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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 07-13-09, 09:53 PM   #1
goldfa09
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Gearing Help

Hey so yes, I'm a noob.. and yes I've tried the search button.. I live in New York City and have been riding my new pista (easy on the flaming) for about 5 months. But the gearing is pretty tough. And thanks to some help i've discovered the stock gearing on the pista is 48/18.

Although I'm sure it depends on personal preference, does anyone suggest any other gearing that would be better suited for riding in the city.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-13-09, 10:17 PM   #2
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Before this thread gets set on fire, here are some quick suggestions to get you started.

First, there is no gearing that is "well suited" for city riding. New York is relatively flat—lucky you. This means that, honestly, there are no gearing suggestions that one can make for you. At the end of the day, you need to figure out how many gear inches you should be riding based on what feels good to YOU. If you are having trouble getting your Pista around town, get a smaller chainring, a larger cog, or both. Swapping out your cog is probably easiest.

Now that we have that sorted, one point to interject: skid patches. If you are riding brakeless this is something to be considered. If you are doing no skidding whatsoever and never plan on it, skip this point. Skidding wears out your tires. Fancy that. You can, however, set up your ride so that your rear tire won't wear out in the same spot each time you skid. I'm not going to go into this in great detail because it has been covered extensively here and on Sheldon Brown's website (if you don't know who he is, get Googling). Look at the chart below, you should be able to figure out what is going on. Top table is gear inches, lower table is the number of "skid patches" that are created by each gearing option (chainring size vs cog size).



Edit: The stock gearing is pretty low on a Pista. Eat more meat and do some leg presses at the gym there champ.
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Old 07-13-09, 10:25 PM   #3
goldfa09
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thanks a lot man, i really appreciate it. Although i own a pista, I'm not a scronny hipster lol. I'm a basketball player with pretty strong legs and I mainly use my bike to get from workout to workout. The problem is my knees have been bothering me a bit since i got my bike and I thought a lower gear might help me out, since my knees take enough of a beating.


regardless, thanks a lot for your extensive response, i was expecting more of a dickhead/unhelpful answer, so this was a pleasant surprise haha.
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Old 07-13-09, 11:07 PM   #4
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pista gearing is 48/16 for flat land and control I would go 47/16 45/14-45/16 or 42/16 spin
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Old 07-13-09, 11:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldfa09 View Post
Hey so yes, I'm a noob.. and yes I've tried the search button.. I live in New York City and have been riding my new pista (easy on the flaming) for about 5 months. But the gearing is pretty tough. And thanks to some help i've discovered the stock gearing on the pista is 48/18.

Although I'm sure it depends on personal preference, does anyone suggest any other gearing that would be better suited for riding in the city.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
1) 48/18 is a relatively manageable gear for new riders, especially athletic ones. Are you sure that it's 48/18 and not 16 as 48/16 is a more common stock gear?

2) Knee pain can also be caused by your seat height and forward/back positioning. If you bought your bike from a shop, go back there and tell them that you need some help adjusting your "saddle" (bike lingo for seat) because of your knees and they will help. Should be free since you bought the bike there.

3) Use a brake, not your knees, for stopping. Brake pads are cheap. Knee surgery isn't.
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Old 07-14-09, 08:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
2) Knee pain can also be caused by your seat height and forward/back positioning. If you bought your bike from a shop, go back there and tell them that you need some help adjusting your "saddle" (bike lingo for seat) because of your knees and they will help. Should be free since you bought the bike there.
^^^ this.

Is the gearing actually too high? or is knee pain more the problem? Much more likely to remedy that with saddle adjustments than gearing. if your body position is off, it's going to be painful no matter how fast you're spinning.
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Old 07-14-09, 08:51 AM   #7
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ok so i'm an idiot... the gearing is actually 48/16... im buying a 17t cog tomorrow. Thank you guys for all your help, sorry for the noob post.
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Old 07-14-09, 09:33 AM   #8
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ok so i'm an idiot... the gearing is actually 48/16... im buying a 17t cog tomorrow. Thank you guys for all your help, sorry for the noob post.
No worries, we all start somewhere.

Take your bike to get fitted properly when you pick up your new cog. You will experience knee pain from pushing too big of a gear but while you are at the shop make sure everything (seat height, frame height, etc.) is adjusted correctly too.

Knee pain may seem mild now but you don't want to deal with any complications down the road, especially if you need them for running.

Quote:
3) Use a brake, not your knees, for stopping. Brake pads are cheap. Knee surgery isn't.
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Old 07-14-09, 10:20 AM   #9
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a good gearing calculator is sheldonbrown.com/gears you can find out cadence speed info as well
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Old 07-14-09, 11:06 AM   #10
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okay, sheldon's gear calculator is at....

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

go there and use it.

the calculator is set to default to gain, so select gear inches and your wheel size then enter 48 for your chainring and 16 for your 'custom casette'... and you'll get your gear inches. probably somewhere around 80.

obviously that doesn't really mean a lot on it's own, but if you decidde that your gear is 10% too big (just to pull a number out of my shants) you can figure out what ratio to try (ie, 10% less would be 72 inches or 48x18)

Last edited by frymaster; 07-14-09 at 11:06 AM. Reason: fixed numbers i typed wrong
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Old 07-14-09, 11:56 AM   #11
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wow 46 minutes shy of that bus there junya
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Old 07-14-09, 12:49 PM   #12
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I like what Carleton said.

Even then, high gearing doesn't cause knee issues as much as it REVEALS knee issues.

Saddle position, cleat position/angle and orthotics can cure any knee problem in a person who can still walk.

=====

As far as online gear calculators go, I prefer Bare Knuckle Brigade's Rabbit applet:

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

=====

A high gear ratio allows a new fixed gear rider, with a brake, to ride very fast in the flat lands.

In comparison, a low gear ratio allows a new fixed gear rider to develop a better spin, sooner, as well as allowing him better acceleration, better low speed control/balance, and the ability to stop without brakes and without skidding.

When I first started riding fixed, I quickly went UP in gearing to 82 gear inches (53 X 17), and at this gearing I could fly on flat land and still get up hills.

However, at that high of a gearing, I had trouble getting across intersections from a stop, I became dependent on brakes/skidding/skipping, I had lessened low speed control, and I had less motivation to truly analyze and develop my spin.

Then after about two years of riding fixed I had to go through six months of chemotherapy, and wanting to ride even through chemotherapy, I geared down to 60 gear inches (39 X 17).

To my surprise, my spin quickly improved and my around town times from A to B at 60 gear inches quickly matched my previous times at 82 gear inches.

I completely got rid of my "bounce," and I learned techniques for back pedaling that allowed me to stop as quickly, or more quickly, than I had before with a brake and skidding.

I also found it very easy to accelerate across/through intersections, and I discovered a new ability to ride very slowly and very precisely.

After chemotherapy, I experimented with various gear ratios to see what I could learn, and especially how all these different gear ratios looked/felt from the perspective of good health and tons of energy.

For me, I found that 72 gear inches (47 X 17) represented the highest gear with which I could reliably brake with just back pedaling.

I also found myself gravitating back to 60 gear inches.

I presently have a new bike in the works, and for this bike I have decided to ride at 61 gear inches (45 X 19 with 25mm tires).

I have also realized, for skidding, the rider simply needs to have a prime number cog (17 or 19) in order to maximize the number of skid patches.
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