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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 06-23-09, 06:09 PM   #1
Scrodzilla
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48/16 is killing me!

Legit. I thought I'd get used to it after some time but there's a bridge near my house that is part of my daily commute (the first and last part!) and getting up the incline isn't getting any easier. I start out trucking like a mother****er and near the top I'm at a crawl, huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf and the descent down the other side isn't even enjoyable. I'm obviously in need of a new gear ratio but have no idea where to start. I'm thinking 44/16.

Advice? Tips?



The Beverly Bridge (ugh), right outside my door:
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Old 06-23-09, 06:15 PM   #2
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1) think cog, not chainring.
2) try standing for a portion.
3) HTFU.
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Old 06-23-09, 06:15 PM   #3
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I went from 48/16 to 48/17 for a couple months. And now I have 46/17, and its great for me. I live at the base of a mountain so im always going up hill and this seems to do quite well
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Old 06-23-09, 06:18 PM   #4
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1) think cog, not chainring.
2) try standing for a portion.
3) HTFU.
Oh, man...I stand most of the way up. It sucks. I feel like I'm riding a giant BMX.

Forgive my being naive to this stuff as this is the only ratio I've ever had, but why cog over chainring?

HTFU???
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Old 06-23-09, 06:19 PM   #5
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No one here will be able to tell you what your level of fitness is. 44x16 would work, so would 48x17 and I'm sure there are people on this board that could get up that bridge on 49x16. Cogs are usually cheaper to change out than chainrings. Get a few cogs and see if you can make something work for you.

Also, changing a cog gives a more drastic change in gearing. Chainrings more of a fine tune.
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Old 06-23-09, 06:35 PM   #6
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HTFU???
harden the f*ck up. It's a thing from the roadie forum lol.

Last edited by jollysnowman; 06-23-09 at 07:53 PM. Reason: facts mixed up
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Old 06-23-09, 06:51 PM   #7
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harden the f*ck up. It's a thing from the roadie forum lol.
Oh...gotcha. Haha!

I'm pretty fit and it bums me out that such a common ratio is kicking my *****. I'm not really looking for someone to tell me what to do, I'm just maybe looking for examples of what others are riding. I've noticed a lot of people are running smaller rings than that (not even counting hipsters, who are just plain silly).
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Old 06-23-09, 06:52 PM   #8
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harden the f*ck up. It's a thing from the roadie forum lol.



Not true... do the math. Start with 48/16. 48/17 is a smaller change than 49/16.
My math says that 48/17 has a change of -47GI and 49/16 has a change of 1.7GI.
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Old 06-23-09, 06:56 PM   #9
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My math says that 48/17 has a change of -4.7GI and 49/16 has a change of 1.7GI.
fixed
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Old 06-23-09, 06:56 PM   #10
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nothing wrong with riding what works for you.
there are some LD folks who ride 42/16.

i ride 42/16 summer, 40/19 winter with studs.
and i'm changing out so i'll have 2 rings with the dingle cog... wide tires, 3 options for combos.

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Old 06-23-09, 06:58 PM   #11
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I have a little hill here that takes me up 900 feet and tops out at a 22% grade... I do that on 74 gear inches and have a no walking policy.
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Old 06-23-09, 07:17 PM   #12
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Keep the gearing you have now and in no time you will not be huffing and puffing nearly as much. If you don't feel the need to push your fitness level then do as the others said and just replace the cog.
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Old 06-23-09, 07:38 PM   #13
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Thanks, everyone. I know some of you guys can be pretty tough on those who ask questions.

I've had this gearing for some time now. I'm thinking I may not be cut out for 48/16 and maybe need to spin a little more. I'll pick up a cog from the LBS tomorrow. A buddy of mine also just offered me a 46t ring for free, so that's an option as well. I'll play around a bit with my ratio. Hopefully it will be a fun learning experience.
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Old 06-23-09, 07:53 PM   #14
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My math says that 48/17 has a change of -47GI and 49/16 has a change of 1.7GI.
First off, my example wasn't what I wanted. I meant 48/17 and 47/16.

Second, my thinking wasn't clear. A change in cog is more drastic than a change in chainring.

So yeah. my bad.
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Old 06-23-09, 07:59 PM   #15
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Thanks, everyone. I know some of you guys can be pretty tough on those who ask questions.

I've had this gearing for some time now. I'm thinking I may not be cut out for 48/16 and maybe need to spin a little more. I'll pick up a cog from the LBS tomorrow. A buddy of mine also just offered me a 46t ring for free, so that's an option as well. I'll play around a bit with my ratio. Hopefully it will be a fun learning experience.
always go up, not down, to achieve the proper gear inches. the higher the number of teeth, the less wear. and try to go all even as well. read up on what sheldon brown wrote on the subject.

you just need a 18t cog in the back for approx. 70 GI w/ 23s.
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Old 06-23-09, 08:31 PM   #16
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Oh, man...I stand most of the way up. It sucks. I feel like I'm riding a giant BMX.

