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Dirt roads?

Old 09-22-19, 05:44 PM
  #1  
HourPlus
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Dirt roads?

Anybody else like slicing down a rough dirt road on their road bike as much as me? I guess it centers around how much I prefer the razor-like handling and lower resistance of a road bike over the lawnmower tank-like feel of an mtb.
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Old 09-22-19, 07:07 PM
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I take my fixed gear (retired track bike) on dirt roads when they present themselves. It depends on the state. PA, where I live, tends to be rough, muddy and have some large rocks. The ones in MI are sandy, that is OK if it is wet, but my 23c tires sink in and push if it gets dry. The ones in ME are good.. The ones in IL are not bad at all either.
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Old 09-22-19, 08:07 PM
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I bought a gravel bike. Bigger tires do make a difference. But, I also just built up a fixed gear bike with 27x1 3/8" tires to get more fixed riding in since all the good roads around me are dirt.
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Old 09-22-19, 11:31 PM
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I include dirt road, farm tracks, bridle paths or footpaths on almost every leisure ride on my fixed. It has 700c x 25mm tyres and at the moment I'm running 49 x 20.
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Old 09-23-19, 07:08 AM
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My preferred bike for many years and many miles of mixed-surface road rides is this fixed-gear Mercian -



- seen here wearing Panaracer Paselas that measure out to a true 28 mm. I did most of my fire road and gravel rides on Continental Super Sports that were nominally the same but actually about 25-26 mm. Now that I am old and no longer ride with Team Walter Mitty, I think I will add a link or two to the chain, replace the fenders with wider ones and start running 32 mm tires on this bike.

Before I had children and had time to ride, my ride buddy and I did a bunch of rambles throughout this area of South Carolina - which somehow has suddenly become hip, as we just had the Southern Tandem Rally here and there's a gravel event scheduled for the first weekend in October over many of these roads. Some of our rides were featured on the old 63xc.com site, which was all about off-road fixed-gear riding.

This is a work in progress, a 1973 Raleigh Competition shown in mock-up -



- this one will be a mad-scientist build. I'm planning on running a Surly Dingle 17/19T fixed cog on one side of the hub with 42/44T chainrings on the old Nervar Star cranks, and probably a 20/22T White Industries Dos Eno freewheel on the other side of the hub. That would get me 70 gear inches for pavement, 60 gear inches for fixed on gravel, and 57 and 50-ish gear inches freewheel settings for dirt and single-track, without derailleurs or cross-chaining. I'll start out running 35 mm Continental Cyclo Cross tires, but the beauty of this era Raleigh Competition is they have gobs of tire clearance, more so than the Mercian above.

Now to get some rims and build up the wheels ...

Last edited by rustystrings61; 09-23-19 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 09-23-19, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
- this one will be a mad-scientist build. I'm planning on running a Surly Dingle 17/19T fixed cog on one side of the hub with 42/44T chainrings on the old Nervar Star cranks, and probably a 20/22T White Industries Dos Eno freewheel on the other side of the hub. That would get me 70 gear inches for pavement, 60 gear inches for fixed on gravel, and 57 and 50-ish gear inches freewheel settings for dirt and single-track, without derailleurs or cross-chaining. I'll start out running 35 mm Continental Cyclo Cross tires, but the beauty of this era Raleigh Competition is they have gobs of tire clearance, more so than the Mercian above.

Now to get some rims and build up the wheels ...
That's quite a lot of options for a one-speed bike! Are you able to get away with all those combos on the semi-horizontal dropouts without changing chain length? I've been considering the SA S3X 3sp fixed hub but the gear jumps on it are a bit weird...
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Old 09-23-19, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
That's quite a lot of options for a one-speed bike! Are you able to get away with all those combos on the semi-horizontal dropouts without changing chain length? I've been considering the SA S3X 3sp fixed hub but the gear jumps on it are a bit weird...
I think it will work with the same chain length so long as I avoid the big-to-big and small-to-small combinations. The two chainring setup with the Dingle would give me 42x19 low, 44x17 high and the same overall number of teeth = same chain length. 44x20 and 42x22 on the other side would be the same chain length for those as well, and I think the dropout is long enough and the angle would permit me to flip the wheel around and leave my brake pad adjustment alone. I ran a bunch of numbers on the fixmeup! fixed innovations site and I think I'll be okay.

EDIT: Just went back and ran the numbers again - the freewheel side gears will need about 44.25cm of chainstay length, and the fixed will need about 45.13cm. The effective length I have with the horizontal Huret dropouts is 43-46 cm. It should work even with some chain stretch.

Last edited by rustystrings61; 09-23-19 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 09-23-19, 07:02 PM
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I simply love road bikes and riding them down dirt roads is just cool as evidenced by the gravel bike craze sweeping the cycling world.

Last edited by HourPlus; 09-24-19 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 09-23-19, 09:14 PM
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Was getting banned once not enough for you?
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Old 09-24-19, 02:16 PM
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That is why they make gravel bikes. Basically fast, light, Drop bar road bikes with just enough extra tire, and perhaps a geometry tweaked for more control and speed on a loose surface.

I thought we needed wide tires for gravel and dirt roads, Until I rode with a friend who's hybrid with 35mm tires did an excellent job. So now I understand where gravel bikes come in.

Those mountain bikes with their fat tires (54mm on one I had) are great slugging through water logged grass where my tire sinks into the ground over the rim, Or for climbing a hill with soft gravel and loose stone, But on many dirt or gravel roads aren't necessary. And on the street it felt like it was fighting me. Perhaps this explains the popularity of hybrid bikes.
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Old 09-24-19, 03:08 PM
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i ride my fixie down the side of mountains on 23s and no brakes.
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Old 09-24-19, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by REDMASTA View Post
i ride my fixie down the side of mountains on 23s and no brakes.
That's gotta be like greased lightning.
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Old 09-25-19, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by REDMASTA View Post
i ride my fixie down the side of mountains on 23s and no brakes.
Canít stop - Wonít stop!
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