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what is a good gear ratio for riding w/ studs?

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what is a good gear ratio for riding w/ studs?

Old 12-05-09, 12:22 PM
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erbfarm
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what is a good gear ratio for riding w/ studs?

Need some advice guys as it looks like I'm going to be forced headlong into riding through the winter out of necessity. What is a good (meaning easy on the legs) ratio for riding w/ serious studs (Nokkian Extremes)? I've been riding a SS 32x16 on 650B wheels which is fine in fair weather. I live in a very hilly area and I usually have to stop midway up a large hill and take a break w/ this type of ratio. I suppose 32x18 would be better on that bike. But now that I'm throwing on the winter studs (it's snowing as I type this) and pulling out my winter beater mtn bike, I'm wondering what will give me a fighting chance of making it home up these hills with the studs on. I don't have the luxury of spending much $$ but $6 for a SS Dimension cog of 20T sounds about right. That would give me a 32x20t set up on 26" wheels. Another possibility would be to buy a screw on freewheel (for another wheel, not the cassette hub I'm using now) of 18t and use a 26t inner chainring up front, but I"m wondering if I could get a decent chainline that way. The cassette hub w/ SS spacer kit and using my middle chainring up front has worked great. Any advice?
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Old 12-05-09, 10:48 PM
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I don't have the gear ratio for you, but I spend a lot of time in gears that I would normally think of as "silly" I even use my granny gear climbing relatively easy hills.

One thing about going slower in the winter is that you keep from sucking in enormous amounts of frigid air... which helps reduce the risk of cold-induced asthma.
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Old 12-06-09, 10:22 PM
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I run about a 10% difference in gears between my nice weather bike and my studded tire bike. This is with schwable winter 35x700 vs a 23x700 tire.
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Old 12-07-09, 02:07 PM
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I climb some pretty big hills on my studded tires (mount & Grounds) and don't mind coasting on the way home. I run a ridiculously low 24x16. I'm not the fastest, but between my steel-is-real MTB, 20lbs of panniers & crap and studded tires, I am panting plenty at the top of the hills. This from a guy who will put in 5K miles this year. I would say go at least to the 20 if not a 22. In bad weather you won't be upset about coasting some, but if there's snow on the ground I prefer to sit and spin rather than try to stand up.

Also if you are riding mostly on roads (plowed or not) the Extremes are probably overkill. They are made for off road winter riding, not commuting.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesd416 View Post
I I run a ridiculously low 24x16.

Also if you are riding mostly on roads (plowed or not) the Extremes are probably overkill. They are made for off road winter riding, not commuting.
Actually, I think I will take your advice and do the same thing. I have a deore LX crank w/ 24-34-46 rings and I'll just use the 24 ring on that crank. As for the Extremes, I only had $40 to put into the winter tires and I just happened to be in my LBS when I guy walked in w/ his old Extremes willing to sell them for $20 each. Otherwise, I would have gone for the mt and grounds. and while I do ride solely on roads, I live in a rural area where the roads are usually covered with snow and lots of ice so there is rarely bare pavement. I'll just have to give them a try. It's my first winter riding so I don't have anything to compare to.
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Old 12-08-09, 11:17 AM
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Good luck man! Remember that riding is to be enjoyed regardless of conditions. Winter commuting isn't a race, just be safe and have fun. The rolling resistance just makes you stronger. Riding 4 miles each way on my ice bike (+train) is a much better workout than riding 10 miles each way in fair weather.
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Old 12-08-09, 09:40 PM
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Don't know how much I can help, but I was using a 28 x 34 climbing an unplowed hill with the Extremes this afternoon and wouldn't have minded something a little lower. When running on plowed, level streets the 48 x 15 seemed about right. Long way of saying that pushing snow can make a HUGE difference. The other thing to remember is that when pushing the deeper snow you lose a lot of traction and tend to spin the rear wheel when standing. Much better to have a low enough gear so you can stay seated (weight over the rear) and spin the crank.
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Old 12-09-09, 12:54 AM
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My FG runs a 40:19 for winter which is the right gear for our terrain... with this I can stay in the saddle on the steepest climb I have which is a 12% grade, spinning faster at lower speeds keeps one warmer and as I rarely touch the front brake in winter stopping is also relatively easy.
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Old 12-09-09, 09:38 AM
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I've been commuting on a dahon SS with gearing at about 65" - Just mounted my studded tires a couple of days ago and can't believe how much they slow things down (not that I'm complaining....) I'm definitely going to gear down to 55 or so as soon as I can.
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Old 12-09-09, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by frenchie86 View Post
I run about a 10% difference in gears between my nice weather bike and my studded tire bike. This is with schwable winter 35x700 vs a 23x700 tire.
scratch that, it was actually really windy and icy today and I think I need to step it down some. I'm currently at 52-19 but I think I might pull my 44 arms off my other bike.
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Old 12-09-09, 07:16 PM
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I just put the winter stuff back on my re-built snow bike. It was so much lighter after I replaced steel cranks and wheel with Alu. Now if feels like tank again.

34/16 (<55 gear inches) fixed seemed good for the snowstorm today. High enough, doesn't break traction easily, low enough for our mild climbs and brakes were unnecessary. Oh, plus the parts were scavenged. Now if only I could find a left crank whose Q-factor matches my right....
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Old 12-09-09, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by frenchie86 View Post
scratch that, it was actually really windy and icy today and I think I need to step it down some. I'm currently at 52-19 but I think I might pull my 44 arms off my other bike.
My summer road bike runs a 52:19 with a 17 on the flip side... it's not the kind of gearing I would use for winter.

55 gear inches seems to be a pretty happy place for a lot of people... just realized I am running an 18 and not a 19 on my winter bike so that gives me 58 gear inches to work with and there's a 16 on the flip side for when conditions warrant higher speeds.
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Old 12-10-09, 01:26 PM
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My Winter 3-speed is geared 32x17... The low gear is equivalent to 32x22 (38 g-i), the high to 32x13 (67 g-i) and the direct is of course 32x17 (51 g-i). I run 26x1.75 Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires. We have tons of hills around here.

In bad weather conditions, when the roads aren't cleared yet, even the 32x22 equivalent is too high... Especially when climbing one of the all-too-frequent hills found around here.

I tried riding singlespeed for one winter. It was too difficult.. I was running 42x20 and it wasn't low enough, especially when the road conditions were difficult.

If I had to pick a single speed for winter riding, I guess I'd go 32x20 and go slow all winter. But I really like having some gears to choose from.
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Old 12-10-09, 05:23 PM
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34x15 with 700x35

which is about 62GI

low enough to get me up steep gradients and into a headwind. high enough that I'm not spinning like crazy when going into valleys. ok well I do hit something like 140rpm going down, but these are on plowed roads, so it's no big deal.

honestly, I wish it was a bit lower, but then I'd have to go through brake pads like crazy.
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Old 12-14-09, 01:54 PM
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48:19 felt a little steep today pushing through a couple inches of slush but it was doable and if I can make it through this week, won't need to try again until January.
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