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  1. #1
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    good all round gear ratio for my hills........

    Greetings. I own a single speed bike bike with a 44t / 18t. The bike served me fine in the city but I moved out of the city to Garrison, NY. I'm surrounded by a mixture of medium and VERY large steep hills. There is some great dirt roads I also ride.
    I'm not so fit so I'm finding the hills too much with the gear ratio I'm using. So I was wondering what gears size you think would make sense for such conditions.

    I do cycle from NY to Hyannis every year so the gear ratio would also have to work for long distance rides on semi-flats also.
    Thanks for the help.........................

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    I would say go for a 46/18, and if that's too much, stick with it and condition yourself to deal with it. It could take awhile, but in my opinion it's better than going with a ratio that causes you to spin out and moderate speeds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeCollectif View Post
    I would say go for a 46/18, and if that's too much, stick with it and condition yourself to deal with it. It could take awhile, but in my opinion it's better than going with a ratio that causes you to spin out and moderate speeds.
    ...he just said 44x18 was too much, which is lower than 46x18.

    if i were you i'd just keep gearing down until you find something that works for you without having to slowly mash up anything but the shortest, steepest parts. try switching the cog out to a 19 or 20.

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    44x19 or 20. How would they feel on flats? What speed would I spin out?

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    I live in central California near the coast and am surrounded by hills. I mean, I am immediately faced with some sort of hill climbing as soon as I leave my house. Some are rollers, others are steep. Nothing really long and steep. I ride 42x18. Too low for many, but it saves my knees. Steep decents can be difficult, but it is all about trade-offs here. I use a Trek 520 for commuting and my fixed gear for just fun, around town kind of stuff.

  6. #6
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I've got hills no matter where I go, and I ride 44/18 on both my fixed and free sides. What kind of hills are you faced with in Garrison? The final climb to my house is a 600+ gain in 2.25 miles, with a couple sections of 10% grade just for fun. My commute to work includes a 0.8mi hill that gradually increases from 6% to 9%, and there's a few 1 - 1.25 mile 10% grades on my weekend routes.
    My legs may hate me when I reach the top, and some days I'll stop and take a breather halfway up that 2+ mile climb to my house, but I've managed to whip myself into much better shape by just gritting my teeth and dealing with it than I ever imagined was possible when all I rode was my geared bike.
    If the 44/18 is too much, maybe back off the front to a 42 for a while or toss a 19 or 20 on the back?

  7. #7
    Senior Member aMull's Avatar
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    44/18 is pretty low as it is, i suggest you just keep using it until you get stronger. If you go lower you will spin out very easily on the flats. You are just not conditioned for the hills, but they'll eventually stop being a problem.

  8. #8
    RuffRyda illenvillain's Avatar
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    im having the same problem, been riding fixed for about a week im riding a 44/14 I love that gear ratio on flat but when theres long hill ahead im like ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH but man it out either way.
    i see you coastin

  9. #9
    * adriano's Avatar
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    im going to try something a little peculiar, 52x21.

  10. #10
    Nymphomaniactionhero RichPugh's Avatar
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    44x18 is only 66 gear inches. That is VERY low. I agree with the replies that say "stick with it and get stronger". I dont think i could ride a 44x18 even in a hilly area, let along a flat one. At 80rpm, youre only going 15mph... I couldnt deal with that. If you went to an area with hills, you'd be spinning out going down them unless you regulate with brakes... regulating with legs gets incredibly tiring. I'd also say go UP in chainring size and get stronger... but if you dont want to, just get out there and hammer up and down some hills and stick with the gearing you got.

  11. #11
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    when i first started riding fixed in athens ohio(hilly town on the outskirts of the applachian mountains) i started with a pretty steep gear(46-15) and had no trouble because I was switching over from my heavy mountain bike which i always rode in one of its highest gears. I'm glad I had the high gear ratio for the hills because now there are very few hills i can't tackle with ease. The one hill i can't get up just so happens to be the one i live at the top of. i'm afraid to ride down it on my fixed(unless i'm a bit drunk), my legs can't spin that fast.

  12. #12
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    i am running 46/17 with some steep hills. unless i take a right out of my place and only ride straight for a few blocks i have no choice but to ride down hill, and well that means i need to come back up the hills to get home. i have close to a mile of steadly inceasing hills to get back home at the end of the day. rocking 46/17 was easier than the stock 48/16, but was still difficult at first. you just need to get use to it, you'll get stronger.
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  13. #13
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    I think the fact that you're finding 44/18 too difficult is a pretty clear indicator of why WE can't answer this question for you. I would suggest 48/18 normally for a compromise between hills and flats, and that's higher than what you currently have. The only thing you can really do is buy a couple of cogs and experiment as you go.
    Rich

  14. #14
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    I have ridden, and continue to ride, every chain ring and sprocket combination imaginable.

    I have ridden as high as 82 gear inches and as low as 48 gear inches (my present Ice Bike has a 48 gear inch setup).

    I think for the "average" fixed gear (or as John Dace of Businesscycles says it, "direct drive") rider, 72 gear inches represents an all around good compromise.

    What does "gear inches" mean?

    Tom Kunicki of Bare Knuckle Software has written a Java Applet and maintains it at the following site:

    http://software.bareknucklebrigade.c...it.applet.html

    Visit Tom's site, play with all the options and read the pop up definitions.

    To continue...last year I had a six month medical treatment that significantly reduced my red blood cell count, which means I didn't have very much energy.

    I made a commitment to myself to ride every day, no matter what, and in order to do so I geared down to 60 gear inches.

    Oh Happy Day!

    By riding at such a low gearing, I learned to spin, and now that I have my normal red blood cell count and my normal energy level, I find that I still like 60 gear inches.

