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Fixie Gear Ratio Question

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Fixie Gear Ratio Question

Old 06-30-19, 12:00 PM
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coopman
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Fixie Gear Ratio Question

I just got an Electra Cruiser 1 bike yesterday. It has a 44/22 gear tooth ratio. I'm 65 and will only be riding it on paved surfaces, and there are virtually no hills here in south Louisiana to contend with. The bike is easy to pedal and the ride is smooth, but I just don't feel that riding it for 3-5 miles at a time is giving me much of a workout or raising my heart rate. I am thinking that if I could change the rear cog to one with a fewer no. of teeth, I could make it a little bit harder to pedal and thus give me more of a workout and also increase its cruising speed too. Is there a common gear ratio that most fixed gear bikes have? If I keep the 44 on the chain cog, what would be a good no. of teeth for the rear cog to have? Thanks for any input.
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Old 06-30-19, 01:15 PM
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Congrats on the new bike, coopman!

From checking at Sheldon Brown's gear calculator, 44/22 for that bike's tire size would be 51.9 gear inches. 44/20 would be 57.1 gear inches and 44/18 would be 63.4 gear inches.

I know that on my 7 speed Schwinn cruiser that I prefer to pedal in 5th gear, which is 70.2 gear inches. But that can be hard for me in a strong head wind. Knowing how I shift down to 4th (62.8 gear inches) for some headwinds, I'd probably pick 60 to 65 gear inches if that bike was a single speed.

Which means the rear sprocket on that Electra would get changed to an 18 (63.4 gear inches) if I were to own it. That should give a 20+% increase in forward speed for the same pedaling rpm.

By the way, the Electra's 44/22 is the equivalent of 2nd gear on my 7-speed Schwinn. Since it is flat here, 2nd gear never gets used.

Last edited by FiftySix; 06-30-19 at 04:30 PM. Reason: detail
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Old 06-30-19, 04:53 PM
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Thanks!
Is a compatible 18 tooth sprocket something that my local bike shop would likely have in stock?
Also, do you think that my chain would have to be shortened due to this mod?
I have no idea how much "standardization" there is in the bike parts world.
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Old 06-30-19, 06:50 PM
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I don't know where else to get info on the Electra rear sprocket selection other than your local bike shop. It's also possible an 18 tooth isn't available, but the LBS would tell you. Maybe a 19 would be close enough to meet your needs, if there isn't a 18 for that rear hub.

Plus, it is highly likely you will have to shorten the chain for a 3 or 4 tooth smaller rear sprocket.

A video that shows chain sizing on single speed bicycles is below.

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Old 06-30-19, 08:39 PM
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Question 44:22 is 2:1

22 tooth cogs offered in free wheels and the 3 spline cogs on 3 speeds with or without coaster brakes ..

fixies need a special hub, you bought one? which?

Track bike hubs are fixed. with a left hand threaded lockring..



Last edited by fietsbob; 07-01-19 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 07-01-19, 05:59 AM
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The bike type is in my original post. I have not bought anything pertaining to this possible modification yet. I started this thread to see if it was possible and to see what all would be involved. My local bike shop where I bought the bike is closed on Mondays so I will have to discuss it with them tomorrow and see what they have to say.
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Old 07-01-19, 08:38 AM
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is it actually a "fixie", or i'm guessing really a coaster brake? there'll be a little difference in what you're looking for depending on which you have.
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Old 07-01-19, 09:38 AM
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left side of the rear triangle .. is there a strap around the tube connecting to an arm on the hub?

that's a coaster brake ... reaction force transfer .. back pressure puts the brake on

you could ride a fixie backwards but you cannot coast... stop pedaling but keep moving ..

another image track hub, rear in the back.. lock ring evident..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-01-19 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 07-01-19, 09:44 AM
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Yes, it has coaster brakes only - backwards force on the pedals to slow down.
If I stop pedaling I will just coast along.
I apologize if this is not a "fixie". I had the understanding that a "fixie" was any one speed bike.
Google "Electra Cruiser 1" and you'll see what I have.

Last edited by coopman; 07-01-19 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 07-01-19, 10:25 AM
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It's an easy mistake to make. Fixed gear sounds like you're fixed with the gear you have and can't shift to another gear. But the term refers to a cog (aka sprocket) that is fixed to the rear hub and does not freewheel (or ratchet). Your bike is a single speed coaster brake bike.

