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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 11-19-09, 01:19 PM   #1
Flyinlow
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16/48 Gearing....

I just picked up a fixed gear bike with this gear ratio 16/48. I was really expecting a higher topend speed, but not ever having a fixed gear bike maybe I shouldn't have. My bike is a 58cm with 700x23c wheels, I find that my consistent cruising speed is 20mph but flat out giving it all, I only top out around 28mph. What would you guys recommend for higher topspeeds, a 16/52 maybe? Thanks.

P.S. I only ride on a 16 mile winding, really nice paved scenic bike path. I have a few area's that I like to make high speed runs down. No highway riding or pro racing.
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Old 11-19-09, 01:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Flyinlow View Post
I just picked up a fixed gear bike with this gear ratio 16/48. I was really expecting a higher topend speed, but not ever having a fixed gear bike maybe I shouldn't have. My bike is a 58cm with 700x23c wheels, I find that my consistent cruising speed is 20mph but flat out giving it all, I only top out around 28mph. What would you guys recommend for higher topspeeds, a 16/52 maybe? Thanks.

P.S. I only ride on a 16 mile winding, really nice paved scenic bike path. I have a few area's that I like to make high speed runs down. No highway riding or pro racing.
That's already about 79 gear inches, pretty high compared with what most people use for all around gears. I'm surprised you're wanting more top end. I guess you're out in the flat part of the state, so you can probably get away with a high ratio.

The thing about your ratio is that it reduces to 1:3, which means that at most you'll have 2 skid patches. Even if you don't ever lock up the rear wheel, your tire will still tend to wear unevenly with that ratio over time. So, whatever change you make, try and get something that doesn't reduce so neatly.

What length cranks do you have? Get some short ones and spin, that'll help. Are you sure of your top speed? 28 is like 120 rpm- you should be able to do faster than that. If you go too much higher with your ratio then when you do encounter a hill you'll be walking.

Last edited by ismellfish2; 11-19-09 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 11-19-09, 01:41 PM   #3
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I had 48/16 tooth combo on a 700cc wheel. Based on GPS data, I would top out ~23mph on flats and ~30 downhills.

I recently changed my gearing to 48/19 and I am finding that my top speed on flats has not really changed that much. I think the gearing was too high for me, I didn't have the leg strength to get to the top speed.
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Old 11-19-09, 03:50 PM   #4
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I actually live down on the dead flat east coast, a 3 degree hill is about all i'll encounter. I have a flip flop hub on my bike with both front and rear brakes and only use the free wheel side sprocket. I also have a Garmin Handheld GPS and a cheap Bell speedo on my bars, I have the speedo calibrated/adjusted within 1 mph of what the Garmin reads. I have alot of leg strenght and have actually reached 38 mph on my old 12 speed Shogun, on a flat run, no wind at all. I was just hoping for at least 30 plus with this bike without peddling my leggs off.
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Old 11-19-09, 05:14 PM   #5
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Try different gearing on a road bike, pick the one you like best and stick with. Only one way to find out what will work best for you. Each person is different.
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Old 11-19-09, 05:33 PM   #6
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High top speed on a fixed gear means leaning to spin fast for short sprints. The problem isn't your gearing, it's your technique. With practice, you'll get faster
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Old 11-19-09, 06:02 PM   #7
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High top speed on a fixed gear means leaning to spin fast for short sprints. The problem isn't your gearing, it's your technique. With practice, you'll get faster
+1

be a man and lower your gears
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Old 11-19-09, 07:06 PM   #8
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If you really want to max out, get more gears. If you gear up a fixed bike even higher than you already are, acceleration is going to be nil, and riding in traffic becomes problematic.
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Old 11-19-09, 07:42 PM   #9
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how do you get 2 flat spots with a different gearing?
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Old 11-19-09, 08:45 PM   #10
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I run 48x16 and it's just about perfect for now. I top out at around 23mph or so on the flats, too. With a lighter wheelset, I plan to go to 50x16. If you want to go to a higher gear, I suggest you lose some rotating weight (rims and/or tires) to make up for the loss of acceleration. That's basically the same I did. My Kenda Kalientes are nearly a full pound lighter than the crappy tires that came on my bike. Once I swapped to the lighter tires, I found my 46x16 gearing was way too easy to pedal. I went to a 48T chainring, and it has the same acceleration and climbing feel as it did with lower gearing and heavier tires. The only difference is, I'm 1-2mph faster at all times, and I have a higher top speed.

BTW, there's nothing wrong with mashing if that's what you're into. I can spin all day on my geared bike and wear out my knees and quads, but I have a better ride standing and mashing in a tall gear. After a 50mi ride with a 78.8GI set-up, my legs and body felt fresher than a typical 25-30mi ride with gears.
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Old 11-20-09, 10:12 AM   #11
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Lots of cool stuff to concider, thanks for all the constructive replies! I don't ever plan to ride it on the road but, where I do ride is so nice and scenic with no cars. Plug in the ipod and peddle away the stress. I have noticed that it is a much more enjoyable ride not having to constantly switch gears, and that I actually did feel less fatigued yesterday after my first quick 5 mile ride just to feel the bike out. Accelerating seems effortless with this ratio, I didn't even feel the need to stand on my few short burst for topend speed, thats kinda why I think maybe a longer gear might work well for me.
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