long distance singlespeeding- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    long distance singlespeeding

    i was just wondering how far people are commuting on their singlespeed roadies? i'm pretty interested in building one up to start commuting.

    cheers

  2. #2
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    I didn't commute on my old steel Nishiki road bike I used to have, but I would ride around down town with my camera gear. 10 miles was a normal ride. If I remember right, I was running 40-18 or 40-16?!

    Kris

  3. #3
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    Long distance for single speed? Unless got plenty of time to spare...

  4. #4
    local trails rider
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    What is long?

    I commute about 5 miles each way on a SS mtb with 2.2" slicks and 36/15 gearing. I have not done much over 10 miles on that bike, in one go, but I could.

  5. #5

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    I absolutely fail to see the benefit of SS unless you're a) totally skinned or b) a masochist. It's only optimal for a small range of speed and torture on any gradients, up or down or if you have dodgy knees ... a fashion thing.

    Get yourself an Alfine. Efficient, very slick and SS looks ... at least as near as. In fact, I think it is so good that I start a thread on it.

  6. #6
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by drummerman
    I absolutely fail to see
    OK.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by drummerman
    I absolutely fail to see the benefit of SS unless you're a) totally skinned or b) a masochist. It's only optimal for a small range of speed and torture on any gradients, up or down or if you have dodgy knees ... a fashion thing.
    Guess it depends on where you live.

    Here in Illinois we can pretty much get anywhere on paved roads on a singlespeed.

    For me its a style as well as a utility thing. I like the clean look of a singlespeed as well as the lack of maintenance/hassle/probability of derailleur screw ups by singlespeed commuting.

  8. #8
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    My commute isn't very long, but I regularly do 100-150 mile multi-surface rides with a ss cyclocross bike in very hilly terrain.

    Single speeding is easier than it appears to the uninitiated. Humans are a more flexible powertrain than Shimano wants us to think we are, and the more you ss, the broader your rpm and speed range becomes.

  9. #9
    Ride-Drink Beer-Repeat
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    I ride a SS almost every day. My ride is 15 each way. I have 4lbs of tires on it and also rode it this weekend for 40 miles with 3000ft of climing. I posted a pic of it here on the cyclocross to work thread http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=540377#24
    I have a Road bike that I use also (have it set up as a 1x9). The TCX SS is my favorite ride. I currently have it geared 42x16 and can hold 22mph on the flats with no problem. The guys I commute with rairly go faster than that.
    The Internet: All the piracy, none of the scurvy.

  10. #10
    More than a little slow
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    My commutes for the last 8 or 9 years have been mostly on single speed mtbs. The distances have varied between 20 and 30 km one way. My riding time doesn't change significantly between geared or single speed. The only condition that I can think of where it's a bit of a pain to be on an SS is when there's a good stiff wind at your back, esp in the middle of winter. You end up spinning like crazy and freezing cold because you aren't working that hard.
    Cheers, Dave

  11. #11
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    I was riding my 1x9 Santa Cruz Nomad with 2.35 Nevegals on my 13 mile each way commute and hopped on a singelspeed skinny tired bike on day...and saw the light. I bought one of those $319 singlespeed specials at bikesdirect.com and have been riding it for about 2 weeks now. It flys. My commute is very flat and mostly along the American River Parkway in Sacramento so hills are not an issue. I wouldn't go back to gears at this point. It's dead quiet and maint free. It forces you to get stronger or walk.
    To insanity and beyond.....

  12. #12
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    I don't know what long is, but I commuted 4k miles this last year on a variety of SS/fixed gears. If you aren't used to SS/fixed, then yes, your knees will hurt as you build up strength and endurance.

    As was said previously, SS is as fast as geared in a lot of applications, and on most hills, climbing if faster on a fixed, though downhills can suck. It'll boil down to fitness, but you really should do it. There is so much bliss and purity when you lose the gears.

