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  1. #1
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    SS rider, terrified of riding gears again...

    I'm just curious to hear what others think about riding SS for long periods of time, then switching back to a geared bike. I currently have 2 bikes, both SS (one fixed). My Trek Stache is my main bike, and I had considered putting gears back on it. My knees are wrecked from years of being a dumb kid, and I could really benefit from gears on some of the really technical uphills we have here.

    The problem is, im scared to go back to gears. I am worried they are going to make me lazy and slow me down. I'm also worried that there is going to be a long period of time where I find it awkward getting used to having them back there...

    Anyone else struggle with this before going back to gears? I will always have a SS in my stable, the fixed 29er is one of my favorite bikes I have ever owned. I think I would do well to have one of each though.

  2. #2
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    I ride gears sometimes and I find that I push a harder gear than most people do when climbing. gears make the unbearable bearable but you can still push harder. you just have the option to bail out when your knees can't take any more mashing and your lungs can't take any more spinning.

    that's the other advantage- you can get from one place to another much, much faster when you can push a harder gear on flats and pavement. putting a longer chain, a cassette, and a shifter/derailleur on your bike is a pretty easy process.
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  3. #3
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    I'm not worried about the process of getting the gears on there, I am very mechanically inclined with bicycles. I was just more worried about getting lazy and forgetting that the gears exist because I rode SS too long.

  4. #4
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    I have multiple bikes but ride SS a majority of the time. When I do switch to a geared bike, it usually only takes me a few miles to get the used to shifting again. Not a difficult transition if you're coming off a hardtail or rigid bike and going to a hardtail or rigid bike. My biggest issue is when I switch from a rigid SS to a geared fs and the fs doesn't allow me to stand and climb which forces me to sit and spin much more than I'd like.

    I don't really feel it makes me lazy. If anything, I get a better workout because I'm spending much more time seated and working muscles that don't get used as often on a SS.

    You could also experiment with a large ring up front or maybe a 7spd cassette to prevent you from using granny gears.

  5. #5
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    if you feel lazy when riding gears, ride FASTER.
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  6. #6
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    I went ahead and ordered an XTR setup. I guess I will just have to pay attention to whats going on for a bit until I get the hang of it. I've pretty much only ridden SS since I started mountain biking so it will be an adventure... I just don't want to be one of those guys sitting down flapping their legs and moving at a snails pace on climbs.

  7. #7
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    Why would gears make you slower? Your probably are not that fast to begin with. Are you the top 10 on earth? Top 1000 fastest? Are you a professional cyclist, that gets paid to ride? If not, then like me, you will find many people on the planet are faster than you! You are probably missing out on great rides, by not taking advantage of a geared bike. I usually Singlespeed 15 days per month, ride gear bike 3 days per month. This year, I'm riding more longer group rides that are slower, and more fun. I'm singlespeeding 8 days per month, gear bike 16 or so. More rides at my age, 47, means I cannot ride SS every day, on 3-4 hour rides. I need the gear bike for recovery days. By the way, I am always surprised that I think I'm super fast on SS, then I beat my own SRAVA PR's on my gear bike, it's just faster, surprisingly. It's all about FUN!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    I just don't want to be one of those guys sitting down flapping their legs and moving at a snails pace on climbs.
    especially if you have a SSer on your tail. that drives me up the wall (or, more accurately, prevents me from driving up a "wall"), having to kill my momentum while I am crushing a difficult climb only to get bogged down and stall while waiting for a geared rider spinning like a hamster in a wheel in front of me.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    especially if you have a SSer on your tail. that drives me up the wall (or, more accurately, prevents me from driving up a "wall"), having to kill my momentum while I am crushing a difficult climb only to get bogged down and stall while waiting for a geared rider spinning like a hamster in a wheel in front of me.
    It's pretty frustrating... I am not concerned about ever getting that bad, just don't want to get lazy on the climbs. I will likely still stand up and mash, that seems to be my MO on just about every bike I have ever ridden.

  10. #10
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    like I said, go faster, ride longer, push a slightly harder gear than you think you should, don't sit down while climbing.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    im scared to go back to gears. I am worried they are going to make me lazy and slow me down. I'm also worried that there is going to be a long period of time where I find it awkward getting used to having them back there...
    I recently got a 1X11 bike after riding just SS for a long time. I was surprised that I got used to the gears in about 5 seconds. And I'm so ADD (diagnosed!) that I got rid of my SS's suspension fork largely because I found using it's remote lockout distracting. I don't even like the dropper post on my new bike (it, or it's remote). I like simplicity. I love my rigid SS.

    My gears are on a comfy/stable FS bike. I'm seated most of the time. When it comes to shifting, geared hard tails are another animal for me. Trickier, more distracting. I tried it for a few rides 3 years ago. It didn't go well.

    But yeah, gears do allow you to ride longer, faster, more often, on a wider variety of trails. No arguing that. Technical climbs on a SS? Brutal.
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  12. #12
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    Brutal, but challenging in a good way! People ask me why I singlespeed. I know it's a different answer for everyone. For me, it made all the local trails I have been riding for 25-30 years, brand new again. That's it. After becoming a stronger rider by SS, I take the SS on more epic adventures! If you are in your 20's, and already on SS, I am really jealous! You are going to have an awesome bike life!

  13. #13
    Daniel the Dog
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    No I love geared full suspension bikes and SS bikes!

  14. #14
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    To me, riding a single-speed is all about satisfaction.

    * It's satisfying after a ride in the mountains looking at your GPS and seeing 2,500+ elevation gain.

    * It's satisfying to pass geared riders on a climb, saying "Hello, how you doin?'' and hearing them say "Not as good as you!'' as they watch in amazement.

