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Geared bikes or single speed?

Old 04-19-24, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Nope.
you’ve never had issues with your drivechain? What kind of bikes do you ride lol.
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Old 04-19-24, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
you’ve never had issues with your drivechain? What kind of bikes do you ride lol.
No, no issues. I just know how to adjust and maintain my bike.

Only one bike--an old Cinelli with 9-speed Dura Ace.
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Old 04-19-24, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
Fixed gear is, at it's best, simply a completely different mind set. You are always pedaling at an RPM you didn't choose, other than you can modify it little by speeding up or slowing.
Yep. This is the less tangible explanation of why you can't ride fixed or SS on a multi-geared bikes.

Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
Ever been riding along, having a good time, and then you go to switch gears and stuff starts rubbing and making noise, chain starts dropping/skipping, and eventually none of the gears work that well anymore?
Nope.
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Old 04-19-24, 05:40 PM
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I contend that you two want to disagree with me to the point of lying to yourselves that you’ve never had drivechain issues. Single speeds are preferable in that respect, heck it’s the main benefit. Less stuff to go wrong.
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Old 04-19-24, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
I contend that you two want to disagree with me to the point of lying to yourselves that you’ve never had drivechain issues. Single speeds are preferable in that respect, heck it’s the main benefit. Less stuff to go wrong.
I contend you don’t have a clue about my bike and its worry-free drive train.

What’s a “drive chain?”
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Old 04-19-24, 05:49 PM
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The gears and chain, derailleurs are part of the system too, but I don’t want to argue semantics.
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Old 04-19-24, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
The gears and chain, derailleurs are part of the system too, but I don’t want to argue semantics.
It’s not semantics. Maybe you have Bitcoin on the brain. There’s no “drivechain” on bikes. However, we have a similar word you may be interested in, drivetrain.

Last edited by smd4; 04-19-24 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 04-19-24, 05:55 PM
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First time out on my newly built single-speed rigid mountain bike just today. Absolutely loving it. Did about an hour of trail riding. Already mid-80s and humid at 9:30 this morning I've ridden these same trails many times but it's a whole new ball game with this back-to-basics bike. It requires 100% focus to see ahead, pick more precise lines, anticipate roots, bumps, obstacles and maintain momentum and/or brief hammering to get up the few inclines we have. It 'seemed' really fast but maybe that was just the newness of the experience. I'm hooked on single-speed.
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Old 04-19-24, 09:20 PM
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I have two geared road bikes, one recumbent, one unicycle, and a fixed gear bike. Until recently it was SS/Fixed, but I went with a fixed/fixed hub as I didn't really enjoy SS. The bike of choice lately is the fixed gear. Not sure why, but it's the most fun. Last weekend I rode a 300km brevet with 8k feet climbing. SS would have been quicker due to descending, geared maybe two hours quicker. Meh. That was hard af, but memorable. Next up: 400km.
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Old 04-20-24, 12:27 AM
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This problem was solved in 1903. A SA 3 speed.... WTHU.
I only had SS till I was 20. The Rudge was an antique even when I got it in 1968. LOL.
Your knees suffer on every startup, never mind the hills. NOT with my CCM 3 speed. Top speed is like 28 mph too.
I did also ride SS clunkers in Chengdu, Hanoi and Saigon a few times. No problem except they kept falling apart.
The key to hills is go 4 mph. There is a limit where my knees will suffer of course.
One night here I found a fixie chick going 25 mph on the flat, GIs must have been 88+. I could only go 23.5. LOL.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 04-26-24 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 04-20-24, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
I have two geared road bikes, one recumbent, one unicycle, and a fixed gear bike. Until recently it was SS/Fixed, but I went with a fixed/fixed hub as I didn't really enjoy SS. The bike of choice lately is the fixed gear. Not sure why, but it's the most fun. Last weekend I rode a 300km brevet with 8k feet climbing. SS would have been quicker due to descending, geared maybe two hours quicker. Meh. That was hard af, but memorable. Next up: 400km.
what was your ratio/gear inch for the brevet thing?
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Old 04-20-24, 03:05 AM
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Very flat land and young kids? Single speed. Because they're gonna abuse the bike, not using kickstand, dropping it on both sides banging the pedals on concrete, I had to replace a neighbor's kid's stamped BB cup because it fractured that way.

