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  1. #1
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    Single speed gearing - Waterloo Hydrocut

    Well, I figured I would jump into SS, and am curious what gearing others typically use when riding the Waterloo hydrocut. I was thinking of going 32:20 on my first dissent build. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I'd find 32:20 a little too easy, I don't find 32:18 challenging there but I'm too lazy to switch to anything else..

  3. #3
    Evil Jr.
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    All my diSSents are on 32:18 except for the winter bike and I think that's just about perfect for Hydrocut.

    Alternatively, both of Mrs. Monster's diSSents are 32:20 and it works for her there.
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  4. #4
    Ms. Monster
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    It's not a bad thing to start with slightly easier gearing on your first foray into SS (i.e. 32:20). You can always switch out the 20 for an 18 if/when you find it too easy.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the feedback, I think I'll order both the 18 and the 20. I guess I will find out pretty quick what my ideal ratio should be. Can't wait to try it out.

  6. #6
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    I've been riding 32:19 for the past 3 years. I have done a number of solo 8 hours, Crank the Shield and a couple of marathon-length courses on this gearing and have found it is pretty good for anything. I've just switched to 32:18 in the last month and it is working really well for me, but likely would have been a little high for the longer rides at the time I did them. 32:20 or 32:19 is a pretty good starting point for riding in southern Ontario and its pretty easy to change the gearing once that becomes less challenging.

    That said, you may all expect a post the day after the Paul's Dirty Enduro 100k setting out in detail how excruciatingly brutal 32:18. Don't say I didn't warn ya....
    Strava made me do it....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    I've been riding 32:19 for the past 3 years. I have done a number of solo 8 hours, Crank the Shield and a couple of marathon-length courses on this gearing and have found it is pretty good for anything. I've just switched to 32:18 in the last month and it is working really well for me, but likely would have been a little high for the longer rides at the time I did them. 32:20 or 32:19 is a pretty good starting point for riding in southern Ontario and its pretty easy to change the gearing once that becomes less challenging.

    That said, you may all expect a post the day after the Paul's Dirty Enduro 100k setting out in detail how excruciatingly brutal 32:18. Don't say I didn't warn ya....
    Thanks. Did you start SS at 32:19?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bomber495 View Post
    Thanks. Did you start SS at 32:19?
    Actually, I started on a 26" singlespeed at 32:16. The smaller wheels make the gear ratio lower. When I got my dissent 29'er it was 32:19 at Peter's recommendation and it was roughly equivalent to 32:16.

    I read above that you are also on a Dissent. The difference between the 20t and 18t rear cog is small enough that you can use the same chain and just slide it back in the drop-outs for the smaller cog, but you might want to consider getting two chains, one for each rear cog, so that you don't run into problems with your chain getting worn and skipping on the rear cog that you tend to use less.

    Another thought - what kind of rear cog? Are you planning on using something like a Misfit Cod Cog that is really easy to change, or a White Industries freewheel (which is what I use), which requires a vice, a specific tool and a bit of patience to change over. If you see yourself changing over the gearing a lot for different ride, you might want to consider the Cod Cog.

    One last thing: Before I got a cross bike, I would run a 38:16 or 44:16 gearing on my Dissent, and put cyclocross tires on the rims, and use it as a winter road training/occasional cyclocross/wreck my knees on the final climb at the Paris to Ancaster bike. Might be something to keep in mind for the winter months.
    Strava made me do it....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bomber495 View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, I think I'll order both the 18 and the 20. I guess I will find out pretty quick what my ideal ratio should be. Can't wait to try it out.
    You're gonna love it. I've owned a lot of bikes but the Dissent is the funnest one I have ever owned, including my old Haro Freestyler (also a singlespeed) the Raleigh Grifter I had when I was 8....
    Strava made me do it....

  10. #10
    Over the bars...
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    I find 33:18 a little soft for rides some places including hydrocut but then get out on long rides and am glad I did not swap it out. I purchased a 17t cog last year but it has yet to see any use.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    Another thought - what kind of rear cog? Are you planning on using something like a Misfit Cod Cog that is really easy to change, or a White Industries freewheel (which is what I use), which requires a vice, a specific tool and a bit of patience to change over. If you see yourself changing over the gearing a lot for different ride, you might want to consider the Cod Cog.
    What advantages would a White Industries freewheel offer to offset the difficulty in changing gearing?

