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SSCX gearing

Old 05-10-20, 02:41 PM
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cormacf
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SSCX gearing

The SSCX bike I just picked up is currently geared at 40/18, which is great for shallow gravel/dirt inclines, but seems like it's going to be a teeny bit tall for sharp, muddy inclines without momentum.

The cheapest option is "lots of squats before Fall." The next cheapest option is clearly a new rear cog. I was thinking a 20T, for a 2:1 ratio. Is that reasonable? I've never done cross at all, though I ride 100-200 miles per week on the road.

Final question: if I get a 20T cog, any brands I should look for? Surly cogs seem pretty solid.

Thanks!
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Old 05-10-20, 05:13 PM
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2:1 is about what most people ride. Because you are in Washington, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that there is no such thing as a flat course.

I am a spinner, so I don’t even mind going just under 2:1. If you go too low, you won’t be able to keep up on flats or long downhills. If you bog down on a steep hill, get off and run.

If you are a masher, don’t run a higher gear; learn how to spin.

Cat5: 40:22 or 40:20/36:18
Cat4: 40:20 or 42:20
Cat3: 40:18 or 42:18
Cat2: 42:18 or 40:16
Cat1: 42:16

For ‘cross, I like to use even chainrings and cogs so you can run narrow-wide, which you can’t do with odd-numbered cogs. Surly cogs are good, Chris King are better. Just make sure and get ones with a wider base, especially if you have an aluminum freehub shell. Wolf tooth and others make narrow-wide chainrings and cogs.
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Old 05-10-20, 07:43 PM
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Thank you! And yeah. Nothing flat. Even the beach coruses head up hills into the woods. One of the reasons for SSCX is staying in shape for next summer's track season, and we're locked in a warmup gear (48/15) until Cat3, so I would definitely lean toward spinning.
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Old 05-10-20, 09:22 PM
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if you are going to compete in the SSCX, being a good runner is a plus.
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Old 05-11-20, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by sgtdirt View Post
if you are going to compete in the SSCX, being a good runner is a plus.
Funnily enough, years ago, I got my first pro bike fit, and the fitter (also a PT) told me I have very short femurs, which makes off the rack bike fittings difficult (I need a really steep seat tube, short cranks, etc. etc.). He also commented that I have really big calves.

Me: "Is there anything that would actually make me GOOD at?"
Fitter: "Well, only if you can find a sport where you have to run up really steep hills really fast?"

BOOM!
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Old 05-11-20, 03:30 PM
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48/15 is a warmup gear? Geeze.
that is about what our gear limit is (90")

We do have a CX race that covers part of an old outdoor velodrome. I always pass people there because no one seems to know how to attack effectively on a velodrome. ;-)

but if you are a velodrome guy, you should be able to spin 130 and a lot more (150?) with no problem.

Running 1/8" on the SSCX?
Pratice dismounts/mounts and running for the SSCX duty!

for race day - 40/20 seems a bit tall to me (but I do like to spin). I average about 10mph, and probably don't do over 13-14mph unless I'm going down hill. ya need to practice, but i'd probably do something like 40/30.
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Old 05-11-20, 04:03 PM
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My kid won the local U18 series riding 41x18 on his SSCX. But he's also a 200m/400m runner on the track team and spends a lot of time working on his dismounts/remounts. He says "you don't win any prizes for riding the entire course."
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Old 05-21-20, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by cormacf View Post
The SSCX bike I just picked up is currently geared at 40/18, which is great for shallow gravel/dirt inclines, but seems like it's going to be a teeny bit tall for sharp, muddy inclines without momentum.

The cheapest option is "lots of squats before Fall." The next cheapest option is clearly a new rear cog. I was thinking a 20T, for a 2:1 ratio. Is that reasonable? I've never done cross at all, though I ride 100-200 miles per week on the road.

Final question: if I get a 20T cog, any brands I should look for? Surly cogs seem pretty solid.

Thanks!
i have a proper cx/ gravel bike toying with adding new sscx bike. but not sure if worthy
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Old 05-21-20, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
i have a proper cx/ gravel bike toying with adding new sscx bike. but not sure if worthy
Everyone deserves a SSCX bite. It is the adult equivalent of the BMX bikes we used to ride through the woods when we were young.
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Old 05-21-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
Everyone deserves a SSCX bite. It is the adult equivalent of the BMX bikes we used to ride through the woods when we were young.
i kinda agree and pricing is good. just not sure that i will enjoy as much as want given my terrain.
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Old 05-21-20, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
i kinda agree and pricing is good. just not sure that i will enjoy as much as want given my terrain.
Gear down a little bit and run flat bars so you can stand up and get more leverage to climb.

I donít regret getting a SSCX bike. I didnít even regret getting a second one.
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Old 05-21-20, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
Gear down a little bit and run flat bars so you can stand up and get more leverage to climb.
Hardly advice that's useful everywhere. I mean, here's a ride I did recently on my gravel bike:



Multiple stretches of .5-1 mile averaging 11%+. Also lengthy spans of flat and shallow downhill. I can't imagine any single-speed configuration on which this ride wouldn't suck.

It would be pretty difficult to concoct a gravel ride in this area on which a single-speed wouldn't be massively annoying for large stretches, unless riding back and forth on unpaved MUPs is your jam.

I could imagine having fun with SSCX in SSCX races, but that's about it around here.
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Old 05-21-20, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
Gear down a little bit and run flat bars so you can stand up and get more leverage to climb.

I donít regret getting a SSCX bike. I didnít even regret getting a second one.
where do u ride it.
nwnj is hilly. great rail trail stuff 100 miles of trails single track stuff.
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Old 05-21-20, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Hardly advice that's useful everywhere. I mean, here's a ride I did recently on my gravel bike:



Multiple stretches of .5-1 mile averaging 11%+. Also lengthy spans of flat and shallow downhill. I can't imagine any single-speed configuration on which this ride wouldn't suck.

It would be pretty difficult to concoct a gravel ride in this area on which a single-speed wouldn't be massively annoying for large stretches, unless riding back and forth on unpaved MUPs is your jam.

I could imagine having fun with SSCX in SSCX races, but that's about it around here.
I wasn’t trying to provide advice that is useful everywhere, and I’m not suggesting that a SSCX should be one’s only bike. I can find dozens of routes from my front door that have >100ft/mi of climbing, but that doesn’t mean that I have to ride my SS there. I am fortunate to live where I have the choice to ride where the hills are short and 5% or less or I can go trash myself on 10%+ long climbs. I choose the bike that maximizes my enjoyment.

I’m sorry that you cannot avoid 2,000’ sustained climbs where you live; single speeds are great fun in the right terrain.
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