Fewer SSers without IMBA?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fewer SSers without IMBA?

    What I mean is, IMBA-style trails.

    I ride gears because I don't want to ever walk. To me, it's a bike --> to be ridden.
    If I had a SS, there are lots of places where I'd be pushing. Some of those are the same places where the strongest SSers I know are also pushing. But I get to ride up them with my many gears. Many of the old-school trails followed 4-wheelers, power lines, gas lines, game trails... crazy, washed-out fall lines and such. Anyone who wanted to ride those either had gears or walked a lot (which, of course, is the opposite of riding).

    So that's what brought up the question.
    Would there be anywhere near as many SSers today if all the trails were still old-school? ...If there weren't IMBA-style trails, with their controlled slopes and grades?
    (or maybe your SS gear would be 32-32? )

    Thanks,
    -F

  2. #2
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    Eh, idk. There are plenty of "old skool" non-imba standard trails that I ride with an SS. They aren't always the easiest, but they are not impossible. I personally enjoy the challenge sometimes, or the entirely different experience of riding the trail with gears, then on SS. Then again, I can get to 95% of the places I get to on my geared bike with out walking, because I also agree, walking your bike = defeat in my eyes. However, on the geared bike I'm just not sucking as much wind :lol
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  3. #3
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    IMBA, seriously dude.

  4. #4
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    I don't know where you're from but out in here new england the trails aren't IMBA standard what ever that means. They're old trails that either used to be hiking, or dirt bike trails. You don't need to have gears to ride them you just have you just need to be able to turn the cranks and be able to move the bike around.

    Now if you can't do that maybe you should just ride more and become stronger or just stick to riding gears, because I know most people would rather have regular old trails than dumb-downed IMBA trails with their controlled grades and all that. Or you could always get a Rascal and stick to the sidewalk

  5. #5
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    Wow. In my experience, the geared guys are in the back here in Pisgah. I ride Single speed because I like having a few minutes at the top of each climb to fiddle with my Ipod while I wait on the gearies.

  6. #6
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    yeah I am not sure what this guy is talking about, Nothing I ride is "IMBA", and my road bike is the only one with gears.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusSommers View Post
    Wow. In my experience, the geared guys are in the back here in Pisgah. I ride Single speed because I like having a few minutes at the top of each climb to fiddle with my Ipod while I wait on the gearies.
    I think the closest I've been to Pisgah is Tsali. Any comparison?

    The toughest climbs I've done (for me) are both in N. GA: Windy Gap, and Fort Mt. Use those as your basis for comparison. If there's someone who rides those all the time with a 32-20 SS (I can't even imagine it), then I obviously have no idea what a SSer is capable of.
    However, if there's only one person out of 1000 who can do that, then it illustrates my point that easier (e.g. IMBA-style) trails encourage SS-ing among those less capable.
    If there were no easier trails, like there used to not be, then fewer people would ever try SS-ing.

    -F

  8. #8
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    This is about the only thing you can't do on typical SS gearing:

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/uXPUitE-Oyc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Hella steep and unlimited traction. Apart from that, I'll put my SS up any hill you can do geared.

  9. #9
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    Ride a SS on a couple trails and report back, ok OP? I mean, you do understand SS (and riding in general) has a general equation- in good shape = clear longer/steeper/technical climbs. Not in shape = can't- right?

  10. #10
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    Before IMBA there was the WPA.

    There is a local area that a couple of school teachers who are primarily trail runners have caught the trail building bug at (trail builders with the Summer off!). Unlike some of the FDR era trails they put a lot of thought into the sustainability and flow of the trails. I guess they would be considered "IMBA trails".
    They are wicked fun and a huge contrast to some other trails in the same area which essentially look like a glacier threw up.

  11. #11
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    I just spent the good part of this summer building a bunch of non IMBA accredited trails that I ride on my SS. Late summer I bought a Kona Unit. When I started I could ride about half and then stop. I'm up to three laps with varying loops so my fitness has improved dramatically.
    I have been researching trail building both on this website and the IMBA site. I may have missed it some wheres but I didn't read anything about any correlation of trail design and SS. I've worked pretty hard to build 'flow' into my trails and it's the same whether you're riding geared or SS. My op, but I don't think it matters, it's just riding bikes and I try not to over think it.
    Ride it.

