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  1. #1
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    Anyone Else Surprised to Find?...

    Am I the only one who went from geared bikes to a SS and was surprised to find that I'm no slower and probably a bit faster on the SS than I was on the geared bikes?

    I most definitely climb faster on almost all grades and trail surfaces ... and I descend every bit as fast as on the FS. Even though I rarely unlock my Reba. (Yep, I do kinda wish I'd kept it fully rigid.)

    Of course, I went from a XCFS 27-lb 26" gearie to a 21.5-lb 29er SS, so there are plenty of variables in there, but I rode hardtails from 1988-2002 so I have a decent frame of reference.

    I actually went SS because I was bored with my old bike and thought I was going to buy a SS 29er to prove that singlespeeds AND 29ers were nothing but hyped-up bunk!

    But my Spot 29er is THE most-loved bike I've ever owned, other than my first bassboat yellow 16" Schwinn with the banana seat, circa 1977. That thing was badass.

    Viva le Monocogs!

  2. #2
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    No. Not surprised. It is a very common story.
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  3. #3
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    I think overall i'm faster on my SS 29er than my 1X9 29er. I can gauge this by how well I keep up with my more skilled riding buddies, and some days I feel I'm just as fast or faster than them in certain sections. The weights aren't too different between my two bikes, I just think I handle the SS better. And though I feel I'm faster overall on the SS, I do walk more. I seem to do better on very techical climbs when i can stay seated, which means I do better on the geared bike for this stuff. If the climb is smooth, I think I climb just as well on the SS as the geared. But when there are objects to get over, as in step-like rocks or roots, standing up to grind it out usually results in spinning out with the SS. I've learned to ratchet the cranks and shift weight back and forth and that has improved my climbing tech sections, but some stuff is just too steep to start up again once stalled.

  4. #4
    Duckin' Fonuts.
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    No. I was slow on gears and am slow on the SS. Different pain though.

  5. #5
    CB2
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    I doubt if in a race you'd be faster on a SS.
    When I switched I know where I was placing in the geared class, and what kind speed I was making, and although I'm almost as fast, I'm not as fast.
    On group rides I'm still about the same compared to the other guys.
    Last edited by CB2; 03-02-2007 at 02:32 PM.

  6. #6
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    Depends on the terrain - on technical rocky climbs and descents I'm way faster on my FS bike - I can just blast through the rough stuff much easier than on my rigid SS. On smooth singletrack it's a wash. My SS does make me faster on the FS though - I get better technique from riding the SS that transfers to riding my FS.
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  7. #7
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    Each of us will have our own experiences and conclusions, but from a purely objective position, geared bikes are faster than single speeds.

    Nonetheless, I do believe that I will ride faster on the single speed than I will on the geared bike on some rides/trails.
    I AM JUST A JERK

  8. #8
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    I haven't raced mine, yet. But I'll see some of you at the Whiskey Off-Road.

    Racing would be different. Surely on the flatter sections when others want to put the hammer down and I'm spun out, they will have an advantage. On 90% of the remainder of the terrain, I am faster now than on a geared bike.

    Part of the reason, admittedly, is that I ride harder on the steeper climbs because I am forced to with the larger gear. That surely accounts for much of it, actually.

    But the decreased weight is a boon, as is my increased focus on maintaining momentum. Which is something I've focused on for years and find to be a forte of mine. But there's a difference between trying to focus and being forced to.

    And even though it sounds oovy-groovy, in my case, the fact that my brain isn't constantly processing information regarding when and how to shift makes me more efficient and relaxed and focused.

    I apologize if some of you feel like this discussion is old hat. I've ridden mtn bikes for decades but I'm relatively new to MTBR and very new to SS, so to me it's interesting and I'm just sharing my enthusiasm. Sorry if it bores ya.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirdir
    Each of us will have our own experiences and conclusions, but from a purely objective position, geared bikes are faster than single speeds.
    A bike that can be shifted to 104 gear inches can theoretically be ridden faster than a bike that is stuck at 52 gear inches. That proves nothing about whether a rider can pedal from point A to B faster on one or the other, especially on mixed terrain. This is why races are not always one by the rider who shows up with the largest chainring.

