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  1. #1
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    What's a good gravel SS gear ratio?

    I've been doing a ton of "experimenting" with one of my bikes/frames and have come to the conclusion that I will be setting it up as a gravel grinder.

    I'm thinking initially a SS - hence the post in this thread.

    Do you think 36:18 is cool for dirt road/gravel grinder single speed duty?

    this is for CT/New England riding on dirt roads/fire-roads, rail trails etc.

    I'm thinking this might be an okay initial set up for me (plus I have a 36T chainring and an 18T cog!).

    But I'd love to hear about similar set ups from the rest of you.

    Thanks.

    Mark

  2. #2
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    I occasionally take my Steamroller shod with 38's on gravel/singletrack. I'm geared 48x18 (~70 GI). If I were to be strictly on gravel/fire roads, I'd be down at 65GI.

  3. #3
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMcG
    I've been doing a ton of "experimenting" with one of my bikes/frames and have come to the conclusion that I will be setting it up as a gravel grinder.

    I'm thinking initially a SS - hence the post in this thread.

    Do you think 36:18 is cool for dirt road/gravel grinder single speed duty?

    this is for CT/New England riding on dirt roads/fire-roads, rail trails etc.

    I'm thinking this might be an okay initial set up for me (plus I have a 36T chainring and an 18T cog!).

    But I'd love to hear about similar set ups from the rest of you.

    Thanks.

    Mark
    26" or 29" wheel?

    --sParty
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    26" or 29" wheel?

    --sParty
    Neither!

    650b actually.

  5. #5
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    I had a lot of fun on my Karate Monkey this summer riding gravel on the 34-18. I would have liked to have a 36-18 but I ran what I had. It will be a fine place to start.

  6. #6
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    i run 34x19 for gravel and road (29er)
    i'm a full time bikeacholic also an workaholic and part time alcoholic.

  7. #7
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    I run 32:16 on my 29er all day every day (urban/campus riding and mild trails on the weekends). If it's too high a gear for a climb, I guess I walk it. If it's too short a gear for a long cruise, well I guess I go slow. C'est la vie with single-speed. It has forced me to learn to be more effective at very high and very low pedaling cadences, though. That's gotta be helpful in the long run.

    You should run the gear ratio that works best for you. Everyone rides differently and not all gravel is the same. If you already have a 36:18 setup, then try it out. In my experience riding on sand (more common than gravel here in San Diego) a lower gear helps you maintain a constant speed through the resistance, but you have to be careful not to bob too much or you're just pushing the tires deeper into the soft stuff. Momentum is everything, IMO.

    With my first forray into SS, I bought the $25 tensioner kit that comes with a 20t, 18t, and 16t. So I started at 20 and worked my way down to 16, popping links out of the chain as I went until I decided to upgrade to a better "permanent" cog (which turned out to be a piece of crap. Don't buy a WTB single speed cog). If you can find those cheap cogs by themselves they're like $4-5 each so you can buy a few and fine-tune your setup.
    Opinions are like a**holes: Sometimes they need to be punched in the face and told to STFU.

  8. #8
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    My "gravel-gear" is a 42 x 16 on a 26". Works well on some mild rollers around Chitown.

  9. #9
    blame me for missed rides
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    42x17@700c.

  10. #10
    Harmonius Wrench
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    I'm running a 36 X 17 currently and have used it on 100 milers and really hilly gravel road rides. In the past I have used 38 X 18 and 37 X 18 with great success.
    Riden' an Smilin'
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  11. #11
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Ums, you rolling on Fatty Rumpkins or something larger with knobs? I did 65 gear inches on my rumpkins SS and I thought it worked well, but I was on pavement and then jumping off on side trails.

    With your ratio it'd be perfect for mtb tires. Which one of your sleds is getting the gravel grinding duty?

  12. #12
    SSlow rider
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    42x18 on 700c wheels here.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Ums, you rolling on Fatty Rumpkins or something larger with knobs? I did 65 gear inches on my rumpkins SS and I thought it worked well, but I was on pavement and then jumping off on side trails.

    With your ratio it'd be perfect for mtb tires. Which one of your sleds is getting the gravel grinding duty?
    Fatty Rumpkins installed last night (but I've also got Wolverines, Neomotos, Nevegals, and some cheapo Kenda 650b road tires) on the 44 Bikes SnakeDriver. Mary Bars also installed (need to flip em methinks). Just need to install the 36T ring tonight or tomorrow morning.

  14. #14
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    Bringing this up because I am considering it this weekend on a 100k gravel ride. The course sounds hilly, rough, and wet. Riding with 29x2.1 tires and trying to finish in time to not piss off my geared buddies with whom I am driving home late at night.