  12. #12
    The need for singlespeed
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    glacial vomit ftw

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaskaranddriver View Post
    This is about the only thing you can't do on typical SS gearing:

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uXPUitE-Oyc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Hella steep and unlimited traction. Apart from that, I'll put my SS up any hill you can do geared.
    Not my pics there from a acquaintance and he's a beast on the SS.
    I believe it is the same location.

  14. #14
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    If you ain't hiking you ain't biking, SS or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    What I mean is, IMBA-style trails.

    I ride gears because I don't want to ever walk. To me, it's a bike --> to be ridden.
    If I had a SS, there are lots of places where I'd be pushing. Some of those are the same places where the strongest SSers I know are also pushing. But I get to ride up them with my many gears. Many of the old-school trails followed 4-wheelers, power lines, gas lines, game trails... crazy, washed-out fall lines and such. Anyone who wanted to ride those either had gears or walked a lot (which, of course, is the opposite of riding).

    So that's what brought up the question.
    Would there be anywhere near as many SSers today if all the trails were still old-school? ...If there weren't IMBA-style trails, with their controlled slopes and grades?
    (or maybe your SS gear would be 32-32? )

    Thanks,
    -F
    I ride SS in Germany. A good majority of the trails here were originally blazed by men on horseback carrying swords and bows and arrows. I regularly pass trail markers etc. dated in the 1200s... a day or two before IMBA's time... SS does just fine here.

  16. #16
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    Fleas just don't get it, does he.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  17. #17
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    This thread is full of stupid, mostly at numbers 1 and 7.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevob View Post
    Fleas just don't get it, does he.
    I get SS. I just can't do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412 View Post
    This thread is full of stupid, mostly at numbers 1 and 7.
    ...but I've ridden with strong SSers (guys who have snapped off Ti Crank Bros. pedals - they only use Cro-Mo now) where they have had to walk up hills when I got to ride. I would think that most riders who are not as strong as those guys would be put off by hard hills. The easier hills, a la IMBA-style slopes, allow more noobs to get into SS-ing.

    Somehow I think everyone here thinks I am somehow detracting from SS-ing. That's not the case. I am saying it's more popular because of the increased prevalence of trails that aren't as steep as the old-school trails.

    Get it?

    -F

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by boostin View Post
    If you ain't hiking you ain't biking, SS or not.
    I do not understand this.

    -F

  20. #20
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    There are spots where most gearies walk too.

    In my area, few have ever heard about IMBA. In my experience, the places where I walk are the same ones where the gearies walk. There's a few exceptions to that because I am not a fit guy. Generally, people here walk because they encounter an equation they cannot solve: uphill with obstacles or multiple small obstacle where it is hard to figure out a ridable line.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I do not understand this.

    -F
    That is obvious. Most big, fun, challenging mtb rides involve some distance of hike-a-bike. I mean there are lots of rides that do not involve hiking, but every season there is usually a knarly climb (or 4) that lasts 10 miles and climbs 3500 feet. Its part of the sport, and the fun.

    Basically, try harder, go farther, climb longer.

  22. #22
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    Pisgah and Tsali may be somewhat close together, but the character of the trails couldn't be more different.

    Both are very fun in their own right, but are totally different animals.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I get SS. I just can't do it.

    Yes somethings are just better when not everyone understands them



    ...but I've ridden with strong SSers (guys who have snapped off Ti Crank Bros. pedals - they only use Cro-Mo now) where they have had to walk up hills when I got to ride. I would think that most riders who are not as strong as those guys would be put off by hard hills. The easier hills, a la IMBA-style slopes, allow more noobs to get into SS-ing.

    Somehow I think everyone here thinks I am somehow detracting from SS-ing. That's not the case. I am saying it's more popular because of the increased prevalence of trails that aren't as steep as the old-school trails.

    Get it?

    -F
    Dude some of us are older then the term "Mountain bike"


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by boostin View Post
    That is obvious. Most big, fun, challenging mtb rides involve some distance of hike-a-bike. I mean there are lots of rides that do not involve hiking, but every season there is usually a knarly climb (or 4) that lasts 10 miles and climbs 3500 feet. Its part of the sport, and the fun.

    Basically, try harder, go farther, climb longer.
    I live in NE Ohio. There is no sustained climbing here. You train for long climbs by just staying in your big ring everywhere you go. Although, anymore fewer people have a big ring.