Forgive my being naive to this stuff as this is the only ratio I've ever had, but why cog over chainring?

HTFU???
You get tired quicker if you stand the whole way. Once I figured that out I started getting better at hills, but it is still my least favorite thing to do on a bike. I don't have a hill climbers build. D:
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Old 06-23-09, 08:57 PM   #17
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Dont feel like you gotta keep up with a bunch of internet clowns, because they are probably lying anyway.
81 GI is really steep for the street. I roll @ 70GI and I have the Williamsburg Bridge at the beginning and end of my rides and its perfect... It works me but doesnt kill me. Theres no way I could do it and have any fun @ 80GI.
That bridge crossing looks beautiful... should be fun, not a near death experience!


Scrod... you seen this?
http://software.bareknucklebrigade.c...it.applet.html

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Old 06-23-09, 10:14 PM   #18
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You may want to focus on pedaling technique, too. I've found that climbing got much easier (and smoother) when I started to focus on pulling one pedal, and pushing the other at the same time, rather than just mashing one at a time. Clipless pedals also made it easier, but to each their own. I'm sure the roadies would know more about it than me, though.
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Old 06-23-09, 11:54 PM   #19
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You may want to focus on pedaling technique, too. I've found that climbing got much easier (and smoother) when I started to focus on pulling one pedal, and pushing the other at the same time, rather than just mashing one at a time. Clipless pedals also made it easier, but to each their own. I'm sure the roadies would know more about it than me, though.
The best and only proper pedalling technique is to learn to spin in smooth circles to maintain power throughout the entire crank rotation.

I see so many cyclists who do not know how to spin properly and it does not take much practice to improve one's technique... after that there is a conditioning phase as your legs will be working harder in that they won't be seeing much rest.
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Old 06-23-09, 11:57 PM   #20
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stand and lean forward so you let your weight do the pedaling. My gear ratio is 46/18 and inclines are pretty effortless. As for the downhill, just have fun with it! and skid.
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Old 06-24-09, 12:11 AM   #21
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stand and lean forward so you let your weight do the pedaling. My gear ratio is 46/18 and inclines are pretty effortless. As for the downhill, just have fun with it! and skid.
Yeah. Standing and leaning forward is just going to wear you out and skidding down will kill a tire in three days at 48/16.
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Old 06-24-09, 12:29 AM   #22
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You may want to focus on pedaling technique, too. I've found that climbing got much easier (and smoother) when I started to focus on pulling one pedal, and pushing the other at the same time, rather than just mashing one at a time. Clipless pedals also made it easier, but to each their own. I'm sure the roadies would know more about it than me, though.
this technique is excellent for steep hills, to the op i suggest you try this out, you'll find that not only is it easier to climb, but also faster because you're using the rear leg in your pedal stroke

pull up with the rear foot on the rotation and put your weight on the front foot as you normally would
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Old 06-24-09, 02:00 AM   #23
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You are at 81 gear inches, which is what my first FG bike came with when I bought it used. I fought it for a while, then geared down to 70 gear inches. What a world of difference! Forget toughing it out. Go down to 68-72 gear inches with a new cog, it will be the best $20 you ever spent. You can always go back up if you want to. A lower gear ratio will get you spinning, accelerating faster, and give you more control of the bike. Work your way up from there.

The other breakthrough for me was switching from drops and risers to bullhorn bars. Get a cheap pair of bullhorns with a bit of reach (like time trial bars, not a flop and chop). I found that the leverage I could get stretched out a bit on the ends allowed me to power up hills in a whole new way.

Those two changes made all the difference for me. You can try it for maybe $40 for a new cog and some new bars.

The other big change for me was going to a good set of light wheels (for me, tubular with sew ups). A light bike that accelerates well is so much more fun, than a higher geared one that you have to fight.

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Old 06-24-09, 02:01 AM   #24
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i think, judging by no informationwhatsoever that walking would work for you.
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Old 06-24-09, 02:44 AM   #25
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I'm pretty fit and it bums me out that such a common ratio is kicking my *****.
48x16 is only "common" because it's what bikes, which are intended for the track, often come with. Somewhere around 70 gear inches is what is common for the fixed gear street bike. If you run a brake (i.e. don't skid for your means of stopping) getting an 18T cog and you'll be set. Ideally, you want your gearing to be just easy enough that you can stay in the saddle all the way to the top of that bridge.
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