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Preferred Gear Ratio

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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)

Preferred Gear Ratio

Old 07-17-20, 01:39 AM
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JamesFromBusan
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Preferred Gear Ratio

Whatís your preferred gear ratio and why?

Iím currently riding 48/17, but I feel like if I made a change to 52/15 Iíd be able to keep up with some of the road bikes that fly past me, lol.
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Old 07-17-20, 04:57 AM
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49/20 on 700c x 25mm with 165mm cranks.

Comfortable cruising reasonably briskly on the local gently undulating lanes, but low enough to get me up the nearest accessible hills and to ride farm tracks and bridleways.
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Old 07-17-20, 05:22 AM
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I run a 46/17 and keep about the same average speed as my geared bikes. I set my personal avg spd record on my Wabi at 18.4 mph over 30-something miles. I used to run a 48 but with a 46 I can keep a more comfortable cadence without burning out and my average speed didn't drop any. Obviously climbing and headwinds are slightly easier. Top speed may have dropped a couple of mph's but who cares.
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Old 07-17-20, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
49/20 on 700c x 25mm with 165mm cranks.

Comfortable cruising reasonably briskly on the local gently undulating lanes, but low enough to get me up the nearest accessible hills and to ride farm tracks and bridleways.
Same reason my only single speed is 38/16 with 700 x 42 tires. Gives about 66 gear inches which is a rather all purpose set up for me. On road, off road, and mid-teens mph cruising.

Everyone that wants to passes me easily, though. But roadies don't follow me off road and MTBs don't seem to prefer the street. I haven't run across gravel riders around here.
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Old 07-17-20, 07:56 AM
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I chose 48/18, because that's roughly 20mph @ 90rpm-- meaning my slow legs spin out around 23mph. That's the compromise. If the cog in the back were smaller I could cruise the flats more quickly, but the hills around here would remove my knees.
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Old 07-17-20, 08:42 AM
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Running 48/17 in the city no problem.
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Old 07-17-20, 10:32 AM
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My Langster came with 46/16. On the flats it's Ok and allows me to maintain a comfortable cadence.
On one of my routes there's a long descending hill that I always end up coasting cause I spin-out. However, I'm good with the ratio on the return ride back up the same hill
My SS is still my Go To bike for paved solo rides.......
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Old 07-17-20, 11:12 AM
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50/16 for me...but I live in the flat lands. My speed record is 17 mph...but that may have been aided by a slight downhill. At 60 cadence, and 700c wheels, it calculates to about 15 mph...not going to impress the pure roadies, but good for me.
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Old 07-17-20, 09:34 PM
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I run 49/16 which allows me to ride with traffic on the flats. I can climb most hills in a standing position. A couple of straight up sections I walk my bike a couple of blocks which is an accepted trade off for most of my riding on relatively flat or false flat.

Heres a cool calculator to determine speed. https://www.bikecalc.com/gear_speed
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Old 07-17-20, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JamesFromBusan View Post
Whatís your preferred gear ratio and why?

Iím currently riding 48/17, but I feel like if I made a change to 52/15 Iíd be able to keep up with some of the road bikes that fly past me, lol.
Suggestion - convert your gear ratio to "gear inches". This gives you a single number you can compare directly to any other bike, chainring and wheel size no longer matter. To do this:

chainring teeth divided by cog teeth times wheel diameter in inches.

For your bike: 48/17 X 27 (close enough to the actual diameter of a 700c tire) = 76.2" 72: is plenty close. I've ridden a 42/15 (and 700c) = 75.6" My days of big gears are long past and 43/17 is plenty big for me now but fast group rides are also long past.

Not everyone "gets" gear inches but it has been around for 150 years and has been coming back recently. It is the big wheel of the old high wheeler (and kid's tricycle). Thinking gear inches, you quickly realize why modern bicycles with chains were such a breakthrough, Not just safer and easier to ride. Very few people had legs long enough to ride a wheel bigger than 6 feet. 72" Think trying to race in a gear that low.

I rode just one or two cogs for many years, then for the fun of it, got a bike where I can run a big selection of cog sizes without messing with the chain. I now have every cog from 12 to 24 teeth, have a flip-flop hub and take that bike into real hills. I also often go for flattish rides with two cogs one tooth apart and rife whichever cog suits my fancy that day. (Often start on the bigger one, flip when I'm warmed up and out of town and flip back to cool down coming home.

Just giving you ideas. I've been riding fix gears 40 years and love 'em. 10 years ago decided to make them more interesting.

Ben
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Old 07-17-20, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Suggestion - convert your gear ratio to "gear inches". This gives you a single number you can compare directly to any other bike, chainring and wheel size no longer matter. To do this:

chainring teeth divided by cog teeth times wheel diameter in inches.

For your bike: 48/17 X 27 (close enough to the actual diameter of a 700c tire) = 76.2" 72: is plenty close. I've ridden a 42/15 (and 700c) = 75.6" My days of big gears are long past and 43/17 is plenty big for me now but fast group rides are also long past.

