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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, 10:37 PM   #1
Chesha Neko
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Gearing down and going faster: Query for those using >65 Gear Inches.

Odd experience today.

I'll preface this by saying that I am an overweight middle-aged guy that's only been riding fixed for about a year. YMMV.

Anyway, so when I started riding fixed a year ago by Steamroller was set up stock at 61 gear inches. I was way out of condition, couldn't spin faster than 60 or 70 rpm. I was always a mash-and-coast cyclist. After a few months I geared up to 69 gear inches which made mashing up the hills easier and of course better speed at the same 70 rpm.

Fast forward a year, I can now spin that 69 gear inches a bit faster, more around 80rpm and sprinting at 90 rpm. However, as a utility/commuting cycling I'm often pulling alot of extra weight including a trailer once a week or so and mashing up the hills has been taking its toll on the old knees, especially uphill into the wind with the trailer.

So yesterday I geared down to 66 inches. Knees definitely felt better, but still I could feel the cadence start to slow on the hills. So today I dropped it all the way back to the original 61 inches and the result was surprising. It seems like at 61 I can spin pretty comfortably at 90 to 100 rpm, even into the wind. Overall speed was a bit higher than when I was running 69, even though there is less sense of effort. Instead of "push, push, push," it's "move your legs."

I was expecting to be slower overall, and was pretty downbeat about gearing down, and to be faster when accelerating and faster on the flats and climbs was a surprise. Has anyone else had a similar experience gearing down or was I just way overgeared for my condition/situation?
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Old 11-28-12, 11:34 PM   #2
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Anyway, so when I started riding fixed a year ago by Steamroller was set up stock at 61 gear inches.
How many teeth on your cog and chainring?
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Old 11-28-12, 11:46 PM   #3
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I have no interest in fixies but I'm subing to this for the the "physics". I might ask though if it's possible the bike was originally not set up properly when you first got it like the seat being too low or something and now've changed it to fit?
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Old 11-29-12, 12:12 AM   #4
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At the risk (certainty?) of being the noob who posts too much, i was under the impression that the way you rode a fixed gear was to have a gearing combo that would allow a decent cadence for most of the rides you go on -- a decent cadence being 80 or greater RPM. So I have just been killing myself trying to ride at a good RPM since i got the bike. I have ordered a 1T-bigger cog and we'll see how it goes from there.
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Old 11-29-12, 12:15 AM   #5
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How many teeth on your cog and chainring?
44x19 right now.
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Old 11-29-12, 12:18 AM   #6
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I have no interest in fixies but I'm subing to this for the the "physics". I might ask though if it's possible the bike was originally not set up properly when you first got it like the seat being too low or something and now've changed it to fit?
I've made a myriad adjustments to fit since I got it. Four different handlebars, three or four different seatposts, half-a-dozen stems, four different saddles, and also went from track pedals to clipless.
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Old 11-29-12, 12:44 AM   #7
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Just commented on this elsewhere...

Used to rock 76-as much as 81 gear inches and spun that like a gerbil on crack... I was training to enter master's level racing and knocking down 10,000 miles a year.

Fragged my back and did permanent nerve damage which affects my left leg and keeps me from doing any high load mashing so I geared it way back to where I could keep a high cadence with 1.5 legs and can still keep a pretty good pace and on good days can still show the kids a few things.

Spinning faster is more efficient at any speed so no matter what I am riding or the gear... I maintain a higher cadence.
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Old 11-29-12, 01:22 AM   #8
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Has anyone else had a similar experience gearing down or was I just way overgeared for my condition/situation?
I did the same by starting out at ~77 gear inches. I was doing pretty well with it but starting from a stand still was rough. I eventually went down to 66 and have hung around there under 70 gear inches. We all have a sweet spot gear for how we ride.
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Old 11-29-12, 03:05 AM   #9
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Think I like 70 if I'm going to do some climbing.
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Old 11-29-12, 08:13 AM   #10
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We should obviously unsticky this thread.
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Old 11-29-12, 08:46 AM   #11
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Wouldn't it be nice if you could lock this thread?
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Old 11-29-12, 08:48 AM   #12
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We should obviously unsticky this thread.
Just delete it. It's obsolete. Gearing has come a long way.
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Old 11-29-12, 08:50 AM   #13
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Wouldn't it be nice if you could lock this thread?
I was thinking about how strange it was for Scrod to comment on a thread like this and not lock it.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:39 AM   #14
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be it so

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