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What gear ratio is right? Need Advice

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)

What gear ratio is right? Need Advice

Old 09-19-12, 12:17 PM
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What gear ratio is right? Need Advice

Hi everyone I'm new to the forums

Right...I've always been a road cyclist and enjoyed the top end, power pedaling gears where I could go as fast as my legs could take me, but I've decided to go from the geared road bikes to the fixed wheel bikes, but I'm not sure what gear ratio to get. The bike I have is a 44/18, sure this is great for hills (even though there's next to no hills in my area) but I feel it lacks ALOT in the straights which is just about everywhere I go.

I'm considering simply buying a new rear sprocket, So I was thinking of replacing the 18 tooth sprocket with a 12,13 or 14 tooth. What would you all recommend?

Thanks alot Matt
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Old 09-19-12, 12:20 PM
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There is a sticky located at the top of this subforum dedicated to answering this question.

It comes down to this:
Originally Posted by puppypilgrim
Permit me to add to this discussion. Use the formulas referenced in the posts above to calculate what chain rings and cogs you need.

Online calculators are available here:
https://software.bareknucklebrigade.c...it.applet.html (does not work with Google Chrome)

Your preferred gear inch will depend on:
- how fit you are
- how strong you are
- the terrain you do 90% of your riding
- the wind conditions for the majority of your riding
- how many skid patches you want (if that's important to you)

Since most riders cannot perceive a 1 gear inch difference, consider the following gear ranges with soft edges, not binary precision.

60-65 gear inches = good for older riders or weak knees or touring.

66 gear inches = good all round gear for flats and hills. Not too slow on the flats, not too hard on the hills and wind. Touring is even possible. Great acceleration from standstill.

69 gear inches = near ideal for most people and most applications unless you are exceptionally strong. City gear and hills are feasible.

70-73 gear inches = superb range. At 100 rpm, it produces 21.4 mph (34.5 km/h). At 100 rpm, the force required to turn the pedals is still relatively light. Anything is this gear range produces an excellent balance between acceleration, hill climbing, combating winds and flat road speed. Note that at 20 mph (32.2 km/h), approximately 80% of the power being produced by the human body is being used to overcome air resistance. This is why it is so hard to sustain any speed above 20 mph (32.2 km/h) during a daily commute. If you know how to spin, this gear range will not be slowing you down.

76 -81 gear inches = this range maybe useful in places where there are no hills and where riding with a slow cadence is preferred to riding with a rapid cadence. All other things being equal, one will sweat less pushing a larger gear with a slow cadence at low speeds (say up to 15 mph) versus a lower gear with a high cadence. All bets are off if you push a large gear with a high cadence! This range is also harder on the knees due to the pedal force required to turn the cranks. Acceleration from a standstill will be noticeably slower than gears in the high 60s and low 70s. It's a tall gear for city riding and sprinting from traffic to traffic light and intersections. Hills will also slow you down in a big way.

81 and up gear inches = velodrome racing gears in controlled conditions, and short term training applications.

These are my opinions only based on general observation, lots and lots of reading and learning from others who have gone before. I'm sure someone will say, "But I ride 92 gear inches and it takes me everywhere!". My reply would be, "Good for you. I hope you have money for the knee surgeries you're gonna need."

Find a gear low enough that allows you to climb the highest hill you need to ride on a regular basis and use that as a starting point for your singlespeed and fixed gear riding. With FG, you need to ensure the gear you pick is high enough that you can ride DOWN the tallest hill you've just climbed.

Best wishes,
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Old 09-19-12, 12:25 PM
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How about a humble 16t cog to start with.
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Old 09-19-12, 12:48 PM
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It's the only way you will know for sure.
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Old 09-19-12, 01:04 PM
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thats what my noobness did when I started.
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Old 09-19-12, 01:16 PM
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Link provided to gear ratio thread.

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