Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
Reload this Page >

If you could only have one 52/16 or 40/16?

Notices
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)

If you could only have one 52/16 or 40/16?

Old 11-03-18, 10:09 AM
  #1  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Left Coast, Canada
Posts: 5,126
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2235 Post(s)
Liked 1,304 Times in 702 Posts
If you could only have one 52/16 or 40/16?

Looking to break a double crank into a single with a 16T SS sprocket. For daily riding on small hills would you rather have the 52T or 40T chainring?
Happy Feet is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 11:54 AM
  #2  
phobus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: South FL
Posts: 324
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 153 Post(s)
Liked 52 Times in 29 Posts
52/16 would be painful on any significant grade. 40/16 should be pretty good.
phobus is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 12:07 PM
  #3  
Bandera
~>~
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: TX Hill Country
Posts: 5,932
Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1112 Post(s)
Liked 173 Times in 113 Posts
Speaking in Gear Inches, as the convention was developed to do, converts all gearing/wheel/tire combos into simple comparative numbers: Bigger is bigger and smaller isn't.
In this case, assuming 700 X 23, your choices are 84 or 65 GI.
For winter FG endurance rides ~70 GI was recommended for racing cyclists on the "small hills" you describe back when such was common training practice.
An 84 GI for anything other than a TT would not be my choice w/ many years of FG cycling in my legs.

Are you somehow married to a 16T FW?
There are many other ways to get chainring/cog combos to a GI that match terrain/fitness.


-Bandera

Last edited by Bandera; 11-03-18 at 01:19 PM.
Bandera is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 12:26 PM
  #4  
seamuis
aire díthrub
 
seamuis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: chatham-savannah
Posts: 553

Bikes: Raleigh Competition, Pashley Roadster Sovereign, Mercian Vincitore Speciale

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 258 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 53 Times in 34 Posts
If you’re going to consider 52, then I would recommend an 18 or 19t freewheel. If buying another freewheel is not a consideration, then I would recommend you go with the 40.

since I don’t know what a ‘small’ hill is to you, or what your physical endurance and leg strength is, or what type of riding and average speed you prefer, recommending roughly 85 inches, makes no sense. I normally ride between 75 and 78 inches, and I can tackle hills and most smaller bridges just fine. I wouldn’t recommend anything over 80 inches for anything but the track, or otherwise sport/racing specific use. You’ll certainly regret 85 inches on a windy day, that I can tell you. If you want to use a larger chainring, use a larger sprocket. If you’re not considering this change based on gearing, and you’re not thinking carefully about it, then you’re going about it all wrong. Simply put, neither of those gear choices is ideal, far from it in fact.

if you don’t know anything about gearing, then I suggest you do some reading online about it and educate yourself so you can properly understand and decide what you need. At least, ask some questions here.

Here is is a handy calculator to give you a number of metrics:
https://www.bikecalc.com/gear_inches

Last edited by seamuis; 11-03-18 at 12:40 PM.
seamuis is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 02:45 PM
  #5  
Mikefule
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 302
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked 114 Times in 77 Posts
52/16 is high for going up any significant hill. 40/16 (on 700c wheels) is roughly equivalent to what I ride. It is versatile and comfortable.
Mikefule is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 02:47 PM
  #6  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Left Coast, Canada
Posts: 5,126
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2235 Post(s)
Liked 1,304 Times in 702 Posts
Thanks so far

Seamus, I just asked a simple question which you answered very well in the first para thanks. I did not go into a lot of detail because I'm about to start a whole thread on the actual rebuild and won't have anything new to talk about if I describe it here but basically I'm initially trying to be as period/model correct as I can be by rebuilding the original 27" steel wheel with what I have, which is a 16T sprocket and a Raleigh 52/40 crank so my choice is 52 or 40.

Prolly I should have left the ambiguous hill part out as it muddies the water. It will be a townie type bike for somewhere not quite Tampa and not quite San Francisco.
Happy Feet is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 02:50 PM
  #7  
seau grateau
Senior Member
 
seau grateau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: PHL
Posts: 9,945

Bikes: Litespeed Catalyst, IRO Rob Roy, All City Big Block

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1328 Post(s)
Liked 388 Times in 187 Posts
The 40.
seau grateau is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 03:14 PM
  #8  
seamuis
aire díthrub
 
seamuis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: chatham-savannah
Posts: 553

Bikes: Raleigh Competition, Pashley Roadster Sovereign, Mercian Vincitore Speciale

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 258 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 53 Times in 34 Posts
Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Thanks so far

Seamus, I just asked a simple question which you answered very well in the first para thanks. I did not go into a lot of detail because I'm about to start a whole thread on the actual rebuild and won't have anything new to talk about if I describe it here but basically I'm initially trying to be as period/model correct as I can be by rebuilding the original 27" steel wheel with what I have, which is a 16T sprocket and a Raleigh 52/40 crank so my choice is 52 or 40.

Prolly I should have left the ambiguous hill part out as it muddies the water. It will be a townie type bike for somewhere not quite Tampa and not quite San Francisco.
If it will mostly be used for townie style riding the 40 will be a better choice, with the 16t. I would consider that a very low (easy) gear, and I would spin out very quickly. But that may not be the case for you, especially if you’re going to be doing mostly very casual riding. However, you didn’t mention that you’d be running 27” wheels. That actually changes things considerably, because a 27” wheel is a larger diameter than 700c (630 v 622mm). This increases the inches for the respective gears. If you’re going to run the rough equivelent of a 25mm (27x1”) tire for example, you’d have: 67 inches for the 40t and 87 inches for the 52t. You’re not going to be tackling too many hills with nearly 90 inches, especially on heavy steel rims, so if 16t is the only choice in the rear, then absolutely go with the 40. Anyway, I look forward to seeing your project. Cheers.