Anyway, yes, increasing the gear ratio is a good idea, given you're looking for more of a workout. The equipment you have is designed to make the bike effortless, and you've confirmed that they achieved that. Experiment with some other size cogs. The cog should be attached with a metal ring that you can pry out with a small flat blade screwdriver.

When you replace the cog, your chain will probably be too long, so you'll need a chain riveting tool to remove some links. I recommend starting with an 18T cog. If the resulting ratio is too high, get a 20T. If it's too low, get a 17T.
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Old 07-01-19, 11:10 AM
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Thanks to all. I received input from the bike shop and they can do the 18t cog mod. tomorrow. So I'll burn a day of vacation and head on over there in the morning. Looks like I'll be all set for some extended rides on my upcoming four day weekend!
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Old 07-01-19, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by coopman View Post
Thanks to all. I received input from the bike shop and they can do the 18t cog mod. tomorrow. So I'll burn a day of vacation and head on over there in the morning. Looks like I'll be all set for some extended rides on my upcoming four day weekend!
Excellent. I hope the guesstimates on the 18T suits you well.
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Old 07-01-19, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by coopman View Post
Thanks to all. I received input from the bike shop and they can do the 18t cog mod. tomorrow. So I'll burn a day of vacation and head on over there in the morning. Looks like I'll be all set for some extended rides on my upcoming four day weekend!
That will be a big difference! Let us know how it goes-
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Old 07-01-19, 04:16 PM
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Well, I don't want it to seem like I'm dragging a boat anchor behind me. I hope that it's not TOO MUCH of a change.
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Old 07-01-19, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by coopman View Post
Well, I don't want it to seem like I'm dragging a boat anchor behind me. I hope that it's not TOO MUCH of a change.
You'll mostly notice the extra effort when starting from a stop, but once you're rolling it ought to feel pretty good.
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Old 07-02-19, 11:38 AM
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If they have a 19T that fits, I would go with that. While the difference from an 18T is small, Its there all the time. It would be better for acceleration, Especially from a stop, And make riding against a light wind or small grade still comfortable, And a much better workout then the stock gears when you choose to go faster.

I consider myself an average recreational rider and have a bike about the same weight and design (2" tires and Upright seating) as yours. The 18T would be just about perfect for me on a windless day on flat pavement for normal cruising. So I doubt you will feel you are dragging an anchor. Just don't try to beat a car crossing the road. However I like to have a little extra advantage for a light headwind, accelerating from a stop, And low grade hills if I only had 1 gear.
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Old 07-02-19, 12:18 PM
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2 speed coaster brake hubs have a starting off and a cruising gear still no levers or cables

a light back pedal changes gears, a firm back pedal applies the brakes ..
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Old 07-02-19, 12:18 PM
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I am back from the bike shop with the 18T cog installed. The technician made a few other minor adjustments to the seat and handlebars while I was there. It seemed much better during my short parking lot test drive. I will take it on a ride later on and will report back here after that. It's too blasted hot out there right now (feels like 93 with the heat index, and that's a little cooler than it has been recently).
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Old 07-02-19, 07:47 PM
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I only had a chance to ride it about 1/2 a mile this afternoon. I am definitely happier with it now. Thanks everyone for your input.
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Old 07-03-19, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
2 speed coaster brake hubs have a starting off and a cruising gear still no levers or cables

a light back pedal changes gears, a firm back pedal applies the brakes ..
When I was a kid a neighbor boy had one...50 years ago. I had a mustang bike with a 3 speed console shift on the top bar. Loved that crome and gold bike with a 16" front wheel.

I'm surprised we don't see many 2 speed like that any more. Perhaps warrenty claims are high for them, or theirs liability issues.
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Old 07-03-19, 11:27 AM
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Price is usually the issue.. keeping it low enough..

Bendix made them in the fifties, (I had one, then) now The sole source may be the S-A I listed..
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Old 07-03-19, 11:59 AM
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Even though the 18T is a big improvement, having a 18T and a 14T in a two speed would be even better, IMO. Kick into the 14 once you get some speed up for some even higher speed cruising!
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Old 07-03-19, 03:15 PM
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Speaking of 2 speed hubs, I kinda wish the SRAM Automatix was still made.
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Old 07-04-19, 08:47 PM
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I've been on 6 mile rides both last night & tonight and it is definitely giving me a better workout. Last night I probably pushed myself too hard by going fast, and as a result of doing that I was hurting from the waist down. Tonight I paced myself better so I don't feel so much live an invalid. It still seems to be easy to petal, but it will wear you down after a while due to the distance travelled.
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