Bigger rear cog didn't boast and gains as expected...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bigger rear cog didn't boast and gains as expected...

    I purchased a larger cog for the back (+ chain) with hopes of getting an advantage over my current cog. Not that I had a hard time with my current set-up, but I wanted to try something different to see if I would somehow improve my hills.

    I realized today that by losing momentum speed with a bigger rear cog, I was actually working harder. It seemed I had to output more spin to get somewhere where my smaller cog would just mash through. All that extra spin got me gasping and tired me out quicker. Logically, it seems a smaller cog would be "tougher", but this wasn't the case.

    Plus, the very limited flat areas that I ride were not fun at all.

    It just goes to show that finding the right set-up for your area is key with a SS. There are always threads about "What gearing should I run?" and the answer should always be "Use what gets you to the top fastest". It takes some experimenting to find the right gearing so that you're not hitting a wall nor are you spending a lot of energy spinning fast and getting nowhere. My little $50 "experiment" made me realize that.

    You may have to mash anaerobically, but it seems to work well under certain circumstances after you build the fitness for it.

  2. #2
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    How many teeth did you start with and how many did you go to?

  3. #3
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    I ride in a hilly area, so on my 29'er I had 32/22. I went 32/23 and it was just WAY spinny. Just a one tooth difference.

    Shoot, next year I may even consider 32/21. I followed a guy on his 29'er SS running a 32/20 and there was a noticable difference in the speed. We didn't climb, so I'm not sure how he would've done with that.

  4. #4
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    wow thats really low gearing.

  5. #5
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    On trails where keeping momentum is easy, a higher gear will be "easier", but if you have to stop and start because of tight turns, technical areas, switchbacks, etc., a lower gear seems advantageous. Just my experience.

  6. #6
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    I found that out as well..who woulda guessed :0)

  7. #7
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    Started out on 32x20 on my 29er, though i would try 32x18, it caused me too much pain on the hills so back on the 20 now.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Diesel
    wow thats really low gearing.
    Yeah, it's steep where I am, and straight up - not much winding around to go up. This is also on the 29'er so things are a little different on the big wheel as you know.

  9. #9
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    I started with a 32/20 which was just about the right compromise for everything in my area. I had a very hard time on some of my favorite technical uphill climbs thoug, just not enough momentum. I built up a new bike and have been running 32/22 for a couple of months. While the tech uphill stuff is much more doable, everything else suffers, including some of the less demanding climbing. I've found that I can't start hammering until much later so rather than building momentum to attack the climb I'm coasting into it and working a bit harder on the climb. I'm going to be trying a 21T cog soon and that should be just about perfect. If not, back to the 20...

  10. #10
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    Agreed

    I went from 34:20 to 34:21 and must say that its not necessarily easier. I have also found that by working on my slow cadence technique that I have more range. With lower gearing its more difficult to get momentum for certain obstacles.

    I may switch back, but not sure, the difference is actually, barely noticeable.

  11. #11
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    i found for my area (NorCal) that a 34X18 (26'er...roughly equivalent to 32X17) works purty good for Santa Teresa, Santa Cruz, Ft Ord, Demo...etc...

    not Henry Coe...32X18 for Henry Coe....damn hellish park....

    I've got a 19T Endless laying around if you wanna give it a shot....you may find it works pretty good
    Last edited by CHUM; 11-25-2009 at 02:00 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Today I tried 32x20 on my 29er Rig over my normal 32x18. I was slower in some areas and found it would take some getting used to a lower gear and how you ride each section. Where you will appreciate the lower gear is when the ride gets long. As I got around mile 15 and lots of climbing, I was getting used to it.

    Now riding to and from the park on the flats is slow!!

    Last year at Granite Bay I started my first SS race with 32x16 not being to experienced on the SS. I found it fine on lap 1 and worse each lap after that. The next race I went to 32x17 and still suffered on later laps, but was faster than the race before. The 3rd race I went 33x18 (yes 33) and was better in the end that I had been and much faster overall. I know part was conditioning, but more was how I felt after 10 miles, 15 miles etc.

