Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    352

    Gear/tire/asking too much

    Just recently got a redline monocog. It's not my first single speed or rigid bike but it is my first 29er. Currently set up with a 33x16(59.8) with Kenda karma tires. I had a bit of tire slip climbing a steep gravel road and was wondering if I need to consider an easier gear, different tires, or if the tire pressure is too high since I was riding with 32 psi and I hear guys talking about running sub 20 psi. The recommended tire pressure on the sidewall is something like 35-80 psi.

  2. #2
    The Brutally Handsome
    Reputation: Sizzler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,227
    Do you climb in or out of the saddle? And how far back in the dropouts is your rear wheel located? It can be difficult to maintain rear traction on an SS when out of the saddle climbing is required, and the closer you can situate your wheel to the frame the better. It may be a matter of reducing your air pressure, easing up on your gearing and then orienting your body so that you can put as much weight toward the rear as possible while still standing. That's what I do anyway.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    352
    I was climbing out of the saddle and the wheel is pretty far back on the drops. It's a comfortable gear for my local terrain so changing the gearing is hopefully a last resort. I'll see what I can do about positioning the axle in the drops and lower the psi a couple pounds

  4. #4
    Ahhh the pain....
    Reputation: Raybum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    2,254
    So many factors that influence traction at the rear wheel... I think your weighting F-R is probably the biggest. I've climbed loose, steep crap on a worn tire and made it hook up. But here's some general rules I've developed...
    1) right tire pressure: I'm 160 with gear and 26 psi in the rear on 2.2 tire is perfect...24 is too low, and 28 is noticiably slippery..get a 30 psi max gage and USE IT.
    2) Too spinny of a gear will mess you up too... I have a 900 ft steep loose climb near me in PHX and I've found that 32-22 has TOO much torque...it takes too much body english to keep the tire hooked up. 32-21 albeit a bit slower cadence, stays hooked up. So in other words, you can have too much torque...just like driving on snow
    3) Tire wear...honestly, you can slip a brand new tire if you don't pay attention to #1 and #2 above. And as your tire wears, your attention to weighting and gearing becomes more important.

    I truly feel like chainstay length is important, the factors above can overshadown it's effects.
    ┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐
    http://onegear-ray.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    WillWorkForTrail
    Reputation: Cotharyus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    3,417
    I think there's a lot of good information here. A word about tire pressures. If you're tubeless, you can experiment a bit with lower pressures. There's a point where you just have too little pressure, and the tires start to squirm because of it, or rocks or roots will cause rim strikes. I hear people talk about sub20 PSI tire pressures in non-plus tires and think ok, that's fine - they probably weight less than me. At 235 kitted out, 24-28 in the front, depending on where I'm riding, and 26-30 in the rear, again, depending where I'm riding. Any lower and even on the smoothest trail the tires start to roll out in turns. You'll have to play with your own tire pressures to sort it out. As far as tubed goes, if you're running tubes, obviously the most important thing is to never, ever have a rim strike, because you'll pinch flat. Before going tubeless, I could usually manage that on a rigid bike at around 32 PSI rear and 30 PSI front. It sounds a little silly, but the small difference in tire pressure going from tubes to tubeless really did change the way I ride, because it made a huge difference in traction. So, as it applies to this conversation - if you can drop a couple PSI, especially in the rear, it may keep the tire from bouncing off the rough stuff so much, and result in much better traction.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    777
    Aside from what has been mentioned above in regards to tire pressure and weighting...Climbing out of the saddle on gravel sucks, especially on an SS. Much harder to maintain traction than on packed dirt. In fact it is the only circumstance where I really dislike riding an SS. Throw in some washboard/braking bumps from cars going downhill and it gets demoralizing pretty quickly. I've found that the keys are staying smooth on the power and seeking out the absolute best line; sometimes way over by the edge of the road is packed dirt that grips well, sometimes the crown of the road is better from rain washing away loose gravel, sometimes the car tracks have cleared all the loose gravel away...

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LonelyDwarfProd.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    52
    In my experience (about a year and half on a Monocog) the bike behaves very differently with different tires, more so than any other bike I've ridden. I rode with the original WTB Exiwolf tires, but it felt super sluggish and the tires seemed to squirm a lot regardless of the pressure.

    The best combo I found was to run a semi-slick rear (Geax Mezcal) with a more aggressive front (Geax AKA), with pressures in the 25 (front) and 28 (rear) range. That seemed to keep the bike planted at the front end, letting me put a bit more weight over the rear when climbing, especially loose stuff. My gearing ended up at 34/18 for the terrain in Upstate, NY.

    I also agree with others who've said that climbing on gravel on a SS is terrible, and that lowering your pressures/moving the rear wheel as far forward as possible could help too.

