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  1. #1
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    Should I lose a tooth in the rear, even if what I have is hard?

    Okay, I like SSing a lot. I'm not in very good shape, and have even put in about 10 more lbs due to work stress in recent months. I ride 32x21 on my SS. My question is this, if my current gear is hard enough to make me walk in some places, should I consider going 1 tooth less in the rear so I am faster everywhere else on the ride? I'm pondering this because if I have to walk now, I probably won't be walking THAT much more than I do now. Plus I might be a little faster in the areas that I do peddle. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Comparing my 30x19 and 30x18 gearing, i need to walk more with the 18t. I have a course i will ride with both gearing and can clean it with the 19t. I will have to walk a bit with the 18t. If i had a 17t, i wouldn't want to ride the hill with the amount i would have to walk. The bigger gear also wears me out more over the course of a 2-3hr ride. 1t will wear on your conditioning more than you think. Although, if you can handle one less tooth, then you were using too easy a gear to start with. Trick is to find the balance between fun and function.

  3. #3
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    Rational arguments could be made for staying in your current gear ratio, increasing it or decreasing it. It really depends and is a subjective matter.

    Personally I like 34/20 as my "go anywhere"-ratio (29er), as it's fast enough not to cause frustration on flats, but only the occasional spot makes me walk.

    What kind of spots make you walk? Is it just the load of going uphill or is the trail really technical? Because in some cases the reduced speed from having a low gear ratio costs you momentum and stability. Attacking the trail at a higher speed can help avoid walking.

  4. #4
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    If you put an easier ratio on then you won't get stronger to eventually clear those said obstacles, especially if they are climbs you are talking about.
    Agree with what Saul said, attacking the trail at a higher speed could help.

  5. #5
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    1 tooth doesn't effect if I walk or ride certain sections, but after a couple hours my legs are more shot in the harder gear.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHS View Post
    If you put an easier ratio on then you won't get stronger to eventually clear those said obstacles, especially if they are climbs you are talking about.
    Oper isn't asking about an easier gear. He's asking if he should go one gear harder since he's already walking on climbs.

    If you can push a bigger gear, then your currently using a gear too easy. Of course, trail may dictate the gearing. But, for general riding, find a gear you can ride for hours with minimal walking and minimal spinning out. Consider gear ratio testing as an excuse to go for a ride.

  7. #7
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    It is a good concept, and is worth a try. The taller gear may be more fun.

    I just changed from 34-18 to 32-22 on my SS 29er. It is better on some hills, but I think I preferred the previous gear for around the neighborhood. I got to pedal on slight hills and stand up on steeper hills. Really steep hills were walkers anyway. Which is more fun? Try it and see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding View Post
    Okay, I like SSing a lot. I'm not in very good shape, and have even put in about 10 more lbs due to work stress in recent months. I ride 32x21 on my SS. My question is this, if my current gear is hard enough to make me walk in some places, should I consider going 1 tooth less in the rear so I am faster everywhere else on the ride? I'm pondering this because if I have to walk now, I probably won't be walking THAT much more than I do now. Plus I might be a little faster in the areas that I do peddle. Thoughts?
    Last edited by DavyRay; 03-16-2013 at 06:30 PM.
    "Head injuries are pretty high-consequence" - AndrwSwitch

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetboy23 View Post
    Oper isn't asking about an easier gear. He's asking if he should go one gear harder since he's already walking on climbs.

    If you can push a bigger gear, then your currently using a gear too easy. Of course, trail may dictate the gearing. But, for general riding, find a gear you can ride for hours with minimal walking and minimal spinning out. Consider gear ratio testing as an excuse to go for a ride.
    Not sure how I read that wrong...anyhow, try it and see what you like. Only you can decide what works best and is the most fun for yourself. Personally I would get satisfaction by overcoming whatever obstacles are presented. But everyone rides for various reasons.

  9. #9
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    Should I lose a tooth in the rear, even if what I have is hard?

    I recently changed from 32x21 to 32x20 and really can't tell a big difference. I did change to lighter wheels at the same time, so I guess I was cheating a little. Give it a try and see how it goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saul Lumikko View Post
    What kind of spots make you walk? Is it just the load of going uphill or is the trail really technical? Because in some cases the reduced speed from having a low gear ratio costs you momentum and stability. Attacking the trail at a higher speed can help avoid walking.
    My main loop has about 1200 vertical feet of climbing and is 8 miles. Its all fire roads and bumpy from the cows and horse. It is not technical. So its the steep climbs that are getting to me.
    Last edited by Wish I Were Riding; 03-16-2013 at 08:50 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    I recently changed from 32x21 to 32x20 and really can't tell a big difference. I did change to lighter wheels at the same time, so I guess I was cheating a little. Give it a try and see how it goes.
    Can I have some lighter wheels too?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding View Post
    My main loop has about 12 vertical feet of climbing and is 8 miles. Its all fire roads and bumpy from the cows and horse. It is not technical. So its the steep climbs that are getting to me.
    I'm sure thats a typo, but, it just really seemed funny to me. You should be riding a 40x16 ratio with trails like that.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetboy23 View Post
    I'm sure thats a typo, but, it just really seemed funny to me. You should be riding a 40x16 ratio with trails like that.
    haha that is funny. I corrected the post to say 1200 feet. Doh!