    All part of the fun!

  13. #13
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    I purchased a larger cog for the back (+ chain) with hopes of getting an advantage over my current cog. Not that I had a hard time with my current set-up, but I wanted to try something different to see if I would somehow improve my hills.

    I realized today that by losing momentum speed with a bigger rear cog, I was actually working harder. It seemed I had to output more spin to get somewhere where my smaller cog would just mash through. All that extra spin got me gasping and tired me out quicker. Logically, it seems a smaller cog would be "tougher", but this wasn't the case.

    Plus, the very limited flat areas that I ride were not fun at all.

    It just goes to show that finding the right set-up for your area is key with a SS. There are always threads about "What gearing should I run?" and the answer should always be "Use what gets you to the top fastest". It takes some experimenting to find the right gearing so that you're not hitting a wall nor are you spending a lot of energy spinning fast and getting nowhere. My little $50 "experiment" made me realize that.

    You may have to mash anaerobically, but it seems to work well under certain circumstances after you build the fitness for it.
    Been there. Found I was working at least as hard on the climbs but going slower.
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  14. #14
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    unless you have major sustained climbs (like longer than 5 minutes) the same seems true to me- I like a gear I can push comfortably standing up on the SS. For me that's 38x18 or 20.

  15. #15
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    I'm still in the learning stage but riding my 29er singlespeed pretty much exclusively now.

    I got hold of a 21 boone that was new and paired it to a middleburn 32. Too spinny even for me, I threw a 36 on as I wanted to keep my bling and it's a lot better but i'm dismounting more than i'd like. Next i'll try a 34 and hope that's the sweet spot.
    wherever you go, there you are

  16. #16
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    I also had a similar experience. After several years of hipster riding (well, fixie road riding anyway), I returned to my 26" single speed and found the 34:18 I had been pushing prior to my layoff, was a bit much. I switched to a 34:20 and experienced the lack of momentum being discussed here. I knocked it down to a 34:19, which mitigated the problem to some extent, but once I get tired of my new 650b SASS (32:200, which that should be around 2012-13, I will probably bump it back up to 32:18.
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  17. #17
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    32:16 was my go to for a long while (on a 29er). i wanted something easier, so i jumped all the way up to a 32:20. it wasn't bad, but i was definitely spinning out on the flats, and pedaling a lot more going up hills.

    after about 6 months, i went back to the 16, and i think i like it more. i push harder on the pedals, but i get up stuff faster. i might get an 18 for rear one of these days... maybe it will be a happy medium.
    Ibis Tranny 29


  18. #18
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    Mallanaga: 32:16 is my current on 29er, thinking about 34:16 will just be right for the hill climbing.

    Aka Brad: on the Bianchi, current is 32:18 and is way too spinny. Im thinking 36:18.
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  19. #19
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    Boy...I just picked up a new (to me) 26in SS recently and its set-up with a standard 32x16 . Its been a while since I have owned an SS and the first ride on rolling single track was a pretty enjoyable time. Fast forward to this morning and my first ride in a couple of weeks and I got a taste of the 32x16 on a trail with much steeper and longer climbs. Arghh..man I am out of shape for sure!! Todays ride got me thinking about trying a 17 but as mentioned I dont want to end-up too low either. Previously I have run 34x17 and 18 and the latter combo worked pretty well. Even though the 34x18 is not much different gearwise, for some reason the larger front chainring always feels a little more efficient. I read once that it has to do with the amount of chain on sprocket and that the slightly larger front ring has a more efficient wrap than a smaller ring. Anyone else heard of this or observed similar with a larger chainring?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by N10S
    Even though the 34x18 is not much different gearwise, for some reason the larger front chainring always feels a little more efficient. I read once that it has to do with the amount of chain on sprocket and that the slightly larger front ring has a more efficient wrap than a smaller ring. Anyone else heard of this or observed similar with a larger chainring?
    Technically the larger combo is more efficient, but until you are going below a 15 rear, I highly doubt you can feel the difference. You will have more chain to stretch out with the larger combo, and the longer chain and larger rings will be a slight bit heavier.

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