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  1. #1
    Trail Cubist
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    How many of you were already studs when you got a SS?

    Okay, I admit I'm intrigued by singlespeeds...but one thing kinda baffles me...

    I know (from having ridden one for a short while one day) that SS bikes are harder to ride than a geared bike. By "harder" I mean as in climbing, because you're effectively "stuck in a higher gear" than what you might use on a fully-geared bike.

    I've put my geared bike on the middle chainring and the middle of my rear cassette and tried riding it on some local trails, and basically couldn't get up any of the hills I can get up in a lower gear.

    So what I'm wondering is which of the following is true of SS riders here:

    A) You were already an MTB superstud/god when you started riding a SS bike, so climbing up hills was no problem for you...or

    B) You got a SS bike precisely because you were NOT an MTB superstud/god and WANTED to be one...so you figured riding a SS bike would whip your weak butt into shape...or

    C) You ride a SS bike, and you are STILL NOT an MTB superstud/god, and you spend a LOT of time walking your SS up hills.

    (I guess this is really kind of a poll!)

    So which one of the above is it for you?

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  2. #2
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    not only was i born a stud....i carry the stud gene.
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  3. #3
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    SS is all about technique. Carry your speed and make effective use of your momentum, and you'll be fine. Having a lighter machine also helps.

    That being said, my only SS bike is a road bike

  4. #4
    Spud State Rider
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    I just got into SS a couple of months ago. I have always liked to climb a lot out of the saddle and I think that helps in SS. I do ride a lot and am in some of the best shape of my life. I actually find SS easier on everything except for the ultra steep climbs. Most of my riding in on gravel though so trail riding might be a different story.

    Maybe you need to change your gearing?

  5. #5
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    I tried SS a bit within a year of getting into mtbing and eventually gave up in frustration (though I still saw and enjoyed some of the fun aspects of SS too). It wasn't the difficulty of any particular climb, it was that after a couple of those climbs I'd be wiped so my rides were all a lot shorter in distance and I couldn't make it to some of the fun sections of my trails

    I tried it again maybe 2 years later at the end of a summer when I had been riding a lot and was in good shape... and it felt totally different and I loved it. I was strong enough to make it places on my SS and to earn the downhills that I really enjoyed. In the two years since my only bike has been an SS.

    The journey hasn't ended yet though. It is only recently that I started really pushing myself to climb better on an SS; to keep momentum going even on long climbs instead of constantly mashing to get one slow turn of the crank at a time. This effort has humbled me again, but at the same time being able to fly up a long hill makes me feel so capable and is slowly turning me into a superstud

  6. #6
    aka baycat
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    not only was i born a stud....i carry the stud gene.
    CHUM is actually Yahweh.

  7. #7
    openwound
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    A: um yeah, not so much
    B: somewhat. though when I bought my first ss I didn't really know much about it. I just thought it was an interesting idea.
    C: i'm no super-studly rider but I don't find myself walking either. I may go reeeeally slow but I'll make it...

    All hail chum.

  8. #8
    Trail Cubist
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    Okay...so (seriously speaking now)...doesn't everyone agree that for someone who is in "average-to-good" shape (as opposed to "good-to-excellent" or just "excellent" shape), a SS bike is definitely harder to climb on than a geared bike (assuming you use a much lower gear on the geared bike)?

    Quote Originally Posted by kri$han
    SS is all about technique. Carry your speed and make effective use of your momentum, and you'll be fine.
    This sounds to me like you're in awesome shape! Trust me—I understand how much of a difference technique makes...but on a climb that's well over 10% and well over a mile long, there's no way the greatest technique on earth can compensate for lack of a lower gear! (Unless of course you're a superstud.)

    I'm a clydesdale rider (6' and 220lbs). I am *already* at a disadvantage when it comes to climbing. (See basic physics.) While I'm definitely not a superstud, I'm not in bad shape either (I just did a road bike century last weekend and felt fine after 100 miles.)

    I guess I'm just wondering if riding a SS bike will be such a revelation that I'll gladly be willing to kill myself on climbs (or walk a lot)...or will I really be hating it after a few rides with tough climbs?

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  9. #9
    RLK
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    Gear selection is everything. Choose wisely...