    * It's satisfying to get in the pain cave on a steep-ass climb and thinking you don't have another gear to make the crest, yet you always find it.

    * It's satisfying bombing downhills faster because you cherish momentum like gold.

    I have a 1x10 Scott carbon hard-tail. I race it and ride it a lot in the summer. Honestly, it feels like I'm cheating when I ride it, having all those cogs to choose from. I ride my SS in the winter to build muscular endurance and for something different. Deep down, I feel I'll be a dedicated SSer before long.

    It's just too damn satisfying!

  15. #15
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    I agree, I could never not have a SS in my stable. I still have a fixed 29er that I will ride on a normal basis. When it comes to big group rides and keeping my knees from exploding, I think the gears will be nice though.

  16. #16
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    I keep my steel singlespeed geared around 32x20 and use it for group rides, and have my carbon singlespeed setup with 32x18 for solo or faster group rides. Might be an option since you have two bikes.

  17. #17
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    ... you dont have to shift the gears. They're just there if you want to use them.

    You'll more than likely end up riding much faster.

  18. #18
    Armature speller
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    I try and use gears as an expanded dingle speed setup.
    More choices, but not shifting anywhere near as much as I used to in the years before SS.

  19. #19
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    I feel your pain, DualRollers. I have my rigid Karate Monkey (ss) and I had been riding it almost exclusively for 5 years. I recently got a stock Wednesday (2x10) and I had reserves even before I got it. Literally caused me anxiety where I woke up sweating and heavy breathing. I finally got it and rode it and love the bike but every time I try to figure out if I want to suffer a lot and make it SS, or just live with the gears. I ride in southern california so we have lots of big long climbs that make an SS 29er painful let alone a geared heavy as f*** fatbike so its a constant back and forth. Plus every time I shift and hear that clunk i cringe and hold my breath hoping I don't drop a chain or worse. Plus now I need to be conscious of whacking the derailleur. I'd ride the SS as well to make me feel better but the stock mechanicals are horrendously scary on the Wednesday that I pulled my hydros off of the SS to put on the fatbike. I still think I'll SS out the wednesday once I have the money, but the other dillema is just what gearing to use if I do and is it worth the super low gearing to make the climbs doable with all the horribly slow overspinning on the flats/descents. First word problems....

  20. #20
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    I've only ridden SS Rigid since 2007 and I recently added a geared & suspended bike to my garage. The geared & suspended bike makes mountain biking so easy, who knew? It is cool but kinda takes the challenge out of the sport - you can literally make everything without trying very hard. Add in all the noise and adjustments and I'd just rather ride my SS.

  21. #21
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    I think SS is what you make of it. Since climbs measured in miles are rare where I live, I may stick with one gear on the mtb for quite awhile, as long as I continue to improve. Because I recently started riding a geared bike on pavement to supplement my mountain biking, I regularly see the effect one has on the other.
    There's a bit of irony there, as I converted my mtb to SS as kind of a jump start to get stronger and faster, having only started riding regularly last year.
    Going back and forth is, at this point, making me very obviously better at both, though. I can tell having become accustomed to climbing on the SS helps me maintain higher output on the geared bike(along with developing better skills to keep the momentum going all the time), while getting used to spinning a lower gear has increased my pace on the flats and is keeping me in the saddle longer on the SS, so I'm faster there, too.
    I hate the idea of putting "all that crap", as I now think of gears, derailleurs and shifters, back on my bike, but if I do at some point, it will be for the same reason I took them off to begin with-to get better and faster. Right now I'm so far away from where I want to be on the SS that changing back is just an idea, but when I do it will be with a singlespeeder's mindset. Not to make things easier, but to be able to push harder all the time.

  22. #22
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    This is pathetic

  23. #23
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    Then why the **** did you take the time to read and respond to the thread

    "Buy the ticket. Take the ride." -Hunter S. Thompson
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  24. #24
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    If you read the post you would know

  25. #25
    Robtre
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    Up until August, I have been on a single-speed bike exclusively since 2008. I have a rigid Karate Monkey, which I love, I have a Canfield N9 set up single speed as well. August I bought a Transition Smuggler and I struggle to like it. I've done a few things to it to try and like it better, such as add volume spacers to the fork, and bands in the shock, and lastly I bought I9's for it hoping the lighter wheels would make it more lively. I do feel a ton slower, I do feel like it makes obstacles easy, and I do feel different pain in my legs from sitting and spinning. I do feel like its good for the legs to have a different type of workout, and I hope to be a faster single speeder because of it. I think that an ideal fast bike for me would be an ultralight singlespeed 29er with a short travel fork.
    -rides bikes for fun.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by robtre View Post
    I bought a Transition Smuggler and I struggle to like it. I've done a few things to it to try and like it better, such as add volume spacers to the fork, and bands in the shock, and lastly I bought I9's for it hoping the lighter wheels would make it more lively. I do feel a ton slower
    A "ton slower" on your geared rig? That's kinda surprising. Like you, I just bought a FS geared bike and feel its faster than my SS except at mid-speeds where a SS is so efficient and spurts forward like nothing else.

    OP, as I understand, your dilemma is that you must *chose* between SS and gears. That's a tough spot to be in, like a new father being encouraged to sell his Miata to finance a new minivan. If I were you, and concluded that gears were a must, yet can't kick the SS bug, I'd start saving money and create a long-term plan as to what two bikes you want to eventually own. Will one be fully suspended? A rigid steel SS can be built up pretty cheap.
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  27. #27
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    If you can't afford 2 bikes I bet you won't be able to afford to maintain the full suspension bike

    Stay single

  28. #28
    The White Jeff W
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    I switch back & forth pretty seamlessly. Only difference Ive noticed is I turn harder gears on the geared bike than I used to.

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