Very flat land and adults? Stylish light or retro beach cruiser single speed also works, dead simple. Super bonus points for belt drive on a lightweight frame and wheels, easy and clean carry on shoulder.

Slight hills and want to be forced to push hard out of the saddle for training? Sure.

Slight or steeper hills and want to pedal sitting down? No, it damages your knees. Never lug while sitting.
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Old 04-20-24, 06:12 AM
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The “Zen Factor” turns into something else when you get to the hills. When I lived in “Low City” part of Tokyo, I rode an old single-speed track bike. Then I moved to the “High City” in the hills, and having only 1 gear wasn’t enough, even my 3 speed Brompton needed to be pushed up the steeper parts. But single-speed bikes have almost religious significance to some Japanese riders, and I see at least a few every time I ride along the Arakawa or Tama river cycling courses.
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Old 04-20-24, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
Anytime you go against mainstream, you're going to face criticism. Whether it's SS, fixed gear, the wrong clothing, or any other deviation from norms.

People deviate from the norms for reasons, people who don't, imagine those reasons must be insanity, stupidity, or other mental failings.

The answer to your question is as much about facing social pressure, as it is about the appropriate tool for the job.
As someone who takes the path less traveled in a couple of areas, I’d agree with this.

Two examples come to mind: for the last few years, I’ve ridden only SS and I live, walk and regularly run in only minimal shoes.

In both cases, there is aspect to do with the simplicity of the lived experience and an aspect of forcing the body to do hard things.

Not everyone will thrive or prefer those aspects.

Moreover, there is a potentially difficult period of transition, and not a lot of clear guidance on how to make that transition so you can find out if you will really like a minimal approach.

Going from say, depending on multiple gears to ease up hills to being fully confident and able to push hard up hills and enjoy it is not something that happens in a single ride. I used a geared bike during a transitional period where I would only use 42/16 except for steep hills when I’d shift to 42/21. After a couple of months I was able o just do 42/16 at which point I ditched the gearing and went single speed.

The return to the sort of minimal footwear our forebears wore for thousands of years has benefits for many. A lot of interest was created in 2008 by McDougal’s “Born to Run”, but many who might have benefited, instead got injured, because they tried to switch their massive training load onto their weak, underdeveloped feet and ankles and with their bad running form far too quickly and got injured.

In this case, people need guidance on how to make the transition without causing injury. There are transitional shoes like Lem’s that are minimal friendly (wide toe box, no heel, no artificial supports) but with more stack height and a slight cushion. This allows adapting to the lack of heel and lack of artificial supports but puts less stress on the feet than a true minimal shoe. It also requires a lot of patience, because it works best to gradually increase the workload on the feet first with ordinary activity, then a lot of walking and only gradually adding some running. Patience is not in great supply these days it seems.

And then there is of course, no guarantee after you make the transition that it will be what you love. But it may.

Otto

Last edited by ofajen; 04-20-24 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 04-20-24, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
what was your ratio/gear inch for the brevet thing?
Flip flop hub has 17 & 19, I don't recall the chainring teeth. The 19t is for climbing; the 17t is a comfortable 16-19 mph gear. At 24mph on downhills I start braking. On the 300k, I flipped the wheel for three climbs, and walked three times.
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Old 04-20-24, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ofajen
As someone who takes the path less traveled in a couple of areas, I’d agree with this.

Two examples come to mind: for the last few years, I’ve ridden only SS and I live, walk and regularly run in only minimal shoes.

In both cases, there is aspect to do with the simplicity of the lived experience and an aspect of forcing the body to do hard things.

Not everyone will thrive or prefer those aspects.

Moreover, there is a potentially difficult period of transition, and not a lot of clear guidance on how to make that transition so you can find out if you will really like a minimal approach.

Going from say, depending on multiple gears to ease up hills to being fully confident and able to push hard up hills and enjoy it is not something that happens in a single ride. I used a geared bike during a transitional period where I would only use 42/16 except for steep hills when I’d shift to 42/21. After a couple of months I was able o just do 42/16 at which point I ditched the gearing and went single speed.

