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  1. #1
    Retro Grouch
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    Is your gear ratio an ego trip?

    2:1; The magic gear ratio. If your really a strong heads-up kinda single speeder, then you ride 2:1. I've seen posters claim they ride 2:1 and ride anywhere, "Yep, I've never seen a hill I can't climb with a 2:1". Well that's were I started. Then I finally dropped down to a 34:18 when I switched to a 34 tooth chain ring and couldn't find a ready supply of cheap 17T cogs; I did feel guilty though. Now I switched to a 175mm crank and I'm struggling to get up some of the steeper climbs I used to clear. Granted I been sick for about three months and I'm finally getting strong; yes, I finally cleaned the wall at Nisene Marks (the one past Sand Point) for the first time in six months. I also discovered it is better to be out of shape then overtrained; the later takes more time to recover from.

    Anyway I digress, but I've been thinking about dropping another cog tooth because if the shorter crank arms. But would I be wimping out? I used to ride 32:16, then 34:18/32:17, and now I'm looking at 32:18. Since I seem to be getting stronger I'll probably stick with the 32:17 for a while. But back on point, do you take pride in your gear ratio? If you lower your gear ratio does than mean you're wimping out or getting weak?

    Oh BTW, I be showing my latest SS conversion probably tomorrow. My buddy gave me his old 1983 Trek 022 to convert; if the frame was a little smaller it probably would have tragically been stolen It really turned out nice.

    1G1G, Brad

  2. #2
    Waiting to exhale.
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    I have no pride in my gear ratio. 32:18. I struggle up the steeps. If I ever get to ride 2:1 ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE I will be a happy man. Most dudes that I have met that can ride 2:1 over some gnarly terrain are pretty humble and cool about it.
    Quite possibly the slowest single speeder on earth.
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  3. #3
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    2:1; The magic gear ratio. If your really a strong heads-up kinda single speeder, then you ride 2:1. I've seen posters claim they ride 2:1 and ride anywhere, "Yep, I've never seen a hill I can't climb with a 2:1". Well that's were I started. Then I finally dropped down to a 34:18 when I switched to a 34 tooth chain ring and couldn't find a ready supply of cheap 17T cogs; I did feel guilty though. Now I switched to a 175mm crank and I'm struggling to get up some of the steeper climbs I used to clear. Granted I been sick for about three months and I'm finally getting strong; yes, I finally cleaned the wall at Nisene Marks (the one past Sand Point) for the first time in six months. I also discovered it is better to be out of shape then overtrained; the later takes more time to recover from.

    Anyway I digress, but I've been thinking about dropping another cog tooth because if the shorter crank arms. But would I be wimping out? I used to ride 32:16, then 34:18/32:17, and now I'm looking at 32:18. Since I seem to be getting stronger I'll probably stick with the 32:17 for a while. But back on point, do you take pride in your gear ratio? If you lower your gear ratio does than mean you're wimping out or getting weak?

    Oh BTW, I be showing my latest SS conversion probably tomorrow. My buddy gave me his old 1983 Trek 022 to convert; if the frame was a little smaller it probably would have tragically been stolen It really turned out nice.

    1G1G, Brad
    I know what you're saying. Who the heck came up with 2:1 as a benchmark ratio anyway? People always tell beginning SS'ers to start with 2:1 and adjust accordingly, but I bet that gear is too high for most first-timers who live anywhere near a mountain.

  4. #4
    TR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    I know what you're saying. Who the heck came up with 2:1 as a benchmark ratio anyway? People always tell beginning SS'ers to start with 2:1 and adjust accordingly, but I bet that gear is too high for most first-timers who live anywhere near a mountain.
    34:20 and absolutely no qualms in telling anybody about it.

  5. #5
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMOKEY
    I have no pride in my gear ratio. 32:18. I struggle up the steeps. If I ever get to ride 2:1 ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE I will be a happy man. Most dudes that I have met that can ride 2:1 over some gnarly terrain are pretty humble and cool about it.
    Same here, 32:18. I was running 36:21 for a while, but that was a bit too spinny for me.

    I'm not a strong enough rider to pull off 2:1 if there are any hills involved. I have a hard enough time cleaning the Nike site road at China Camp at 32:18 with 175mm cranks.

  6. #6
    Cracker-magnon
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    Yes, it keeps my ego pretty well tripped up. 34:20 or 32:18 What ever gets me up the hill using the 24" gear the least.
    "Life is a F@#^ing story problem, get used to it - my son.

  7. #7
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    32 18

    I ride 32 18 and get up most hills and I live in a pretty hilly area . I'm gunna try 2:1 though.