  13. #13
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    Im commuting 7.5 miles each way in DC. Down hill to work, uphill on the way home. I ride a KM with worn down 2.25's, set up as a SS. I think it really works well for my situation. the up hill ride home isnt too terrible either. I doubt my commute would be much faster with gears and skinnies because of all the stopping i need to do. Sure, i could accelerate faster with skinny tires, but in the end, i dont have enough space to get up to 25, and then slow down again. Intervals like that will kill ya...ha. Riding the SS with fat tires gives me a lot of flexibility, (ie. jumping on the side walk to avoid the shadow boxing bum)

    Ive been considering a conversion to a 1x9, but keep getting lazy...running cables...new chain, cassette..yadda yadaa.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I don't know what long is, but I commuted 4k miles this last year on a variety of SS/fixed gears. If you aren't used to SS/fixed, then yes, your knees will hurt as you build up strength and endurance.

    As was said previously, SS is as fast as geared in a lot of applications, and on most hills, climbing if faster on a fixed, though downhills can suck. It'll boil down to fitness, but you really should do it. There is so much bliss and purity when you lose the gears.
    I disagree. Ever since I changed from SS to multi-gear bicycle. I never look back. SS perform badly in uphill, pick up and top speed. The only advantage people will pick SS is on lifestyle, training and ease of maintenace. Even the slightly lighter weight SS offer over multi-gear is not going to turn over the tide over in uphill climbing.

    As for the training part. I try to push myself of my commuting hard in multi-gear bicycle by going fast and climbing vigorously. As many people say, if yr commuting is flat and smooth. SS is still consider ok. But if u are on hilly roads, multi-gear is the way to go.

  15. #15
    jrm
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    20 miles round trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Dawg
    i was just wondering how far people are commuting on their singlespeed roadies? i'm pretty interested in building one up to start commuting.

    cheers
    Did it for about a year until it reeked havoc on my IT band then went back to the geared roadie.

  16. #16
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    I disagree.
    Obviously, there is not a good way to solve this dilemma- as I used to ride geared bikes for years, and I never enjoyed climbing, or riding in general, until I hit on SS. When I went for my first road ride on a fixed gear I was really worried that I'd end up walking, but when we got to the hill, I was the first one up.

    On flat road rides I averaged about 21 with gears, it is the same with fixed. Take what you want- fitness is going to have a lot to do with personal experiences on various bikes and what I'm writing is certainly the truth in my case, and might very well become so for the OP.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Obviously, there is not a good way to solve this dilemma- as I used to ride geared bikes for years, and I never enjoyed climbing, or riding in general, until I hit on SS. When I went for my first road ride on a fixed gear I was really worried that I'd end up walking, but when we got to the hill, I was the first one up.

    On flat road rides I averaged about 21 with gears, it is the same with fixed. Take what you want- fitness is going to have a lot to do with personal experiences on various bikes and what I'm writing is certainly the truth in my case, and might very well become so for the OP.
    What gearing are you running? I love SS on the trails, but I'm not sure about doing it on road. I feel like a gear combo that would keep me where I like to be speed-wise would be a bit big trying to roll from a stop light. I don't want to fall in front of 50 people
    :wq

  18. #18
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    Hope This is Helpful

    Quote Originally Posted by nachomc
    What gearing are you running? I love SS on the trails, but I'm not sure about doing it on road. I feel like a gear combo that would keep me where I like to be speed-wise would be a bit big trying to roll from a stop light. I don't want to fall in front of 50 people
    My personal preferences for road SS are as follows:

    700x23-32mm- around 70 gear inches

    26x40+/650bx40+/700or29x40- around 65 gear inches

    The main reason for this is that I think fatter tires die the moment you hit a hill, so I like a little easier, especially if it is a longer climb. Currently, my road bike is 39x15 with 700x23. From stop lights I can get going just fine, especially if clipped in from a track stand.

    For a standard 5-8 mile one way, ~70 gear inches is a nice 20mph, including stops at lights, so it is a good balance between overall speed without spinning out and convenient for the ebb and flow of urban riding.

  19. #19
    miwuksurfer
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    6 miles each way.

