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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 04-21-10, 07:29 PM   #1
terrydactyl
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concerning the Surly Steamroller stock build..

two things:

+ i noticed the stock build has a 47t/19t gear ratio. is this a good setup to have for an area with only minor hills to take on, or should i invest in something like a 17t for the rear to get more power and better pickup out of it?

+ the stock setup comes with threadings for a freewheel and i'd like to ride it in both ss or fg according to how i'm feeling. does anyone have any recommendations for a solid f/w to throw on?

sorry for the n00b questions, but i couldn't find anything with the search and i am, in fact, new to all of this.
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Old 04-21-10, 07:37 PM   #2
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The gear ratio really depends on how strong you are and if you are having trouble tackling your hills with 47/19 then you should try just going 47/18 first before you attempt the 17.
Also, take your bike and ride up and down the hills to see how it's like first...
I have a ACS freewheel that's quite good.

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Old 04-21-10, 07:49 PM   #3
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so i actually had that backwards? the more teeth on the rear cog the slower/harder it is to pedal, or to put it another way, you get more power with more teeth? i suppose that makes sense, but it's been a long day..

thanks for the input though.
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Old 04-21-10, 07:58 PM   #4
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15,16,17 are consider to be 'higher' (depends on the chainwheel size ie:48,47,46 etc etc) which means you need to pedal harder but you'd go faster with a high ratio such as 47/17 or even 47/16 if you are strong enough. 47/19 is not considerably low but it is quite slow for you, I'd think.
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Old 04-21-10, 07:59 PM   #5
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the more teeth on the cog, the easier the gear ratio
the less teeth on the chainring, the easier the gear ratio

the less teeth on the cog, the harder the gear ratio
the more teeth on the chainring, the harder the gear ratio.

you'll be fine w/ 47x17. That's a great ratio for Austin anyways
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Old 04-21-10, 08:09 PM   #6
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so i actually had that backwards? the more teeth on the rear cog the slower/harder it is to pedal, or to put it another way, you get more power with more teeth? i suppose that makes sense, but it's been a long day..

thanks for the input though.
No, you had it right. More teeth on the rear cog lowers your gear ratio making it "easier" to pedal at low speeds.

I wouldn't throw away the 19t cog before you try it though. Some of us here actually like ratios in the 65" range for some applications. I ride a few geared bikes as well, both road and mountain, and find myself more of a "spinner," so that combined with my sensitive knees makes me a fan of smaller gears (as in lower gear inches, or bigger cogs. It can be a little confusing).

Might as well try it before you spend money on another one. At the very least, it will give you some idea of how much smaller you need to go.
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Old 04-21-10, 09:01 PM   #7
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another word of advice. hold off on buying a freewheel until you decide you really want it. i know in my experience i was a little intimidated by the prospect of riding fixed so i insisted on putting a freewheel on the other side of the hub. but it turns out i never used it. not even once. after riding fixed for a couple weeks you'll forget you even have the option to run a freewheel.

so yeah, just keep it stock to start, then decide what you want after you've ridden it around for a bit.
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Old 04-21-10, 09:34 PM   #8
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another word of advice. hold off on buying a freewheel until you decide you really want it. i know in my experience i was a little intimidated by the prospect of riding fixed so i insisted on putting a freewheel on the other side of the hub. but it turns out i never used it. not even once. after riding fixed for a couple weeks you'll forget you even have the option to run a freewheel.

so yeah, just keep it stock to start, then decide what you want after you've ridden it around for a bit.
+1

Have fun with the bike, steamrollers are awesome.
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Old 04-22-10, 10:50 AM   #9
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sweet. thanks for the info everyone.
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Old 04-22-10, 10:53 AM   #10
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Try the stock 47x19 and go from there.
I find it fine, but this is the only fixed ratio I have ever ridden. I have 47x18 on the freewheel and it's probably more appropriate, but I have found no need to rush out and buy an 18t track cog.
And as far as gearing, you usually only want to go a tooth at a time on a cog. Two teeth can make a big difference.
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Old 04-22-10, 11:02 AM   #11
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Try the stock 47x19 and go from there.
I find it fine, but this is the only fixed ratio I have ever ridden.
^Same here. Totally depends on your legs, hills, and preferences (as has been hammered home already). I too anticipated needing to change it out but ended up sticking with it for the Seattle hills. When I move somewhere flatter I may just go bigger though.
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Old 04-22-10, 11:36 AM   #12
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You'll enjoy your riding much more with a lower gear.
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Old 04-24-10, 07:51 AM   #13
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yeah i just got the bike yesterday and i do think i'll go down to an 18 at least, if not a 17. it felt totally fine riding slowly, but once i got it up to any decent speed my legs were spinning around like crazy and i didn't really feel like i was going all that fast. i'm a fan of wind and speed so yeah, soon as i can afford it i'll probably switch it up. thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 04-24-10, 08:42 AM   #14
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well easy there Lance, I'd ride it a few weeks first I've actually become more attached to my gear ratio as time went on, and I thought it'd be the opposite (that I'd desire taller gear as I got in better riding shape). One thing to remember about going to a taller gear is that it will make acceleration (and deceleration) harder both in terms of effort, and on your knees. Will you do much starting and stopping or will you always go on long fairly uninterupted rides?

And even though your legs feel like they're spinning fast, you're not 'spinning out', and going to a taller gear probably won't actually increase your top end much. They say that rapid spinning can improve your stroke. Pretty sure mine has, and the high cadence no longer feels odd at all. 90-100rpm is about 18-20mph on this bike if I recall; there are cadence calculators online. I've gone on 40mi flat rides with the stock steamroller ratio and it's been fine, and I've gone down monster hills with it too, now that is spinning.
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Old 04-24-10, 11:43 AM   #15
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most of my riding is uninterrupted on long, flat roads. there may be a few minor inclines here and there, but overall it's pretty flat.

i mean, i'm going to stick with the setup i have out of necessity [the bike alone pretty much broke the bank]. i'm just getting ahead of myself and building up a dream-ride in my head.

like you, i feel like once i've ridden enough to tone my legs a bit i'll be looking into a smaller cog, but i guess time will tell..
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Old 04-24-10, 12:25 PM   #16
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+1 on just riding it. With experience you'll know if you actually want a higher ratio. I started out at a high-ish ratio and just kept lowering it every few months. It's almost been a year and I think I found my sweet spot.
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