  14. #14
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    Go for it?? You can always go back if you don't like it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavyRay View Post
    I just changed from 34-18 to 32-22 on my SS 29er. It is better on some hills, but I think I preferred the previous gear for around the neighborhood. I got to pedal on slight hills and stand up on steeper hills. Really steep hills were walkers anyway.
    That's a big jump, what made you decide to try that?

  16. #16
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    Should I lose a tooth in the rear, even if what I have is hard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding View Post
    That's a big jump, what made you decide to try that?
    Yeah that's what I thought.

    SPP
    Rigid.

  17. #17
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    One thing I love about SSing is this ever-changing gearing. It really forces you to learn and analyze every trail and gear accordingly. Some find it tedious to have to mess with gearing, but I find it keeps me interested and almost fascinated by it.

    On my 29er, I'm usually at 32x20, but have several cogs from 17-22.

    BTW, sucks about stress at work. Know how that is. One major factor to your weight gain is most likely diet (stress induced feasts?). I've gone almost vegetarian in the last year and feel a whole lot better. Definite life changer, for the better. (Disclaimer: I do treat myself to a bacon burger at Red Robin every once in a while...)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding View Post
    That's a big jump, what made you decide to try that?
    Mainly 'cause I'm out of shape, and I have not ridden this KM off road very much yet.

    That 32-22 gear is about as low as I can conveniently go. I wanted to see what sort of hills I could pull with it. I can always mix and match. I have a 32 and a 34 chainring, and 16, 18, and 22t cogs. Next is probably the 34t ring and the 22t cog.
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  19. #19
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    I'm with c_m_shooter.
    "1 tooth doesn't effect if I walk or ride certain sections, but after a couple hours my legs are more shot in the harder gear."
    Stay with gears you have until you can make those hills, then move on to a smaller cog.
    It won't take long.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding View Post
    My question is this, if my current gear is hard enough to make me walk in some places, should I consider going 1 tooth less in the rear so I am faster everywhere else on the ride?
    I think it depends on what's important to you really, and also on what proportion of the ride you'd be able to take advantage of being a very little bit faster. If you like being able to try and clean techy sections and climbs then gearing up might make the ride less enjoyable for you.
    However, if you also ride a geared bike, you will know that the lower gear isn't always the answer in plenty of situations.
    As Saul said, sometimes being able to drive a bigger gear into a short, sharp climb, rock garden or whatever will get you through when spinning a lower gear would have meant failure.
    If your typical rides have a high proportion of long, sustained climbs however, then I personally would gear to a level which will let you ride most of those out of the saddle at the limit of your present conditioning. If you need to stop and take a breather, then so be it - you'll soon find that these'll get less and less.
    On the flat stuff, where you'll be spinning along in the saddle, that gearing will probably be fine and going down I'd pick nice, technical descents and flowy singletrack over a fireroad anytime. I hate to waste hard-won altitude just coasting back down.

    That's my ramblings on it, anyway.

  21. #21
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    It really depends on the percentage of climbing/flats.

    Most of the riding I do is very steep climbing followed by steep downhills, not much flat at all, so I gear for the climbing. Right now I run 32x22 on 26" wheels and still have to walk some short climbs. I definately would not want to run a tall gear that made me walk up the long climbs.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TacoMan View Post
    Most of the riding I do is very steep climbing followed by steep downhills, not much flat at all, so I gear for the climbing. Right now I run 32x22 on 26" wheels and still have to walk some short climbs. I definately would not want to run a tall gear that made me walk up the long climbs.
    It's pretty much the same for me too - I use what some people would think is stupidly low gearing and have gone as low as 28:20 (1.40:1) with a 26" wheel.
    Mostly I use either 28:18 or 32:20 which are as near as dammit the same at around 1.6:1.

  23. #23
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    I'm doing this exact same thing right now, changing from 32:21 to 32:20. Most of the hills I can't pull are huge forest service roads with a ton of elevation gain for 2 miles. That is at the beginning of my ride so I would rather just hike-a-bike it than kill my legs at the beginning of my ride.

    After all it is one of the 3 singlespeed gears.
    Walk
    Spin
    Grind

    do whatever makes you happy.

  24. #24
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    On really long non-technical climbs I've stood up to pedal, but supported most of my weight on my arms, which I straightened (not to the point of locking elbows). That way I got a good amount of power to the pedals at a slow cadence without wearing out. This requires a suitable handlebar height, though.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saul Lumikko View Post
    On really long non-technical climbs I've stood up to pedal, but supported most of my weight on my arms, which I straightened (not to the point of locking elbows). That way I got a good amount of power to the pedals at a slow cadence without wearing out. This requires a suitable handlebar height, though.
    What sort of bar height (relative to saddle height for a reference) do you run, Saul?
    I've seem to have settled on about the same as my saddle height.

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