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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 04-06-10, 08:29 PM   #1
jimx200
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SS Killing Me On Hills With 46 X 16

Pretty new to SS and have been riding my SS (BD Clockwork) mostly on the flats. Now riding in S.F. and along our N. California coastline and my knees are sore with 46x16 and in a head wind. Suggestions as to a good "compromise" rear cog number..18 rear? Any S.F. riders have a favorite number? Mostly riding in upper Haight/Divisadero area and across the bridge into Sausalito.
Thanks much!
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Old 04-06-10, 08:33 PM   #2
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46x18 seems like a good place to start. i ride 46x17 fixed. slightly taller but you don't have to worry about spinning on the down hills on a ss. also portland is less hilly.
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Old 04-06-10, 08:45 PM   #3
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Running 46x17 right now and it's not too bad, but I have to get a good start on most over passes or I'll be sluggish getting up them. Thinking of going to a 44 in the front and seeing how that goes, easier to get up those hills and no worry of spinning out on the way down.
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Old 04-06-10, 08:47 PM   #4
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Go to an 18.
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Old 04-06-10, 08:59 PM   #5
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I'm running 46/18 and I've made it up 12% grades without too much problem.
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Old 04-06-10, 09:15 PM   #6
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46x19 ftw!!!!!!!!

I have a 16t cog on the other side of my hub, I save that for never
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Old 04-06-10, 10:28 PM   #7
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There's a reason lots of off-the-shelf bikes come with 42x16 gearing.
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Old 04-06-10, 11:04 PM   #8
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HTFU
I run the exact gearing on fixed here in the city.

Admittedly though, I would walk up one of these hills,



but I would tackle these for a few blocks.



Just keep mashing
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Old 04-06-10, 11:34 PM   #9
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Get some gears before you wreck your knees. I once lived in a pretty mountainous area and was running a standard double with a 13-18 straight block. I mashed my way up 45-minute climbs in 42x18 over and over. I thought I was getting the better of the mountains but I ended up with meniscus issues instead. Do be careful.
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Old 04-06-10, 11:34 PM   #10
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If your knees are complaining, listen to them. Cogs are cheap, having a pile of them isn't a bad thing. Experiment with gearing, find a ratio that works for you. It isn't worth trashing your knees for big gear inch street cred.
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Old 04-06-10, 11:39 PM   #11
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If your knees are complaining, listen to them. Cogs are cheap, having a pile of them isn't a bad thing. Experiment with gearing, find a ratio that works for you. It isn't worth trashing your knees for big gear inch street cred.
Amen! Listen to your body. Knees don't really heal all that well. Get some gearing appropriate for the terrain and don't make the same stupid mistake I made.
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Old 04-07-10, 01:53 AM   #12
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46x19 ftw!!!!!!!!

I have a 16t cog on the other side of my hub, I save that for never
this

I loved my 46x19 winter gearing, I went back to 46x16 now its spring, but I kinda regret, although I am faster now, I don't like having to mash most of the time

Spinning is winning
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Old 04-07-10, 02:05 AM   #13
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Spinning is winning
+1 ... true for fixed gear stuff. I dunno about SS; seriously I forgot how to coast, now.

I am doing 49-19. I am silly have 19t on both side.
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Old 04-07-10, 02:20 AM   #14
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Spinning is winning
yeah, but my max on flats with this gearing has been around 25mph. Without the aid of a decline it's difficult to spin much faster, for me. It's cool though, this is just my commuter bike so I don't need to be hammering for speed.
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Old 04-07-10, 03:29 AM   #15
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try whatever is the equivalent of a 44x16 or 42x16.

also, your knee pain could also be due to a poor fitment and not your gear ratio.
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Old 04-07-10, 05:23 AM   #16
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A gear change isn't going to magically make your knees feel good. First consider the position of your saddle and your riding technique. Is your saddle the correct height? Do you stand to climb hills or do you just sit and mash? If you are fairly new to cycling or just recently started riding more frequently its possible that the soreness you are feeling is related to your ligaments and tendons strengthening, which will improve over time.
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Old 04-07-10, 06:23 AM   #17
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I'd swap from 16 to either 17 or 18 teeth but I'd have to admit that if I were living in SF, I'd be on a multi-geared ride even if it only had an IGH-3... sometimes they just make more sense.
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Old 04-07-10, 07:49 AM   #18
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46x19 ftw!!!!!!!!

