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  1. #1
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    What's a good ratio for distance riding?

    I'm currently riding an 09' Motobecane Messenger with a 48:16 ratio. I've noticed that I tend to do more distance riding than commuting or anything else. A few of my friends who ride have recommended upgrading my cog to either an 18t or 19t. I guess the question would be, would upgrading the cog size allow me to go further/faster without being as tired? No? Any info would be appreciated on how the ratio can effect my ride.

  2. #2
    Spy Member sweep242's Avatar
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    I use 48-19 we did a big ride today & it worked well.

  3. #3
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    Well, upping the gears would make you spin faster at the same speed, so if you find yourself mashing and would like to spin more going up would be fine. If you're spinning along at 110 the whole time though going up will only make it worse on you.

  4. #4
    bike bicycle's Avatar
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    in my experience with fixed gear riding is that it's not necessarily the ratio itself (unless it's extremely high or low) but the rider being used to it. for example i have been riding 40x15 since my very first conversion and i just recently did my first century with that ratio. i never really wondered about the gearing and if it would be to high/low, i guess because that's what i'm accustomed to. cogs aren't too expensive, i guess just experiment until you find something you're comfortable with. not too high to climb but not too low to descend, then, the important part, just ride it a whole lot
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  5. #5
    GO, Mordecai! Syncmaster's Avatar
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    Maybe just get a road bike if you're only doing distance? If not then just think of what you want to be doing. Are you currently spinning out a lot with your current ratio? Then get a smaller cog, and vice versa.
    I like bikes.

  6. #6
    armchair touring whoosh!'s Avatar
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    48x16 is waaay too much.

    I ride around 15-20 miles a day, and do one 50-miler every week.

    I'm fixed with 165's, 32mm tires and 46x18. 69 G.I.'s. Around here it's rolling hills and long flat stretches, but WICKED headwinds sometimes. I don't go fast, but I've never had to walk. Starting the first of next month I'm riding 400 miles (200 there, rest, 200 back) up the St. Lawrence to Montreal with camping gear, and am considering the switch to a 44 tooth ring for the extra weight.

    I've spent countless hours doing long distance geared rides, it got kinda stale. Bike camping fixed will certainly wake you up again!


    sweep242: Hello from the other side of Wolfe Island, haha!!!

    :EDIT: That is assuming K-town, ON is Kingston and not Kitchener or Kenora...
    Last edited by whoosh!; 07-21-09 at 06:20 AM.

  7. #7
    Daily Commuter TheRealNicola's Avatar
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    47:17 Went on a fifty mile ride yesterday felt good.
    Ride safe - Ride fast

  8. #8
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    I ride 52x17 and the times I've gone over 50 miles, my legs never got sore.
    I mostly do less than 15miles a day.

  9. #9
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    It all depends on the terrain and what you're comfortable pushing for the distance you ride.

    I have a tough time picking century routes with less than 6500' of climbing and I weigh 240 pounds, so I've got a 42/18 on both my fixed and free sides. Gotta spin like crazy going downhill, but it lets me climb up some 1 mile long 10% grades without totally busting my arse.
    There's people on the LD forum who push a steeper gear than I do over tougher terrain for 1200k.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Yellowbeard's Avatar
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    I rode 125 miles with a 45x17 and my legs felt great. I've done a hilly 26 miles with the same gear and my knees hurt. Narrowing it down within the normal 65-75 inch range depends on your body, the positions your bike puts it into and the terrain (plus the weather).
    I'll eat it first.

  11. #11
    King of the Hipsters
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    I don't see distance as relevant.

    The terrain, the rider and weight carried should have more bearing on the cog and chainwheel chosen than should the distance.

    I respectfully recommend that new fixed gear riders acquire the tools to change their cog, chainwheel and chain, and that they experiment with different gearings in order to discover for themselves what works best for them in their situation.

    When I first started riding fixed, I went up in gearing to 82 gear inches.

    I have since gone way, way, way down to 61 gear inches and, not only do I get around pretty quick at 61 gear inches, I feel safer and have more fun.

    Experiment.

    Find out for yourself.

    I recommend a separate chain for each cog and chainwheel combination.

    Oh, and invest in a modest work stand for your bicycle: it makes it sooo much easier to work on your bike.

  12. #12
    armchair touring whoosh!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post

    Oh, and invest in a modest work stand for your bicycle: it makes it sooo much easier to work on your bike.

    Not to thread-derail too far, but I have a feeling that's why people complain about broken nose bolts on their Brooks saddle, flipping it upside down and working on it.

    Use a stand, or the softest patch of ground you can find.

  13. #13
    Fixed-gear roadie JacoKierkegaard's Avatar
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    The one that works best for you. And sorry to nitpick, but an increase in cog size isn't necessarily an "upgrade" unless it leads to a better ratio for you. Think of it as just an adjustment.
    2008 Masi Speciale Fixed

  14. #14
    Senior Member TimArchy's Avatar
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    Try out several. Asking questions about gearing on here is like asking what flavor of ice cream you should buy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Frank
    I will derive power from their cries of despair. My crank a speedy dervish, spinning and spinning through the darkest night that anyone with the audacity to try and suck my wheel will ever see...

  15. #15
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    My fixed touring bikes run 46 with 16/18 and a 42 with a 16/18... both have 26 inch tyres so the gearing calculation is a little lower than one would get with 700c wheels.

    Having a flip flop is nice as my modern bike runs 58 and 65 gear inches and the vintage bike runs 66 and 74 on 26 by 1 1/4 tyres.