    But like I said, the biggest, hardest climbs I've done were at Windy Gap and Fort Mt. in N. GA. (I linked them above because the trail reviews are hilarious) Some serious elevation gain - not 3500' in 10 miles - more like 1000' in 2 miles. You better believe I was not putting a foot down on either of those unless my leg broke - having gears, I had no excuse to walk, so I didn't. We were quite happy to finish Windy Gap in under 2 hrs. That's a blazing average speed of ~6mph. yay.
    There are a few stretches of the Pinhoti that are like that, too, but not sustained for so long.


    That Schwinn is pretty cool. Around that time is prob'ly the last time I was a serious SSer.

    -F

  25. #25
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    i've never ridden an IMBA trail. My family has a few sections of land and we have always had cattle on them. The trails that they leave have always been my single track, and they all lead to water and salt blocks that replace lost minerals and hydrate (don't think I haven't drank water from a stock tank, any port in a storm right?). In this age of ease and technology, single speeding is one way to create a little adversity for the soul.

  26. #26
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    Here's one person who inadvertently answered this thread in a different thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Winky View Post
    Thanks for the reply 92.

    That is a great question. I guess I'm torn because the trails in Hawaii (where I will be within a year or so) are so technical and down hill that the stiffer frame of the Yelli, combined with the anodized paint and no need to worry about rust appeal to me. That and I will not be selling my Karate Monkey (I've got too many good memories on that bike) and would like to have something different.

    I am also not sure that I will be running it SS out there, everything is so gnarly to climb that gears would be nice.

    Thanks,
    Winky

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Get it?

    -F
    Yes, actually I do. I got too hung up on the IMBA portion of your question thinking IMBA is not the originator of purpose-built biking trails. Rather, IMBA has designated and continues to refine a formula of sustainable, ride able and enviro-friendy trail building methods from years of observing, building, riding, training, advocacy, etc and knows what works and doesn't. Yes, their grade and turn building formulas may be more user-friendly to all off-road biking, not just SS, but they certainly do benefit SSers. For me, a correlation between such trail building methods and the popularity in any riding segment or sub-culture seems a little thin.

    Sorry, the "stupid" comment was... stupid.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  28. #28
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    No, IMBA has no effect on the number of people without gears.

    No, Tsali does not compare to Pisgah.

    Not sure I understand the correlation between breaking ti pedals and ss riding, but I have been to heavy for ti since I was 14, so they may be the problem.

    Good luck with this line of thought.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412 View Post
    Yes, actually I do. I got too hung up on the IMBA portion of your question thinking IMBA is not the originator of purpose-built biking trails. Rather, IMBA has designated and continues to refine a formula of sustainable, ride able and enviro-friendy trail building methods from years of observing, building, riding, training, advocacy, etc and knows what works and doesn't. Yes, their grade and turn building formulas may be more user-friendly to all off-road biking, not just SS, but they certainly do benefit SSers. For me, a correlation between such trail building methods and the popularity in any riding segment or sub-culture seems a little thin.

    Sorry, the "stupid" comment was... stupid.
    'Salright - I always sound perfectly logical to myself. Your wording actually sounds better. The question, I guess, is in "How thin is the correlation?"
    That thin, huh?


    For Mr. Sommers, the comment about broken pedals is to offer a point of reference that SS climbing for someone (a 190# dude) who is strong enough to snap a pedal off just by pedaling and is probably almost immune to the effects of most harsh terrain, will still have to walk once in awhile.
    Anyone who is less strong, which is a lot of people, will possibly be deterred by such strenuous climbing or excessive walking. Hence, they will more often opt to use multiple gears instead of SS, or they will opt for SSing on more gradual slopes, such as those recommended by IMBA trail builders to establish sustainable trails.

    -F

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusSommers View Post
    Not sure I understand the correlation between breaking ti pedals and ss riding, but I have been to heavy for ti since I was 14, so they may be the problem.
    That was my thought as well.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy33 View Post
    I ride SS in Germany. A good majority of the trails here were originally blazed by men on horseback carrying swords and bows and arrows. I regularly pass trail markers etc. dated in the 1200s... a day or two before IMBA's time... SS does just fine here.
    I think this is one of my favorite MTBR posts.