  8. #8
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    32:18, in out valley thats about the standard, I think that it is about the best, I have gone to fruita and it does about the best all around as well. Besides, single speeding is about simplicity and being modest, "I can run only one gear and beat most geared people, but I will only race for the hell of it",if you are bragging about what gear ratio you are running, your kinda mising the point.

  9. #9
    nachos rule!
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    no

    i run a 32:20 and i don't care what others think of it. my gig is being able to clean the tech sections of the climbs, that's what makes me happy. so what if i wind out a little sooner on the flats, like a couple of teeth make that big of a difference there anyway...
    plus a change, plus c'est la m'me chose - alphonse karr

  10. #10
    Needed Less ~ Did More
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    Its a starting point...

    But people tend to switch sprockets quite a bit....I blame SS cassette hubs my self :-)

    I prefere to spin gears, so I run 36:17 on the 26er and 36:18 on the 28" (both fixie 55-56"gear....really low)

    I have run 36:20 in the winter when all the trails were covered in sticky claggy mud (and Conti 1.5 XC tyres...they plough through mud brilliantly)

    I tend to spin out about 25mph, but its rare to hit that speed on dirt anyway.

    Spinning is good, it allows me to ride pretty much everywhere and maintain my golf-club like legs :-)



    Alex

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    "Put any one on one of these singlespeed bikes and they could not help but have fun"
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    Otis Guy talking about klunkers c1976

  11. #11
    Reviewer/Tester
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    I've been running 32/18 but go to 32/20 sometimes for the hilly tracks here. I couldn't care less what anyone thinks about my gearing, actually.

    It's NOT about what you run, it's all about riding.


    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  12. #12
    Fat Is Where It's At Moderator
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    My ego is so big that I don't know where to put it. I'm so proud of being able to ride 32:20, kidding aside why care about what ratios others ride on.

    I started 34:17 and then changed to 32:18 and currently run 32:20 and habe been thinking of moving to a 22 for logetivity. I may do a solo SS 24hr race and last year I did it 32:20 and by night fall I was beat, that's why I'm considering a 22 to change ratios during the race.

  13. #13
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    I swap around a lot

    We have a quite a few trails locally in Charlotte that are gently rolling or they just have short, spiky climbs. I always run 34X17 locally. Take me to the mtns and I will run a 34X19 if I run my UST wheels. If I am going to the mtns with a bunch of long travel riders I will put on my Singletracks with 2.6 Stickees and run 34X20. 12-24 hour race? 34X19. Off Road Assault on Mt Mitchell with 13,000 feet of climbing in 55 miles? 34X18. Trans Rockies? I figure I will be all over the place depending on the days terrain.
    I know that horizontals, V's, and freewheels aren't that hard to work with, but I knew I would be swapping gears a lot when I bought my SS. An EBB and cassette style wheel makes gear changes a 10 minute process, so I take advantage of it.
    Any pride in my gear ratio selection? Not really. I try to pick the gear that is most appropriate for the ride to attain whatever my goal is for the day, be it fun or racing. I guess if I am racing and I have a good day then I am proud that I picked the right gear. It took me quite awhile to assemble my cog collection. It is hard to chunk down $120 bucks to cover all the bases. I would love to borrow my friend's 23 T Endless Kick Ass cog some day. I am not willing to pay for an experiment, but it might be a lot of fun in the mountains.
    My incoherent thought flow of the morning is over. Time to ride.
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  14. #14
    what a joke
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    Shhhhh just keep this between you and me........32x20 on the 29er
    blah blah blah

  15. #15
    Am I getting too bulky?
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    FWIW, been running 34x20 for a couple years now, and feel happy with the ratio of what I can and can't climb. Do have a 32 tooth ring on order for SSWC and a trip to Kingdom trails in two weeks.
    I gotta roll, can't stand still, got a flame in my heart, can't get my fill.

  16. #16
    The Top Cap Guy
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    When I started SS I ran 32x18 and 32x20 depending on the trail... then I switched to a 34 crank... kept the same gears. This year when I went with a different crank again the front switched to 36 teeth and I bought a 19 and 21 tooth cog to try to keep it close... I've been riding the 19 tooth cog all the time and I was just thinking of switching to a 18 on the back for the flat local trails... I'm not sure why - I don't feel stronger. I'm definitely not fast.... so no ego here...



