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  1. #1
    HOV
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    I realized this about SS:

    Uphill: for climbing hills, the only thing lower gearing would do is make me go slower. I have proven this time and again with actual riding comparisons between my SS and (now gone) geared bike.

    I haven't encountered a hill yet that I could climb with gears but couldn't climb on a SS.

    Downhill: geared or not, I usually never pedal down hills. I don't do most decent downhills without using brakes, much less adding velocity to the mix. Thus, taller gears do me no good on downhill sections.

    Flats: I find the gear I have to be quite comfortable to pedal, so I don't need any other gears on flats either.

    It's ironic that, when I had 27 gears to choose from, I kept shifting betwen them thinking that I was optimizing my gearing for the section of terrain on which I was riding. But in retrospect, it seemed more like hunting around for something that felt better to pedal. What I really needed to do was delete 26 of them.

  2. #2
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    It's a revelation isn't it!
    If you need me I'll be at the bar

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOV View Post
    It's ironic that, when I had 27 gears to choose from, I kept shifting betwen them thinking that I was optimizing my gearing for the section of terrain on which I was riding. But in retrospect, it seemed more like hunting around for something that felt better to pedal. What I really needed to do was delete 26 of them.
    There’s an old fellow, he’s retired and hunts around yard sales as a hobby, brings home all sorts of junk. One sunday afternoon, he brings an old bass fiddle home. His wife takes one look and banishes it to the garage. No way she’s putting up with the old feller teaching himself how to play.

    He’s stubborn, he goes out to the garage every day and, well, fiddles with it, figuring out how to set it up, tune it, get a good sound out of the bow. His wife is amused, but says little. One day she’s watching TV and sees something. She rushes out top the garage and drags him in to see it. It’s a rerun of Walt Disney’s “Fantasia,” and there’s a full orchestra playing. They watch it together..

    When it’s done, she has some questions. “Honey,” she begins, “I notice those professionals musicians hold the fiddle in one hand and the bow in the other just like you. But where you hold the neck in one place, their fingers dance up and down. And where you saw back and forth like a man cutting wood, they sometimes move the bow quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes hard, sometimes soft. Why do you think that is?”

    He nods, thinking, then drawls: “They’re still looking for their best note. I done found mine."

  4. #4
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    1 solution VS. 26 problems LOL

  5. #5
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    Let me start off by saying that i prefer my SS to my gears. Simple and makes me smile. Most of what you said is exactly what i have learned as well. In the flats i spin comfortably and wouldn't go much faster in the downhill techy stuff anyways. Climbing while standing seems to fit my riding style and is nicer to my injured back. Total speed does seem to be equalized by this style of riding.

    Gears are faster. I didn't believe it as i checked Strava to compete with myself and the first 3-5 rides with gears on a common route was not only slower, but, much slower. I even felt more exhausted from the rides on gears. After this, i stopped spinning up climbs and constant shifting. I found a gear that was similar to my SS gearing and started cranking it out. I mentally focus on pushing that gear until the trail requires me to shift. This route has a hill that i have to walk a portion unless i'm (riding my 3x9) spinning a 24x34 gear. At that point, i can walk faster than spinning that gear. I have a 1x9 that i ride like a SS and will push it just before i would need to dismount, only then, would i downshift. I sometimes still have to walk, but, i get further up the hill with a slight gear change. Wide open downhills (fireroads) are not even close. 5-7 miles an hour slower on my SS.

    My riding style equalizes the two bikes now, but, gears are faster. Its a little here and there and noticable. I am still a bit more tired after a geared ride. This is just from gaining a little extra push here and there from gearing up or down. Those gear changes are only done as a last resort, especially on the climbs.

  6. #6
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    I realized this about SS:
    Trailwrecker at large

  7. #7
    HOV
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetboy23 View Post
    Let me start off by saying that i prefer my SS to my gears. Simple and makes me smile. Most of what you said is exactly what i have learned as well. In the flats i spin comfortably and wouldn't go much faster in the downhill techy stuff anyways. Climbing while standing seems to fit my riding style and is nicer to my injured back. Total speed does seem to be equalized by this style of riding.