    Yeah, you'll probably walk a few times before you either get stronger or gear down. That's half the fun

  10. #10
    Trail Cubist
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    After reading the stickied posts in this forum, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that the REAL reason why people ride singlespeeds is NOT because of some notion of "purity" or "simplicity," but because they want to be a superstud!

    Time and again I come across comments like "got me in better shape than I've ever been in..." and "started leaving geared bikers in the dust...." and "floated up hills like never before..."

    So it's becoming increasingly clear to me that there is, in fact, a significant amount of punishment involved in riding a singlespeed...but people suffer the punishment because they know the end result will be superstudness.

    So perhaps a good question to ask a geared biker who's contemplating a SS bike is: are you willing to suffer? Are you willing to cope with punishment that will eventually lead you to a higher plane of cycling existence? Are you MAN enough to make it to the ranks of "happy SS riders?"

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  11. #11
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    After reading the stickied posts in this forum, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that the REAL reason why people ride singlespeeds is NOT because of some notion of "purity" or "simplicity," but because they want to be a superstud! ....
    naw....SS'ing is actually more fun...that's why i like it.

    that and i got sick of maintaining suspension and gears.....
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  12. #12
    Dive Bomber
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    What's the point of having too very small gear ratio for climbing?

    It's pointless since you have the cheapest and the easiest way and sometime it's faster; name it: WALK

    I am a super duper superstud because I know that walk is better and faster. It's boring to just push the pedal, push the ground sometimes.

  13. #13
    RLK
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    naw....SS'ing is actually more fun...that's why i like it.

    that and i got sick of maintaining suspension and gears.....
    This

  14. #14
    meatier showers
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    Tried SS as a way to get strong -- hated it. Abandoned it.

    Got strong on the gearie. Did a 100 mile endurance race.

    Picked the SS back up -- loved it ever since.

    This was 10 years ago.

    --sParty
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  15. #15
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    i'm slower now that i only ride SS. Geared bikes are a much better way to get fast, assuming you use them correctly.
    But as far as if i was as strong before SS, i guess i dont really know.. i had about a 5-6 year layoff from riding before i picked it up again, then i started SSing a couple months after. So yea, i was stronger, but i only think that was because i was still getting my legs back.

  16. #16
    Trail Cubist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Tried SS as a way to get strong -- hated it. Abandoned it.

    Got strong on the gearie. Did a 100 mile endurance race.

    Picked the SS back up -- loved it ever since.

    This was 10 years ago.

    --sParty
    Hmm...makes sense (and someone else said the same). So it sounds like I might be foolish to get a SS now. I'm only nearing the end of my first year of mountain biking. I've ridden a lot, but am in no shape to do a 100-mile MTB race...so I'm thinking I may need to stick with the geared bike for another year or two before making the switch...

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    So it's becoming increasingly clear to me that there is, in fact, a significant amount of punishment involved in riding a singlespeed...but people suffer the punishment because they know the end result will be superstudness.Scott

    This is the stage I'm in.....been riding a SS for 6 weeks now and have noticed a significant improvement in my all around biking studness. This has carried over to my road bike. My roadie buddies have asked what I have changed because I'm dropping them on long climbs. I just smile and say "nothing..." Of course, I still can't keep up with a couple of the other SS that I ride with. They have progressed to superstudness..

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Hmm...makes sense (and someone else said the same). So it sounds like I might be foolish to get a SS now. I'm only nearing the end of my first year of mountain biking. I've ridden a lot, but am in no shape to do a 100-mile MTB race...so I'm thinking I may need to stick with the geared bike for another year or two before making the switch...

    Scott
    I disagree. Just make the switch and let your body figure it out.

    If you wait until you think you're ready, you'll just keep putting it off. I was in average shape when I switched over just to try it. It was three years ago and I haven't had a geared XC bike for over two years now. However, I'm still in just average shape. Once you start riding SS you'll learn new techniques for dealing with it. Also, please remember that keeping it in one gear on a geared bike is not the same as a single speed. All else being equal, a single speed is going to work better and be easier.

    Buy the $40 DMR SS kit from Jenson, throw it on your bike in a couple hours, and then give it a try. Worse comes to worse you put the old stuff back on, and you're out, at most, $40.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Hmm...makes sense (and someone else said the same). So it sounds like I might be foolish to get a SS now. I'm only nearing the end of my first year of mountain biking. I've ridden a lot, but am in no shape to do a 100-mile MTB race...so I'm thinking I may need to stick with the geared bike for another year or two before making the switch...