Not everyone "gets" gear inches but it has been around for 150 years and has been coming back recently. It is the big wheel of the old high wheeler (and kid's tricycle). Thinking gear inches, you quickly realize why modern bicycles with chains were such a breakthrough, Not just safer and easier to ride. Very few people had legs long enough to ride a wheel bigger than 6 feet. 72" Think trying to race in a gear that low.

I rode just one or two cogs for many years, then for the fun of it, got a bike where I can run a big selection of cog sizes without messing with the chain. I now have every cog from 12 to 24 teeth, have a flip-flop hub and take that bike into real hills. I also often go for flattish rides with two cogs one tooth apart and rife whichever cog suits my fancy that day. (Often start on the bigger one, flip when I'm warmed up and out of town and flip back to cool down coming home.

Just giving you ideas. I've been riding fix gears 40 years and love 'em. 10 years ago decided to make them more interesting.

Ben
Very informative! 40 years of riding, eh? Your legs must fit as ever, eh!?
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Old 07-18-20, 09:38 AM
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So my Gear Inches works out to (42/16)x27=70.875 and it seems just about right for my 60yrs young legs
In my previous post I indicated my Langster was 46/16. If that was the case I probably wouldn't have made it up those three long hills on my route lol....
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Old 07-18-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedway2 View Post
So my Gear Inches works out to (42/16)x27=70.875 and it seems just about right for my 60yrs young legs
In my previous post I indicated my Langster was 46/16. If that was the case I probably wouldn't have made it up those three long hills on my route lol....
I love hearing that youíre 60 years young and riding! Whatever you do, donít stop cause itíll keep ya young! 💪🏻😎

Is the 46/16 ratio a fixed or a single speed set up? I have a flip/flop hub, but I have to say I prefer coasting hills on the SS hub rather than freaking out on the fixed one, lol.
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Old 07-18-20, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by georgiaboy View Post

Heres a cool calculator to determine speed. https://www.bikecalc.com/gear_speed
Originally Posted by JamesFromBusan View Post
Very informative!
Here are two other calculators if you haven't seen them, James.

Bicycle Gear Calculator

https://sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html
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Old 07-18-20, 12:13 PM
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79pmooney and I are among the very few (I would guess) people posting on BikeForums who have been riding fixed gear for decades. In my case, I got my first track bike (a Helyett Jacques Anquetil model with Reynolds 531 frame and pretty junky French components) in September 1964, so almost 56 years ago. I used a 51/19 gear combination, which is 70.5 gear inches.

Now, at 68, I mostly ride a Specialized Langster (the aluminum model from the first year of production) or a Felt (aluminum) TK2. Both have 48/18 gearing, which is 70.1 gear inches. I think I'm about ready to go to a 19 tooth fixed sprocket, though.
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Old 07-18-20, 12:41 PM
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66ish to 73ish depending on bike, mood, and ride. And fatness.
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Old 07-18-20, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JamesFromBusan View Post
I love hearing that youíre 60 years young and riding! Whatever you do, donít stop cause itíll keep ya young! 💪🏻😎

Is the 46/16 ratio a fixed or a single speed set up? I have a flip/flop hub, but I have to say I prefer coasting hills on the SS hub rather than freaking out on the fixed one, lol.
My Langster is 42/16 and has a flipflop hub. At my age I fear riding it in fixed! lol
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Old 07-18-20, 07:43 PM
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I have been happy with 44/17 though previously I did have 42/16. I don't need crazy gearing. I am not a super strong rider so something fairly easy-ish is fine by me.
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Old 07-21-20, 11:53 AM
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42x16 for touring bike (freewheel).
Comes out to about 73 gear inches.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MixedRider View Post
42x16 for touring bike (freewheel).
Comes out to about 73 gear inches.
Touring on a SS seems like a suicide mission. Where do you tour?
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Old 07-21-20, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
Touring on a SS seems like a suicide mission. Where do you tour?
pacific nw.

for mnt bike I ride a 32-16 with 3Ē tires... I guess I like the abuse...
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Old 07-21-20, 06:37 PM
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70-ish (42x16) for commuting. 60-ish (39x17) for sscx
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Old 07-21-20, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Same reason my only single speed is 38/16 with 700 x 42 tires. Gives about 66 gear inches which is a rather all purpose set up for me. On road, off road, and mid-teens mph cruising.

Everyone that wants to passes me easily, though. But roadies don't follow me off road and MTBs don't seem to prefer the street. I haven't run across gravel riders around here.
Yeah, I rode 39/16 which was 66 gear inches. Same experience as you.
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Old 07-21-20, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JamesFromBusan View Post
Whatís your preferred gear ratio and why?
I got my fixed gear bike out of the garage for the first time in about 25 years when the quarantine started and I've been riding it almost every day since. It had a 46/16*(27 1/4" tire) = 78". I was struggling with this and switched to 46/17 = 73". I probably should have started with an 18T, but the 17T feels great now. Mostly flat terrain, just some easy hills.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:07 PM
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The Wabi Urban Thunder bike has choices of 44/18 gearing for urban riding and 46/18 gearing for rural riding, if that is useful. It is certainly individually subjective.
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