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  1. #1
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    2 niner single speed gearing

    I just rode my K-monkey as a single speed for the first time over in Palmer Park (Colorado Springs, CO). Man, the most fun I've had on a mountain bike in a while! It was like riding a huge 'ole BMX bike! I felt like a kid again (Hey guys, wanna go ride bikes!?) It felt really liberating not having to worry about shifting at all though I did catch my self instinctively reaching for the shift lever when the trails went verticle a couple of times. Plus I loved the stealthy silence of riding down bumpy terrain with no chain slap disturbing my thoughts. Anyways, I have it set up with a 29t up front (I got from a Ritchy 2x9 kit) and a 16t freewheel in the back. Gives me 52.8 gear inches. What I rode yesterday, it seemed to be a pretty good combo. Was wondering what others where running? I wanted to get a new freewheel and a Surly stainless steel chainring, so I was wondering if it would be better to go bigger for durability sake (I'm thinking the more teeth on the gear the longer it'll wear). I was thinking 32-18 (51.8 gear inches) or perhaps 34-19 (52.1). Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks, Mikeynags

  2. #2
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    Why not a new 36t stainless Surly ring and an (announced) 19t r 20t Surly cog? If you don't ride logs too much, now teeth indeed is better.
    Any ratio that works for you, is just great. I personally vary between 34/16-18. For my Dutch trails, 17t often is the golden middle way. Fast trails 16t, slow or steep trails 18t. I'm going to buy the Surly 36t so the cheap Shimano 18t cogs will work more often for me. Then I'll get 17t and 19t Surly cogs to be ready for anything. I envision that eventually all my SS and 3spd bike will have Surly cogs. Surly stuff comes with loads of good bike karma, I can use that at crucial moments.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  3. #3
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    32-20 all the time. Cloxxi, Novatech already makes cogs in those larger sizes. I think I got mine from Speedgoat.
    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  4. #4
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    That's probably a pretty weird power distribution feeling with such a small ring up front.
    I tried a 30t and hated it.
    Don't go smaller than 32 up front.
    Personally, I run 32x22, but I'm larger than the average bear. I ran 32x20 when on "little" (26") wheels.

  5. #5
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    32x19

    I ran 32x17 on my 26er. Started out with 32x18 on my KM and now I'm running 32x19 and it seems just right for my area here in Phoenix AZ.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnagel200
    I just rode my K-monkey as a single speed for the first time over in Palmer Park (Colorado Springs, CO). Man, the most fun I've had on a mountain bike in a while! It was like riding a huge 'ole BMX bike! I felt like a kid again (Hey guys, wanna go ride bikes!?) It felt really liberating not having to worry about shifting at all though I did catch my self instinctively reaching for the shift lever when the trails went verticle a couple of times. Plus I loved the stealthy silence of riding down bumpy terrain with no chain slap disturbing my thoughts. Anyways, I have it set up with a 29t up front (I got from a Ritchy 2x9 kit) and a 16t freewheel in the back. Gives me 52.8 gear inches. What I rode yesterday, it seemed to be a pretty good combo. Was wondering what others where running? I wanted to get a new freewheel and a Surly stainless steel chainring, so I was wondering if it would be better to go bigger for durability sake (I'm thinking the more teeth on the gear the longer it'll wear). I was thinking 32-18 (51.8 gear inches) or perhaps 34-19 (52.1). Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks, Mikeynags

    I too am enjoying the KM over my geared bike. I am running 32:18 and it works quite well for me out here in Kansas. No real mountains, but if you think that Kansas is flat, think again!

    I am waiting to convert the KM to fixie and that will be even more enjoyable, I think.

  7. #7
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    flip-flop

    Hey guys, thanks for the advice. Looks like a bunch of you are running gearing in the 46 gear inch range, and I think I'll give that a try. 52.8 seemed pretty good for me, but it was a pretty short ride (just a shake down) and so I can image that on longer rides, I might want something a bit easier to push as so I don't fatigue as quickly. Also, I have a flip flop hub, and was wondering about how much the monkey's fork ends will allow in terms of a gear change? Think it would be possible to run a 16 on one side and an 18 on the other side and be able to flip it around?

