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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 11-28-12, 06:12 PM   #1
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What cadence do you try to gear for on FG?

As the title states, curious what cadence fixed gear riders aim for on general flat terrain? I'm a roadie who'd playing with (having fun too!) with SS and now a fixed gear bike. Generally on my geared bikes I'm pedaling around 90-100. On my fixed gear bike I know I'm probably geared for around 65-70 on the flats. Not sure of the inch gear I'm running, just got the bike and installed a track gear with the same number of teeth the freewheel had. Knees were a bit sore tonight after a 20 miler, shouldn't be the fit, as I set it up same as my other bikes so I think it was the constant pushing of the higher gear and lower rpm's than I'm used to. Not a bad thing, kind of felt like a long muscle tension interval!
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Old 11-28-12, 06:20 PM   #2
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too many variables, you should narrow your intent down.

Are you using a break?
Are you asking for riding around town? Fast?
Do you want to train for cadence?

That being said I wouldn't put a high GI / low cadence gearing if I were running breakless, it doesn't make sense to strain your knees for no good reason.
48/17 or 47/16 is a good gearing for flat terrain joy riding without breaks (for a fit person), it should keep you at 70-100 cadence with good speed.

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Old 11-28-12, 06:22 PM   #3
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I go for as high a gear as possible while still being able to get up Col de Muchas without vomiting and maybe getting up Chelsea without walking, but it may involve a little bit of puking.

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Old 11-28-12, 06:30 PM   #4
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I shoot for north of 90, and this is coming from a former MTB guy who rode 70 rpm when "spinning out" Trying to use fixed as a way to learn to spin. As a roadie, any tips for that? For me it seems to help to think about making sure i stroke beyond top and bottom dead center, sort of follow through if you will (i can pick up RPM and speed that way when it gets tough, or when i start bouncing on a downhill)
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Old 11-28-12, 07:07 PM   #5
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Count the number of teeth on your front chainring and rear cog. Then compare with the combo that you're comfortable with on your roadie. Use a gear inch calculator and plug in mph, cadence and find out what works for you. I think most importantly you need to ask yourself what's a realistic comfortable speed you can keep up, and at what cadence you want to shoot for.
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Old 11-28-12, 08:14 PM   #6
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Old 11-28-12, 08:37 PM   #7
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On flats 47/16 @ 90-100 RPM, just around 20mph or so.
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Old 11-29-12, 12:24 AM   #8
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0-150 rpm.
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Old 11-29-12, 12:31 AM   #9
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For most riding I strive to keep a cadence of 95 - 100 as I have one leg that does not work at 100% and the higher cadence means less mashing, less stress to the good leg and me keeping up a better pace.

Some folks say I spin like a gerbil on crack... but I have always been a high cadence rider. Even when I had the ability to stand up and lay down enough power to make things bend on my bike I would even maintain a higher cadence than most.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:21 AM   #10
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I pay no attention to cadence at all. Not even on my road bikes.

Seems pretty simple for a fixed gear.

1) Choose a gear that best suits your terrain for your style of riding.
2) Adjust cadence to suit desired speed at the time.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:58 AM   #11
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shouldn't be the fit
as I set it up same as my other bikes
so I think it was the constant pushing of the higher gear and lower rpm's than I'm used to.
As you noted in the last part, the different riding style of a fixed gear can often require a different fitment than a geared bike. I'd recommend you move your cleats back and saddle back/down, you shouldn't have knee pain after a 20 mile ride.
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Old 11-29-12, 11:35 AM   #12
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I pay no attention to cadence at all. Not even on my road bikes.

Seems pretty simple for a fixed gear.

1) Choose a gear that best suits your terrain for your style of riding.
2) Adjust cadence to suit desired speed at the time.
2) While I agree with you in theory as you can't shift gears on a single speed, people's speed is generally dictated by their exertion level, which for many roadies (like myself) is generally within a small power band while riding a fixed gear. For this reason I choose a gear ratio that puts me at my "sweet spot" of cadences, which is 90-100rpm.

Of course terrain is a HUGE variable while riding at a steady-state on a fixed gear, which is why alot of people choose to ride one in the first place. Nevertheless I choose routes that aren't overly mountainous when I ride my fg so it's reasonable to assume that I will spend most of my ride riding in my preferred cadence band.

I find it odd that you pay no attention at all to cadence on a road bike. That's the point of gears! To keep yourself spinning at the same rpm. Would you say that you feel just as comfertable riding at 60rpm as you do at 120? Most people have a "sweet spot" some where in there that just feels right, even if they don't have a cadence monitor on their bike, they know how they like to ride.
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Old 11-29-12, 11:47 AM   #13
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The nature of fixed gear bikes is that you are, 95% of the time, in the wrong gear. Too tall for climbs, too small for descents, sometimes just right on flats. As others have stated, you need to figure out what your average ride entails, as far as elevation is concerned. Flat as a pancake? Try a 49x17 (~75gi) for ~90rpm. Lots of hills in your area? Try a 65-70gi. Ridonkulous climbing? Shoot for 60 or below.