    What's a safe GI to consider? I ride trails on a 32 oval with a 20t cog and can handily climb some long hills, or what passes for long hills in Central TX. 34-19 is an option i have. Otherwise, might throw on the 1x10 bits.

  15. #15
    wanna ride bikes?
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    gravel event? like a race? do you know how much climbing?

    I'm gathering info for an endurance gravel race i'm hoping to do this fall. 65 miles, 6,700 ft of climbing. it can be done on either cross or rigid 29er with 1.9/2.1's. last year the SS winner was on a 29er 34:17 with 1.9's or 54.7 GI.

    don't know if that helps? "hilly, rough, and wet" is a little vague.
    Wanted: XL Steel single speed 29er frame. please PM with info.

  16. #16
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    There will be a finalized version of the course very soon. I will have to compare the amount of climbing to other stuff I have donem

  17. #17
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    Guess it comes down to your ability. I did a gravel race last month and a guy I know did it single speed. Ran a 2:1 ratio and finished 72 miles with 7k+ climbing in 5:30 I think.
    Cannondale F29 carbon
    Jamis Renegade Elite
    Kona Big Unit SS/full rigid
    Kona Private Jake SSCX (build in progress)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    gravel event? like a race? do you know how much climbing?

    I'm gathering info for an endurance gravel race i'm hoping to do this fall. 65 miles, 6,700 ft of climbing. it can be done on either cross or rigid 29er with 1.9/2.1's. last year the SS winner was on a 29er 34:17 with 1.9's or 54.7 GI.

    don't know if that helps? "hilly, rough, and wet" is a little vague.
    Ironcross?
    Cannondale F29 carbon
    Jamis Renegade Elite
    Kona Big Unit SS/full rigid
    Kona Private Jake SSCX (build in progress)

  19. #19
    wanna ride bikes?
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    ^ yes sir. looks awesome!
    Wanted: XL Steel single speed 29er frame. please PM with info.

  20. #20
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    Heck...might see you there. I'll be on a geared bike most likely though. Not fit enough to do that kinda riding on a single. But I'm working on it.
    Cannondale F29 carbon
    Jamis Renegade Elite
    Kona Big Unit SS/full rigid
    Kona Private Jake SSCX (build in progress)

  21. #21
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    Not to hijack too much but I am seriously considering Iron Cross as well. I will likely be riding a 50 mile 5800ft of climbing gravel ride on my SS 29er running 36x18 this sunday just a test to see if I can run that set up if I do Iron Cross. I'll be running Maxxis Aspen 2.1 up front and Stans Crow 2.0 rear. See how it goes.

  22. #22
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    I'll be doing it on WTB Nano 40c tires no matter which bike I take. Either my Jamis Renegade or the Kona Private Jake SS I'm getting ready to build up. I won't be doing the ride on a mtb.
    Cannondale F29 carbon
    Jamis Renegade Elite
    Kona Big Unit SS/full rigid
    Kona Private Jake SSCX (build in progress)

  23. #23
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    Running 32:18 right now (29" tires, 2.4 Ardent front, 2.35 Ikon rear and 175mm crank arms) because it's how I bought the bike, but I'd like to move the gearing to 2:1.
    Last edited by Bhaalgorn; 08-17-2016 at 10:29 AM.

  24. #24
    Not really fixed.
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    On Monday I went out and did 80 miles on my Karate Monkey, with about 3200 feet of short steep climbing. Bike setup was Nano 2.1's and a 34:17 gear ratio.

  25. #25
    .44
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    I typically gear 42x19 on 700x40 tires. This dude was geared low, 32x18, but won the SS class and placed 10th overall:

    The Revolting Cogs: PMBAR: go down or go home

    "One thing I will say... running a 32x20 was an absolute pleasure in Pisgah. It almost felt like cheating. Spin to win? Maybe there's something to that.
    I mean...I spun the mother****ing **** out of a 32x18 the week before at Bootlegger. But if I had geared any harder, I'd have been destroyed on some of those climbs. And in a race like that...the question is: be frustrated on the flats? Or have your soul crushed on the climbs? Frustration is frustrating, sure... but you can recover from that. Your soul is less resilient. That race kicked my ass. Maybe not in all the ways I need my ass kicked...(according to the polls)... but it gave me a sound working. 7hrs 40minutes for 100 miles. Considering Shenandoah doesn't take that much longer, and incorporates some dick-kicking trails... that's a hard day."

  26. #26
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    Finally got this ride in Sunday. Ran 36x18 with a 29x2.0 rear and 29x2.1 front. Had to walk 2 places for a total of about 200-300m. Stopped a bunch to let the geared guys catch up after the up hills and was pretty comfortable (all things considered) for the whole ride. Tried to ride slow with some of the gearies at times too, but that was difficult up hill.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/692705643

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