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  1. #1
    I'm with stupid
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    please help SS guys/gals

    posted this in the local forum but figured posting here as well would help get more then just the local SS guys to respond so.......
    Like the title says how in the world do you rock a single speed out here (colorado front range) . I put one together on a budget 26" er with conversion on a aluminum frame and cheap parts. Im about 200 bucks into the bike. But wow the climbing that is no biggy at all on geared bike kills me getting out of saddle and not sitting and spinning. So how did you start and get better at it where it did not kill you to ride over 5 miles. Im using as a way to make my legs stronger for my geared bike. Im tired of having chicken legs, and to learn to carry speed better into climbs, and ride smoother and cleaner to not get slowed down by rocks, and climb over rough stuff smoother, So tips and advise would be helpful.

  2. #2
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    Ride a lower gearing. Sit and spin if you want to.

    As it gets easier up your gearing. Eventually you'll get rid of the chicken legs and you'll be pushing a bigger gear.

  3. #3
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    depends on how hard you ride. Sounds like you were more of a spinner before, so it'll take you a bit longer than some. Doesnt mean you're weak or slow, just a different type of riding and a different muscle group. Dont give up, and play with your gearing if you need to. No shame in a big gear in the back. I've seen plenty of people transform.
    BTW, i am a pretty strong SSer and my chicken legs are here to stay

  4. #4
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    Be careful.

    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck
    posted this in the local forum but figured posting here as well would help get more then just the local SS guys to respond so.......
    Like the title says how in the world do you rock a single speed out here (colorado front range) . I put one together on a budget 26" er with conversion on a aluminum frame and cheap parts. Im about 200 bucks into the bike. But wow the climbing that is no biggy at all on geared bike kills me getting out of saddle and not sitting and spinning. So how did you start and get better at it where it did not kill you to ride over 5 miles. Im using as a way to make my legs stronger for my geared bike. Im tired of having chicken legs, and to learn to carry speed better into climbs, and ride smoother and cleaner to not get slowed down by rocks, and climb over rough stuff smoother, So tips and advise would be helpful.
    I tried SS to make myself stronger for a trip to colorado. The only problem is, when I tried to switch back to gears, the spinning freakin killed me. As ISuckAtRiding said, it's a different muscle group and once I adapted to standing and climbing vs. sitting and spinning, the spinning muscles seemed to be weaker than before. The cool thing is that I found out that single speeding was my thing and I would have never given it a fair try if I hadn't had this trip planned.
    I did chicken out and run my bike 1x9 on the trip because the altitude (12,444ft) killed me but the first thing I did when I got back was pull that cassette off.
    BTW ISuckAtRiding's custom chainring held up perfectly across the San Juan and La Sal mountains. Thanks again Dan, I will be ordering a Ti one soon.
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  5. #5
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    32x20. As soon as you can go no further, hop off the bike and start walking as fast as you can. When you feel like you have your lungs under control, hop back on. Eventually your condition will improve.

    +2 for the chicken legs not disappearing.

  6. #6
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    Keep at it. It took me 6 months of full-time SS riding until I could hang on rides that I'd been doing geared.

  7. #7
    My spoon is too big!
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    I started riding taller gears on my geared bike long before I actually got the SS. Also doing weekly hill climbs helped a lot.

    On my first ride, I still had the 32-16 gearing it came with. I quickly realized it wasn't going to work. I threw a 20T on the back and it made all the difference. Some climbs are still beyond me, but I can hang on most group rides.

    Find your ideal gearing, and keep riding.
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
    J. R. R. Tolkien

  8. #8
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    32x20 here also. In Pisgah, I can ride anything that I rode on a geared bike. Colorado......now that's a different story.

  9. #9
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    I rode a 32X18 in the beginning, because it came stock on the bike. I couldn't make all of the climbs and got discouraged. I switched to a 20t in the rear. The first ride on the same trails, I did all of the climbs that I had to walk before. It made a ton of difference. Now I am strong enough to switch back to the 18t.

  10. #10
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    On hard steep climbs, make sure you push/pull hard on the pedals as you stand, and use your upper body to rock the bike. Hopefully you have wide bards to help with the leverage.