    If people payed attention to the gears they actually use, their actual speeds and how infrequently they spin out their big rings, they would be less surprised by the comparative performance of singlespeeds.

  10. #10
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    if you look at race times in any race, on any terrain...the SS times are slower, always. not that racing means anything....but on a geared bike you can always be in the "right" gear and on a full suspension you can go faster on certain terrains than any hardtail.

    doesn't mean i don't love riding my SS's the most, but really there is no way i'm faster on any of my local trails.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferday
    if you look at race times in any race, on any terrain...the SS times are slower, always.
    That wouldn't prove anything even if it is true (doubtful on the "always" part). The question is whether each rider could beat his or her own time on SS vs. geared, given the equivalent amount of preparation for the event.

    Quote Originally Posted by ferday
    not that racing means anything....but on a geared bike you can always be in the "right" gear and on a full suspension you can go faster on certain terrains than any hardtail.
    But you can always be in the "wrong" gear on a geard bike (going slower than necessarry) and on certain terrains the added weight will only slow you down.

    This debate always seems to come down to a preponderance of SSers who have proven to themselves that they are faster and a few theoreticians claiming it can't be so.

  12. #12
    conjoinicorned
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    But you can always be in the "wrong" gear on a geard bike (going slower than necessarry) and on certain terrains the added weight will only slow you down.

    This debate always seems to come down to a preponderance of SSers who have proven to themselves that they are faster and a few theoreticians claiming it can't be so.
    LOL...theoretician. ha ha.

    why are some SS riders somehow convinced that gears are hard to use? i'm very rarely in the wrong gear on my gearies, it's pretty easy to slightly move on of my fingers...

    i prefer SS riding but i doubt that i'll ever be faster on my SS rides vs. my gearies if i'm giv'n it on both bikes. if you and others are, well that's awesome! if i ever reach that Nirvana than i'll be happy to admit i was wrong!

    kinda like how 29ers are always better, or FS is always better, or fixed is always better, or DH is always better, or horst link is always better, or full rigid is always better...this is mtbr after all. i like bikes.
    Last edited by ferday; 03-02-2007 at 05:42 PM.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  13. #13
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    Gears are easy to use, especially as a crutch. Nobody said that SS is always faster geared.

  14. #14
    ravingbikefiend
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    One guy and two bikes that used to be gearies...

    My SS HT is just as fast as it was when it was geared as long as I don't include flat ground speed... I haven't hit a point where I can spin a 32:18 up to 32mph without my legs catching on fire.

    My rigid SS is faster than the HT as it has 38:18 gearing but it used to have a 48:11 (113 gear inches) as a top gear so does not get the same flat ground speed as it used to.

    I'm used to spinning and mashing some large gears (read my sig) so know that my SS bikea aren't quite as fast as they used to be on some surfaces but that's why I still have some gearies and an SS road bike that is a freaking rocket.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

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  15. #15
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    I performed a little experiment in VA with my Kona Explosif, sliding drops and derail hanger. So the exact same bike except with or without the X0-XTR drivetrain. Timing myself through the trail at <st1>New </st1><st1>Quarter</st1><st1>Park</st1> (good stuff near <st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Williamsburg</st1></st1:city>) I was a minute or so faster on the geared bike. And oddly enough when riding my Fixie, I was only a minute or so slower than the SS Explosif. In the end I was more fatigued with the SS and the Fixie, but not too much slower. I could keep that pace all day on the geared version of the Explosif, but doing one lap on the Fixie was worth riding three on the Gearie. So training by riding the Fixie for three laps made me a much better rider on the Gearie. The trails in the area were SS friendly and my form favors mashing (though the Fixie is helping with developing a spin and with mashing for that matter). But back home in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1>Colorado</st1> </st1:state>or somewhere else with long 20% grade climbs, I'd want gears. I do find that I enjoy simply riding the simple ridged Fixie more. With my current XC bike I’m always thinking that my disc brakes feel like they need to be bled or my fork needs some kind of adjustment, etc.
    Slowly slipping to retrogrouchyness

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutButterBreath
    A bike that can be shifted to 104 gear inches can theoretically be ridden faster than a bike that is stuck at 52 gear inches. That proves nothing about whether a rider can pedal from point A to B faster on one or the other, especially on mixed terrain. This is why races are not always one by the rider who shows up with the largest chainring.