    FF
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  17. #17
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    It's not the size of the cog that matters.. it's the pain you put into the drivetrain

    I'm an old fart what lives in the hills. Thought I'd start at 32:20, and loose teeth as I got older, er, I mean, stronger. But... I'm using a freewheel instead of a cassette (not so easy to swap out), and it just so happens that there are plenty of climbs here on my local trails (Gap Mountain) that I can't yet clean. In fact, I'll be switching to 180's soon from 172's to get an edge on some rock garden ascents that freak me out. As far as spinning out on the flats....well, there aren't too many flats here, so it doesn't really factor in very much. As far as other folks I encounter on the trail, I generally use a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, so we can all be discrete about it.

  18. #18
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    i run a girly-man 32:20 and could give a %$#@ what people think......if I cared what people thought about me, I would never ride a bike period, let a lone a SS

    cheers

  19. #19
    now known as P.I.-SSer
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    32:18 here, and where I ride I am usually the only singlespeeder around (hope to change that soon!)

    In group rides I usually hang off the back, and ride quietly hehe, content with trying to keep up with the other high-zoot rides

    Never was an ego thing for me, I just wanna ride

  20. #20
    TRAIL KUBUKI CORNDOGGER
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    The ego thing is about passing riders on gears and suspension on climbs and descents. Gear ratios are merely a subject of discussion with my brothers and sisters in crime.
    Nobody cares what kind of bike you ride.

  21. #21
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    Nope

    32-18 ....no ego here

    Eric

  22. #22
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    Lower is better

    I started out with 36:18 for a couple of years and have switched to 36:20 for the majority of my riding. The local in town loop is really easy with the gearing but just outside of town(10 min ride) the soil changes to very soft sand and the 36:20 is a better choice. I find the lower gearing is better for techy uphills where you almost stall after an obstacle and have no speed for the rest of the hill. Also when riding with geared riders I find I can out climb them when I am in the lead but if I get stuck behind one the lower gear allows me to regulate my speed better. I went to Jasper (Canada) to ride a couple of weeks ago and friends were asking if I was going to change my gearing. I stuck with 36:20 and it worked great. Sure the climbs were longer and more technical but the soil is more hard packed. I also find the easier gearing better for my back. I was really straining it to push the 2:1 especially in the deep sand trying to keep rear wheel traction. The lower gear allows me to ride comfortable over longer distances and that makes it riding more enjoyable.

  23. #23
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    Smile ahhhh - nah!

    [ But back on point, do you take pride in your gear ratio? If you lower your gear ratio does than mean you're wimping out or getting weak?

    1G1G, Brad[/QUOTE]


    32/18 on 26'er
    34/20 on 29'er
    44/17 on road going (for now, until V-brake mounts go on) beach cruiser/mtb. (well, this one may be an ego trip, soon to hit the trails with 32/16).

    ego? no man! i'm in it for the ride and fun, as well as (damn it, i can't believe it is but) exercise.

  24. #24
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    I think I did two rides on the stock 36x18. Then I mounted a 34T ring. Soon after a 20T FW went on. Then a 32T ring. Found a 22T FW and the 36 was remounted before I settled on 34x20 for 95% of my rides.
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  25. #25
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    Out at Bootleg Canyon outside of Vegas, I've ridden 36x18, 34x18, 32x18 and 32x20...in that order While I can admit I've ridden the same hills on the 36x18 and the 32x20, the 32x20 is just easier on my bloody knees, especially since I ride a 48x15 on my fixed road-bike everywhere else (and have to stop it with that gear, too).

    Impressions...I'm certainly slower up the hills and everywhere else on the 32x20 than I was on a 36x18 or even the 32x18. Spinning didn't help me ride any faster...but as mentioned above, it makes the knees feel oh-so-much better

  26. #26
    pewpewpew Moderator
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    34:20 in socal

    34:17 in flat central california

    No ego involved. I'd have dropped to 32:20 but 34 is the smallest that my chainring takes and now I am kind of used to it.

  27. #27
    JMH
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    Not afraid to admit...

    ...that I do think about this a LITTLE bit. =)

    I run 34 x 18 or 19t depending on what type of riding I am doing. I ran 34x17 for about 1 week and realized that while I liked the overal brute power and speed on fire road climbs, it hurt to much for daily use. Also made tech-y stuff difficult to clear.

    I tried racing Sea Otter on a 17 as well, but I paid for it by walking up the steep hills on the second lap. After that experience I was completely over 2-1.

    Ended up on a 19 for a while because it's easier to ride stuff, but switched back to the 18 for today's ride because I wanted to hammer and felt like I was getting soft. Heh. Getting soft on the SS. That's a laugh!