    Gears are faster. I didn't believe it as i checked Strava to compete with myself and the first 3-5 rides with gears on a common route was not only slower, but, much slower. I even felt more exhausted from the rides on gears. After this, i stopped spinning up climbs and constant shifting. I found a gear that was similar to my SS gearing and started cranking it out. I mentally focus on pushing that gear until the trail requires me to shift. This route has a hill that i have to walk a portion unless i'm (riding my 3x9) spinning a 24x34 gear. At that point, i can walk faster than spinning that gear. I have a 1x9 that i ride like a SS and will push it just before i would need to dismount, only then, would i downshift. I sometimes still have to walk, but, i get further up the hill with a slight gear change. Wide open downhills (fireroads) are not even close. 5-7 miles an hour slower on my SS.

    My riding style equalizes the two bikes now, but, gears are faster. Its a little here and there and noticable. I am still a bit more tired after a geared ride. This is just from gaining a little extra push here and there from gearing up or down. Those gear changes are only done as a last resort, especially on the climbs.
    I've tried riding a geared bike like a SS with terrible results. Perhaps in my old age my resolve is weaker than it used to be; I usually end up in a really wimpy little gear, spinning, trying to balance weight fore and aft and trying to keep the front wheel down. Feels miserable to me, I love standing and mashing, pulling on the bars to increase leg power, using my weight on the pedals. Beast.

    I think some of that has to do with the fact that my geared bikes were 26ers vice 29ers and the rear wheel spun out relatively easily so I had to stay seated for traction, versus standing and mashing the daylights out of the 29er with its longer wheelbase, bigger contact patch, and less force applied to the ground per unit force applied at the pedal (all gearing being equal).

    I can convert my Redline MC Flight 29er to a 1x9 pretty fast, I have nice parts handy from my parted-out 26er. One day I'll give that a try, when I feel that my single cog is slowing me down, or when I want to try a geared 29er. The criteria to begin the experiment: if I start tackling more descents without brakes, learn better bike handling & dowhill flow, and/or start finding hills that I need to walk up with my SS.

    For now though - even if I were a better rider and could use gears to my advantage, I'm having a blast on my SS bikes. So many years spent with geared bikes... I had a bunch of bikes and riding them all felt the same to me. Riding eventually just ground to a halt. When I swung a leg over my first rigid SS 29er, I knew there was something special there. I felt: THAT's what I was missing, THAT's how I need to ride, it made trails that were miserably difficult into playgrounds.

  8. #8
    gran jefe
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    I have 21 to choose from, but end up using 2 gears on the trail. One low one for really steep stuff that i feel like i can almost clear, one for everything else. Maybe someday I'll go to SS.

  9. #9
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    My SS is a 650b and i run 32x20. My 1x9 is a 26er and i will usually run a 34x20 shifting into a 34x23 is the climb gets tough. I won't mash a lower gear than that. Its very similar for me. I do love the SS and reduced drivetrain drag.

  10. #10
    HOV
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetboy23 View Post
    My SS is a 650b and i run 32x20. My 1x9 is a 26er and i will usually run a 34x20 shifting into a 34x23 is the climb gets tough. I won't mash a lower gear than that. Its very similar for me. I do love the SS and reduced drivetrain drag.
    When you climb a steep hill on your geared bike do you sit & spin, stand & mash, or somewhere in between?

  11. #11
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    When I want to train or take the dogs on a ride I choose the SS Rigid cause it's slower and tougher with a 22:11

    When I am short on time or just plain want to go fast I pickup the geared bike. I am one of those downhill peadler types that stand and mash on uphills also.

    Different tools for different jobs, your not going to try to use a philips head when a flat head is needed are you? I feel the same way about bikes.
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  12. #12
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    Well, I still think gears have their place. I have only done one race so far and I competed in the beginners class. There were only a few guys in the class on SS bikes (me being one and Zaskardriver the other). I came in 3rd and he came in 5th (he came in third overall for the 3 race series though). I found the following to be true.