This is largely going to be personal preference and you're going to get answers all over the map. Personally, I try to stay in the 95-100 rpm range on my roadbike but gear at 72gi (49x18) 90% of the time. I live in SF and do a lot of climbing on my track bike in the city and in the surrounding mountains.

Handy gear inch calculator.
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Old 11-29-12, 11:59 AM   #14
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2) While I agree with you in theory as you can't shift gears on a single speed, people's speed is generally dictated by their exertion level, which for many roadies (like myself) is generally within a small power band while riding a fixed gear. For this reason I choose a gear ratio that puts me at my "sweet spot" of cadences, which is 90-100rpm.

Of course terrain is a HUGE variable while riding at a steady-state on a fixed gear, which is why alot of people choose to ride one in the first place. Nevertheless I choose routes that aren't overly mountainous when I ride my fg so it's reasonable to assume that I will spend most of my ride riding in my preferred cadence band.

I find it odd that you pay no attention at all to cadence on a road bike. That's the point of gears! To keep yourself spinning at the same rpm. Would you say that you feel just as comfertable riding at 60rpm as you do at 120? Most people have a "sweet spot" some where in there that just feels right, even if they don't have a cadence monitor on their bike, they know how they like to ride.
My town is hilly so my cadence on a FG varies a good deal. I guess I don't tailor my routes depending on the bike I'm riding. When I say I don't pay attention to cadence on a road bike I mean to say I don't think about it consciously. I'm sure I have a sweet spot and it's probably a low cadence as I'm a bit of masher. I'm no "athlete" and I don't race, but I do a good deal of club riding. I only own one bike computer (and 10 bikes) and it doesn't measure cadence. I'm sure a racing coach would tell me I'm doing everything wrong. My cadence is probably all over the place on a road bike.

My current fixed gear is right around 70" (50x19 with 650bx42 tires).
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Old 11-29-12, 01:32 PM   #15
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i dont have cyclocomputers on any of my bikes. doesnt mean anything to me

hrm and stopwatch becuase i care how hard im working and how long i worked.
I should add that ive used cyclocomputers in the past so I know what 80,90,120 rpm ect "feels" like.
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Old 11-29-12, 01:34 PM   #16
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The tendency of roadies to train themselves into a very narrow powerband was the reason for them to get a fixed-gear, I thought.
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Old 11-29-12, 01:53 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the replies. Just looked and I have a 52x17, 700x23mm tires on it right now. My TT bike has a 52 on it, so I will have to see which cog I like best in the back for overall cruising. Time to visit the rabbit SS/FG calculator too

I like my single speed bikes with no computers too. Half the time I don't carry any tools or a tube either just for the simplisity of it. It's really not that silly b/c those times I only ride about ten miles away from my house so I can walk that without a problem except for the time it takes which my wife would say is a problem. Never know I just might snakebite over the RR track on purpose sometime

After hopping on the TT bike this morning for a bit, I think my fit is off on the FG which accounts for the knee pain moreso than the high gear (to me). I was specifically taking it easy to get the knees used to it. Guess I'll have to spend a little time on the trainer and dial it in.

To Sinikl - When I was teaching myself to pedal fast I simply put it in the granny ring on a hybrid and around the last two cogs on the freewheel.. and spun like a mofo. I'm if anybody saw me out their window they probably thought there was something wrong with me! Having the seat height nailed, and scooting up a hair on the seat helped too. Then 100rpms is now just engrained in my brain for my feet to spin. Actually since I started road racing my cadence has come down. Before a knee surgery I often spun 120+ to keep up without to much pressure on my knees. After surgery the knee can take the pressure now and I find oftentimes a lower cadence helps me conserve energy or recover as well as a fast spin does at other times.
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Old 11-29-12, 01:59 PM   #18
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The tendency of roadies to train themselves into a very narrow powerband was the reason for them to get a fixed-gear, I thought.
i think u mean cadence band.

but yes that is the point

if u are a competitive mass-start racer (of any cycling discipline), than you need to train your power over a wide span of durations, myself I train 300 min - 5 second power, depending on the time of year. on a road bike you just shift gears to keep the cadence the same.

not an option on an ss.
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Old 11-29-12, 02:04 PM   #19
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I like my single speed bikes with no computers too. Half the time I don't carry any tools or a tube either just for the simplisity of it..
thats taking minimalism a little too far my friend.

on that note,



for the record mine has a 42 ring and 15/18t fixed cogs. cog choice depends on application ofc
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Old 11-29-12, 03:55 PM   #20
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thats taking minimalism a little too far my friend.
I actually agree, I only do it when I have no time commitments other than wifey thinking I should be home and I don't do it farther than I' prepared to walk

I will also add since I forgot to mention above that I am not really fixated on one cadence. I do alot of mountain biking and dirt riding with a cross bike, which both keep the rpm's greatly varied. SS mnt bike is my fav right now, especally with the low temperature. Pretty quickly I'll get into a true FG....jogging shoes hahaha, actually already in em, just seeing how long the traction holds out (no snow yet) before I put the bikes away and move solely to jogging.

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Old 11-29-12, 06:13 PM   #21
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nice man ss mountain biking is way more hardcore than ss road riding, esp if the terrain is hilly and technical.
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