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  1. #1
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    For those of you who also ride bikes with gears

    In terms of average speed, how much faster (if any) are you when you ride on your geared bike?

    I average a little of 16 mph on my SS (42x18) on my longer rides and was just wondering how much faster (if any) I might be on a geared bike.

  2. #2
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    You're using a very low gear, so you will undoubtedly be faster with gears. Others with more all-around gears on their SS/FG bikes may be a little faster to a lot faster or not at all faster - kinda depends how and where you ride. Although, average speed isn't very useful, gears will make it easier to achieve the same average speed.
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  3. #3
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    I should have mentioned that this is my SS CX bike. The ratio is pretty good for the CX rides/races around here, but obviously not ideal for the street.

  4. #4
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    If you are coming from riding a CX bike on the road you should be looking to get a road oriented SS or geared bike (or possibly another wheelset with 23-28mm tires_ if you want to increase your average speed on longer road rides. When I compare my road oriented ss and geared bikes I don't notice any meaningful difference in average speed.
    Last edited by Charlie_Zulu; 11-30-11 at 07:21 PM. Reason: extra info

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie_Zulu View Post
    When I compare my road oriented ss and geared bikes I don't notice any meaningful difference in average speed.
    All things equal, you suspect that I would not see any increase? I understand that there are things I can do to make my SS CX more road capable, but I was just curious what gain in mph there might be with gears.

  6. #6
    Seņor Blues on the path's Avatar
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    Lately I've been switching back and forth between my SS and my geared roadie. My SS is geared 46x16. Both have 700x23's.

    I've been logging my rides for the last 2 1/2 months. You may find it interesting that my average speed is about the same with both bikes. Some of my higher averages have been with the SS. The loops I typically ride range from 12-24 miles.

    The big differences I see are, with gears I can attain higher momentary (a few seconds to a few minutes) speeds on flats and/or with tail winds. I'm working on my spinning and I can do 120 rpms for short bursts without bouncing all over the place. If I could improvement on that, there is my opportunity for increasing speed on flats. On downhills, once a grade reaches a certain pitch I stop pedaling and tuck in to reach 35-40 mph or more, so gears don't help me there.

    I may try my SS on a 30 mile group ride this weekend, one where everybody uses gears. It will be an interesting experiment, but I think I can keep up as well as I would with my geared bike. We'll see...

  7. #7
    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Not taking into account hills/wind/etc you have the following:

    With a 42x18 gear ratio you are developing about 61 gear inches of travel (very low), @ 88rpm avg you would get your 16mph avg (since this is an average, I take it you spin much faster than that at times)

    Typically, my workhorse gear is a 50x16 @ 82 gear inches of travel. At 88rpm (what seems to be your average) that's 21mph avg.

    Of course that is pretty unsustainable over long distances. So far, my fastest solo average over a 40mi, almost entirely flat section, is 19.8mph.

    Anyway, there are WAY TOO many factors that affect your average speed to use it as a valid basis for comparison. That being said the fact is a) you are using a pretty small gear ratio b) you would spin out before being able to reach the upper-end speeds you could achieve with gears.
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

  8. #8
    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by on the path View Post
    Lately I've been switching back and forth between my SS and my geared roadie. My SS is geared 46x16. Both have 700x23's.

    ...that my average speed is about the same with both bikes.
    I bolded the important part and wanted to add that my FG bike was a 42x14 and I was perfectly capable of hanging with my roadie buddies on that 40mi commute. Averages in the 17.5-18.5mph range depending on the pace of the different groups. If you get anywhere between 75 (a little spinny at 20+)->85gi (approaching too big if you have any hills/lots of stops) you shouldn't notice a big difference except on downhill sections.
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

  9. #9
    On Two Wheels sam83's Avatar
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    For distance riding I don't normally notice a real difference (not that I'm really looking for it). I wonder if that is because the gearing I select is probably close to the average gearing I use on a multi-speed bike.

    Thart being said, my fastest century was on a fixed gear though, but it was also by far the flattest course I've ridden.

  10. #10
    Seņor Blues on the path's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jandro View Post
    ......Averages in the 17.5-18.5mph range depending on the pace of the different groups. If you get anywhere between 75 (a little spinny at 20+)->85gi (approaching too big if you have any hills/lots of stops) you shouldn't notice a big difference except on downhill sections.
    Last week with that same group I, with gears, averaged 18.0 over 34 miles. Definitely hilly at times (described as rolling/hilly), but no serious climbing. With my SS, I think I'm @ a little over 75 GI, which seems just about right for what I do. I'm definitely spinning a bit over 20 mph, but hills would get sketchy if I was geared any higher.