    1. I got dropped on the starting line as the geared riders took off! (passing on single track sucks)
    2. I could climb faster than any of the folks that were in my race
    3. I was stuck behind every frickn geared rider that downshifted when the climbs hit which resulted in my struggling to turn the pedals at times w/ no where to pass.
    4. I could have gone faster on the down hill/flat sections but was geared out.
    5. Full suspension would have been nice in combo w/ gears for the down hills (that's it though)

    In the end the two guys that beat me in that race were both on geared bikes. I caught them once but got stuck in a pile up of folks that started 2 minutes ahead of us from a different class because someone missed a damn shift at a stream crossing. I never saw them again until the end of the race.

    So in my mind, if you are going to race your SS be advised that the geared folks are going to slow you down to a degree. That or race in the SS class. Unfortunately, the SS class in the series that I did was considered an open class. Meaning, open classification as far as age and skill level.

    In the end, I simply enjoy riding my bike. I would much rather hear my uber loud hub than my chain slapping all over the place. The fact that I can simply focus on the terrain and riding rather than thinking about what gear to shift to just seems to add to the enjoyment and get rid of the frustration. I can screw things up enough on the trail by myself, I certainly don't need a derailleur to help me!

  13. #13
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    As much as I love the SS, I know that if I had the money, I would have a ti, left, 1x9 set up as a second bike in a heart beat! It would give me something to tool around on when I go on rides with my wife and kids!!!

  14. #14
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    Here is what I realized about the SS:

    1. It's fun
    2. It's a challenge
    3. It's making me a stronger rider
    4. It's fun
    5. It's simple
    6. it's rewarding
    7. It's fun
    Bicycles don’t have motors or batteries.:nono:

    Ebikes are not bicycles :nono:

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SPD View Post
    So in my mind, if you are going to race your SS be advised that the BEGINNER folks are going to slow you down to a degree. That or race in the SS class.


    The fact that I can simply focus on the terrain and riding rather than thinking about what gear to shift to just seems to add to the enjoyment and get rid of the frustration. I can screw things up enough on the trail by myself, I certainly don't need a derailleur to help me!

    Fixed first comment but I don't understand your other comment, shifting should not require anymore thought than deciding what gear you want to be in on your SS. sitting = gear 1, standing = gear 2, walking = gear 3
    To love me is to rep me, world domination is eminent/imminent/immanent.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOV View Post
    When you climb a steep hill on your geared bike do you sit & spin, stand & mash, or somewhere in between?
    80% of climbs, on my gearie, i am standing. I only sit on climbs if its a slight incline and its still comfortable, or, if i've maxed my heartrate for too long on the climb and i'm near the fallout point of gasping for air and hurling. Then, i'll go big in the rear and spin. Or, walk.

    I ride my gears sort of like being torn between running a 34x18 and 34x23. Mostly run on 34x20 unless i spin out or mashing has exhausted me. I would really be fine with a 1x5 with a 12, 16, 20, 24, 29. I would still sit around the 16-24 range.

  17. #17
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    I agree with your climbing and downhill observations. Have to disagree with the flats though. I found I was spinning out on the flats. But if I run a higher gear, more flat friendly, then I have problems on climbs.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  18. #18
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    I just enjoy it more. The times I struggle on my SS are the same times I would have struggled when I was geared and full sus. It all comes down to the enjoyment for me anymmore. Just not worried about speed or whatever, just fun riding.,, SS is more fun for me at this point.
    On One Summer Season Single Speed

  19. #19
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    I was born with serious face but SS makes me smile all the time.

  20. #20
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    Buzkil--sorry about that, I was speaking as if I were riding a geared bike there. I would rather spend my time focusing on terrain and lines (riding a SS) than being on a geared bike thinking about terrain, lines, and gearing...

    Yes, I agree, the BEGINNER class folks can slow you down. But I will also add that even on the group rides and rolling with Sport and even Expert guys, I get slowed down on the climbs. Granted they frickn take off the minute the trail goes flat or down hill again. None the less, definitely the beginners on gears will slow you down. Good point!