The return to the sort of minimal footwear our forebears wore for thousands of years has benefits for many. A lot of interest was created in 2008 by McDougal’s “Born to Run”, but many who might have benefited, instead got injured, because they tried to switch their massive training load onto their weak, underdeveloped feet and ankles and with their bad running form far too quickly and got injured.

In this case, people need guidance on how to make the transition without causing injury. There are transitional shoes like Lem’s that are minimal friendly (wide toe box, no heel, no artificial supports) but with more stack height and a slight cushion. This allows adapting to the lack of heel and lack of artificial supports but puts less stress on the feet than a true minimal shoe. It also requires a lot of patience, because it works best to gradually increase the workload on the feet first with ordinary activity, then a lot of walking and only gradually adding some running. Patience is not in great supply these days it seems.

And then there is of course, no guarantee after you make the transition that it will be what you love. But it may.

Otto
I switched to zero drop, wide toe box, minimal hiking and walking shoes a couple years ago and the difference is amazing. I did ease into it, as recommended. My toes are no longer scrunched.

I think the keys to avoiding injury SS or fixed are gearing selection and walking as appropriate. Unless your route is flat, SS/fixed will be slower. Accept that, and all should be well. As someone once told me, bikes are slow; if you want to go fast, fly in a jet.
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Old 04-20-24, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
I switched to zero drop, wide toe box, minimal hiking and walking shoes a couple years ago and the difference is amazing. I did ease into it, as recommended. My toes are no longer scrunched.

I think the keys to avoiding injury SS or fixed are gearing selection and walking as appropriate. Unless your route is flat, SS/fixed will be slower. Accept that, and all should be well. As someone once told me, bikes are slow; if you want to go fast, fly in a jet.
It helps to use flat pedals and comfortable shoes you can walk and run in. Then when you reach that hill that is just too steep, getting off to trot up the hill is fun and easy (assuming your bike isn’t loaded up).

Also, my switch from 42/16 to 42/17 really took a surprising amount of stress off of my rides. Just enough easier on the hills to never cause issues while also forcing me to work higher cadence on the flats.

Otto
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Old 04-20-24, 07:42 AM
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If you don’t want a full RD setup, or an IGH, it is possible to run a double chainring to a single cog with a tensioner for chain wrap. I’ve never done this, but I have seen it done.

FD, especially older ones, are generally bullet proof. Once you figure out the GI’s for flats and climbing, just run flat rings with a friction shifter. You can stay in one ring nearly the entire time and only go to the other when necessary.

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Old 04-20-24, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
Two good and one city geared bikes and two good and one city fix gear here. Started riding SS circa 1972 when I'd trashed my Peugeot UO-8's dropout enough times that getting the derailleur to work right was iffy. 1976 I started racing and set it up fixed for training. Absolutely loved it and never had an ounce of desire to go back to SS.

Fixed gear is, at it's best, simply a completely different mind set. You are always pedaling at an RPM you didn't choose, other than you can modify it little by speeding up or slowing.

Now, as I approached my 60s, I knew that I could not keep climbing the big hills I love going up on the fix gear in gears like 42-17 and also that going down in those gears amounted to crotch abuse I was no longer willing to suffer. I'd been turned on to the ride of titanium bikes and knew the builder of mine would build me any bike I could dream up. So, how 'bout a ti fix gear with a really long dropout (dropout, not track end to keep wheel changes fast and easy) and a flip-flop wheel? Ordered it, received it, loved it from the first ride and a few weeks later, learned that year's Cycle Oregon was going to Crater Lake. Also that every hilly day had one big up and ope big down except Crater Lake day which also had 3 1000' climbs to go around the rim.

Brain cells fire. I can do this on my brand new fix gear! Very few wheel flips! But I need a cog wrench so I an screw on a tiny cog to go downhill. I could make a lightweight one and strap it to the bike!

The bike. On Cycle Oregon, 14% grade, the flip-flop hub, the chainwhip, a Trixie fix gear wrench and lockring tool under the saddlebag and a 12 tooth cog strapped to the other side of the bag.

That hill was hard! The muscles standing out weren't just for show. When I touched my forearm with the bar of soap in the shower after, it hurt! (If you are thinking "but he isn't in his low gear", you're right. I thought the big hill was the next one. By the time I learned my error it was too steep to stop and start again. The now 61 yo body paid!

