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Thread: gear ratios

  1. #1
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    gear ratios

    being new to the world of SS, i cant quite grasp the math and logic to gear ratios (whats best for what kind of riding, etc.)

    could one of you (or all of you) give me a quick 101 on gear ratios?

    SIDE QUESTION: ive been trying to decide what i want to do with my monocog, and i think turning it into a cyclocross-esque ride would be fun. would anybody advise against this? support this idea? have any ideas for cheap material to do so? give me your thoughts. thanks.

    SIDE NOTE: i dont use the search option on message boards, so save it. you telling me to use it will only make me post more ridiculously overanswered questions, maybe even another "why singlespeed" thread.
    Last edited by messofzero; 07-18-2005 at 11:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    Depends...

    The gear ratio depends on the type of riding you are going to be doing and how strong of a rider you are. A good rule of thumb and starting point is a 2:1 ratio. I am running a 32:16 on relatively rolling terrain with some steep, short climbs. For longer climbing trails I will use a 32:18. Road will be different. My advice to you is if you have a geared bike, go out and run it in a few different gear combos and see what works best for you. Your chainring and cogs will have the tooth count. If they don't, just count them and keep track of which combos works for your overall riding. If you want to know everything there ever was to know about the science of gear ratios head over to sheldonbrown.com.

    Hope this helps

    Dirt Donkey

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by messofzero
    being new to the world of SS, i cant quite grasp the math and logic to gear ratios (whats best for what kind of riding, etc.)

    could one of you (or all of you) give me a quick 101 on gear ratios?

    SIDE QUESTION: ive been trying to decide what i want to do with my monocog, and i think turning it into a cyclocross-esque ride would be fun. would anybody advise against this? support this idea? have any ideas for cheap material to do so? give me your thoughts. thanks.

    SIDE NOTE: i dont use the search option on message boards, so save it. you telling me to use it will only make me post more ridiculously overanswered questions, maybe even another "why singlespeed" thread.
    If we're talking about 26 in wheels, the 2:1 (typically 32:16 based on OEM stuff on bikes and popular parts) is a great place to start. ACS and Shimano freewheels are not expensive so it won't kill you to do some trial and error. FWIW: I have 36 and 32 t. cranks and a 16, 17 and 18t freewheel. Some combo of all of that works for off road and road. I usually prefer to walk hills over having a ratio so low that I am spun out on the flats.

    I run 32:17 most of the time because it's just enough to get up some hills, but I switch to 2:1 for easier trails. 32:18 allows me to climb better, but I get spun out if I'm riding with multi-speed friends. I have 36:17 and 16 for road, but then I spin wheels too easily in winter, and can't clean many hills off road.

    If you mean drop bars on an ATB style bike, that's fine, but if cross bike means 700 wheels, you're probably out of luck.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    2:1 is fine...

    Quote Originally Posted by messofzero
    being new to the world of SS, i cant quite grasp the math and logic to gear ratios (whats best for what kind of riding, etc.)

    could one of you (or all of you) give me a quick 101 on gear ratios?

    SIDE QUESTION: ive been trying to decide what i want to do with my monocog, and i think turning it into a cyclocross-esque ride would be fun. would anybody advise against this? support this idea? have any ideas for cheap material to do so? give me your thoughts. thanks.

    SIDE NOTE: i dont use the search option on message boards, so save it. you telling me to use it will only make me post more ridiculously overanswered questions, maybe even another "why singlespeed" thread.
    You'll be fine with 2:1. Either 32:16 or 34:17. After riding for a while, try going up in back one gear and see if you like it better. It will be easier to spin but you'll go slower on the flats.

    For a reference that will mean something to you: I ride Landahl with a 2:1 ratio. It's what I rode at the 12 hour race out there last September.

    Ken

  5. #5
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    some of landhal can get pretty hairy, good for you with the 2:1 SS out there. i huff and puff on my 27g fully squish out there. but then again, im a 89 year old man trapped in a 22 year old's body

    what about if i decide that the redline will be my commuter more than my trail bike? should i then switch to a biggest chainring, or stick with the 32:16? would it be that much harder on me if i went with a 38:16?

    oh, also, i know this has been covered, but explain the "rule of 4" to me, and please, dumb it down to dangerously low levels of intellengence.

  6. #6
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    Well....

    Quote Originally Posted by messofzero
    some of landhal can get pretty hairy, good for you with the 2:1 SS out there. i huff and puff on my 27g fully squish out there. but then again, im a 89 year old man trapped in a 22 year old's body

    what about if i decide that the redline will be my commuter more than my trail bike? should i then switch to a biggest chainring, or stick with the 32:16? would it be that much harder on me if i went with a 38:16?

    oh, also, i know this has been covered, but explain the "rule of 4" to me, and please, dumb it down to dangerously low levels of intellengence.
    It's like anything else in this world, it's all what you're used to. Being close to KC, I ride Landahl quite a bit so I'm used to the trails there.

    If you decide to go with a SS commuter, then you'll want to push a harder gear. 38:16 may be tooo easy for commuting. Then again, my commute is all of 2 minutes. That may be a question for people who ride longer distances to answer.

    I wish I could explain the Rule of 4 to you in simplistic terms but since I don't know what it is, I can't. I could do my best to make some crap up and try and baffle you if you like.

    Ken

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by messofzero
    being new to the world of SS, i cant quite grasp the math and logic to gear ratios (whats best for what kind of riding, etc.)

    could one of you (or all of you) give me a quick 101 on gear ratios?
    The only reason to do the math is to be able to duplicate a ratio on another bike with different gears and/or wheel sizes.

    Otherwise just change your gearing until it feels right for your riding. You can figure it out all by yourself.
    mtbtires.com
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