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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 12-18-13, 02:45 PM   #26
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My vote is 42/18t.

My biek has a 42 ring up front and 15/18t fixed cogs in the rear, which I will utilize depending on the climbing on my route and the intensity at which I wish to ride.
Sounds like a plan!
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Old 12-18-13, 03:09 PM   #27
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Sounds like a plan!
ya I thought you might appreciate my perspective as I am regular 33-racing forum user and competitive road cyclist myself.

I've been riding fixed for atleast a year longer than road so feel free to ask me any questions you might have about fixed road riding for road racer types.
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Old 12-18-13, 03:10 PM   #28
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The 42/18t is a great cog for your leg speed as you will likely be ~10-15rpm higher than you would be on your road bike just maintaining z2 on a flat road.

You'll probably get frustrated if you try to ride for an extended period of time in z3/4 on a flat road with the 18t, but hey thats what your 16t is for. I utilize my 15t almost exclusively for tempo rides. I think you'll find that you can ride z1/2 (with or without) climbing all day with the 18t and be happy with it,
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Old 12-18-13, 04:32 PM   #29
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Yes, I've done bigger grades than 7-10% for 20-30 minutes, 10% not that big of a deal for me. Steepest I've done in NJ was about 21%, which was out in Warren County. County I live in steepest grade is 16% percent (hunterdon). BUt to be fair and honest, I love climbing and suffering.
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Can't speak for Dannihilator, but speaking for myself, yes. Many times, and for longer than 30 minutes, for that matter. I have been riding brevets and other long distances on a 42x16 fixie for years, and long climbs like that are common. Getting into a reasonably comfortable rhythm at super low RPMs is its own skill, and I make no claim to be a fast climber. But given a comfortable rhythm, I can keep it up for a good while.
I just gotta call effin BS on this. Climbing 7 - 10 % grades for any kind of distance / mileage / time in a 42 x 15 setup would be extremely difficult even for a professional rider. Mt. Washington is considered the most difficult hill climb in the US (some say the world) and averages 11.9% with the steepest section at 22% and nobody I know of can climb that hill in a 42 x 15. I realize your not racing but just to turn the pedals over with a 42 x 15 on a 20% grade for more than a few feet is near impossible. The most difficult climbs in the TDF average around 8% (Mont Ventoux, L'Alpe D'Huez etc). Have a look at the links and the average grades on those climbs. You're asking me to believe you can handle this type of climbing (albeit for shorter distances / time) in a 42 x 15 ... total internet bluster.


http://highlife.ba.com/News-And-Blog...de-France.html
http://www.northeastcycling.com/Hillclimb_Races.html
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Old 12-18-13, 05:08 PM   #30
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Old 12-18-13, 05:52 PM   #31
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I just gotta call effin BS on this. Climbing 7 - 10 % grades for any kind of distance / mileage / time in a 42 x 15 setup would be extremely difficult even for a professional rider. Mt. Washington is considered the most difficult hill climb in the US (some say the world) and averages 11.9% with the steepest section at 22% and nobody I know of can climb that hill in a 42 x 15. I realize your not racing but just to turn the pedals over with a 42 x 15 on a 20% grade for more than a few feet is near impossible. The most difficult climbs in the TDF average around 8% (Mont Ventoux, L'Alpe D'Huez etc). Have a look at the links and the average grades on those climbs. You're asking me to believe you can handle this type of climbing (albeit for shorter distances / time) in a 42 x 15 ... total internet bluster.