    JMH

  28. #28
    29 inches and Pissed Off!
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    Ego intact.

    So, I've never ridden the SS past Pig Trail. Today your post motivated me to do it. Right now I'm using 34/20 on 29 inch wheels which is about the same gear inches as your setup. Cleaned the wall and rode up to Santa Rosalita. My ego will make me try 34/17 on 29inch wheels, since that is the next freewheel I have.
    Dan C.
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  29. #29
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    I'm on 32/16

    I often have to cover long stretches on the road to get to where I want to ride. When I hit the hills I usually end up wishing I had a 32/20.

    Just gotta get a flip/flop hub one day.
    "The man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest" Henry David Thoreau (obviously a single speeder)

    "...everytime you throw something away your load gets lighter..."

  30. #30
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    no ego

    It's just something practical (33x20) that lets me do everything on our trails - make every tech climb (on a good day), ratchet through rock gardens, climb fireroads - even sitting down on the easier climbs, and maintain a decent flat land speed.

  31. #31
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    I've been running 36:20 for quite a while. Its fast enough for any trail around here, and comfy on the hills. I've even done 40 mile paved rides with it- they were spiny, but entirely bearable given that the ride was for fun, not elpased time.

    Why would I be prouder if I used something less effective and fun?

  32. #32
    Steamroller
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    I've tried lots of ratios

    Why yes, I do ride 32x16, around town to the grocery store coffee shop etc.

    On the trails, I'm currently running 32x21 on the 29r. On my old 26r I had settled in to liking a 32x18 pretty well
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  33. #33
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    36-18 on my SS which is a 23.5 lb bike, so that helps....I've come accross one steep section I have not yet cleared(long and drawn out), but when I am doing climbs followed by long tech descents I've been riding my brand new geary (rockhopper pro with pike)

  34. #34
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    My 34x20 gear combo has so many teeth in the rear cog that it doesn't leave much room for an ego.

  35. #35
    The man who fell to earth
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    34X14 - nope, not bragging

    I run 34x14 locally (with 175 cranks) once I'm in shape, which obviously is pretty flat. Still there are a few hills and yes they are painful, and yes there are technical sections that I can't quite clean with this ratio. But I like it because it keeps me struggling and I feel it makes me stronger. Plus I can really steamroll on the flats, which I like. Also it helps to prepare and condition me for hillier trails, all I need to do is put a 17-18t cog or so on the back before riding them, and it feels like like a granny gear after riding the 34x14 all the time.

    Another factor is each rider's natural propensity for mashing or spinning. Personally I'm more of a masher so I gravitate toward a taller gear, but nothing wrong with going lower if you're a better spinner. Cog/ring combos have nothing to do with ego, just use what works for you and enjoy the ride!

  36. #36
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    36x18

    36x18; 100% east coast single track - from Central NJ to the North Shore of MA.

    I purchased the Bianchi BASS used 5 years ago and that's the gear ratio that I inherited.

  37. #37
    i worship Mr T
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    2:1; The magic gear ratio. If your really a strong heads-up kinda single speeder, then you ride 2:1. I've seen posters claim they ride 2:1 and ride anywhere, "Yep, I've never seen a hill I can't climb with a 2:1". Well that's were I started. Then I finally dropped down to a 34:18 when I switched to a 34 tooth chain ring and couldn't find a ready supply of cheap 17T cogs; I did feel guilty though. Now I switched to a 175mm crank and I'm struggling to get up some of the steeper climbs I used to clear. Granted I been sick for about three months and I'm finally getting strong; yes, I finally cleaned the wall at Nisene Marks (the one past Sand Point) for the first time in six months. I also discovered it is better to be out of shape then overtrained; the later takes more time to recover from.

    Anyway I digress, but I've been thinking about dropping another cog tooth because if the shorter crank arms. But would I be wimping out? I used to ride 32:16, then 34:18/32:17, and now I'm looking at 32:18. Since I seem to be getting stronger I'll probably stick with the 32:17 for a while. But back on point, do you take pride in your gear ratio? If you lower your gear ratio does than mean you're wimping out or getting weak?

    Oh BTW, I be showing my latest SS conversion probably tomorrow. My buddy gave me his old 1983 Trek 022 to convert; if the frame was a little smaller it probably would have tragically been stolen It really turned out nice.

    1G1G, Brad
    34x18 here (on pretty hilly terrain).

    and, as far as i'm concerned just riding a ss qualifies for an ego boost.

    rt
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  38. #38
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    34x17

    34x16 when I ride fixed,I did gear down once to 34x18 I really didn't notice a difference on the climbs, but on the flats I did, I'm just comfortable with 2:1.