  32. #32
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    Sorry, but lighter guys than 190 will usually climb better than 190lbs pedal breakers. Like 150 and under... I climb CDN rockies all day when I'm out there.. no worries, no pushing.

  33. #33
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    Sorry I am confused. Would it not be the other way around? IMBA= smooth trails and long climbs? = not fun on a SS. I think most SSers ride for the love of riding.
    2011 Kona unit with some carbon.

  34. #34
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    This is a silly thread....

    It just sounds like a guy trying to rationalize his lack of faith in his own ability or determination to ride a ss bike on trails he typically rides his geared bike on. There are people riding single speed bikes in Colorado and other places with endless climbing. Check out the "my new McClung thread" on this same ss forum. Rides like 46 miles, 8000 ft of climbing, 43 miles, 7000 ft of climbing, etc. All on ss bikes and they are not walking most of it. Sounds like the OP needs to challenge himself to see whats possible rather than relying on stories about this person or that one to form his opinions. fwiw, I am 250 lbs and own 2 ss bikes and yes, I can climb almost everything I climb on my geared bike with them. The rigis ss bike has made me waaaaaaaay stronger and smoother than I ever was riding my geared ht, which is my favorite (custom Ted Wojcik 29er) bike because of its amazing ride quality, not the gears.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by edouble View Post
    It just sounds like a guy trying to rationalize his lack of faith in his own ability or determination to ride a ss bike on trails he typically rides his geared bike on. There are people riding single speed bikes in Colorado and other places with endless climbing. Check out the "my new McClung thread" on this same ss forum. Rides like 46 miles, 8000 ft of climbing, 43 miles, 7000 ft of climbing, etc. All on ss bikes and they are not walking most of it. Sounds like the OP needs to challenge himself to see whats possible rather than relying on stories about this person or that one to form his opinions. fwiw, I am 250 lbs and own 2 ss bikes and yes, I can climb almost everything I climb on my geared bike with them. The rigis ss bike has made me waaaaaaaay stronger and smoother than I ever was riding my geared ht, which is my favorite (custom Ted Wojcik 29er) bike because of its amazing ride quality, not the gears.
    From that thread you directed me to:
    Quote Originally Posted by ptwood View Post
    Pretty steep hills around here so tennis shoes are easier on the hike a bike sections, it is traditional as well although most around here have broken from the helmetless tradition

    Cheers
    P.T.
    See? Hills are hard. Not everyone wants to try to ride up them. Even fewer, including experienced SSers, want to try to ride up them with only one gear. This guy is actually planning to walk.
    This is why I think gradual slopes encourage more newbs to try SS.

    btw, it looks like you may have me mixed up with someone else (a guy trying to rationalize his lack of faith in his own ability or determination to ride a ss bike on trails he typically rides his geared bike on) - I have no intention of going SS and my go-to bike has a wide gear range because it is my do-all bike. Because of that there are very few hills that I walk.
    Total elevation gain is impressive, but I am more impressed by the slope. 8000 ft. in 45 miles is no small accomplishment, but 2000' in 6 miles really gets my attention. Those are the kinds of hills I like to challenge myself with.

    [rhetorical]
    If every trail was built with 10% slopes, how many people would be riding SS?
    More, or less than current?

    How many would try it, then go back to gears?
    More, or less than current?

    How many would never try it at all?
    More or less?
    [/rhetorical]

    Maybe one could say that IMBA-style trails possibly encourage more (novice?) riders in general.
    (this is not an IMBA commercial - I still have issues with how some of their trail building principles are applied)

    -F

  36. #36
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    This place really is the ****ing suk lately.

  37. #37
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    embrace the suck

  38. #38
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    KInda stupid question

    I think the OP failed to realize that there are quite a few land management agencies in the U.S. who all build trails to a variety of standards based on purpose. The only trails that I've ever found that could never really be taken on by a SS are "wilderness trails," which you can't have bikes on anyway.

    Those are meant to keep the wildness intact and avoid as much human impact as possible, hence they're rocky, steep, loose, and crappy. Otherwise, IMBA just makes really nice trails at the standard of any National Forest hiking trail.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I get SS. I just can't do it.
    Try it first.