  8. #8
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    On mine

    I'm running 34x20 SS. When I was in 26" mode, I ran 34x18 SS.

  9. #9
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    All I can suggest is you try a selection and see what works for you. We are all different and ride different trails.

    I run 34t:18 all of the time but find it too tall for endurance races and too short for regular racing.

    P::..

  10. #10
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    I run

    A 32-16 on mine, up from a 32-15. It's pretty steep, and if it were my only bike (i'm considering it) I'd probably be around a 32-18 or 19. Michigan is relatively flat compared to some other locals on the board.

    Plum

  11. #11
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    I have 34:18, works quite well as an all-around gear for me.

  12. #12
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    34/20

    I run 34/20 in the front range. I've gone up bergen peak w/ that combo and cleaned most of it. I started out w/ 32/20 which was too spinny then 32/18 which was a tad tall. 34/20 is just right. I notice hills are just a bit easier but flats don't seem any slower.

    It's amazing how fast you can spin when you do it a lot.

    I'd be nervous cranking anything less than an 18 in back. Not enough teeth! and one reason I went to the 20 in back. I've also got a 34t bashring in front which comes in handy getting up some stepups. The big wheels really lend themselves to sketchy terrain. Makes you want to try stuff that you'd endo w/ the 26ers. Even w/ the rigid fork.

    Enjoy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnagel200
    I just rode my K-monkey as a single speed for the first time over in Palmer Park (Colorado Springs, CO). Man, the most fun I've had on a mountain bike in a while! It was like riding a huge 'ole BMX bike! I felt like a kid again (Hey guys, wanna go ride bikes!?) It felt really liberating not having to worry about shifting at all though I did catch my self instinctively reaching for the shift lever when the trails went verticle a couple of times. Plus I loved the stealthy silence of riding down bumpy terrain with no chain slap disturbing my thoughts. Anyways, I have it set up with a 29t up front (I got from a Ritchy 2x9 kit) and a 16t freewheel in the back. Gives me 52.8 gear inches. What I rode yesterday, it seemed to be a pretty good combo. Was wondering what others where running? I wanted to get a new freewheel and a Surly stainless steel chainring, so I was wondering if it would be better to go bigger for durability sake (I'm thinking the more teeth on the gear the longer it'll wear). I was thinking 32-18 (51.8 gear inches) or perhaps 34-19 (52.1). Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks, Mikeynags
    Yep, "riding a huge 'ole BMX bike" is how I describe SS'ing to the uninitiated. I'd have to agree with everything you just said about it, and I've been doing it for about 2 1/2 years now.

    I'd agree with the above advice not to go lower than 32t in front or 18t in front if you can avoid it. For the same overall ratio, larger sprockets run smoother, last longer, and reduce chain tension and wear. Either of the gear combinations you mentioned (32x18 or 34x19) would probably be good.

    Personally, I run a considerably lower ratio (34x22 or 34x20, mid-40s for gear inches) but then I'm not the strongest climber but like to do as much climbing as possible without getting off the bike, and don't mind spinning out on the flats. Your choice of low-50 gear inches (basically the equivalent of 2:1 on a 26" bike) is towards the high end of what people use for offroad SSing, but not at all unreasonable.

  14. #14

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    34:20

    took me a few trie2 to get it dialed in just where I wanted it, but 34:20 seems about perfect for my old knees to be happy.. I don't spin out too much and I can still stand and stomp if I need to. ( on the 26" I run a 32:17 )

  15. #15
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    I used to run 34:17 on my 26er. I run 34:19 on my 29er and like it. Its a good all-around gear.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudo intellectual
    I'd be nervous cranking anything less than an 18 in back. Not enough teeth! and one reason I went to the 20 in back. I've also got a 34t bashring in front which comes in handy getting up some stepups. The big wheels really lend themselves to sketchy terrain. Makes you want to try stuff that you'd endo w/ the 26ers. Even w/ the rigid fork.

    Enjoy.
    why is less than 18T not enough teeth? Are they more likely to snap?

  17. #17
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    gear inches???

    all things being equal--

    If the gear inches are the same, (I haven't seen a chart of them in a long time) is there really any difference between using a really bigger ring and bigger cog or a smaller ring smaller cog to get the same gearing?

    does this question make sense?

    for instance...