    CrAzY aNdY
    1man 1gear 1speed

  39. #39
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    31:20

    Boy do I feel like a wimp riding my 31:20 gear around! I started out with 32:18, and quickly geared down. This is my first year riding SS, and most of my rides are very hilly and rooty/rocky. There is really only one section of trail where I have spun out because my gearing was too low, and there is one hill that I am still not even close to making, so it sounds about right me. I do have 18 and 22 tooth cogs in my parts box, as well as various chainring sizes should I feel the need to switch.

    Mark

  40. #40
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    Personally- yes.

    I run the stock 38:16 (never knew what ratio I was running until a friend told me)on the BUSS (sprung) and live and do the majority of riding above 8000 feet in Colorado, is it an ego thing....hell yes (to me personally). Would I brag about it to any of you face to face....hell no. I still get taken to school by friends riding *easier* gears ratios. Gear ratio is all in your head if you ask me, which no one has. I just got a Unit (rigid) and honestly, other than knowing it's not 38:16 I have no idea what it is but it feels slower to me on the climbs. But yeah, it's *personally gratifing* running that ratio on the trails I ride.

  41. #41
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    I run 34-18 since that is the gearing that came with my bike. It allows me to do all but the nastiest climbs around here.

  42. #42
    but Diggin the 1 x 14 too
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    Wink gears, gears, gears...

    ...same as some = i am also running a 32/20...that is what i started with 10 months ago...
    also, 32t is the largest chainring i can run using my current bashguard setup - so i got used to it! also, i can ride about any trail in my area that i used to ride my Geared-FS bike up, so it works for me, i ride 5 - 6 times a week and NEVER have fresh legs, so maybe running this slightly lighter ratio helps me out on days when i really need it, which is MOST!!!

  43. #43
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    Why yes! I'm pround to run a low gear!

    On my 29"er I run 34x22 (same as 34x20 on a 26") about 95% of the time. For real mountain bike rides it still goes as fast as I need it to. Thanks to my cassette hub I also have 34x20 available for flatter rides, but I rarely use it. If I need to go faster, I'll ride my geared 29"er with semislicks.

    I might even go lower than 34x22. I've been thinking about getting a 23t Endless cog to experiment with.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  44. #44
    FTM
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    not the ego...

    ...it's all about the id.
    running 32x17 fixed but about to switch to 34x18.

  45. #45
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    right now...

    I am running a 32x18 on my 29er, but just picked up a 20t Endless cog and am looking for a 19t. Think I will run the 32x19 for everyday stuff and the 32x20 for rides like the Soul Ride and such.

  46. #46
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    Soul ride

    Quote Originally Posted by jdub347
    I am running a 32x18 on my 29er, but just picked up a 20t Endless cog and am looking for a 19t. Think I will run the 32x19 for everyday stuff and the 32x20 for rides like the Soul Ride and such.
    Your doing the Soul Ride again this year? I thought i was going to pass

    Hmmmmmm.....

    Eric

  47. #47
    mtbr member
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    ratio

    No ego here, just a 34:18. I do own a 17t and 19t but run the 18t 99% of the time. We do some higher stuff that really puts the beat down on you but I just don't like spinning out.

  48. #48
    Fueled by Wahoo's
    Reputation: DirkSSter's Avatar
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    I "leggo my eggo" every time I ride SS

    My SS humbles me and sometimes I even have to walk from time to time using a 32:18 ratio...maybe I should switch to 18:32?

    D

  49. #49
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    34x18 on one side with the bail-out 22 freewheel on the other side. Rode up at Tahoe this weekend around Blackwood Canyon and found the 34x18 acceptable.

  50. #50
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
    Reputation: scrublover's Avatar
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    hard to be ego driven with my weenie 32 x 20 on 180mm cranks!

    used to be a 32 x 18, then i moved back to the rockies.

    i'm quite content with the 20t. a bit spinny on some rides, but means i can do some of the higher up things easier. plus, i hate changing things, i'm lazy, and just leave it that way.
    not being a full time SSer (still ride the geared bikes waaaay more offroad) i find i need that lower ratio. and for most of my riding, i prefer the geo/beefyiness of my geared hardtail over the much lighter built up SS. i save the SS for longer/higher/not going to be bouncing off as much stuff kinda rides. mmmmmm, kenosha pass is my fav SS ride so far!

    i am happy with my road fixie though, at 46 x 17. it, otoh, gets ridden waaaaaay more than my geared road bike.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

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