    My problem is that I am sort of on the bubble. I am not a beginner at this point. I have more speed and bike handling skills than the folks in that class. At the same time, I'm no where near competitive in the "open" class and the "sport" class which is where I probably should be has distances that I simply haven't been able to put the time in to training for. Needless to say, I will more than likely compete in the sport class as I know it will still be a challenge and I certainly won't come in last place. But if I race as a beginner it will most likely look like I am sand bagging and isn't fair to those that really are in the right class. I just gotta get some more training time in if I really want to try to be competitive in the sport class.

  21. #21
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    Here is my take on SS vs geared. I’ve posted something similar to this before on another discussion, so I’m sorry to bore anyone.
    .
    I recently proved to myself with total amazement that I’m indeed faster on my Ti 29’r SS (32/20) than my carbon geared 26 full squish.

    I usually ride this bike all of the time and only race on my geared bike.

    At our local Spring race series I was only able to pull off a 5th & a 6th, riding my geared squish bike. After practicing on the course, I felt the technical single track and down hills were meant for a 26’r full suspension geared bike.

    I became depressed because I was constantly getting beat by my riding partner and getting pasted by the other 4-5 riders on the climbs and flats, I definitely couldn’t go any faster and felt it was my conditioning or lack of it. I tried standing more, I tried spinning more, I even went back to my 1 x 10 set up.

    Well, the 3rd race in the series I decided to put the fun back it my racing and use my SS. To my amazement I shaved off 6 minutes in the race, passed everyone on the climbs to have a minute lead by the start of the second lap.

    At the start of the 3rd lap I backed off to lower my HR and the guy that’s been dominating the series pasted me. I beat my riding partner by over 3 minutes, he finished 4th. If I would have pushed it a little harder on the 2nd and 3rd lap, I know I would have won, but second was still quite amazing since I pasted all the guys I couldn’t even hang with before (on the climbs and flats to boot).

    There was a guy that beat me on my geared bike in the first 2 races even after he crashed. On my SS I finished 5 minutes ahead of him.

    To my surprise, on the 4th and final race of the series, he showed up on a new carbon SS.

    I think if you train and ride a SS most of the time, it’s the best kept secret for racing.

    Mojo

  22. #22
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    Just left my cannondale which I ended up ditching big ring, went 34 middle ring and after months of riding and gettings faster didn't touch granny gears yet. Used small amount of rear gears. Went an got me a specialized 29er Carve pro SS. 32/19 for now and I went from back of pack in my group to leading, mid, right in e mix all day. Been doing every hill faster than before and have more energy than ever. Amazing the mental energy saved when you just have to pedal, stand an pedal, or chill.

    Still everyone is not believing how much faster I am consistently on my SS. By far best setup possible for the trails we ride.

  23. #23
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    There are a lot of Apples to Tennis Ball comparisons. I agree that SS can make you faster but I think it has nothing to do with the bike and everything to do with how you change your riding style.
    I rode my FS in SS mode (mid chain ring, 3rd from the smallest cog) for a month before investing in my $40 early ‘90s conversion.
    I am faster on my “Dog running Loop” with the FS in SS mode than I am on my rigid SS and riding the FS normally. Why? Cause of my riding style, I get lazy when I have the gears when I can just stand up and mash.
    If I was a betting man I would bet Riding Style > anything. You will lose a bit of energy with rear suspension but it should easily be made up on the DH and Flats.

    Disclaimer: out of my 4 bikes only one has more than one gear, so yes I am a ss fanboy
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzkil View Post
    There are a lot of Apples to Tennis Ball comparisons.
    Absolutely! Once person correctly points out that SS is a great training technique. However, that doesn’t mean it’s faster in a race, it could be that training SS 50+% of the time and racing gears is fastest.

    Another person points out that they’re faster on a rigid 29er SS than a FS 26er with gears. Hmm. Is it the SS? The lack of squish to suck up your energy? The 29” wheels? Or... Ahem... The weight of the bike?

    In any event, SS is a revelation. It’s way too much fun to ride and race SS no matter what the physics say.

