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Thread: Gearing ratio

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Steven Parrish's Avatar
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    Jul 2013

    Gearing ratio

    Currently riding a Specialized hardrock 29er while I take my first MTB rides and wondering one thing, how do I figure gearing ratios in hopes of moving to single speed?

    Here's more info. I ride a fixed/single road bike most of the time and have a 16/32 ratio which really works for me. The Specialized has a 24 speed set up and I'm fine riding on it to learn, but does anyone know how to figure what gearing would equal that 16/32 ratio for a single? Basically to gear this bike to that and see if I'd swap to single in the 16/32 ratio.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: SlowPokePete's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    On 29ers, in areas that are hilly, lots of people like to use 32 x 20.

    You can put in multiple chainring / sprockets here ... Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator ... and compare ratios or inches.

    The only real way to know what's right is to get that ss and ride!


  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Steven Parrish's Avatar
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    Jul 2013
    Went out today and tried a few different gears without shifting...definitely going to have to get the cardio up before jumping to a full SS bike...

  4. #4
    Professional Crastinator
    Reputation: Fleas's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    You can stand your bike on its rear wheel and line up the crank arm with the seat tube and get the tire on a crack or line on the floor.
    Roll it backwards until the crank arm comes all the way back around to the seat tube.
    Measure how far you went from the crack/line.
    This is your gear inches.

    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    May 2005
    You don't need to measure gear inches and you don't need to use Sheldon Brown's calculator. That's a complete waste of time. Like Slow Poke Pat said, you gotta go ride to find out what gearing works for you. If the gearing on whatever bike you get feels too hard or too easy, then change the ratio (bigger cog or smaller chainring = easier, smaller cog or bigger chainring = harder). But I am curious though... 32/16 is really low for a fixed gear bike. Are you sure that front chainring is a 32? 42 is a much more common and useful size.

  6. #6
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    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    there are dozens of threads about single speed gear choice in the "single speed" forum. take a look through those.

    most people seem to like something around 32/18 or 32/20. they might choose 32/22 if things are really tech and hilly, or as hard as 32/15 if the terrain is relatively flat and smooth. try 32/18 to start and go from there.

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