  8. #8
    Warrior's Society
    Reputation: mtnbikej's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    6,781
    With a 33x16 gear on a 29er....it is not a matter of too much torque. That is a very stout gear. I will agree with others that it is tire pressure and technique.
    I resolve to constantly assert my honest opinion on anything and everything - whether it is requested or not.
    Bucky the Cat

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    352
    Thanks for all the great responses. I got the bike used from a commuter who had that gear set up, thought I'd change it but most of my local trails are flat, twisty, and hard packed with short punchy climbs. I figured it would be tough climbing the gravel roads, but doable. It's unknown territory for me but I'll be looking into my first set of tubeless wheels, and probably some wider bars, as well as a suspension fork. Much respect for all you rigid riders, but going from a 6" travel trail bike to rigid is a bit rough for me.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LonelyDwarfProd.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    52
    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    Thanks for all the great responses. I got the bike used from a commuter who had that gear set up, thought I'd change it but most of my local trails are flat, twisty, and hard packed with short punchy climbs. I figured it would be tough climbing the gravel roads, but doable. It's unknown territory for me but I'll be looking into my first set of tubeless wheels, and probably some wider bars, as well as a suspension fork. Much respect for all you rigid riders, but going from a 6" travel trail bike to rigid is a bit rough for me.
    The Monocog rides a bit better with a rigid fork in my experience, the balance of the bike suffers with a heavier front end. I'd swap tires for something beefier/tubeless and get your stem/bars right before going the suspension route.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: canonshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    347
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    With a 33x16 gear on a 29er....it is not a matter of too much torque. That is a very stout gear. I will agree with others that it is tire pressure and technique.
    Agree 33x16 is a pretty monster gear actually. I raced primarily on 33x17 on my one9. I always run the Bonty XR-1 Teams 24 rear 22 front. I was 190 with gear. I was definitely a stand and mash climber and very rarely had issues with tire spin-out.

    I think air pressure and body positioning should be the first two areas you look at. Also - I highly recommend tubeless.
    17 Surly Wednesday BFAT
    11 Niner One9
    07 Yeti ASR-SL

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Velobike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    6,457
    The answer is a fatter tyre...
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    25
    lower pressures for sure, shifting some weight back while standing when feeling some slip, rocking the bike on some tire tread designs helps get traction, oval chain ring helps me maintain traction - just some ideas

  14. #14
    inebriate savant
    Reputation: jasonmason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    99
    Quote Originally Posted by LonelyDwarfProd. View Post
    The Monocog rides a bit better with a rigid fork in my experience, the balance of the bike suffers with a heavier front end. I'd swap tires for something beefier/tubeless and get your stem/bars right before going the suspension route.
    I'd second than. I swapped the stock fork out for a Pace carbon fork that worked very well, but the handful of times i tried running a suspension fork on that frame it just didn't feel right. A properly handling rigid bike beats an awkward suspended bike any day.

    Also, with tire slip pay attention to your cadence. It's one of those things that comes over time with SSing, but actually slowing down your cadence when out of the saddle can held tremendously with slip. When I first got on a SS I wanted to hammer everything, all the time. Take your time and find that pedaling 'sweet spot'. It'll vary with tires, conditions, grade, gearing, and many many more variables...but over time you'll get a feel for it.
    "When life gives you lemons...say f@%k it, and bail"

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: JoePAz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    3,336
    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    So many factors that influence traction at the rear wheel... I think your weighting F-R is probably the biggest. I've climbed loose, steep crap on a worn tire and made it hook up. But here's some general rules I've developed...
    1) right tire pressure: I'm 160 with gear and 26 psi in the rear on 2.2 tire is perfect...24 is too low, and 28 is noticiably slippery..get a 30 psi max gage and USE IT.
    2) Too spinny of a gear will mess you up too... I have a 900 ft steep loose climb near me in PHX and I've found that 32-22 has TOO much torque...it takes too much body english to keep the tire hooked up. 32-21 albeit a bit slower cadence, stays hooked up. So in other words, you can have too much torque...just like driving on snow
    3) Tire wear...honestly, you can slip a brand new tire if you don't pay attention to #1 and #2 above. And as your tire wears, your attention to weighting and gearing becomes more important.