    When I ride my road bike--I almost always use the larger ring and then use the bigger rear cogs(i have an 11-27 cassette) and I still seem to spin faster than my buddy who rides with the smaller front ring but is alway in the 11t cog.
    Don't get stuck on stupid!

  18. #18
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    Karate Monkey? You???

    Since when did they start making them from Ti???


    Quote Originally Posted by mdutcher
    I too am enjoying the KM over my geared bike. I am running 32:18 and it works quite well for me out here in Kansas. No real mountains, but if you think that Kansas is flat, think again!

    I am waiting to convert the KM to fixie and that will be even more enjoyable, I think.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by shark67
    all things being equal--

    If the gear inches are the same, (I haven't seen a chart of them in a long time) is there really any difference between using a really bigger ring and bigger cog or a smaller ring smaller cog to get the same gearing?

    does this question make sense?

    for instance...

    When I ride my road bike--I almost always use the larger ring and then use the bigger rear cogs(i have an 11-27 cassette) and I still seem to spin faster than my buddy who rides with the smaller front ring but is alway in the 11t cog.
    That is a great question.

    I certainly don't know the scientific/correct answer, but I do know this: I prefer as large a ring in front as possible, I just seem to go faster.

    On my geared bike for instance, I seem to be able to go faster if I'm in the big ring, even if the cadence is the same (ie, different cogs, same gear-inches).

    Back to topic: SS gearing, I tend to personally hate spinning out on the flats more than I hate suffering up a hill....for this reason, I tend to choose a taller gear than it appears most do...I found a 34x18 to be a standard gear for me (although my RIG will feature 34x19 - due to being out of shape winter riding - assuming it arrives prior to the Spring)....while at a race on a relatively flat course 2 yrs ago, I rode 34x16 on my Monkey, and it was a freakin' TTAAAAALLLL gear, but I won that race against a geared class....said another way: local terrain is an extremely important consideration.
    FS: Everything

  20. #20
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    wear mostly

    Quote Originally Posted by somms
    why is less than 18T not enough teeth? Are they more likely to snap?
    I guess the chain could skip under huge efforts. Mostly its a matter of wear. With a 18t freewheel you are only in contact w/ ~8 teeth. Those 8 teeth are transmitting the full force of the chain to the rear wheel. Also, the smaller the cog gets the less round it is which contributes to inefficiency and wear. Imagine a cog w/ only 4 teeth. It would be a square! The same principle holds for greater teeth. So I guess a 16t cog is really a 16 sided polygon. I've heard that this fact means that the 11t cog shouldn't be put under much stress. I'm not sure how much difference it makes when you get out to 16t, 18t, 20t.

    Mostly I just feel better mashing away at my 34-20. More chainwrap = less wear and more strength.

    Sheldon Brown has a rant about it too, esp. in relation to using a singulator.

  21. #21
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    Shark,
    Between a 52t road ring and a 42t or even 39t there seem to be lots of teeth, but we're just talking ~20% here. If you're always in 42-11, chances are you'll like 52/13 even better.
    I've had 56/20 on a commuter road bike for some time, and it totally ruled, despite the noisy tensioner zinging along all the time. Moore tooth on a ratio just makes things so nice, smooth and quiet.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by shark67
    all things being equal--

    If the gear inches are the same, (I haven't seen a chart of them in a long time) is there really any difference between using a really bigger ring and bigger cog or a smaller ring smaller cog to get the same gearing?

    does this question make sense?

    for instance...

    When I ride my road bike--I almost always use the larger ring and then use the bigger rear cogs(i have an 11-27 cassette) and I still seem to spin faster than my buddy who rides with the smaller front ring but is alway in the 11t cog.
    All else being equal, given the same overall ratio and gear inches:

    - The big ring/big cog combination will weigh more, and of course the ring will be more likely to hit rocks and logs.
    - The big ring/big cog combination will pedal more smoothly (I expect Shiggy to weigh in on this at some point) and will be more efficient.
    - The big ring/big cog combination will be less likely to drop the chain, because there are more teeth holding it into each sprocket at any given time.
    - The big ring/big cog combination will create less chain tension.