  11. #11
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
    You're using a very low gear, so you will undoubtedly be faster with gears. Others with more all-around gears on their SS/FG bikes may be a little faster to a lot faster or not at all faster - kinda depends how and where you ride. Although, average speed isn't very useful, gears will make it easier to achieve the same average speed.
    Tons of good replies here but I think this sums it up nicely.
    Last edited by TMonk; 11-30-11 at 09:49 PM.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  12. #12
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    I ride faster with my FG than I do on my geared bike. I think it's because I have to mash up hills as quickly as possible to avoid stalling out (with a geared bike I just put it in a lower gear and spin out, but it takes longer to get up the hill).
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  13. #13
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    well that's a fault of your own and not the equipment you employed.

    I'm not saying your part of this camp, but too many people fail to realize that your equipment is independent of your effort. Lots of people in the 41 fall in to this camp.

    You know, the kind of people that think climbing on a heavier bike will make you stronger.
    That's some bull****.

    You want to know what makes you stronger? Riding your bike hard. Your speed will be dictated (in a very small part) by your equipment, among other things ofc.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  14. #14
    Senior Member seau grateau's Avatar
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    My FG is lighter, quicker to accelerate, and handles a lot tighter so it feels faster while riding in traffic. But when I get on my road bike, hit the long straightaways, and shift up to the top gears.... It's like flying.
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  15. #15
    Ths Hipstr Kills Masheenz cc700's Avatar
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    the real question is

    how much faster are you on a bike with brakes?

  16. #16
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    +1

    When I tried brakeless I pretty much didnt go over 15 if I could help it and crawled down hills. I felt confident but I did not have the nerve to go fast at all
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
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  17. #17
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    In Vancouver (hilly city) if I want to do a + 5 km trip I take my roadie. It's significantly faster and tires me out less due to hills.

    For short distances, though, my fixie is faster. Also, it's fun.

  18. #18
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    So let me ask another question. I think the smallest freewheel that I have found is 16t. Based on help from Sheldon, that will increase my GI from 63.4 to 71.3. Since freewheels are relatively cheap, and I'm poor, this is probably something I could change.

    My typical ride is about 30 miles and it is lumpy; some flats, some rolling hills, no major climbs. I’ve been riding since August, and I feel pretty good on these rides. Is going from 63.4 to 71.3 doable? Should I go to a 17t freewheel first?

  19. #19
    Lost AngryScientist's Avatar
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    this is all up to you, your riding style, routes and body, no one can really answer that, except maybe the people you actually ride with.

    that said, SS chainrings are also pretty cheap, which is another easy way to change the GI you're using. Also - depending on what type of rear wheel you have, if it's a flip-flop hub, you can maybe get a 16t and 17t cog for either side, and switch as the conditions dictate. (or any other combination your chain length will accommodate.

  20. #20
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    Also, why are you changing you gear? Are you spinning out too much down those "lumps" and having a relatively easy time ascending them?
    If so, maybe gear up, 1t in the rear at at time (if you can afford to).

    Don't fall into some machismo mode up gearing up just because you can. Cycling shouldn't be a penis measuring contest.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  21. #21
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    I do tend to spin out on the longer flat sections and on most descents. As for the ascents, I can maintain a pretty good pace up most of the ones that I have tried. I do think I am at the point where I can swith to a different ratio. I'm just not sure what the recommended approach is.

  22. #22
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    BTW, I measure my junk with a ruler.

  23. #23
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
    well that's a fault of your own and not the equipment you employed.

    I'm not saying your part of this camp, but too many people fail to realize that your equipment is independent of your effort. Lots of people in the 41 fall in to this camp.

    You know, the kind of people that think climbing on a heavier bike will make you stronger.
    That's some bull****.

    You want to know what makes you stronger? Riding your bike hard. Your speed will be dictated (in a very small part) by your equipment, among other things ofc.
    No ****, Sherlock. I never said I was dissatisfied with my speed or wanted to make myself stronger.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  24. #24
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Brody View Post
    So let me ask another question. I think the smallest freewheel that I have found is 16t. Based on help from Sheldon, that will increase my GI from 63.4 to 71.3. Since freewheels are relatively cheap, and I'm poor, this is probably something I could change.

    My typical ride is about 30 miles and it is lumpy; some flats, some rolling hills, no major climbs. I’ve been riding since August, and I feel pretty good on these rides. Is going from 63.4 to 71.3 doable? Should I go to a 17t freewheel first?
    ~70 gear inches is what I run, similar terrain I think. I bet you'll be fine.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  25. #25
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    No ****, Sherlock. I never said I was dissatisfied with my speed or wanted to make myself stronger.
    ok.

    I just thought your post was a good example for me to illustrate something that I find to be an interesting topic: the disparty between bike equipment, performance and effort.

    I apologize if I didn't make my disclaimer more clear: "I'm not saying that you fall into this camp..."
    Last edited by TMonk; 12-01-11 at 08:28 AM.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

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