    I am working on my modern bike and am installing a half step and a dingle cog with a flip flop hub that will give me 4 unique fixed gearings with some decent gearing spread.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the feedback, definitely helped out.

  17. #17
    Daily Commuter TheRealNicola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post

    Oh, and invest in a modest work stand for your bicycle: it makes it sooo much easier to work on your bike.
    God This is so true. I need one bad.
    Ride safe - Ride fast

  18. #18
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    In the high 60s is a good range. I've done several centuries on 48x18.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  19. #19
    steel lover
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    Your speed has more influence than distance. If you like 70miles at 14mph, you're gonna want a different gear than 70mi at 22mph.

    BTW, if you gear for higher speed.... be ready to KILL your legs if you get tired at the end of a long ride.

    (44x17 here... wind and tired legs don't kill my knees)
    No lugs, no care.

  20. #20
    Dion Rides
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    Quote Originally Posted by whoosh! View Post
    48x16 is waaay too much.

    I ride around 15-20 miles a day, and do one 50-miler every week.
    I ride the same distance as you every week and I ride 48/16 on my Messenger, no problem.

    But it's also relatively flat with only 4 climbs. When I ride this loop I'm going for speed, time and sprints, so I don't think distance is the true issue - it's terrain and elevation changes.

    What you may want to consider is throwing on a 18T cog on one side and a 20T cog on the other (I have a 16T cog on one side and a 18T on the other) and keep a short 15mm wrench with you just in case. If you prefer riding fixed for distance, this may be the way to go for you.

    OR

    If you don't have a flip-flop hub, you can get yourself a Surly Dingle Cog, but the front chainring thing seems like a hassle to me:



    Dingle Cogs are part of a different concept for fixed-gear drivetrains. Having two cogs on the back means you have more options for gear changes when the conditions demand it. For instance, say you want to ride your off-road fixie from your house to the trailhead, but your gear combo is either too high for the dirt or too low for the road. With a 17/19t Dingle on the back, pick two chainrings that are 2 teeth apart, like a 44t and a 42t. When you change from the outer (44:17t) gear combo to the inner (42:19t), you’ll have a much better off-road gear and your wheel position will not change. This maintains effective chainstay length so you won’t have to worry about having too much or too little chain length to accommodate the gear change. The Dingle (the word derives from from dual and single) works great in hilly terrain both on or off-road. Like our cassette and track cogs, these are made from machined, heattreated and chrome plated SCM415 CroMoly steel, so they are tough and long lasting. They’re available in 3/32" (narrow chain) tooth width 17/19t, 17/20t or 17/21t combinations. We recommend using 9-speed chains only. You can thread it onto any standard ISO threaded (1.375x24tpi) fixed gear hub and it takes up the same 7.4mm threads as a standard fixie cog. We recommend using a wider lockring (like our improved track lockring) to assure you can get a lockring tool onto it.

  21. #21
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    i run 42/16 with slicks, 42/17 or 19 with cross tires - in vt. i'm not climbing mountain passes - but 8 and 9% grades and sharp rollers on dirt roads.

    i've been running the dingle cog in the back, and instead of removing the 40t ring on the front (used with the 19 cog for studded tires in the winter) i just moved it to the inside, so now i have a double dingle or quadilator.

    the bike has morphed from a road fixed to winter studded fixed to a moderate trail rider to what i hope will this year will be a dirt road / trail camping explorer bike. i'm burned out rando riding on my geared machine - and the fixed is just what i've needed to snap back.

    currently i'm running:
    42 17 or 19 (dingle cog)
    40 19 (studs or mild trail fixed)
    40 22 ss freewheel (new, but for dirt, and if its really climby with long descents)

    the freewheel gets used in the dirt or when its really climby - and i just put it on - the original ss i had sat on the wheel for 2 winters and was siezed up.

    if i plan on using the bike for distance (did some long rides on it last year and a century on dirt / paved) i'll run 28 or 32's and put on the 16t cog (or just run it in the 17 on the dingle)

    bike is a crosscheck, and i can quickly swap from drops to mary bars.
    and i don't think i've ever flipped a wheel or changed cogs mid ride.

  22. #22
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    Everyone has their own preferences for speed and cadence. I commute 20 miles each way with a 48x15 gear ratio, with an average speed of 17mph, but I'm more of a fast-twitch, masher-type rider.

    I've used that same gearing on a 72 mile rails-to-trails ride, but those last 12 miles were brutal.

  23. #23
    Senior Member dddave's Avatar
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    52/39 / 12-25

  24. #24
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Every fall we do a little 100 mile group ride that goes at a leisurely pace of about 25 kmh... it's 50 miles out, we eat perogies and pie, and then we ride back.

    I have always ridden this on a fixed gear which initially surprises many new folks but halfway into it they start to believe a person can lay down some distance on just one gear.

    Last year the ride out was wonderful with little wind and lots of sunshine and I was spinning that 65 gear inches pretty comfortably... I was carrying a lot of gear as I set up to do mobile support and carry first aid stuff, extra water, etc.

    And I usually pull for the entire ride... a lower gear helps as I can still maintain my happy cadence of 95 - 100 rpm and not drop people

    On the return we hit one of the worst storms I have seen in a long time... it had 50-60 mph cross and head winds, torrential rain and people were slowed to a crawl.

    This is where having a flip flop helps as I stopped to flip my wheel and then pulled some weaker riders until the storm cel passed and we changed directions to turn out of the wind.

    It was a harder ride home as many folks were a little fragged from the storm.

    There are a few more people who want to join this ride and want to do it fixed... which will be sweet.

  25. #25
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    52/13 is the great

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