  25. #25
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    My experience, as someone new to SingleSpeed riding (about two months now), is as follows....

    Uphill...faster ... not much choice, riding 34x22 gearing.

    Downhill ... about the same, since I rarely need to pedal on the downhills anyway.

    Flats ... a bit slower, but where I ride there isn't much that's flat..

    Overall Average ... FASTER ... my regular loop that used to take 65 minutes now takes about 57 minutes.

    SPP
    Rigid.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowPokePete View Post
    My experience, as someone new to SingleSpeed riding (about two months now), is as follows....

    Uphill...faster ... not much choice, riding 34x22 gearing.

    Downhill ... about the same, since I rarely need to pedal on the downhills anyway.

    Flats ... a bit slower, but where I ride there isn't much that's flat..

    Overall Average ... FASTER ... my regular loop that used to take 65 minutes now takes about 57 minutes.

    SPP
    Nuff said

    Mojo

  27. #27
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    I realized this about SS:

    A correctly set up SS always has straight chain-line. (Keeping power transfer efficient and chain wear down)
    Geared bikes only have one gear with correct chain-line per front chain-ring.

    A correctly set up SS has Horizontal Dropouts so correct chain-tension can be achieved for faster power transfer as well as a more efficient power transfer.

    A correctly set up SS has a dedicated SS hub with hub flanges at equal distances from the wheels center. (Building a far stronger wheel)

    SS is always in the gear you are expecting.
    Dig, Ride, Repeat. Trust in 4130. Single Speed Pride.

  28. #28
    HOV
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscusmcvet View Post
    I just enjoy it more. The times I struggle on my SS are the same times I would have struggled when I was geared and full sus. It all comes down to the enjoyment for me anymmore. Just not worried about speed or whatever, just fun riding.,, SS is more fun for me at this point.
    Quote Originally Posted by jackspade View Post
    I was born with serious face but SS makes me smile all the time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Berms View Post
    I realized this about SS:

    A correctly set up SS always has straight chain-line. (Keeping power transfer efficient and chain wear down)
    Geared bikes only have one gear with correct chain-line per front chain-ring.

    A correctly set up SS has Horizontal Dropouts so correct chain-tension can be achieved for faster power transfer as well as a more efficient power transfer.

    A correctly set up SS has a dedicated SS hub with hub flanges at equal distances from the wheels center. (Building a far stronger wheel)

    SS is always in the gear you are expecting.
    Yessssss to all.

    My first wheel build will be a SS rear with a burly hub.

  29. #29
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    Uphill: for climbing hills, the only thing lower gearing would do is make me go slower. I have proven this time and again with actual riding comparisons between my SS and (now gone) geared bike.
    Does this theory hold as true at the end of a five hour ride as it does at the beginning? I'll be starting my own experiments as soon as summer gets going. Good post.

  30. #30
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    Im faster on my geared bicycle. I enjoy the SS more though.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  31. #31
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    The only time I wish I was on a geared bike is when I'm racing and trying to pass on steep singletrack when everyone is lightly ascending in the granny gear and I'm trying to power around them. And, they're always in the wrong gear...
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  32. #32
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    I realized this on the last tour: the low gear is useless. I went in the flat paved area with 32x18 gearing with my kids in the trailer (heavy, that's why such a low gear). It was not fast enough to let me gain enough speed to cover minor hills without crushing my knees. I could only get that much of momentum to cover only a half of the climb. On the flats i was spinning out quite badly, shaking all over the place.

    Does it make sense? Do you agree that choosing the gear that is a bit too low is actually not going to help at all? I even have a dinglespeed with a backup option of 28/22 but my latest trip makes me think it is actually useles...
    Last edited by mikhalit; 06-12-2012 at 03:34 AM.

  33. #33
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    I have come to realize a number of things about Single Speeding however these are two I think are the most important.

    1) The single speeding forum on MTBR has much nicer people who aren't totally ******...
    2) Single speeding is just fun! It's like you're a kid again on a 'bmx' bike.