http://highlife.ba.com/News-And-Blog...de-France.html
http://www.northeastcycling.com/Hillclimb_Races.html
Could and can, granted I don't fly up steeps, I can make that up descending and on the flats. The one time I did the 21% grade is enough for me, the comfort level ends at 16%.
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Old 12-18-13, 07:18 PM   #32
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Old 12-18-13, 07:25 PM   #33
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I ride SS exclusively all winter, and also prefer a slightly high-ish ratio for my average hilly 40 mi. jaunts. Not quite the 75.5 like Dan, but I use a 49x18 which is a slightly lower 73.5. As the OP mentioned, anything lower would get monotonous on flats, and while I don't fly up the steepest grades, I've become adept at 'internally shifting' to a slower, more deliberate cadence while standing comfortably on the longer ascents. And although the routes around here are mostly rolling, there are enough flats where I still need to be able to get a little extra zipp.
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Old 12-18-13, 08:28 PM   #34
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Could and can, granted I don't fly up steeps, I can make that up descending and on the flats. The one time I did the 21% grade is enough for me, the comfort level ends at 16%.
Uh huh ... and then the alarm went off. 16% is insanely steep even with very low gearing ...put the bong down and give it a rest
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Old 12-18-13, 08:55 PM   #35
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Just read this ... all I can say is, wow.
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Old 12-18-13, 09:17 PM   #36
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I just gotta call effin BS on this. Climbing 7 - 10 % grades for any kind of distance / mileage / time in a 42 x 15 setup would be extremely difficult even for a professional rider. Mt. Washington is considered the most difficult hill climb in the US (some say the world) and averages 11.9% with the steepest section at 22% and nobody I know of can climb that hill in a 42 x 15. I realize your not racing but just to turn the pedals over with a 42 x 15 on a 20% grade for more than a few feet is near impossible. The most difficult climbs in the TDF average around 8% (Mont Ventoux, L'Alpe D'Huez etc). Have a look at the links and the average grades on those climbs. You're asking me to believe you can handle this type of climbing (albeit for shorter distances / time) in a 42 x 15 ... total internet bluster.
I think you misunderstand what I mean by "low RPMs" and "not a fast climber". We're not talking about Mt. Washington, Mont Ventoux, etc. On long climbs on long brevets, I might be going 3-4 mph. In a 42x16 that is under 20 RPM, which is why I said it was its own skill. 7% for 2 mi gets you around 750ft in elevation gain; 10% for 2 mi gets you 1065ft. And at 4 mph, it takes 30 minutes. That is hardly a superhuman power output, and there are a whole lot of 750ft climbs in the world. The Alpe d'Huez is around 8 mi and almost 6,000 ft of elevation gain.

When necessary I can mash my way grades well above 10% for short distances. But if I'm on a long brevet or it's that steep for more than a really short stretch, I get off and walk. I have made it up my fair share of climbs without walking, and I am not to proud to admit that I have gotten off and walked plenty of times, too.
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Old 12-18-13, 09:56 PM   #37
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Just read this ... all I can say is, wow.
Remarkable! Thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 12-18-13, 11:13 PM   #38
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Uh huh ... and then the alarm went off. 16% is insanely steep even with very low gearing ...put the bong down and give it a rest
I don't partake, don't see the appeal of smoking a cigarette even, which is ironic given that I come from a DH mtb background, and still dirt jump.

Before, I walk away from this thread, 75 gear inches(50x18) is my gearing, it's what I'm comfortable with, compromised some ease of climbing in order to have some control when descending and having some gearing to hammer on flat ground. 16% is steep I'll give you that and I'm lucky to get to 5 mph on it on ludlow station road (which is a 16% grade on good day), but need to have the gearing because the descent is almost just as steep, and I feel more confident having the gearing be there for a more controlled descent combined with a good front brake. Don't do this climb all the time, once or twice a month at most, I do hit a climb that is in the 7-10% grade range daily, there's really no way around it if I want to get over 20 miles in..
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Old 12-19-13, 06:02 AM   #39
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I don't partake, don't see the appeal of smoking a cigarette even, which is ironic given that I come from a DH mtb background, and still dirt jump.

Before, I walk away from this thread, 75 gear inches(50x18) is my gearing, it's what I'm comfortable with, compromised some ease of climbing in order to have some control when descending and having some gearing to hammer on flat ground. 16% is steep I'll give you that and I'm lucky to get to 5 mph on it on ludlow station road (which is a 16% grade on good day), but need to have the gearing because the descent is almost just as steep, and I feel more confident having the gearing be there for a more controlled descent combined with a good front brake. Don't do this climb all the time, once or twice a month at most, I do hit a climb that is in the 7-10% grade range daily, there's really no way around it if I want to get over 20 miles in..
My point is that saying you can ride sustained average grades of 10% for 20 - 30 minutes in a 50 x 18 is BS (I'm not questioning whether this is the gearing you ride or whether it is a good overall gearing choice). You're severely overestimating the average grade you are riding. Throwing around grades of 16% or 21% is even more ludicrous. I'm not saying that you can't mash a 10% grade for a brief stretch but and extended pitch at 10% average is highly unlikely (not to mention that I'm not even sure whether a prolonged average 10% grade exists in NJ). From the article posted above (and I'm guessing this guy is an elite endurance athlete) and he is riding lower gearing than you!


