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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 01-14-12, 10:13 AM   #1
kate2
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Change gearing.. Need advice

Hey Guys,

So I have been searching through old threads about some good gear ratios but I can't understand some of things the posters were saying!

My current gearing is 47/16. It is great when I am home from college because there are zero hills where I live. That makes it very easy for me to really spin. However, I have a hard time slowing down mainly because I am a girl and my legs are not as strong. I also have a problem at school. When I am biking on flat land we are good but there is also a lot of hills by me. I don't have a problem going up, it becomes a problem going down the hills. I just am not strong enough to slow down without standing up or using my front brake!

Do you guys have any suggestions on what I should do? Can I fix my problem with stopping by changing my cog?

Thanks!
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Old 01-14-12, 10:23 AM   #2
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It's fine to backpedal while standing.

My suggestion is just to ride more. Eventually it wil get easier.
You can try and gear down by getting a larger cog, but sometimes this can make it tricky to backpedal when spinning very fast.

Since cogs are inexpensive, it doesn't hurt to try and gear down.

Also, having good, solid foot retention helps slowing down quite a bit. What are you using right now?
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Old 01-14-12, 10:27 AM   #3
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It sounds as though your gearing fits your needs in every respect except during decelleration. If everything else is working well for you, why not just use your front brake? I can understand no brakes on the track, but on the road where traffic and terrain can introduce unpredictable conditions, a front brake is invaluable, and changing your present gearing from what works to something less than optimal just for braking purposes seem counter-productive to me.

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Old 01-14-12, 10:28 AM   #4
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leg strength is pretty comparable between ordinary men and women, actually.

you can always work on your backpedaling technique or you can install a rear brake and use that.
there's no shame in using brakes when going down hill. That's what they are there for.

In fact, one can argue that back pedaling actually does more harm than good in your leg muscles and joints.
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Old 01-14-12, 10:53 AM   #5
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use your brake?
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Old 01-14-12, 11:18 AM   #6
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What are you using right now?
I use those steel clips with leather straps..maybe I should look into getting those like larger fabric straps? Any recommendations?
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Old 01-14-12, 11:20 AM   #7
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Since cogs are inexpensive, it doesn't hurt to try and gear down.
Also if I was to do how many teeth would you recommend?
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Old 01-14-12, 11:26 AM   #8
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That is a pretty high gearing, so the difficulty is understandable. Try an 18t cog.
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Old 01-14-12, 11:28 AM   #9
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Also if I was to do how many teeth would you recommend?
I have 47 x 17 or equivalent on my bikes, and it's plenty of gear to average 20 mph and spin over 30 mph down hills. If I'm going down a long or steep hill and find myself spinning too fast, I just ride my front brake to keep the speed steady. If I need to slow down, I'll use the brake to assist my legs backpedalling as necessary. As to foot retention, if you're serious about it then go clipless with SPD style walkable shoes. Otherwise clips and straps are the next best option.
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Old 01-14-12, 11:31 AM   #10
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47x16 is pretty high, 77 gear inches. 70 gear inches is a good all around gear, you could go down to 66 gi if you like to spin. Check our all city's gear gear calculator: http://allcitycycles.com/
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Old 01-14-12, 12:04 PM   #11
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Try an 18t cog.
The more teeth on the cog the easier it is? so a 47/18 would be easier than a 47/16? Oh the joys of trying to understand gears!
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Old 01-14-12, 12:12 PM   #12
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Old 01-14-12, 12:13 PM   #13
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The more teeth on the cog the easier it is? so a 47/18 would be easier than a 47/16? Oh the joys of trying to understand gears!
Yes, and the opposite is true in the front. Less chainring teeth is easier. Personally, I'd try 17T first. Going from 16T to 18T is a very big jump.
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Old 01-14-12, 12:30 PM   #14
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Can anyone recommend a good brand for a cog? I have a Velocity rear hub... are the cogs pretty standard?

P.s. Thank for the help so far everyone
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Old 01-14-12, 12:32 PM   #15
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Cogs are pretty standard. Soma is a good value. I use one. EAI and DA are better, but more expensive.
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Old 01-14-12, 12:45 PM   #16
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Anyone recommend a Surly cog? And what is the difference between 3/32" and 1/8" tooth thickness?
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Old 01-14-12, 12:49 PM   #17
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I've heard that Surly cogs are noisy, but I've never had one.

3/32" is the thinner road standard, 1/8" is the beefier track/single speed standard. The important thing when choosing a cog is to match whichever your chain and chainring is.
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Old 01-14-12, 12:50 PM   #18
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Anyone recommend a Surly cog? And what is the difference between 3/32" and 1/8" tooth thickness?
No I don't recommend a Surly cog. Expensive and noisy. Soma is just as good quality, cheaper and quieter. 3/32" will work with any chain, but 1/8" is thicker and will only work with a 1/8" chain.
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Old 01-14-12, 12:50 PM   #19
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My chainring is a 3/32" is ill be going with a 3/32" tooth thickness?
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Old 01-14-12, 12:52 PM   #20
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Cogs are pretty standard. Soma is a good value. I use one. EAI and DA are better, but more expensive.
Largest size for DA is 16T.
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Old 01-14-12, 12:52 PM   #21
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If your chainring is 3/32" your chain is probably 3/32", so your cog should be 3/32"
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Old 01-14-12, 01:23 PM   #22
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Views on a EAI Deluxe cog?
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Old 01-14-12, 01:29 PM   #23
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Also very good. Better, but more expensive. If you can find one for a good price or it doesn't bother you to spend an extra few bucks I'd shell it out. Otherwise, a Soma cog is just fine.
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Old 01-14-12, 01:35 PM   #24
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if you buy several cheaper...errr...less expensive cogs you can experiment with different ratios for a smaller investment

redline, gusset & avenir make machined steel cogs in 3/32" that you can easily find online for less than $10

i have ridden a gusset 332 cog for thousands of trouble free miles...but once you find the size you like best you can switch to something like a soma or eai that will get you more cred here, if that is what you crave...
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Old 01-14-12, 01:49 PM   #25
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Get a formula cog. fer serious. don't spend a butt load of cash on a cog when you are still figuring out what gearing is. also formula cogs will do just fine. no probs. done. /thread
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