I have a 16t cog on the other side of my hub, I save that for never
You'll wear yours out before me.
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Old 04-07-10, 09:44 AM   #19
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Thanks

for good info. A little background: my age puts me on the "bad side" of 50, have been riding since well...maybe age 7, also ride a 29er SS rigid without any problems..but it's geared lower. Have a nice Bianchi road bike, but having more fun with this SS.
Definitely going to a lower cog and if I still get the knee pain, use the SS for the flats. One thought is the White Industries dual cog...but how does one shift on the fly? Or is it just pick your cog and tighten wheel? This SS bike seems to fit me pretty well, but track geometry takes some getting used to due to shorter top tube and longer seat tube..I could actually use more top tube, but I'm on their 61 now so time for a longer stem. Regarding sitting and mashing...no way as that's too hard on the knees..I just stand up and pound out the hills. If knees still getting tender..the SS will probably be a donor bike for one of my nephews.
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Old 04-07-10, 10:28 AM   #20
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Here's a crazy idea:

My age puts me on the "good side" of half your age, but I have knees that are sensitive to abuse (i.e. climbing in a 46 x 16, which I have done as well). I am moving to a decent-sized city in June, and while I am currently using a 1 x 7 as my commuter, I want another fun and simple townie, but also want to be able to walk on my 30th birthday. As a solution, I am looking into two speed kickback coaster brake hubs. I can have a regular fixed gear frame with a front caliper, but that hub gives control of shifting and the rear coaster brake with the pedals without ugly cables and maintenance. This way, I can set the higher ratio to the equivalent of something I would normally cruise in or a little higher (let's say 46 x 17), and have a bailout climbing gear (in the case of the forthcoming Sturmey hub, this would be something like a 37% drop in gear inches).

While this is an admittedly strange solution, I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and it has the advantage that all you'll need to convert your fixed gear into a two-brake two-speed coaster brake wundermobile is a rear wheel built around a proper hub. Plus coaster brakes are really fun, and having an extra "turbo" ratio without the hassle of derailleurs or even a shifter (like you would need for a regular internally geared hub) sounds like fun too.

Just a weird solution to a similar problem, from someone who likes weird bikes.
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Old 04-07-10, 05:00 PM   #21
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Old school.

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Old 04-07-10, 07:49 PM   #22
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tcs..good one, and old school indeed.
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Old 04-07-10, 09:53 PM   #23
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The only problem with a 3 speed fixed hub is the cable routing on that frame. Hence the genius of the kickback hub.
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Old 04-07-10, 11:59 PM   #24
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for good info. A little background: my age puts me on the "bad side" of 50, have been riding since well...maybe age 7, also ride a 29er SS rigid without any problems..but it's geared lower. Have a nice Bianchi road bike, but having more fun with this SS.
Definitely going to a lower cog and if I still get the knee pain, use the SS for the flats. One thought is the White Industries dual cog...but how does one shift on the fly? Or is it just pick your cog and tighten wheel? This SS bike seems to fit me pretty well, but track geometry takes some getting used to due to shorter top tube and longer seat tube..I could actually use more top tube, but I'm on their 61 now so time for a longer stem. Regarding sitting and mashing...no way as that's too hard on the knees..I just stand up and pound out the hills. If knees still getting tender..the SS will probably be a donor bike for one of my nephews.
Dude, no offense but, you should know better.

Pick the right tool for the job: If you are tackling the hills of SF, do it on a road bike.

Or change the job: Go around the hills. I used to ride fixed in SF years ago. I rode a 48/18 or 19 and I still had to ride around all of the hills. I'd rather go over 5 blocks than climb some epic hill...just to have to fight the descent on the other side.
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Old 04-08-10, 12:28 AM   #25
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The cables associated with a geared bike being ugly are a subjective measurement, as is the "hassle" of derailleurs, but maintenance on a geared bike is no different than a fixie or ss unless you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and thus a lot of salty slush that requires extensive cleaning. Here in the bay area, a ss or fixie would not be any more or less maintenance than my geared bike, such as a wipe of the rag after a ride to get rid of cruft, and regular application of lube every so often. Change the chain when it wears out, change cog/ring when they wear out too. Unless the fixie/ss crowd eschews a clean drive train like they do brakes? *shrugs*

OP- riding steep hills with such gearing will be hard on your knees, whether you are prone to knee issues or not. When your knees hurt, listen to them because when they hurt, it means that a lot worse things are happening than a sore muscle after overdoing it. Knee pain can be indicative of the beginnings of serious knee issues if you don't correct the problem. If you can ride the same hills with your geared bike with less pain, then you know that your knees simply won't tolerate the strain put upon them by a riding a ss. some people can tolerate it, some people think they have to be tough and are willing to cripple themselves so they can have the street cred, and some people simply cannot tolerate it no matter what they do.
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