    A little more explanation on that last one: Even though the overall gear ratio is the same, the larger cog's greater radius requires less chain tension to exert the same torque on the hub. At the front of the drivetrain, the same pedaling force causes the larger chainring to move the chain faster but with less force due to its larger radius. The net effect is that because both sprockets are larger, the same torque is exerted on the hub but the chain transmits that power by moving faster under less tension.

    Take an extreme example: a 2:1 ratio using a 36x16 combination, compared against a 2:1 ratio using a 22x11 combination. If you spin the cranks on the 22x11, you'll notice that the chain moves pretty slowly compared with the 36x16 ... in order to carry the same amount of power to the rear of the bike, the chain will be under proportionally greater tension, making it wear faster and more likely to snap under load. Sprockets will also wear faster and chainrings will start mushrooming earlier. You'll probably also notice a lot more friction in the drivetrain as you spin the cranks on the 22x11, and it should be plainly obvious how hard it will be to keep the chain on.

    Moving away from the extreme end of the scale, the disadvantages of the "compact" drivetrain are less pronounced, but still there. The differences, say, between 36x18 and 32x16 aren't probably that great, but (I can't prove this) I suspect that as you reach smaller sizes some of the disadvantages increase exponentially. I think it's a good idea to run as large a combination you can within the limits of cog availability (generally 20t or so max) and sprocket-log clearance (for real mtb'ing, I don't like to go over 36-38t, depending on bb height).

    - Dan

  23. #23
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    High Altitude 2-9er Gearing

    Just ordered a Surly 32t ring and a 18t freewheel, Surly/Salsa SS wheelset, a Jethro Tule and a Tugnut chain tensioner. My monkey's going to be all set really soon! I'm pretty certain the 32-18 will work well for the riding I've been doing lately- no steep long climbs, and the elevation is much lower here (Colorado Springs, about 6,500ft) than what I'm used to (I'm visiting my folks for the holidays). Anyways, when the snows melt up in the Gunnison country (where I live) and the trails open up I'm sure that I'll have to reconcider my gear ratio. Up there, the very lowest I ride ranges in at 7,700ft, and the some of the best trails are up around 9,700ft. and higher. In addition to thin air, the climbs are ussually long and I seriously doubt I could make up in a 32-18t. Of you guys that posted your ratios, how many of you ride at high altitude? Please post altitude ranges and gear ratios. Not trying to make this a contest or show up you lowlanders or anything, but I was just curious to see what people were pushing up high. Thanks.

  24. #24
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    Problem isn't so much high as sustained. Even at low elevation you'll blow up after a while if you are honking up something long and steep. That's when you pull out the low gear - walking.

    I guess you could get used to anything and maybe whip yourself into extraordinary shape but sometimes on those hour long climbs up above gothic or whereever you start to wonder if you brought the right machine. I don't mind getting anaerobic but when it goes on and on you get pretty frustrated. Just another challenge I guess.

    BTW 34-20 @ 12k but I generally don't like the riding so much above treeline. Scree is boring.

  25. #25
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    Here in Florida

    I ride my Monkey fixed most of the time here (32x16) I was running 32x17 to start out on my 1x1, and when I traded that out for the monkey I was told at the shop to start with 32x18, I felt I could go down to a 17t and did, now I'm running 16t fixed-17t/19t double eno SS freewheel. Gives me alot of option depending where I'm riding and if I'm bonking. White industries has my vote for the sweetest freewheel period (even though I haven't used it much, Love being fixed). But I've never thought about going up 2 teeth in the front Now I have more gear to buy, Gotta try it. although the bike shop has had trouble getting track cogs this year. I'll let you know what I find.

  26. #26
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    Hey Pseud,
    Yeah, riding above treeline is tough. I don't really like doing it too often too because of the lack of O2 not nessesarily because of scree. I find I have to walk too much and I'm not a fan of walking around in cycling shoes. If I have to get off my bike and walk, I'd rather it be because of a tricky section that I'm not man enough to try. I think the highest I like to ride is trail 401 in Crested Butte. Its a tough climb to get up to the top once you get off the road, but worth it, since its pretty much all down hill from there.

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