    Scott
    you dont need to be able to do a 100 mile race to ride a SS. I dont think he ment what you're interpreting. Anyone can ride a SS, it's not as hard as you think.

  20. #20
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    Where I ride, it's uphill for miles and downhill for miles, so carrying momentum is a moot point. I suffer miserably, even to the point I look pathetic compared to geared gusy chit chatting while going up. Seriously, I look like I'm about to die. Yeah I stop and catch breath more often, but don't want to walk. But, I a) only have an hour or two max to ride, b) lucky if I get out twice a week, so the maximum workout in a shortest amount of time, while still having a fill on my bike, is a must.

    All so I can enjoy beer and can enjoy all day climbing on my geared bike on once a month epic. And maintain choirs. So I don't fit in any of your choices. Shrug.

  21. #21
    Spud State Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    i'm slower now that i only ride SS. Geared bikes are a much better way to get fast, assuming you use them correctly.
    But as far as if i was as strong before SS, i guess i dont really know.. i had about a 5-6 year layoff from riding before i picked it up again, then i started SSing a couple months after. So yea, i was stronger, but i only think that was because i was still getting my legs back.
    I agree faster on geared bike on flat or downhill but I know I am a quite a bit faster climbing SS now than I am on my geared bike. Maybe the constant temptation to drop a gear on the geared instead of sucking it up and pushing harder is what does it.....dunno.

    On a geared bike I really dislike the sensation of being in a low gear and spinning the pedals but not moving forward very quickly. I find that a frustrating sensation. On the SS I can feel the cadence I am putting out matching my rate of forward progress and mentally that feels better to me.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug_ID
    I agree faster on geared bike on flat or downhill but I know I am a quite a bit faster climbing SS now than I am on my geared bike. Maybe the constant temptation to drop a gear on the geared instead of sucking it up and pushing harder is what does it.....dunno.

    On a geared bike I really dislike the sensation of being in a low gear and spinning the pedals but not moving forward very quickly. I find that a frustrating sensation. On the SS I can feel the cadence I am putting out matching my rate of forward progress and mentally that feels better to me.
    It's all in the dicipline. If you dont force yourself to ride in a harder gear, then yea, you wont be faster on a geared bike. I've timed myself on both bikes up long climbs and the gears win, hands down.
    But with that said, i hate working on my bikes, so i dont even own a geared bike anymore. Havent had one since 2006 or early 2007, i forgot when that frame broke.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    It's all in the dicipline. If you dont force yourself to ride in a harder gear, then yea, you wont be faster on a geared bike. I've timed myself on both bikes up long climbs and the gears win, hands down.
    But with that said, i hate working on my bikes, so i dont even own a geared bike anymore. Havent had one since 2006 or early 2007, i forgot when that frame broke.
    I know it's a little off topic, but this brings up a good point. I never went single speed for less maintenance, but it sure has been a nice bonus. Aside from lubing the chain, I really never have to work on my bike; it's nice.

  24. #24
    Trail Cubist
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    It's all in the discipline. If you dont force yourself to ride in a harder gear, then yea, you wont be faster on a geared bike. I've timed myself on both bikes up long climbs and the gears win, hands down.
    Is this really true? I mean...(not trying to open a whole 'nother can of worms here, but...) going faster isn't always the result of a harder gear is it?

    I'm no expert, but I've always heard that with road biking at least, the greatest amount of power comes from a very high cadence (spinning like mad). Look at Lance Armstrong—the guy spins like mad.

    Obviously I'm not not talking about two riders in the identical gear...I mean given a choice between spinning faster in a slightly easier gear...versus pedaling slower in a harder gear, the fast spinner will win, right? (Everything else being equal.)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  25. #25
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    I suggest making your rides progressively harder so you build strength and SS stoke at the same time. I took up riding a rigid singlespeed to make myself a stronger/smarter rider and planned to ride the SS once a week and my full suspension bike on the other 3 or 4 rides.

    As I got stronger, I cared less about how the SS improved me as a rider and more about the way I felt like I was 14 years old again, out having fun on an oversized BMX bike.

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