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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 10-03-08, 08:17 AM   #1
datlas
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First SS Commute...and FG question

Rode the BD (don't groan) Dawes SST to work today (10 miles, a few hills). It was most excellent. I only had to stand up to climb once.

I am used to doing the commute on the road bike (12 speed) but from now on I will be using the SST.

I don't have a FG cog for the flip side yet, but want to try...but was wondering...does the collective knowledge of the forum recommend keeping the same gear size for FG and SS? It looks like Sheldon Brown's site suggests the fixed cog should be 1 or 2 teeth smaller than the freewheel...but I am not so sure I buy his logic (and I can't ask him directly!).

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Old 10-03-08, 09:01 AM   #2
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That is common. The reason is when you get tired, or have to climb an extreme amount, you are going to want a lower gear or number of gear inches on the freewheel side. What gearing are you running right now on the freewheel? If it is 46/16 I suggest getting a 16 tooth fixed cog. My reasoning would be you do not want to be riding a 46/15 or 46/14 as a new rider. That would be approaching/over 80 gear inches.

Now I am not a pro on this, as my first fixed gear will be arriving via UPS today (messenger from BD) but I think my logic is straight. I will probably be buying a smaller chainring or a bigger fixed cog, as 78 GI is going to be fairly high for me.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:05 AM   #3
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2new...I am riding a 46/16 which is the stock gearing for this bike. My inclination is to get the same, or maybe even a 17t gear for fixed...but if I were to follow Sheldon's advice I would get a 14 or 15 which would be waaaay too big a gear for me!
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Old 10-03-08, 09:13 AM   #4
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2new...I am riding a 46/16 which is the stock gearing for this bike. My inclination is to get the same, or maybe even a 17t gear for fixed...but if I were to follow Sheldon's advice I would get a 14 or 15 which would be waaaay too big a gear for me!
I agree. Now that I looked at my bike again on BD I might have to do a full drivetrain upgrade, as I want a 1/8" chain/cog/chainring. You might also look into this, if you have some cash to spare. That way you could bump your chainring down to 42/44 and run a 16/17 fixed/free or something along those lines. I am glad to hear you are enjoying the bike though.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:20 AM   #5
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I agree. Now that I looked at my bike again on BD I might have to do a full drivetrain upgrade, as I want a 1/8" chain/cog/chainring. You might also look into this, if you have some cash to spare. That way you could bump your chainring down to 42/44 and run a 16/17 fixed/free or something along those lines. I am glad to hear you are enjoying the bike though.
Thanks, it's a good bike for a cheapskate like me. I will probably try a 16 or 17 with the stock chainring. Since the largest size D-A cog is 16 I will probably get one of those.

I am new to FG/SS but have been an avid roadie for many years, so the 46/16 is ok but I don't think I want to go bigger than that.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:23 AM   #6
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If I were you, I'd keep the 46t chainring and go with a 17t fixed cog. This will give you about 73 gear inches and 17 skid patches (if you are into that sort of thing).

I run 48/18 on my Messenger and that has been fine for the rolling terrain around here. The downside to this gearing is only having 3 skid patches.

The difference between the fixed/freewheel sides doesn't matter because you'll be having so much riding fixed you'll never flip the wheel back to the freewheel side anyway.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:28 AM   #7
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If I were you, I'd keep the 46t chainring and go with a 17t fixed cog. This will give you about 73 gear inches and 17 skid patches (if you are into that sort of thing).

I run 48/18 on my Messenger and that has been fine for the rolling terrain around here. The downside to this gearing is only having 3 skid patches.

The difference between the fixed/freewheel sides doesn't matter because you'll be having so much riding fixed you'll never flip the wheel back to the freewheel side anyway.
I like the way this guy thinks!
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Old 10-03-08, 09:32 AM   #8
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The difference between the fixed/freewheel sides doesn't matter because you'll be having so much riding fixed you'll never flip the wheel back to the freewheel side anyway.
I put a freewheel on my fixed-gear commuter, flipped the wheel and never went back to fixed. Different strokes, I suppose.

I think that the larger freewheel idea has a lot to do with going downhill - on a fixed-gear a large cog is going to require a high cadence when going downhill but with a freewheel you can just coast.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:34 AM   #9
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Get a 17 tooth cog. This will give you a lot more skid patches and make that one hill a bit easier.

I have the Dawes SST and I changed out the 16 tooth freewheel for a 18 to spare my knees on the hills. I spin out quicker, but I need to work on my spin anyway.