Immediately after leaving Saint Esteve, the road from Bedoin turns sharply left, enters the cedar forest, and goes straight up for 10km without a single flat section. It’s utterly relentless. Even the long lines through the switchbacks are steep. I did the best I could to ride the longest (and hence, the flattest) line I could up the mountain and even tacked to keep from bogging down in what I now realized was a ridiculous gear. I knew I would be out of the saddle without a single break for this entire pitch. The grade isn’t that bad — it’s mostly nine to 11 percent — but what hurts is that there is so much of it, with no rest whatsoever.

Despite my best preventative efforts, I was quickly anaerobic. I stopped a few kilometers into the pitch and rested on a guardrail until by heart rate recovered and then I set back to work. I completed the 10km climb with only one more brief stop.
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Old 12-19-13, 10:36 AM   #40
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Old 12-19-13, 10:52 AM   #41
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Old 12-19-13, 11:01 AM   #42
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Old 12-19-13, 11:43 AM   #43
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My point is that saying you can ride sustained average grades of 10% for 20 - 30 minutes in a 50 x 18 is BS (I'm not questioning whether this is the gearing you ride or whether it is a good overall gearing choice). You're severely overestimating the average grade you are riding. Throwing around grades of 16% or 21% is even more ludicrous. I'm not saying that you can't mash a 10% grade for a brief stretch but and extended pitch at 10% average is highly unlikely (not to mention that I'm not even sure whether a prolonged average 10% grade exists in NJ). From the article posted above (and I'm guessing this guy is an elite endurance athlete) and he is riding lower gearing than you!


Immediately after leaving Saint Esteve, the road from Bedoin turns sharply left, enters the cedar forest, and goes straight up for 10km without a single flat section. It’s utterly relentless. Even the long lines through the switchbacks are steep. I did the best I could to ride the longest (and hence, the flattest) line I could up the mountain and even tacked to keep from bogging down in what I now realized was a ridiculous gear. I knew I would be out of the saddle without a single break for this entire pitch. The grade isn’t that bad — it’s mostly nine to 11 percent — but what hurts is that there is so much of it, with no rest whatsoever.

Despite my best preventative efforts, I was quickly anaerobic. I stopped a few kilometers into the pitch and rested on a guardrail until by heart rate recovered and then I set back to work. I completed the 10km climb with only one more brief stop.
most reasonably fit cyclists (by that I mean W/kg) can climb steep grades in those gears... the question to ask is what kind of RPM (read: power output) can you produce?

riding up a 10% grade in a 50/18 pushing like 50rpm is nothing to write home about.
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Old 12-19-13, 12:18 PM   #44
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most reasonably fit cyclists (by that I mean W/kg) can climb steep grades in those gears... the question to ask is what kind of RPM (read: power output) can you produce?

riding up a 10% grade in a 50/18 pushing like 50rpm is nothing to write home about.
The issue here isn't the gear or grade, but the amount of time spent steadily and without rest on the grade and that gear. My FG is geared 47 x 17, which is about the same as 50 x 18, and on every ride that I do I encounter a 10% grade, and even usually a headwind, and get up it easily. Thing is, it lasts less than a minute, so I can afford to hit my anaerobic threshold as I crest the top and then recover on the flat portion. I've done some pretty serious hill climbs in my day, and once you blow up on a climb you're toast. Even when I was in my prime as a serious Cat 2 roadie, I could not do extended climbs in mountainous races in that kind of gear, nor could my fellow competitors.
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Old 12-19-13, 12:22 PM   #45
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Who says this he is climbing in a straight line, maybe he zig zags up. Either way. #arguingontheinternet
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Old 12-19-13, 01:17 PM   #46
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I do tons of climbing on an SS, 48x18, 71.4 gi. But, I don't use a drop bar, I use something akin to a moustache bar. I can stand for miles at a time with my hands in the "drops", such as they are, something I found not possible with my hands on the hoods of a drop bar. My longest/hardest ride was 100 miles with 9000' feet of climbing.
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Old 12-19-13, 01:31 PM   #47
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I disagree. I routinely do that kind of climbing, 7-10%. If I can do it then a pro could, and even steeper.