    It's hilarious to me how so many people talk about SS without ever having actually tried one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    For Mr. Sommers, the comment about broken pedals is to offer a point of reference that SS climbing for someone (a 190# dude) who is strong enough to snap a pedal off just by pedaling and is probably almost immune to the effects of most harsh terrain, will still have to walk once in awhile.
    I completely disagree with this. Brute force doesn't equal climbing ability on a SS, and the fact you think so means you don't really understand SS at all.

    Like I said, actually try it first.

  40. #40
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    Maybe, but ....

    I'm inclined to think there isn't much correlation between trail standards and the SS sub-culture. From my experience most people only have a few local trails they can get to with any regularity. After a few dozen (or hundred) laps, the challenge tends to go away because most of us aren't near areas that have a high amount of vertical relief. Simply put, IMBA be dammed, you aren't going to find long and steep climbs that "need" gears.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottcan View Post
    ...a little adversity for the soul.
    indeed. That's why I continue riding a single speed. I started because I couldn't afford to replace and upgrade my cheap geard bike. What started as a matter of economy has now become a matter of principal (or spirituality, or ethics,or some nonsense. I'm an engineer, not an enlish major )

    So controlled grades may play a part in the # of single speeders, but there are a lot of other factors. Take a look at the stickys on the top of the forum that deal with "why SS?" You'll quickly see that there are more than a few reasons people start and stay with one gear.

    Aside from the half- coherent response of a caffeine deprived grad student above.....

    The OP sounds like someone who asked a question without really wanting to get an answer but was seeking to make a point.
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  41. #41
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    There are a couple of things that could be tried.
    Try riding with a SS'er, if you can stay with em on the hills then well done.
    You can also try it for yourself.

    The thing is unless you have ridden with one or ridden one, you will not believe how much faster they are at climbing.

    The main difference is, that SS'ers have to TRY and spin their large gear up an incline just to stay on the bike. This makes for very strong, stubborn riders, very quickly. I have friends who cannot stay with me on any hill. Also not one of them has found a hill that they can climb on a geared bike that I can't on my 2:1 SS.

    I urge you to give it a go, you may surprise yourself.



    I can shift, just not my gears.
    It's all in the mind.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    There are a couple of things that could be tried.
    Try riding with a SS'er, if you can stay with em on the hills then well done.
    You can also try it for yourself.

    The thing is unless you have ridden with one or ridden one, you will not believe how much faster they are at climbing.

    The main difference is, that SS'ers have to TRY and spin their large gear up an incline just to stay on the bike. This makes for very strong, stubborn riders, very quickly. I have friends who cannot stay with me on any hill. Also not one of them has found a hill that they can climb on a geared bike that I can't on my 2:1 SS.

    I urge you to give it a go, you may surprise yourself.

    I can shift, just not my gears.
    OK - I am getting everyone's drift here, so I will attempt to close this out because I think I have my answer. It would be "No", at least among those who haven't given up on SS-ing.

    I do ride with SSers often - half of them are faster than me, half of them are slower than me. This is the same ratio for the entire sport class when I do my few-and-far-between races.

    I have tried to ride certain trails, with climbs, without shifting. It's hard. Most times I limit myself to 32-32 as my lowest gear. I know, not SS, but I really hate walking so I have lower gears to bail out to if needed (I am still using a Ti granny gear from 1993).

    This makes for very strong, stubborn riders, very quickly.
    Does it sometimes make someone go back to gears? I mean I've heard people say "That trail is perfect for SS-ing" or "I think I'll bring the geared bike".

    I think my disconnect is that as long as I know that there are hills that even the strongest SSers will have to push up, then from a purely practical standpoint I will want gears ('cause I really hate walking).

    I may have to post the question in the general forum to get the input of those who tried SS, then decided they didn't like it.

    Thanks for everybody's input, I think.

    -F

  43. #43
    The perfessor
    Reputation: mr_chrome's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    when I travel, I carry both bikes - geared and SS..........i've busted a hump with the SS in some tough spots more than a few times now - no guts, no glory.........man-up, Fleas.......
    Rigid 29er Ti SS
    KHS Solo One SE 29er
    29er SC Tallboy AL
    Paketa Magnesium Road Bike

  44. #44
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bobcanride's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    Why do you all encourage some one with fleas?
    THOSE WHO ARE AWAKE LIVE IN A STATE OF CONSTANT AMAZEMENT

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