  11. #11
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    this was key for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by flafonta
    On hard steep climbs, make sure you push/pull hard on the pedals as you stand, and use your upper body to rock the bike. Hopefully you have wide bards to help with the leverage.
    My chicken legs haven't gone away but my upper body definitely got bigger. I switched to the syntace vector bars (680mm wide, 12* sweep) for more leverage and it made a huge difference.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruso414
    My chicken legs haven't gone away but my upper body definitely got bigger. I switched to the syntace vector bars (680mm wide, 12* sweep) for more leverage and it made a huge difference.
    This was a change I didn't anticipate. My legs have definitely gotten bigger and more defined, but my upper body made huge gains as well. Suddenly I was noticing my arms, chest and shoulders were much more defined. Gym? What gym
    :wq

  13. #13
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    32/18 on Mt Falcon is still a killer, I have to stop and gasp for air several times and still takes 45 min. After one year almost exclusively on a proky SS. 20t may make it possible to get up without a stop but then I'll be spinning like a hamster on the descent. I can do Green Mt without a stop now. Stared out Green Mt last year the same way I am on Falcon now, so I think I'm getting used to it, just slowly. You'll get used to it by next summer!

    Good tires that don't break loose too easily is another key, although I see some seasoned SSers with "vintage" tires and "vintage" canti brakes going past me up/down. You can substitute "vintage" with "POS" if you like.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruso414
    I tried SS to make myself stronger for a trip to colorado. The only problem is, when I tried to switch back to gears, the spinning freakin killed me. As ISuckAtRiding said, it's a different muscle group and once I adapted to standing and climbing vs. sitting and spinning, the spinning muscles seemed to be weaker than before. The cool thing is that I found out that single speeding was my thing and I would have never given it a fair try if I hadn't had this trip planned.
    I did chicken out and run my bike 1x9 on the trip because the altitude (12,444ft) killed me but the first thing I did when I got back was pull that cassette off.
    BTW ISuckAtRiding's custom chainring held up perfectly across the San Juan and La Sal mountains. Thanks again Dan, I will be ordering a Ti one soon.
    No, thank you Randy, glad it's working out for you.
    That is an awesome picture, and there is no shame in running 1x9 for a ride like that. Altitude is a killer, when i did the Brian Head Epic 100 a few years ago i thought i was going to die on my warmup ride the day before the race. I had never been at that kind of altitude before, never mind ridden at it.
    The upper body does take quite the toll... i know if i havent ridden much then i try to do alot of extended climbing, my lower back and arms are killing me.

  15. #15
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    In my experience, single speed is not good training for geared bikes. To really get used to riding a single speed, you need to do it regularly. If you do that, you get good at standing up and stomping at low RPM up the steeper hills. But then, when you get back on the geared bike, you lose some of your ability to spin at higher RPM.

    That said, if you are lucky enough to be able to ride 4 or more times a week, it might work if you switch back and forth constantly so that you are mixing it up and your muscles don't get used to one mode or the other. A more effective way of getting rid of chicken legs would be to go to the gym and do squats, but that's not as much fun.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29
    In my experience, single speed is not good training for geared bikes. To really get used to riding a single speed, you need to do it regularly. If you do that, you get good at standing up and stomping at low RPM up the steeper hills. But then, when you get back on the geared bike, you lose some of your ability to spin at higher RPM.

    That said, if you are lucky enough to be able to ride 4 or more times a week, it might work if you switch back and forth constantly so that you are mixing it up and your muscles don't get used to one mode or the other. A more effective way of getting rid of chicken legs would be to go to the gym and do squats, but that's not as much fun.
    Agreed, in fact even when i was racing SS i was training on my geared bike most of the time. I never really went to an easier gear than what i ran on my SS, but i was usually in the big ring doing extended high speed runs through the local canyons. Once a week, i'd do a night ride on the SS in the same canyons and spin my ass off on the long flats. It worked well, and when i started training like this, i started putting a bigger gap on the competition.

  17. #17
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    ^^

    Some good points. I've been getting more and more used to my SS. I started at 32/18 stock gearing (29 wheels) and it was very tough. I had to run at the front of the pack because I had to keep my cadence up. It nearly killed me (and the other geared guys trying to keep up.)

    After swapping in a 18t, things are much better. More all around gearing.

    I've been giving my SS more love lately than my geared FS bike. But mostly because I'm trying to see where MY and the SS limits are on my local trails. Once I've established that, I'll probably spread the love more evenly.

    BTW, I also commute on a geared road bike. I use all the damn gears. :P Mostly because it is my recovery ride and I try to keep my HR in my lower aerobic zone. So I take it easy and spin in whatever gear the incline calls for.

    I will say that before I went SS, I trained up to it by pushing bigger gears and shifting less on my geared bike.

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