  12. #12
    Ms. Monster
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    Quote Originally Posted by bomber495 View Post
    What advantages would a White Industries freewheel offer to offset the difficulty in changing gearing?
    They're blingy. Plus if you're the "run-what-you-brung" type, it doesn't matter that much how difficult it is to change. The Cod Cogs are inexpensive and fine, but they are aluminum (as opposed to steel, which the WI one is), so will wear faster.

    Initially, I thought you were asking if the White Industries freewheel would make the gearing itself feel easier. While the answer to that question is no, some people do swear by Q-ring rotors, which do allow you to run a higher gear with similar effort (or so say the advocates).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bomber495 View Post
    What advantages would a White Industries freewheel offer to offset the difficulty in changing gearing?
    +1 with Nerdgirl

    White industries stuff is bombproof. I rode the same WI 19t rear cassette for 3 seasons, including having it submerged in beaver ***** for three days on Crank the Shield, and 4 8-hours, 2 marathons, 3 Paris to Ancasters, and a whole lot of shorter races and it was still running strong when I switched it over to an 18t last month. You can just put it on your bike and forget about it. To me, the whole point of singlespeed is having a bike you don't have to spend a lot of time tinkering with and getting a WI freewheel kind of fits in with that ethos.

    Cod cogs, like Nerdgirl said, are a part I consider almost disposable. They are inexpensive and likely will wear out over the course of a season, but this makes it easier to replace them and switch up the gearing as you change them just like a regular rear cluster on a geared bike.

    If you spend time riding the same trails in southern Ontario 32:19 or 32:18 would be perfect and you would not have to spend a lot of time changing the ratio in any event. If you are more ambitious and want to do stuff like the Trans Rockies, BC Bike Race and other races in the "real" mountains, it might be nice to have the flexibility of being able to change the ratio more easily. That said many singlespeeders ( Garage Monster and Nerdgirl included) who have done stuff like that don't change their regular ratio, and some purists might even consider to do otherwise unsportsmanlike.

    So...what does it all mean? I mostly use my misfit for racing, and don't consider myself to be at too much of a disadvantage against geared bikes on the flats, in the singletrack, moderate climbs, undulating trail or short technical climbs. It is only the long, steep climbs that I find myself not being able to complete and I can dismount and run up any climb that steep faster than most people can creep up it in their granny gear, and in any event I can always train more and get stronger, to make it up that hill next time. Where I find myself at a disadvantage is on the wide open stuff, straights and downhills, because I run out of gears and get passed by people in their big rings.

    So my rule of thumb is if you are on the fence between two ratios, go for the higher one.

    If it were me and I were ordering my first singlepeed over again, I'd order a Misfit Dissent with a White Industries drivetrain in 32:18. I wouldn't even bother getting a 20t rear cog as well. Even if the higher ratio is a little tougher at first, and you spend more time pushing up hills for the first few rides, you'll get strong (and/or get used to using your momentum) pretty quickly and before long you'll wonder why you even bothered with gears.
    Strava made me do it....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdgirl View Post
    While the answer to that question is no, some people do swear by Q-ring rotors, which do allow you to run a higher gear with similar effort (or so say the advocates).
    I like my Q-ring but am unsure if it helps or if it is in my head :-)

  15. #15
    Evil Jr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    White industries stuff is bombproof.
    I found out the hard way (considering the price tag) that this is untrue. I had one seize and go fixie for two pedal strokes before self-destructing completely on one of my winter bikes two years ago. I still love them for the excellent engagement but do keep them away from salt spray!
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  16. #16
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    Based on the responses, I feel I would be best suited for the cod cog kit. After some thought I think I'll set it up for 32:19. Now I just need to figure out what type of handle bars I need then I can put it all together!