    Highly recommend going 29er steel frame rigid SS. It just feels great....

    32/19 -- decently hilly, no mountains. not flat.

  34. #34
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    I ride 1 to 1-1/2 hours 5-6 days / week on what most of you would consider boring XC -like trails.
    I get satisfaction (and a great workout) from speed, so I time most every ride....sometimes going for PB's and just comparisons to think about after the ride.
    On 1 of the 3 trails I ride regularly, my geared (1 x 10) is definitely faster and more fun to ride.....lot's of tight (handlebar-smacking) corners and lot's of roots. My best geared 35:59 vs 36:55 on SS (32 x 17). My geared is also FS carbon, so takes the edge off.
    On the local hill with 500' elevation and 2.4 miles long, it's close, but my 1 x 10 is a little faster as well with 11:59 vs 12:35. I really enjoy both bikes here, but if I'm doing more laps, I'll take the geared.
    On the last trail, we have a lot of sand and short climbs, pretty good flow and my times are very close in low 42 min on both bikes.
    In the end, I'm really am happy with both bikes and I'll ride the SS for 3 or 4 weeks, then switch over to the geared, then back again

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikhalit View Post
    I realized this on the last tour: the low gear is useless. I went in the flat paved area with 32x18 gearing with my kids in the trailer (heavy, that's why such a low gear). It was not fast enough to let me gain enough speed to cover minor hills without crushing my knees. I could only get that much of momentum to cover only a half of the climb. On the flats i was spinning out quite badly, shaking all over the place.

    Does it make sense? Do you agree that choosing the gear that is a bit too low is actually not going to help at all? I even have a dinglespeed with a backup option of 28/22 but my latest trip makes me think it is actually useles...
    Your argument seems to be that with a “low" gear, you can’t get enough momentum to cruise over hills without standing. This sounds very trail-spectifc, as these hills obviously are not long, nor do your trails feature super-tight switchbacks that prevent you from building up a tremendous head of steam before every climb.

    On my local trails, I spin out on pavement in my 32x18x26” if I try to keep up with gearheads hammering. So I don’t ride on pavement with hammering gearheads :-) We do a lot of ridge systems, so our climbs are sometimes across a gully, in which case you can hammer down and hammer up the other side with momentum. But sometimes they ascend the side of the ridge with steep switchbacks that are very hard to ride at any speed. You either run or use a lower gear, as momentum can only take you to the first turn.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by raganwald View Post
    Your argument seems to be that with a “low" gear, you can’t get enough momentum to cruise over hills without standing. This sounds very trail-spectifc, as these hills obviously are not long, nor do your trails feature super-tight switchbacks that prevent you from building up a tremendous head of steam before every climb.

    On my local trails, I spin out on pavement in my 32x18x26” if I try to keep up with gearheads hammering. So I don’t ride on pavement with hammering gearheads :-) We do a lot of ridge systems, so our climbs are sometimes across a gully, in which case you can hammer down and hammer up the other side with momentum. But sometimes they ascend the side of the ridge with steep switchbacks that are very hard to ride at any speed. You either run or use a lower gear, as momentum can only take you to the first turn.
    You're right about the type of ascends, it's pretty straight and no sharp turns.
    I actually meant something different with the "gear a bit too low". I'm not that experienced yet in SS riding, so thought i may choose the gear that is a little bit lower than i need 95% of the time. Seems I was wrong, it doesn't help to have the gear lower than you need most of the time, one needs a gear that is right for the major part of the ride. At least in the area i'm riding now. Still have to get used to idea that it's ok to walk up the hill

  37. #37
    puts the FU in fun
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    I got my first SS over the winter with the intention of it being a "backup" bike and unsurprisingly my 1x9 now gathers dust....I finally took the geared bike out for the first time in 7 months last week and I felt like superman on the thing. Half a year on a SS has definitely upped my strength and fitness, as I was climbing hills in gears I never would have dreamed of last season. There was a time when thought I needed a lower gear than 32x32 on a 29er. I now laugh at that observation!