    I truly feel like chainstay length is important, the factors above can overshadown it's effects.
    Ray provided very good advice. I am new to singlespeed and ray has much more experience than I do and in my effort to learn how to ride SS I had found all that he stated here to be accurate. I have also ridden with Ray a few times.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5",Vassago Verhauen SS 29" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    352
    Quote Originally Posted by LonelyDwarfProd. View Post
    The Monocog rides a bit better with a rigid fork in my experience, the balance of the bike suffers with a heavier front end. I'd swap tires for something beefier/tubeless and get your stem/bars right before going the suspension route.
    Good to know, front suspension definitely got put on the back burner for now.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    564
    A Kenda Karma is not exactly a grippy tire. Very few, widely spaced, short knobs. It's not going to bite into loose over hard or gravel very well. Great as a commuter tire and hard pack, but not much else. Get a tire on there with a bit more aggression and I'll bet the problem goes away with no other changes.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    246
    Gravel roads vary a lot, but my local roads have loose gravel over a very hard packed base (hard in the summer at least). I find that even if I use a high traction tire to grip the gravel, the gravel will slip on the hard pack below. You may want to consider this possibility before buying new tires, but it may not be an issue your area.

    Technique and weight distribution help a lot. You will get better at managing traction with practice. If you have the opportunity, riding your singlespeed in snow is excellent practice.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    352
    Quote Originally Posted by WillTheGreat View Post
    Gravel roads vary a lot, but my local roads have loose gravel over a very hard packed base (hard in the summer at least). I find that even if I use a high traction tire to grip the gravel, the gravel will slip on the hard pack below. You may want to consider this possibility before buying new tires, but it may not be an issue your area.

    Technique and weight distribution help a lot. You will get better at managing traction with practice. If you have the opportunity, riding your singlespeed in snow is excellent practice.
    No snow around here on the California coast, ever. I changed the rear cog from a 16t to 20t and which also moved the axle forward in the drops and will be experimenting with tire pressure on my next ride. The gearing change is pretty extreme to me but should allow me to climb in the saddle.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    648
    Yeah that is a huge change. Something like an 18t might be a better swap. You might be unhappy with how quickly you spin out.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    352
    Finally took the redline out for another ride. Thanks again for all the useful advise. Changed the rear cog from 16t to 20t, moved the axle forward in the drops, lowered the psi in my tires from 32psi to 28psi and saw a noticible difference in keeping the wheel from slipping.. I know made quite a few changes so can't really pinpoint what the biggest factor was. What also really helped was body position. It's an old habit from riding 26ers for so long to keep my weight forward to prevent the front wheel from lifting, but on this new 29er I was able to shift my weight much further back and practically pull up on the bars and force the back tire to hook up and not once have an issue of the front wheel lifting off the ground. Now I just need to ditch the stock 680mm bars for something that provides some real leverage.

  22. #22
    EXORCIZE
    Reputation: Ryder1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,901

    and now that you've already fixed the problem...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    So many factors that influence traction at the rear wheel... I think your weighting F-R is probably the biggest. I've climbed loose, steep crap on a worn tire and made it hook up.
    I agree. This issue comes up repeatedly in this forum, with f/r balance often getting conflated with tire grip. They work in conjunction, but are two separate issues. Trying to address sub-optimal f/r balance by increasing tire grip is like putting wide sticky tires on a 1985 Corolla in hopes of stopping it from plowing in sharp corners (i.e. it masks the symptom instead of solving the problem).

    Monocogs typically have long stays, long stems, and steep head tube angles. And jumping out of the saddle typically involves moving up and forward. It's very easy to end up with a disproportionate amount of weight on the front tire when out of the saddle. Mitigate this imbalance by: [1] minimizing the stay length, and [2] tweaking your bars/stem so your grip position allows you to get more weight on the rear tire while maintaining a powerful pedaling position. Once your bike is dialed, then dial in your tires.

    Super long arms also help.
    2016 Pivot Mach 429 Trail
    2011 Kona Unit

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    777
    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    Now I just need to ditch the stock 680mm bars for something that provides some real leverage.
    Bar-ends for the win...wider bars are just going to pull your upper body forward more. More core strength will help too. Be mindful of where you are putting energy when climbing out of the saddle, think of pulling the bars down and back towards the contact point of the rear tire and the ground while on the downstroke of the pedal.

Similar Threads

  1. Vivosmart HRM synch with Runtastic and Strava on iPhone - asking too much?
    By David--R in forum GPS, HRM and Bike Computer
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-13-2016, 12:55 AM
  2. Am I asking too much?
    By tomeeskeburbs in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 51
    Last Post: 03-09-2014, 10:24 PM
  3. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-29-2012, 07:08 AM
  4. Am I asking too much???
    By andrwplsn in forum Cargo Bikes
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 02-10-2012, 08:49 AM
  5. Too Much? Too Fast?Too Cheap? Hernia?
    By Duchowski in forum Rider Down, injuries and recovery
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-04-2011, 10:01 PM

Members who have read this thread: 138

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •