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New to SS. Am I a wuss?

Old 10-06-09, 02:13 PM
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Bacciagalupe
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New to SS. Am I a wuss?

I've been cycling for quite awhile now, and just picked up a cheap new SS bike as a beater / commuter bike. I dig the simplicity, but am finding the gearing really tough. It's nothing outrageous -- 42:16 (70 gear inches) -- but it feels like the gearing is too high, it takes forever to accelerate, and I don't feel like I'm riding at a comfortable cadence. I'm figuring that 55-60 gear inches may be a little more my speed.

Should I just lower the gearing, or will I get used to it?

Last edited by Bacciagalupe; 10-06-09 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:15 PM
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yes, grow a pair.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:18 PM
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seriously though i wouldn't go lower than 65. i have 63 right now on my singlespeed and i spin out allllll the time on flat ground. i'm constantly spinning then coasting until the wind catches me to a point where my legs can actually move me again. it sucks. i can't imagine 55 on a bike that weighed any less than 45lbs.

that and i'm in seattle where there are tons of hills. otherwise i'd probably run 75 like on my track bike... which can still get up any hill if i take the right route.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:19 PM
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What is your terrain like?
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Old 10-06-09, 02:20 PM
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70 is usually considered on the lower end of typical gearings. I rode for quite a while on 76 and recently geared down to around 69 and find it quite a bit more comfortable for high-cadence riding without tiring myself out.

If it doesn't feel good, ride a lower gearing. Cogs are cheap and easy to replace, knees aren't. No one is going to make fun of you for only going 15mph on your commuter; you shouldn't feel the need to push a higher gear than you want.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:28 PM
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give it a few weeks. you'll build more muscle. but if you're just commuting through a flat city, 60-70 GI should be comfortable. im getting used to 48/16 but those big hills man... kicks my ass!

im going down to 17t. should be easier on the climbs. spinning out scares me a little but i just need to get used to it.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:38 PM
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Don't worry, feetpower. You aren't ever going to have to worry about spinning out at 48x17. I've pushed that gear up to 43mph. You'll find it much more comfortable.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:43 PM
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Yes I'm sure he can spin 200 rpm I mean who can't do that?

More likely if you're a normal person you'll spin out at 30mph, which isn't super duper fast. But being able to go up hills is more important.
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Old 10-06-09, 02:45 PM
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i run 46/17 which i believe puts me somewhere around 69. I started out higher, but my experience with any ratio is that it just takes a little getting used to. i'd say keep riding for a few miles at a time and see if it gets any better. if not switch out your cog and who gives a **** if people give you **** for it its your bike!
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Old 10-06-09, 02:46 PM
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You are a wuss, part wimp and part pus*y. It's going to be just like last summer, you fell in love with that girl at the photomat, you bought $40 worth of fuc*ing film and you never even talked to her - you don't even own a camera.
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Old 10-06-09, 03:17 PM
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OK, so nightfly has quite the active (and inaccurate) imagination, I see...

I am in the NYC area. There's a little bit of wind but generally flat. I don't need to go fast -- 12-15 mph is plenty. I'm getting a little thrown by the slow acceleration at intersections, though.
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Old 10-06-09, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by nightfly View Post
You are a wuss, part wimp and part pus*y. It's going to be just like last summer, you fell in love with that girl at the photomat, you bought $40 worth of fuc*ing film and you never even talked to her - you don't even own a camera.

Lol.