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I just gotta call effin BS on this. Climbing 7 - 10 % grades for any kind of distance / mileage / time in a 42 x 15 setup would be extremely difficult even for a professional rider. Mt. Washington is considered the most difficult hill climb in the US (some say the world) and averages 11.9% with the steepest section at 22% and nobody I know of can climb that hill in a 42 x 15. I realize your not racing but just to turn the pedals over with a 42 x 15 on a 20% grade for more than a few feet is near impossible. The most difficult climbs in the TDF average around 8% (Mont Ventoux, L'Alpe D'Huez etc). Have a look at the links and the average grades on those climbs. You're asking me to believe you can handle this type of climbing (albeit for shorter distances / time) in a 42 x 15 ... total internet bluster.


http://highlife.ba.com/News-And-Blog...de-France.html
http://www.northeastcycling.com/Hillclimb_Races.html
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Old 12-19-13, 01:44 PM   #48
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The issue here isn't the gear or grade, but the amount of time spent steadily and without rest on the grade and that gear. My FG is geared 47 x 17, which is about the same as 50 x 18, and on every ride that I do I encounter a 10% grade, and even usually a headwind, and get up it easily. Thing is, it lasts less than a minute, so I can afford to hit my anaerobic threshold as I crest the top and then recover on the flat portion. I've done some pretty serious hill climbs in my day, and once you blow up on a climb you're toast. Even when I was in my prime as a serious Cat 2 roadie, I could not do extended climbs in mountainous races in that kind of gear, nor could my fellow competitors.
Right, the issue here is how long are these climbs? 3min? 5min? 10min? Doing any climb that takes 20,30 or even 60min is a whole different animal physiologically as you cannot remain highly anerobic for the entire duration and it will come down to W/kg at lactate threshold, pure and simple. I'm too lazy to perform the calculations but I know Danni rides massive and is probably a pretty fit dude.

"The issue here isn't the gear or grade, but the amount of time spent steadily and without rest on the grade and that gear."

The variables here are W/kg at lactate threshold, gearing and hill gradient. As long as a rider can remain at or under their threshold w/kg, they will be able to climb for at least an hour. Depending on the gradient, the max gearing is going to be whatever lets the rider barely able to turn the cranks over at like 40-50rpm.

EDIT: I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with you. I totally respect your opinion and experience BTW.
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Old 12-19-13, 01:46 PM   #49
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Realize that what makes climbing "difficult" in the context of SS/FG is cadence. Riding a 60' climb at or slightly under your threshold (~4.2-4.4 W/kg for me) pushing 60 rpm sucks balls, but you can totally do it.
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Old 12-19-13, 01:59 PM   #50
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most reasonably fit cyclists (by that I mean W/kg) can climb steep grades in those gears... the question to ask is what kind of RPM (read: power output) can you produce?

riding up a 10% grade in a 50/18 pushing like 50rpm is nothing to write home about.
Really???? Read Dannihilator's post and my responses. What I'm taking exception to is that he can maintain that power output for 20 - 30 mins which is total BS. Here's the math using you inputs:

Gearing - 52 x 18 @ 50 RPM = 10.9MPH
Interval = 30 Mins
Distance Covered = 5.45 miles
Elevation Gain / Mile = 528 Ft
Total elevation gain over interval = 2,878 ft
Assumed Rider weight = 165 lbs
Watts required approximately 393!!!
Watts per kg = 5.25
Given this was sustained for 20 - 30 mins FTP also = 393 watts!!
Cyclist ability = Cat 1 / Domestic Pro

I'll say it again. Total effin BS. Don't start backtracking now you are the guys who said you could do this and it obviously isn't true. Pretty much any decent cyclist can punch out 400 watts for a few minutes (hell I can generate a 1000 watts for a few seconds) but delivering that kind of power over a prolonged period is a very different story.
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