    If people payed attention to the gears they actually use, their actual speeds and how infrequently they spin out their big rings, they would be less surprised by the comparative performance of singlespeeds.
    I disagree. When you mean people paying attention to their gears, you are talking about the average Joe, like me, and not the best. I said from a purely objective standpoint, geared bikes are faster. Take a world class racer, like Roland Green, have him ride as hard and as good as he can, and assume his performance is equal (not sick, feeling the same, knows how to use and maximize his gears, etc.) and he will be faster on the geared, every time.

    You can't bring races into the argument unless you are talking about the real racers, like UCI folk and such.

    No doubt that a better racer on a single speed will be beat an inferior racer on a geard bike.

    However, I agree that in everyday life, in every day situations, people can go faster on single speeds. I know I do.

    Also, there is no magic course/terrain that is better suited for a single speed. Such a thing simply does not exist. That is, there is no course/trail that will result in Roland Green being faster on a single speed. Sort of like the magic 29er ditch. There simply is no ditch that will send you OTB on a 26er that can be rolled on a 29er. It is fantasy.
    I AM JUST A JERK

  17. #17
    Nat
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    Focusing solely on whether or not a SS is faster or slower completely omits 99% of the joy of singlespeeds.

    Faster or slower? Barely important.

  18. #18
    ravingbikefiend
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    Focusing solely on whether or not a SS is faster or slower completely omits 99% of the joy of singlespeeds.

    Faster or slower? Barely important.
    Can I hear an amen on that ?
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

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  19. #19
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    Amen! brother
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    Focusing solely on whether or not a SS is faster or slower completely omits 99% of the joy of singlespeeds.

    Faster or slower? Barely important.
    Yes, but there is nothing wrong with analyzing and discussing nuances and such until the end of time. The discussion may barely be important, but fun nonetheless.
    I AM JUST A JERK

  21. #21
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirdir
    Yes, but there is nothing wrong with analyzing and discussing nuances and such until the end of time. The discussion may barely be important, but fun nonetheless.
    The discussion is definitely fun (for a little bit). Worrying about faster or slower while actually on a singlespeed ride is silly. By then the time to analyze has passed, and one should just enjoy the ride.

    There's so much depth to why I like singlespeeds that goes far beyond "because I might be faster than on my gearie." That's what I'm saying.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    There's so much depth to why I like singlespeeds that goes far beyond "because I might be faster than on my gearie." That's what I'm saying.
    Fair enough. Just don't marry one. They are just bikes.

    Oops. What am I saying - just bikes. I need to be shot.
    I AM JUST A JERK

  23. #23
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    Yeah, this thread was intended to be a "celebrate singlespeeds" thread moreso than a debate. Though I'm fine with the debate, too. I don't know why or how but, when NOT considering the flat parts of rides (which are few and far between in my area), *I* am faster on my SS 29er than I was on my FSXC.

    But far more importantly, I am in LOVE with riding my Spot. I think I'm going to propose to her sometime very soon.
    Last edited by Velokid1; 03-04-2007 at 09:21 PM.

  24. #24
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velokid1
    Yeah, this thread was intended to be a "celebrate singlespeeds" thread moreso than a debate. I don't know why or how but, when NOT considering the flat parts of rides (which are few and far between in my area), *I* am faster on my SS 29er than I was on my FSXC.

    But far more importantly, I am in LOVE with riding my Spot. I think I'm going to propose to her sometime very soon.
    I love riding my singlespeed too! I can't wait for the trails to dry out!

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