    However, even after 7 months of not riding it, I was noticeably faster on my geared bike than the SS, about 5 minutes faster on my usual 12-mile after-work loop. But...I attribute that fact more to my SS being a rigid and my geared bike being a hardtail. Squish up front just makes rock gardens easier....

    However, I ride for fun, and I feel like I have the most of it on the one-speed. It may not be the only bike I ride, but it's the one I currently enjoy riding the most by a big margin!
    Everything in moderation. Including moderation.

  38. #38
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    Good job!

    Things I realized:

    1. No more money spent on rear derailleurs, cables(I guess you could add fr derailleurs too and shifters/cables), 8/9 speed chains. I broke a lotta stuff. At one point years back on shifty bikes went from, 9 speed back to 8 speed set ups then X9 to X7, to lower priced rear derailleurs cause it was costing me a bunch, riding rocky terrain doing trialsy moves and plunk there goes another rubber tree plant(read rear derailleur) On my SSer my rear chainstays are abused and scratched, if that was ol shifty yep stuff would be destroyed.

    2. I ride rigid SS 29er 32/22 cause I like to have the lower gear to hop rocks and do trials moves, it just works for me. But I will bring out the older 26er rigid SSer 39/16 geared bike much higher, and tough to ride, yet I find myself trying much harder to get up stuff, almost like an addiction! It just makes me try harder.

    3. I noticed years back on my local trails riding the ol shifty I would ride up this rocky hill and would sit, squirm, and really hate the slow un-efficient grind, not that I ever was a spinner and others would spin high RPMS and get up it. So then I get the SSer at first I would stand, crank, and die, end up walking, but I would have been going that slow on ol shifty anyways. Kept at it getting further without walking, SSer made me way stronger, then it was stand, crank, get to the top much faster!

    OK I love SSers...

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Things I realized:

    1. No more money spent on rear derailleurs, cables(I guess you could add fr derailleurs too and shifters/cables), 8/9 speed chains. I broke a lotta stuff. At one point years back on shifty bikes went from, 9 speed back to 8 speed set ups then X9 to X7, to lower priced rear derailleurs cause it was costing me a bunch, riding rocky terrain doing trialsy moves and plunk there goes another rubber tree plant(read rear derailleur) On my SSer my rear chainstays are abused and scratched, if that was ol shifty yep stuff would be destroyed.
    This was my exact experience. I first switched to SS 23-19 specifically because I loved riding stunts and technical rocky stuff, and all it took was a slip off a log the wrong way and the derailleur would be mashed, dinged, or just whacked enough to need fiddling and adjustment.

    So I went “AM-SS,” with heavy-duty wheels, DH bars, a dropper post, and front suspension. Great fun.

  40. #40
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    Question: For those who have mentioned that they are faster on their SS, how long have you been riding SS? I haven't ridden a geared bike in almost five years but feel that I have maximized my potential while riding one gear. I'm currently gathering parts for a geared hardtail build and am confident that I will end up being faster on the geared bike.

    Given enough time, a lot of pursuits are cyclical. You find yourself back where you started.

  41. #41
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    One way to be faster on a geared bike after you ride an SS is to gear the highest max ratio of the geared bike to your current gear ratio. Therefore, you'll only have faster gears to change into and no bail out gears.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaizer View Post
    One way to be faster on a geared bike after you ride an SS is to gear the highest max ratio of the geared bike to your current gear ratio. Therefore, you'll only have faster gears to change into and no bail out gears.
    if you’d like to try gears after a lot of SS, my suggestion is to keep your current single chain ring, but put 8, 9, or 10 speeds on the back. You will have lower gears, but no “granny.” You’ll also have some higher gears for the flats. So instead of going from SS to 3x9 or 2x10, just go to 1x8, 1x9, or 1x10.

  43. #43
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    Q:
    what about getting rid of road bike and getting a SS to help get stronger (and I just getting tired of road)? regular bike is 1X10 FS that I love to race....

  44. #44
    Combat Wombat
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    My experience riding both.....