  17. #17
    Evil Jr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bomber495 View Post
    Based on the responses, I feel I would be best suited for the cod cog kit. After some thought I think I'll set it up for 32:19. Now I just need to figure out what type of handle bars I need then I can put it all together!
    Are you thinking of a standard bar or one of those new-fangled "alt" bars (FU, H-Bar, etc...)?

    It've tried a few different ones but my favourite is my Ti Titec Hellbent Flatracker.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bomber495 View Post
    Based on the responses, I feel I would be best suited for the cod cog kit. After some thought I think I'll set it up for 32:19. Now I just need to figure out what type of handle bars I need then I can put it all together!
    I've used the FUBar and also a flat bar with bar ends. Both work, although the FUBar will feel a little odd at first. The disadvantage of a flat bar with bar ends is that I have to change hand positions onto the bar ends if I want to really stand up and attach a climb. There is also the risk of catching a bar end on a tree in tight singletrack (not good). The advantage is that once I am holding on to the bar ends, I find it easier to attach climbs.
    Strava made me do it....

  19. #19
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    Not really sure yet. Looking for minimum 27" wide though. I have thought about that fu bar though...

  20. #20
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    If you are ordering direct from Misfit Psycles, then a 10-minute phone call with Peter would likely answer all of your questions about how to best spec your bike.
    Strava made me do it....

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    The disadvantage of a flat bar with bar ends is that I have to change hand positions onto the bar ends if I want to really stand up and attach a climb.
    I find on long rides that the bar ends offer an additional hand position (I deal with hand numbing). The more available positions the the less numb hands. Since switching to silicone grips and bar ends though my numbing has eased slightly.

    I have yet to try an alt-bar so I can't really comment on them.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by egggman View Post
    I find on long rides that the bar ends offer an additional hand position (I deal with hand numbing). The more available positions the the less numb hands. Since switching to silicone grips and bar ends though my numbing has eased slightly.

    I have yet to try an alt-bar so I can't really comment on them.
    Well, if hand numbness is your problem, then I would definitely recommend the FU bar. I rode with it for about 3 years, and as far as ergonomics go, it was the most comfortable bar I've ever tried. It may look weird, but it offers such a natural position for your hands, chances are after a month of using it you will not believe you've been using straight (in comparison) bars for so long. I remember my hands would start to tingle and wrists to hurt after even under 2hrs of moderate effort riding with a "regular" riser before. With FU bar, I've done 8hr solos without a single complaint from my hands.
    As for different hand positions, I found the bends inside of the brake levers offered a nice grip option when I wanted to loosen up and straighten my back for a bit. I wrapped those sections in a few layers of bar tape for that purpose, and I've seen other users put additional grips (with cut-off ends) there, or foam insulation wraps.
    The only reason I switched to a straighter bar this season (Salsa Moto Ace 17deg.) was that I needed to get more room in the cockpit (my hands are about 1.5" further forward now). It's by no means a straight bar, but it feels like it in comparison to FU bar. My hands are definitely not as happy as before, but the switch served a greater good, so I'm dealing with it.

  23. #23
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    Don't forget the WI is a freewheel, and the Cod Cogs are just cogs, so using one or the other is also dependent on the type of hub your bike has or will have. The WI freehweel with the 2 gearing options is nice, but definitely not switchable with the same chain length unless you have the matching WI Dos crankset to go along with it. 32:18 has worked great for me everywhere in Ontario.

    Freewheels are a ***** to change so cog option is probably more flexible but alloy cogs are not for me (wear out too fast).

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by nspace View Post
    The WI freehweel with the 2 gearing options is nice, but definitely not switchable with the same chain length unless you have the matching WI Dos crankset to go along with it. ).
    Yes, but with a loosening of four bolts, it can be deployed to deadly effect, for example, in the last 5 kilometres of a certain point-to-point race held in Ontario in the spring....
    Strava made me do it....

  25. #25
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    Well, I finally got everything put together. Ended up with 32:18 with a cog kit. I have found however that the 18t cog I purchased from my LBS may be slightly oval... there is a tight spot when I turn the cranks. Is this something common? I will be returning to the LBS to see if I can get another one, then I can hit the trails tomorrow!

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