And Crater Lake's rim fixed? Easy. Flip-flop hub, a 23 or 24 big cog and a 12. 42 tooth chainring. All you need. There is no flat. (Well a mile of gentle up you can do in either cog.)
That's just a multi speed bike with a really inconvenient shifting mechanism.

And all that gas about how making life difficult being somehow enobling ... Well, go for it. It only reminds me of the Monty Python monks bashing themselves on the head with the holy boards.

Have a nice day
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Old 04-20-24, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
And all that gas about how making life difficult being somehow enobling ... Well, go for it. It only reminds me of the Monty Python monks bashing themselves on the head with the holy boards.

Have a nice day
Plenty of motorists say the same about cyclists… And yet you still ride a bike, I presume?

Seems weird for a person who embraces a more challenging mode of transportation to then criticize others for choosing an even more challenging mode. Are you always this threatened by people who make different decisions than you do?
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Old 04-20-24, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz
Ever been riding along, having a good time, and then you go to switch gears and stuff starts rubbing and making noise, chain starts dropping/skipping, and eventually none of the gears work that well anymore?
Nope.
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Old 04-20-24, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
That's just a multi speed bike with a really inconvenient shifting mechanism.

And all that gas about how making life difficult being somehow enobling ... Well, go for it. It only reminds me of the Monty Python monks bashing themselves on the head with the holy boards.

Have a nice day
You don't have to look very far to find people doing difficult things - running, hiking, climbing, lifting, kayaking, hunting - that is clearly something compelling about challenges. And you don't have to go very far too find people deriding those doing difficult things - so there's clearly something going on there. I understand the former, don't understand the latter, but that's okay.

OP asked about possibly going SS. Lower maintenance, except some people are going into personal attacks regarding that claim. Broader cadence required, which some people will criticize as <insert pejorative term>. Harder to climb, again subject to insults and passive aggressive kindness. Rolling your own way requires thick skin sometimes. Whatever.
.
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Old 04-20-24, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
That's not what you actually suggested in the post to which I had responded.

Your suggestion would get a person a rather lousy version of a SS or fixie, as you might figure out if you actually look more closely at such bikes -- they are NOT simply multi-geared bikes which have had derailleurs and such omitted. And it would be LESS economical, since you would be starting with a more costly bike and then removing bits and pieces.
Interestingly 90% of the FG/SS bikes I see are exactly geared bikes switched over to SS/FG. I've sold a few horiz drop frames to people to convert so they didn't have to pay more or remove anything
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Old 04-20-24, 05:28 PM
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I love my single speed but more to the point I love my fixed gear. It is harder to ride and easier to ride in some strange way. It is just a simple bike and can be as nice as you want it for a lot less then a traditional geared set up. My Specialized Langster has top end parts (or very near to them) and still was cheaper than many of my other geared bikes but is so so smooth in terms of drivetrain and is neat to look at.

I think the joy of one gear is it is terrible for most things and that sounds like it would be dumb to say but it is a challenge in simplicity. You cannot change gears beyond flipping a wheel to a different cog or a freewheel in some cases but you can power through the gear you have. Plus with a fixed gear especially you can learn more control. I can use my legs to slow down a bit if I want to rather than just braking (and I am not talking about skidding or anything dangerous use brakes unless at a velodrome. Plus it can work maybe a few different muscles you may not work out quite as much being able to coast though I am not a sports medicine doctor or anything I just enjoy bikes.

My next bike which is a dream of mine is probably going to be a really cool custom titanium fixed gear road bike (or maybe gravel both are looking good to me) with maybe even a step up in parts from what I currently have and just making something super cool and just fit me like a glove type of thing. I love all of my bikes but there is something so nice about a fixed gear that just cannot be replicated in my other bikes.
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Old 04-21-24, 11:03 AM
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I know that some riders around here ride SS or even Fixies, but seriously - my midweek rides that I think of as fairly flat? They still have 1000 feet of climbing in 24 miles, including some pitches over 8%. So, my flirtation with the idea of a single speed bike was really brief.

So, it depends on where you live. Florida? Yeah, get a SS bike. What do you need gears for anyway? Overpasses? But here? Not for MY aging joints!
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