Last edited by seamuis; 11-03-18 at 03:35 PM.
seamuis is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 04:39 PM
  #9  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Left Coast, Canada
Posts: 5,126
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2235 Post(s)
Liked 1,304 Times in 702 Posts
Originally Posted by seamuis View Post
... I look forward to seeing your project. Cheers.
Happy Feet is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 10:16 PM
  #10  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,763
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1017 Post(s)
Liked 587 Times in 380 Posts
I'd go with 40. That will be nearly the same gearing that I'm using. It's fast enough for me, since I'm not a particularly athletic rider. My town has lots of little hills but nothing drastic. Definitely townie style.

When I was trying to figure out a gearing, one thing I worked out was my top speed at a reasonable cadence. It worked out to about 18 mph at 90 cadence. Trying to ride much faster than that on a sustained basis would wear me out in a hurry. So, it's a gearing that makes sense for my physical condition. In my case I was stuck with 19T in back, because it's the only cog that was ever widely available for a Bendix hub. So it came down to choosing a chainring.

I'm just thinking that the 52T ring would have you riding at an uncomfortable cadence most of the time, unless you're pretty darn fit.

You can always lengthen the chain later. Don't throw away the extra links.
Gresp15C is offline  
Old 11-04-18, 09:08 AM
  #11  
hay
tumbleweed
 
hay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: txs
Posts: 171

Bikes: stumpy,bianchi,Wabi classic

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 7 Posts
If I could only have one it would be the 40-16 . 52-16 daily would make my knees hurt.
hay is offline  
Old 11-05-18, 04:46 AM
  #12  
son_of_clyde
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
I'd go with the 40 - 16. My daily ride includes about 1000' of climbing, and a 42 - 18 works well on all but the steepest routes (think marin av, for those familiar with berkeley, ca). The decent is a different story, but it's tolerable.
son_of_clyde is offline  
Old 11-06-18, 12:25 AM
  #13  
Mikefule
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 302
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked 114 Times in 77 Posts
If you ride within the law, obeying all stop signs and signals, and treating other road users with courtesy, then in town you will be accelerating, decelerating, stopping, and starting considerably more often than you would if you were out on the open road.

Lower gears are better for starting and accelerating, and easier for braking. Peak speeds in town are likely to be lower, especially if there are no significant downhills.

You may well be comfortable on the higher ratio on a long flat ride, assuming no strong headwind, but the lower of the two ratios will be far more practical and less tiring in town.
Mikefule is offline  
Old 11-26-18, 04:43 AM
  #14  
dvn_85
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Norway
Posts: 26

Bikes: Merida CX 4. Diamant Adventure Road. Peugeot Sprint SS/FG

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
40/16 to use it every day, I prefer to ride slowly than die going uphill with a 52t XD

52/16 only to track or flat routes.
dvn_85 is offline  
Old 11-26-18, 09:01 PM
  #15  
Broctoon
Super-duper Genius
 
Broctoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Muskrat Springs, Utah
Posts: 1,083
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 466 Post(s)
Liked 298 Times in 177 Posts
Add my vote for the 40 tooth chainring. It might be a bit spinny, but that shouldn't really be a problem. Since you have a freewheel, you can coast down hills. You won't get anywhere fast, but you'll have a comfortable ride and be able to take on even moderately steep climbs.

I had a bike set up with 53x16 fixed gears. I built it specifcally for training on a completely flat stretch of road with no traffic. I had a track drop handlebar, so I could tuck low. It was fun to ride and manageable even for my skinny legs... on flat terrain. Headwinds were a problem, and so were even little hills. I wouldn't recommend that gear ratio for an "only" bike.
Broctoon is offline  
Old 11-26-18, 09:18 PM
  #16  
daoswald
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Salt Lake City, UT (Formerly Los Angeles, CA)
Posts: 1,145

Bikes: 2008 Cannondale Synapse -- 2014 Cannondale Quick CX

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 212 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 82 Times in 53 Posts
The 40 is the only option if those are the two choices and you intend to ride outside.
daoswald is offline  
Old 11-29-18, 10:50 AM
  #17  
cocoabeachcrab 
Myrtle Beach Crab
 
cocoabeachcrab's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Newport RI
Posts: 552

Bikes: enough one would think, but thinking isn't my strong point

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 183 Post(s)
Liked 209 Times in 104 Posts
i'm setting up a single speed conversion over the winter with my grand daughter's donated tank-ass mongoose ledge 2.1 MTB. i'm going with 38/18.
cocoabeachcrab is offline  
Old 11-29-18, 12:25 PM
  #18  
TMonk
Not actually Tmonk
 
TMonk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 12,206

Bikes: road, track, mtb

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1347 Post(s)
Liked 1,376 Times in 743 Posts
50/16 is a weird gear... too big for all-around road, too small for track.

40!

I ride 42/17 on the road a fair bit (like yesterday) and it's a little spinny but you know what they say: Spinny for the Winny!
__________________
"Your beauty is an aeroplane;
so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste
TMonk is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Gdando
Classic & Vintage
9
02-01-14 11:30 AM
hagen2456
Bicycle Mechanics
6
12-15-11 06:04 PM
mburgess86
Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
6
10-06-10 09:41 AM
fcyu
Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
13
09-12-10 05:04 PM
09box
Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
46
03-30-10 12:02 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.