

cheers
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Old 03-23-08, 10:07 AM   #15
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also btw i ride a shimano free...so far no complains about it.

cheers
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Old 03-23-08, 10:20 AM   #16
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At least with a freewheel you can spin like crazy and recover by coasting.

On my single speed I'm currently running 46 x 18. ENO freecog.
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Old 03-23-08, 10:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrenceterrenc View Post
i ride a 46x16 and it's jsut right...both fixed and free. flat city streets and ocassional slopes just the streets o new york. think if the freewheel size is any greater than that...you'll be spinning like crazy... imho

cheers
That's a similiar gain ratio as a 49x17 setup. I think I'm going to try 16,17 and 18. One of those should work well.
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Old 03-23-08, 10:56 AM   #18
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I can't find any cheap freewheels with 19t. They all stop at 18t.
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Old 03-23-08, 10:58 AM   #19
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ACS freewheels go up to at least 22.
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/singl...tml#freewheels

can be found cheaper here...
http://www.niagaracycle.com

Last edited by mihlbach; 03-23-08 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 03-23-08, 11:05 AM   #20
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Thanks. I thought the Claws only worked with 3/32 chains.
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