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  1. #1
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Single-Speed Gear Ratio on your Winter Commuter

    Disclaimer: Gear ratio is a personal, I understand.

    Iím debating a change to the ratio on my winter commuter. I'm starting my third winter with the currently 42x16, I find myself standing on the pedals a lot. I think I'd rather stay in my saddle on the climbs and coast down the hills. My commuting route is rolling hills, roughly 400 ft climbing over 9 miles; or I take some rail-trails for 13 miles but they are generally not completely plowed making for more effort plowing through the snow.

    What's your preferred gear ratio?

    Here's my winter beast:

    IMG_20140117_095919_231.jpg
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  2. #2
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    I have run a relatively low 32x16 the last two winters, in relatively flat Madison WI. Since you mention coasting, I assume you are not fixed, correct? I would not run such a low gear as I run fixed. That works out to about 15 mph when pedaling at 90 rpm, which is a comfortable pace for me. I do ride off-road fairly regularly (across a snowy/crusty lake), so I don't want too high a gear for this purpose, plus I bike no matter what, so I want a gear I can push in all conditions.

  3. #3
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Thanks, and correct, I'm not fixed and the bike isn't a fixie.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  4. #4
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    An option is to get an 18 and 20 and try them out. With a 32c a 42x18 will give 62.9 gear inches and 42x20 is 56.7.
    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

  5. #5
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevel610 View Post
    An option is to get an 18 and 20 and try them out. With a 32c a 42x18 will give 62.9 gear inches and 42x20 is 56.7.
    Thanks for the input, it echos what my LBS recommended. And a cog is much cheaper than the chain ring. The bike will go in tonight, should get it done while I wait (they're very nice to me like that).

    Also, back to @fotooutdoors post, I have been riding at a much higher cadence this summer. For example with my summer commuter, I also never get in the big chain ring anymore; however, prior to this summer, I'd spend lots of time in the big chain ring. Therefore, getting back to this big gear-ratio on the winter bike feeling like a lot more work than years past when I'd ride my summer bikes in a big ratio with a lower cadence. (This makes sense in my head, but I don't know if what I wrote explains it well... )
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  6. #6
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    I run 59" (fixed) in the winter, and if I were to go freewheel instead might even lower it, since spinning out would no longer be a concern, but having to go slower is a very real possibility at times.
    Last edited by ThermionicScott; 11-13-14 at 08:51 PM.
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  7. #7
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Last night my LBS changed the cog, now I have 42x20. This morning I was much, much happier. Funny thing, I wanted to look at my Garmin stats and see some kind of change - like average speed or heart-rate - NOPE! Nearly the same as the last two days when I thought I was going to die.... Confused* But happier!

    * I know, I know, I'm comparing one ride against two rides. Sample size is too small to be very insightful.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  8. #8
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I haven't done much (or any) riding in snow on a SS or FG, but I imagine I'd want the ratio to be pretty low so I can keep going. Then again, maybe if I had to push the bike occasionally, I'd know I equipped it right.

    I did ride one winter on a FG with a 66" gear, just slightly than your 70" gear. I lived in the hilly part of Manhattan at the time, but I don't think I rode in the snow at the time.

    Is your rear wheel a flip-flop type? If so, you could equip yourself with two different ratios which would be kinda-sorta convenient to shift between.

    I've never been to your kind of climate so I have to ask: is having a SS a big help because of maintenance?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It aint flat here, so N/A.. + Live close in, did get the studded tire fitted MTB out , and give it a Quick readiness check . day before yesterday ..

    Warming up to rain , tuesday , low of 41f.

    did have a 54" 1 speed built, then took it apart to use the crank on something else..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-15-14 at 02:24 PM.

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