To OP, using sheldon's gear inch calculator found here: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

and assuming you have 700x25 tires and 170mm cranks, you're running 69.2 gear inches. That is awfully low for commuting. I suggest going up on the gear inch and train your legs, then going back down to something more comfortable when your legs become stronger.
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Old 10-06-09, 03:24 PM
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what pedal system are you using? i am much slower accelerating when i'm on platforms than when i'm clipped in and can pull up as i push down.

there have been a couple times that i have ridden my geared bikes a lot and somewhat abandoned my fixed gear/SS's. when i get back on them months later i always feel like a wuss. i think it's because i just have a tendency to shift into a lower gear than i really need to be in. this might be your case as well, especially since we both don't feel the need to go fast, 12-15 is fine for me too.

give it a couple weeks, if it is still killing you then gear down, don't worry about what everyone else rides, ride what makes you comfortable.
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Old 10-06-09, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by shubonker View Post
you're running 69.2 gear inches. That is awfully low for commuting.
I don't agree with this at all. Especially if you're commuting in the city where you're going to be doing a lot of stops and starts, and are unlikely to need to go 25+ with any frequency.

If you feel like you're going too slow, gear up. If you feel like you're working too hard and don't care about speed, gear down.

My winter bike is 42x18 on 700x35s. Around 63 GI.
15 mph is comfortable, 20 is doable. You really don't need more unless you're doing long distance rural commutes, or you really need to get from A to B as fast as humanly possible.
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Old 10-06-09, 03:38 PM
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There's really no need to stay at the gear you're at if you don't like it. If acceleration is tough for you drop down to a 17t cog and that should be good. No one knows your riding situation like you, and if it's not ideal change it
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Old 10-06-09, 03:44 PM
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42x16 lol

You need to do more squatz, brah.
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Old 10-06-09, 03:51 PM
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i thought i was a wimp for complaining about 46x18 on steep hills. you're a wimp.
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Old 10-06-09, 03:54 PM
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42x16 is great, you just have to pedal in nice fast circles instead of slowly mashing some oversized track gear.
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Old 10-06-09, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by dsh View Post
yes i'm sure he can spin 200 rpm i mean who can't do that?

More likely if you're a normal person you'll spin out at 30mph, which isn't super duper fast. But being able to go up hills is more important.
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Old 10-06-09, 04:26 PM
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I use clipless on my road bikes, and am using platforms (no clips) on the SS. Position is fairly upright, too. Top speed isn't very important at the moment. If I want to go fast, I'll hop on a road bike; right now, the SS is for utility, commuting, and any time I don't want to deal with shifting.

So if I decide to drop the gearing a bit, do they usually change the front or the back? Do you take links out of the chain, or do you adjust the chain fit by its position in the dropout?
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Old 10-06-09, 04:30 PM
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Cogs are usually a lot cheaper than chainrings, so replacing those is the way to go. As for links vs position in the dropouts, it's really a whichever you want. If I can get between cogs by sliding it back in the dropouts I do that, just because it saves a few minutes over breaking the chain and getting my fingers all dirty.
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Old 10-06-09, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
I've been cycling for quite awhile now, and just picked up a cheap new SS bike as a beater / commuter bike. I dig the simplicity, but am finding the gearing really tough. It's nothing outrageous -- 42:16 (70 gear inches) -- but it feels like the gearing is too high, it takes forever to accelerate, and I don't feel like I'm riding at a comfortable cadence. I'm figuring that 55-60 gear inches may be a little more my speed.

Should I just lower the gearing, or will I get used to it?
What gears do you normally use on your geared bike?
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Old 10-06-09, 04:59 PM
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im in new york too. i have 71 gi on my fixed gear. on my single speed i have 69 and it find it to spin too much.
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Old 10-06-09, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dsh View Post
Yes I'm sure he can spin 200 rpm I mean who can't do that?

More likely if you're a normal person you'll spin out at 30mph, which isn't super duper fast. But being able to go up hills is more important.
I think most people if they ride a low gear and just ride a lot should be able to hit near those cadences after a year or so of practice riding hills. Seriously, commit yourself to riding 70GI for 12 months and you'll be able to trash most riders both uphill and downhill.
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Old 10-06-09, 05:29 PM
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The biggest problem with low gears is that when you're walking your bike from the coffee shop to the bar, the cranks turn so much more than they do with nice high gears.
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