    After about 8 years of riding SS, of which the last 4 have been on a Vassago Jabberwocky, I built up an On-One Inbred 1X9. Wrote about it over on the 29er forum here:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/an...il-791727.html

    I still love the SS and similar to what everyone here has already stated, it was a revelation when I found that it really was not much of a handicap, actually made me a stronger rider and ultimately, a faster rider. What I have found from riding a geared bike again for the last several weeks, if you are slower with gears its:

    a. not because of the gears. If you spend time searching for the right gear and/or spinning on climbs, that's a mental problem with you, not the bike.

    b. I can not hear or feel any noticeable drivetrain drag.

    c. Except for a couple times on a local trail where I have fudged a landed coming off of a jump, chain slap is not an issue.

    d. Like what someone else has already pointed out earlier, there are too many apple to oranges comparisons. From what I have read here, I personally think that in most cases, the majority of differences in speed and lap times has more to do with bike setups and riding style than wheel size. In my situation, both bikes are rigid steel 29ers.

    I am running the same size chainring on both bikes, 34T. The 9-speed 11/34 cassette I am using, has 20T dead center in the cog, which is what I run my SS. So by using the gear that I am very familiar with, I have a perfectly straight chain line. I have yet to feel an overwhelming urge to search for gears and I actually ride this bike like my SS. When I do use the gears, 90% of the time it has only been where I would have had to push my SS or spin out. In fact, when I do shift out of the 20T, it has been typically only one up or one below it. And since it is setup as rigid, I can still really mash when attacking climbs and in no way what so ever I am any slower. I was riding one of our local trails yesterday and on a couple long open stretches where I usually spin out on my SS, the speed that I could reach when leaning over the front and hammering for all I was worth was exhilarating.

    So am I done with the SS, oh hell no! I have my SS setup for where I ride most of the time, but there are a few local trails where 34/20 would be murder and hate screwing around with changing out cogs to suit different trails. I like the versatility of the 1X9 and figured if I was going to have two rigid steel 29ers, might as well have something different. Love both bikes, neither one is going to collect much dust.

  45. #45
    The need for singlespeed
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    Gears are faster than SS, but I bet a 1x5 is no faster than a full ridiculous 2x10. Once you can climb on a SS, climbing in 32x20 is easy peasy. And 32x11 is plenty for any fireroad. I'm assuming a 26er here and the top half of the cassette. Decent chainline in all gears and a short cage road derailleur stays out of the way. If I ever go with gears that'll be my rig.

  46. #46
    Trail Fairy
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    You could use a hope pro 2 single speed hub for that build, i am fairly sure they accept 5 gears.
    Dig, Ride, Repeat. Trust in 4130. Single Speed Pride.

  47. #47
    The need for singlespeed
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    Yep there are a bunch of SS freehubs with widely spaced flanges that'll take 5 or 6 gears.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOV View Post
    Uphill: for climbing hills, the only thing lower gearing would do is make me go slower. I have proven this time and again with actual riding comparisons between my SS and (now gone) geared bike.

    I haven't encountered a hill yet that I could climb with gears but couldn't climb on a SS.

    Downhill: geared or not, I usually never pedal down hills. I don't do most decent downhills without using brakes, much less adding velocity to the mix. Thus, taller gears do me no good on downhill sections.

    Flats: I find the gear I have to be quite comfortable to pedal, so I don't need any other gears on flats either.

    It's ironic that, when I had 27 gears to choose from, I kept shifting betwen them thinking that I was optimizing my gearing for the section of terrain on which I was riding. But in retrospect, it seemed more like hunting around for something that felt better to pedal. What I really needed to do was delete 26 of them.
    Me too.
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  49. #49
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    A SS is the admission ticket to the dungeon of the "pain cave"!

  50. #50
    WillWorkForTrail
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    I picked up my first SS (rigid) in January. After 5 years off mountain bikes due to a back injury, this was just going to be something to mess around with, ride some trails with my son. Instead, I've got over $6K tied up in bikes, and this plucky $400 SS 29er is the most fun bike I own. I won't be selling my other bikes any time (road bikes) but this SS thing could take off.

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