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Thread: Which gear?

  1. #1
    dr0
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    Which gear?

    Sorry I'm a newbie, I did a search but didn't see the most basic topic for single-speeders out there: what gear to run?

    Specifically I'm putting together my first single speed in 25 years. It will be a 26" wheel'd bike with pretty big city tires on it, and plan to ride it mostly on paved mostly not-too-hilly city streets, including some urban freestyling. (Wheelies, wall rides, etc.)

    I realize "it depends" is the correct answer, but still l have to start somewhere.

    I ran the classic 44/16 combination on all my BMX bikes (20"). That works out to 51.4" gear inches using this web gear calculator (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/.

    Bike Shop Guy said: start at 2:1 ratio. 40 front / 20 rear gives me 52.8 gear inches, which is pretty close.

    My friend says he has 44/17 on his 700c wheel'd singlespeed. That = 69.3 gi. Quite a bit taller.

    BMX racing is all about geting out of the gate fast, and BMX hacking is all about accelerating fast to hit the jump, so perhaps it's a bad place to start for a city cruising bike.

    What do you like for all around fairly-flat city riding on you 26" (or, in gear inches for any size).

    Also, if (for instance) I wanted a 2:1 ratio, I could go 44:22, 40:20, 38:19, 36:18, 34:17, etc.
    Is there some accepted best range that makes changing gears up/down a bit easier? Or other reason to pick one over the other?

    I imagine "smaller is better" for both weight and less stuff to break off, all other things equal, but I suspect they are not equal. (I notice all new-school BMX bikes run really really little gears in back so they can run very small chain rings, the better not to hang up on doing weird freestyle stuff)....

    Apologies in advance for asking such basic questions.

  2. #2
    dr0
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    By the way, I have read the FAQ section on gearing linked above. I see that the use of small gears is discouraged, but using 18 rear as a minimum that still leaves several choices. 44:22? Is bigger always better?

  3. #3
    Are we there yet?
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    For the street try something in the 60 to 70 gear inch range and fine tune from there.

    As for Chainring size start with what you have, if you have one, and fine tune with the rear cog since they cost less. For more answers to your "what size" questions go back to Sheldon:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html#bigsmall

  4. #4
    local trails rider
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    I have 36/15 on the fat tired 26" bike that I use for commuting, town, a little road, trails where I don't have to climb much.

    2:1 is really the baseline for trails riding but on pavement all you get is great acceleration but no speed.

  5. #5
    dr0
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    Thanks! 36/15 works out to 63.5" which is in the range AlmostQuick suggested. This has been helpful.

  6. #6
    (he thinks he can)
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    Go fixie if your using it for city and urban stuff http://www.pedalconsumption.com/index.html they've got some nice fixie pics.
    I'd get a frame from leader specificly this one http://www.leaderbikestore.com/pd-v2...rack-frame.cfm
    08 SS c'dale f4
    07 Prophet
    10 Yeti DJ
    Yeti Arc-x
    11 Yeti asr5-c
    ..and they place nice together!

  7. #7
    dr0
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    Krismac> thanks, but I don't like fixes. I already have a frame. Any comments on the gears? I realize there are some different issues w/ fixes.. (skidding, etc.)

  8. #8
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    Do you have track style drop outs (horizontal)? or vertical drop outs? if you have the track style (slide) gear ratio isn't so crucial since you can adjust chain tension. If you have vertical then you'd need a magic gear, tensioner, or a eccentric BB or hub (i've got WI Eric eno hub). I'd go something closer to 70 gear inches or more if it's urban, mid to low 60's if it's SUPER hilly but nothing less than that or u likely spin out.

    Magic gear calculator http://eehouse.org/fixin/formfmu.php
    08 SS c'dale f4
    07 Prophet
    10 Yeti DJ
    Yeti Arc-x
    11 Yeti asr5-c
    ..and they place nice together!

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