    I get around now as fast at 60 gear inches as I did at 82 gear inches, but I now have much more control over every aspect of riding, and I fear nor dread no hill.

    When learning to ride fixed-gear/direct-drive, one can follow one of two learning paths, or both: one can develop physical strength and stamina by pushing his strength and endurance limits; and, or, one can learn to spin.

    Or both.

    Many young men have more of an inclination to push their body's limits than to "study" spin, and they tend to experience a quicker return on hard physical effort than they do from "study," and so one typically sees gear inch combinations of 72 gear inches and higher.

    In the Original Poster's case, he has the blessing of living in a hilly community, and so this will or should steer him towards the path of spinning.

    Consider the fact that a world class athlete of Olympic caliber can run a mile in four minutes, or 15 mph.

    If a person devoted his life to running, he or she might develop the ability for a short period in his or her life to run a mile in four minutes.

    Or, one can ride a fixed gear bike geared to 60 gear inches and, at a spin of about 84 crank revolutions per minute (comfortably normal for most riders), maintain 15mph for hours on end, up and down hills and on the level.

    With practice, over a year or two, one can learn to spin comfortably at 110 rpm, for 20mph, even against a stiff wind.

    A 44t chain ring and a 19t sprocket (assuming 700 X 23mm tires) will give the original poster 60.9 gear inches.

    Some of the fixed gear Mountain Bike riders consider 63 gear inches the best all-around gearing.

    The "average" street rider prefers 72 gear inches.

    I like 60 gear inches.

    Try sixty.

  15. #15
    SpecialK CharneK's Avatar
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    So after using that calculator (very helpful by the way) I'm wondering what gain ratio you recommend? I think it would help since some of us are also looking at new cranksets and don't know what size cranks to get.

  16. #16
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    Regarding gain ratio, I have two bikes with two different length cranks; one 170mm and the other 175mm.

    The 175mm crank goes on a fixed gear mountain bike that I ride on ice and in deep snow.

    The Ice Bike has big fat knobby studded tires and ultra-low gearing...48 gear inches.

    I find with the 175mm cranks that I can't spin very fast, and if I try to spin fast enough to make up for the low gear inches I quickly get tired.

    Comparatively, my good weather bike has skinny high pressure no tread tires and, with the 170mm crank, I can spin very fast and I don't get as tired as quickly.

    Some folks who want to spin super fast go to 165mm cranks, and just that 5mm difference makes it so much easier to spin.

    However, with each step down in length, one gives up leverage, or torque, and, subjectively, it feels harder to spin against resistance.

    If one has a road bike frame converted for fixed gear, then, because of the lower bottom bracket of road bikes, it makes more sense to go with the 165mm cranks in order to avoid pedal strikes in turns.

    I think, though, for most people of normal stature riding on a dedicated high bottom bracket fixed gear frame, the 170mm cranks represent the best compromise, all things considered.

    I would avoid the 175mm cranks on a street fixed gear bike, not only because of the increased probability of pedal strike, but because of the increased difficulty in spinning fast.

    So, in response to a question about gain ratio, I have discussed crank length because crank length changes gain ratio, with shorter cranks increasing gain ratio (and perceived effort) and longer cranks decreasing gain ratio (and perceived effort).

    Remember, gain ratio refers to the number of inches the bike travels over the ground for every inch the pedal moves, so that a gain ratio of 4.5 means the bike moves 4.5 inches for every inch the pedal travels.

    Notice that gain ratio will increase from 4.5 to 4.6, 4.7 or 4.8 with an increase in crank length from 165mm to 170mm.

    So, go with 165mm or 170mm cranks on a street fixed gear bike; 175mm cranks on a fixed gear mountain bike; and, 165mm cranks on a dedicated track bike.

    =====

    The above said, many formulas exist for determining crank length from the rider's body proportions.

    Ignore these formulas when thinking about a fixed gear bike.

  17. #17
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    well im running 44-14 and i love it. i was running 44-16 and got up hills fine (depending on how steep they were). 44-14 is fine for flatland and extremely good for speed. i go about 35-40 mph before i spin out on 44-14 but to be safe go with 44-16

  18. #18
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  19. #19
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    I started out with 82gi, which was fun going downhill or on flats, but a pain when I got to any sort of incline. Now I have 66 on one side and 73 on the other. Couldn't be happier.

  20. #20
    Disgruntled Grad Student seejohnbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanty View Post
    I do cycle from NY to Hyannis every year so the gear ratio would also have to work for long distance rides on semi-flats also.
    you're asking a bit too much if you want a gearing that's good for hills, AND good for long rides on semi-flats.

    But, along with all the great info already given about smaller gearing, if you want longer, flatter riding, get yourself a smaller cog, and either a flip-flop hub, or a chainwhip/lockring wrench.
    If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research.

  21. #21
    Senior Member aMull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedDemon203 View Post
    well im running 44-14 and i love it. i was running 44-16 and got up hills fine (depending on how steep they were). 44-14 is fine for flatland and extremely good for speed. i go about 35-40 mph before i spin out on 44-14 but to be safe go with 44-16
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  22. #22
    Disgruntled Grad Student seejohnbike's Avatar
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    ack. i didnt even realize this post was so old.

    why'd you resurrect an ancient post if only to tell us what gearing you run?
    If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research.

  23. #23
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    It's all about the ego.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by seejohnbike View Post
    ack. i didnt even realize this post was so old.

    why'd you resurrect an ancient post if only to tell us what gearing you run?
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  25. #25
    * adriano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedDemon203 View Post
    well im running 44-14 and i love it. i was running 44-16 and got up hills fine (depending on how steep they were). 44-14 is fine for flatland and extremely good for speed. i go about 35-40 mph before i spin out on 44-14 but to be safe go with 44-16
    awesome! lets see the gps and powermeter data.

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