I went the opposite way with the drivetrain. My new freewheel is 3/32 so I got a 3/32 chain.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:37 AM   #10
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46/18 is nice... i run 44/17 singlespeed on my Soho S and it's perfect for commuting.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:38 AM   #11
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Sounds like the 17t might be a winner...is the miche any good? I know it's cheap crap compared to dura-ace but dura-ace only goes up to 16t....also this is probably a dumb question but do you need a special tool to tighten (and loosen) the lockring on a fixie??

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Old 10-03-08, 09:57 AM   #12
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I agree. Now that I looked at my bike again on BD I might have to do a full drivetrain upgrade, as I want a 1/8" chain/cog/chainring. You might also look into this, if you have some cash to spare. That way you could bump your chainring down to 42/44 and run a 16/17 fixed/free or something along those lines. I am glad to hear you are enjoying the bike though.
I wouldn't consider going to 1/8th that much of an upgrade. You find no real utility (read strength, durability, ect...) in the switch. There are a ton of cheap options for chains and gear in 3/32. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 10-03-08, 10:00 AM   #13
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I wouldn't consider going to 1/8th that much of an upgrade. You find no real utility (read strength, durability, ect...) in the switch. There are a ton of cheap options for chains and gear in 3/32. Just my 2 cents.
The only reason I am worried about it, is that I will be riding on a decent amount of hills, and I want durability. Thank you for the advice, though. I will probably keep it 3/32" for the first 3-4 weeks at least, now that you mention it. If I have problems, then I will switch.
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Old 10-03-08, 10:03 AM   #14
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The only way you will break a chain is usually user error. A geared bike will apply much more torque to a chain then a SS will. Keep your bike clean and in decent working order and you will be fine.
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Old 10-03-08, 10:21 AM   #15
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The only reason I am worried about it, is that I will be riding on a decent amount of hills, and I want durability.
The stock chain is fine, no need to replace it. You'll put a lot more stress on the chain skidding than backpedaling down hills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
I would generally advise using the 3/32" (derailer) size. It is lighter, more compatible with your existing chainwheels, and likely to run smoother if the chainline is less than perfect, due to beveled side plates. In my experience, 3/32" chain is no less durable or reliable than 1/8".
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Old 10-03-08, 10:30 AM   #16
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Well I have to trust the master on this one. I will be running both brakes for a bit anyway, and I have no in skidding my way around town
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Old 10-03-08, 10:44 AM   #17
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A lot more R&D goes into 3/32" chains than 1/8" chains, so unless you are planning on switching chainrings a lot and are using a 144bcd crank, 3/32" might be better.
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Old 10-03-08, 12:08 PM   #18
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I commute in pretty hilly (though not terribly brutal) terrain just fine with a 46/16 after having been on the free side with 46/17 for a while. I do OK with no foot retention and brakes. (Yay Grip Kings!) I agree that the difference is more significant for downhill; anything less than what I've got and I'd be spinning way too much (or more likely, leaning on the brakes a lot more).

Don't be afraid to use the brakes! I've had to remind myself a few times that if the cadence is getting too much I can just brake--no need to be all macho about it and get ejected in the middle of traffic.
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Old 10-03-08, 12:27 PM   #19
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I put a freewheel on my fixed-gear commuter, flipped the wheel and never went back to fixed. Different strokes, I suppose.

I think that the larger freewheel idea has a lot to do with going downhill - on a fixed-gear a large cog is going to require a high cadence when going downhill but with a freewheel you can just coast.
If it wasn't for this big-@ss hill on my commute I would've kept it fixed but it's so nice to coast down that bugger, especially in the afternoon. I can hog the lane and go 35mph all the way down. Riding fixed, I had to scrub speed with the brakes to keep from bouncing off the saddle.

Sheldon's advice is based on the assumption you would be riding fixed all the time and have singlespeed as backup for when you got too far from home and/or had too many hills to navigate. The easier ss gear would let you rest a bit.
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Old 10-03-08, 12:28 PM   #20
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do you need a special tool to tighten (and loosen) the lockring on a fixie??
You could use a punch and a hammer, but it's much better to get a hook spanner. The Park HCW-5 is less than $15.
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Old 10-03-08, 01:46 PM   #21
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i ordered the kilo tt, it comes with 48/16 combo, but I live in ohio, probably one of the flattest, ****tiest states there is. so I probably won't change anything.
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Old 10-03-08, 02:32 PM   #22
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The whole gear your Fixed side higher than your freewheel side is kind of silly unless you live in a super hilly area, in which case I would personally run SS or get a geared bike.

Ive been running a 46t front, and the 17/19 dingleberry rear. Ive primarily been riding the 17t, but I find that that is really alot of gear inches to be running on flat ground, since I find myself mashing around all the time, instead of spinning at a higher rpm..having bad knees this is kind of getting old:/ That might also be a good solution to the gear dillema.

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