  20. #20
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    70 flat miles round trip 1-3 times a week. SS-mtb-42x16 w/ semi-slicks
    .

    I may not have the best of everything, but I have the best everything that matters.

  21. #21
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    I ride a single speed roadie with 46/16 gearing on an eight mile (each way) commute into Washington, DC three days a week. I mix it up on the way home and often take the longer hilly route (Custis Trail), which is 13 miles.

    I really like the simplicity of the bike. The other benefits to me are it changes the dynamic of my commute, which helps keep it enjoyable, and allows me to get a good workout in a short amount of time. Some of the hills are a b*tch with that gearing.

    I am getting ready to put a fixed gear cog on the other side of the hub.

  22. #22
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    13 miles flat, one way, one gear with an average speed of 15 mph.
    But, at the moment the weather overhere (Netherlands) is pretty good, I think when the autumn starts and it gets windier I have to change back to my alfine hub.
    The good thing about the singlespeed is that it's much easer to get a nice constant average speed. The bad thing is that if I have bad day en the wind comes in opposite direction I have a bad trip. But I always can get the public.

  23. #23
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    Both: Its a Win-Win. Single speed is for mellow - fun commutes. Road bike for going fast (for me anyways). I get much better workouts and training when commuting on a geared bike.
    Just Ride!

  24. #24
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    There are people frequently riding 100kms offroad on SS so one road I guess you could ride a very long way. On road I have ridden fixed for 35kms in one hit but offroad at least 60kms on SS.

  25. #25
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by chumbox
    On road I have ridden fixed for 35kms in one hit but offroad at least 60kms on SS.
    As long as you are geared so that you can keep it up...
    I am no athlete, but my longest SS trail ride was just over 70 km, leading a group ride so we went at my pace. Took us 8 hours including breaks. Add the cruise from home to starting point and back... and it was a 90 km ride.

  26. #26
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    Mine is about 10 miles with about 500ft of elevation change. I'm usually 42x18 on 700x32 tires and usually average around 16-18mph for the commute. I like singlespeeds because they are simple and quiet, but mostly I'm too lazy to keep up with the maintenance. I just like to get on and ride.

  27. #27
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    Been riding my 32-16 SS on my 10 mile commute this week since I broke my roadie. I usually ride the big ring on the road bike the whole time and haul ass, get to work in 30 mins. SS takes me 45 mins and it's so frustrating to get passed, knowing I could go faster with a bigger gear.

    44T chainring is in the mail for the SS, I'll be 44-16 in a few days.

  28. #28
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    We have a local rider who rocks the SS on a regular basis. He is a super strong rider. I believe that he has even finished Trans Iowa on a SS. I asked him one time why he liked SS so much and one of his many reasons was that it allowed him to set a reasonable pace on long endurance rides.

    Personally, I like SS for the low maintenance and the fun factor. But for really long rides I still prefer to have gears. Especially if you are riding on hilly terain, or into a stiff headwind.
    Last edited by Chris V.; 08-20-2009 at 07:30 PM.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    There is so much bliss and purity when you lose the gears.

  30. #30
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    26-28 miles each way

    I do this 2-3 times a week. My bike is a 2009 Specialized Tricross Singlecross. 700x 28c tires. There are a few hills but they are short and steep. No sustained climbs. 44 x 17 gearing. I average 17.5 mph. The ride is mostly bike path. I spin out around 24 mph. One of my mountain bikes has gears but I've never been on a geared road bike so I can't compare. The single speed works for me.

  31. #31
    enjoys skidding
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    15 miles each way. Haro Mary SS with Continental CountryRIDE 37c tires and a 32/14 ratio. Probably a bit overgeared but it's what I had lying around.

    Gravel and tarmac, with a few hills here and there.

    Why? Because it's not actually any harder, and it's less to maintain riding year round.

    Some of my riding buddies think I'm insanely fit or something.. Give it a try, I think you'll find it's nowhere near as hard as you think. Just don't use an easy ratio otherwise it'll take you all day to get to work.

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