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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 03-31-04, 11:43 PM   #1
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Slowing/Stopping/Gear ratio question

im really not sure what gearing i should go for. im currently running 40/16 on my fixie and ive found that its too easy for me. id like to go higher, maybe to at least 42/16 but im new to riding fixed and wanted some info before i did so...
there are a lot of hills where i live and going downhill requires me to slow down a bit sometimes. does having a higher ratio gear make it easier or harder to stop from a fast speed? bc at high speed in a low geared bike, youre legs are going at a high cadence. a higher geared bike going at the same speed would have your legs moving at a slower cadence... so would that make slowing/stopping the bike easier because theyre not scrambling like mad? i understand that lower gearing is weak and easy to skid in but it seems like a higher geared bike would give you more speed control... and is a lower geared bike more likely to damage your knees when trying to suddenly stop from a high speed (as opposed to higher geared, slow leg spin)?
i read somewhere on another thread that a smaller chainring creates more torque than a larger chainring. how would this torque factor affect braking/slowing? id like to get the gearing that will fit my riding style but i dont have a lot of money to try all the possiblities.
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Old 03-31-04, 11:48 PM   #2
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as long as the gear ratio is the same, regardless of differing chainwheel sizes, the torque is the same. id say just get a 15T cog and go from there. youll be happy with it!
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Old 03-31-04, 11:59 PM   #3
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It's been my experience it's easier to stop and control your speed down a hill with a lower gear. Like it's easier to stop a 42/16 than a 48/16. It's the same reason as it's easier to climb with a lower gear. That said, once you get in a few miles (a lot in my case) you'll figure it out with whatever gear you've got. This won't be popular with the no brakes guys but you might want to run a front brake for awhile and kind of ween off of it as you go. Practice skids too!
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Old 04-01-04, 12:16 AM   #4
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It's been my experience it's easier to stop and control your speed down a hill with a lower gear. Like it's easier to stop a 42/16 than a 48/16. It's the same reason as it's easier to climb with a lower gear. That said, once you get in a few miles (a lot in my case) you'll figure it out with whatever gear you've got. This won't be popular with the no brakes guys but you might want to run a front brake for awhile and kind of ween off of it as you go. Practice skids too!
thanks unc, i do indeed run a front brake. i dont use it very often but i am conscious of when i use it. with each ride, i build confidence and make a note of not using the brake when unnecessary.
reason i started this thread was because when i do let the momentum take me and start pedaling down a hill, im hesitant to lock the wheels because of the fast cadence.
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Old 04-01-04, 12:20 AM   #5
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It's always alot easier to control speed with your legs at lower gears.

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Old 04-01-04, 07:06 AM   #6
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I started out a long time ago when I was young and foolish at 80 gear inches+ because that is what a number of other people rode that were older and more experienced rode. Over the years I have gradually reduced the gear inches to 71 gear inches. I find that when I started to ride with no brakes it was just just easier on my knees and my ability to stop, when necessary, was enhanced when I lowered the gear inch ratio. I remember the first time I rode at a velodrome in a race. I saw that everybody was running a higher gear than I was so I changed to a higher gear and got totally waxed by everybody on the track. If I had left it at what I was used to I might have done better. I guess the old saying applies, "you should ride your own race, and not some other guys race". You will have to experiment with different cog/chain wheel choices to arrive at what one works for you. If you make small incremental changes you will arrive at a perfect solution to your terrain demands and riding style.


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Old 04-01-04, 10:34 AM   #7
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also gear inches being equal, it is easier to skid if you are running a larger cog and a smaller chainring.

my rides are generally pretty flat (in eugene, oregon) and i am riding a 42/13 wild beast. if i changed up to a 15t cog, i think that my skids would come a lot more naturally. as they are now, its like braking an elephant and i have to ram the thing into a fishtail to stop adequately.

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Old 04-01-04, 11:25 AM   #8
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also gear inches being equal, it is easier to skid if you are running a larger cog and a smaller chainring.
Why is that......if gear inches are equal?? I can understand having a longer crank making a difference. I think we've had many discussions like this before.
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Old 04-01-04, 12:21 PM   #9
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someone convinced me once that this was true. but now i am thinking about it and i think its not. maybe i should have waited til i had coffee before posting
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Old 04-01-04, 12:48 PM   #10
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Inches being the same, you can't have a larger cog and a smaller ring (if you see what i mean; to get the same inches from different gear combos, both cogs have to increase or decrease by a common factor). Lower gears are easier to slow and skid for the same reason as they are easier to get going.

And inches being the same, torque is unaffected because and avdantage gained by using a smaller ring will be cancelled out by the smaller cog.
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