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Best gear ratio for going fast on a single speed

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)

Best gear ratio for going fast on a single speed

Old 10-07-20, 05:06 AM
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Best gear ratio for going fast on a single speed

I'm currently using a 40/16 ratio and I like going fast on flat. What is the best gear ratio for going fast on flat? My crank arm is 170mm.

I live mostly on flat.

Last edited by Adis; 10-07-20 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 10-07-20, 12:22 PM
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It will vary with age, weight, fitness, pedalling style, the design and fit of the bike and a number of other variables. Assuming you have 700c wheels you're on about 69 gear inches. That's roughly what I ride for general purpose riding, commuting and some easy cross country on a road bike with drops. I'm 57 years old and not as fit as I was, so if you're after speed on the flat as a priority, you can probably increase your ratio a bit from where you are now.
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Old 10-08-20, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Adis View Post
I'm currently using a 40/16 ratio and I like going fast on flat. What is the best gear ratio for going fast on flat? My crank arm is 170mm.

I live mostly on flat.
One way to think about it... with no wind on a flat route, what is ďfastĒ and what cadence do you want to be doing at that speed?

For example, I run 42/16 on 700x32 which is about 71 gear inches. I will be doing about 17 mph at 80 rpm, 19 mph at 90 rpm and 25 mph at 120 rpm.

This might seem a bit slow using drop bars on the flats, but with the hills around here, itís about the most I want to do.

Iím trying out touring bars to increase wind drag at higher speeds. That seems to give just the right level of effort on the flats without having to make the hills too painful. And the touring bars are great for long, standing climbs.

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Old 10-08-20, 09:57 AM
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too subjective. if you find that you're spinning out a lot, add two teeth to your chainring. experiment until you find what works for you. you'll notice that it will be harder to accelerate. if you ride in an urban area where you need to stop and start often, a bigger gear might be slower, or it could cause more fatigue. that will be slower in the long run.
do you want to feel faster, reaching higher speeds for the thrill of it, or do you want to get from one place to another faster? there are too many variables to give you an answer and anyone who can prescribe a specific number for you is full of hot air, but those are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself to figure it out.

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Old 10-08-20, 02:37 PM
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This one:

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Old 10-08-20, 06:00 PM
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This one probably need vehicle drafting though. You will dies, fast, alone.
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Old 10-08-20, 08:56 PM
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I ride 48/17, and can easily ride anywhere from 14-22mph depending on my cadence. And Iím pretty small, so someone with good legs and muscles could probably really fly.
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Old 10-11-20, 08:00 PM
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I ride 46/16, and rode a thirty mile all flat route today. My average speed was 13.7, high speed 18.5 and I'm 65, out of shape 265 lbs. This also seems to work good in city traffic and on hills.
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Old 10-12-20, 04:47 PM
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I rode 46/16 (or 17, cant remember) in a very hilly city for years before buying a road bike. I assumed it would make me faster in my favorite strava segments (no that's not the reason I bought the bike) but I was surprised that while I did make a couple PRs they were mere seconds over my previous times. I was forced to do more work which offset any benefit of a larger gear ratio in terms of speed. BUT I've gotten faster since then because of the added "resistance" I guess you could say.

Point is, unless you're already strong in a larger ratio then you're not suddenly going to get much faster just by increasing your front ring for example. I think you should, 40 seems tiny to me, but don't expect an immediate speed boost.
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