Riding SS with local MTB group - your thoughts?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 29 of 29
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    58

    Riding SS with local MTB group - your thoughts?

    I'm not a novice cyclist by any means, but I am relatively new to MTB. I initially found MTB frustrating because geared bikes can require so much time and money to maintain when used locally (I live on the escarpment in Ontario, Canada - lots of elevation changes, lots of rocks, big tree root systems and plenty of mud). I've recently acquired a Kona Explosif SS and have been very satisfied with the simplicity and lack of requisite maintenance. I'm interested in joining a local riding group that does recreational- and intermediate-level rides in the local trail system. I suspect that most of the riders are using multi-speed bikes. Do any of you ride SS with a local MTB group? If so, can you describe your experience? Can you offer any tips to someone who has never ridden MTB with a group?
    Last edited by datalore; 03-07-2010 at 05:18 PM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    351
    There will be limits to what you can ride on the steep uphills, but nowhere near as many as you might expect.

    On the climbs, when the clan all drop into granny gear, you'll find that they are moving too slowly and you may stall, or simply have to move forward in the pack if it's possible.

    I ride casual stuff with gearies and it's no drama, if they are having a "prove what we can do" day with ultra fast descents and ultra steep climbs it's a lot less fun, but for straight recreational rides I expect you'll be fine.

    Get your chainline straight, your tension right, decent cogs and chain and you'll be amazed at how efficient SS can be.
    Last edited by Fullrange Drew; 03-19-2010 at 07:44 PM.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by Fullrange Drew
    There will be limits to what you can ride on the steep uphills, but nowhere near as many as you might expect.

    On the climbs, when the clan all drop into granny gear, you'll find that they are moving too slowly and you may stall, or simply have to move forward in the pack if it's possible.

    I ride casual stuff with gearies and it's no drama, if they are having a "prove what we can do" day with ultra fast descents and ultra steep climbs it's a lot less fun, but for strait recreational rides I expect you'll be fine.

    Get your chainline straight, your tension right, decent cogs and chain and you'll be amazed at how efficient SS can be.
    Thanks Drew! Speaking of gear ratios, what are other people running for the kind of terrain I described? Right now, I'm running 32/17. For me, it seems to be a decent compromise between spinning out on the flats and stalling on the climbs. I have no issues with getting off and walking or running when people on geared bikes are in their granny gear. Cyclocross has beaten that part of my ego into submission.

  4. #4
    Ride,Smile, Pedal Damn it
    Reputation: henrymiller1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    552
    As noted above. When climbing, they will be spinning their gears and if you ride up on them, you will stall. I always blast ahead before a big hill or stay back and catch up to them on hill. SS'ing is a lot of fun, and not as evil as one might think. Just don't tell non SS'ers.
    ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL!
    Last edited by henrymiller1; 03-07-2010 at 08:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,366
    Can't say I've ridden with a local group, but I tend to ride with friends when I go- ranging from 2-6 people. If I am riding behind someone I usually give a lot of room because you really close the gap fast when an uphill starts and on shorter climbs I'll blow by people.

    I feel like I can SS about 90% of what people ride with gears. I live in Oregon and there are a ton of long climbs, roots, some rocks and mud. Being in good shape helps me keep up on the long hills, and I think part of being in good cardio stems from the fact that I do ride SS.

    On that same vein, make sure you know your pace. Don't get caught up in riding with the group and burn out. I try to measure my effort because I can't knock down several gears and get a breather and at the end, I'm with the group.

    Have a great time.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    351
    Quote Originally Posted by datalore
    Thanks Drew! Speaking of gear ratios, what are other people running for the kind of terrain I described? Right now, I'm running 32/17. For me, it seems to be a decent compromise between spinning out on the flats and stalling on the climbs. I have no issues with getting off and walking or running when people on geared bikes are in their granny gear. Cyclocross has beaten that part of my ego into submission.
    Portage you're usually heaps faster than folks in 22:34 granny anyhow. It's a ridiculous gear.

    Depending on terrain with a 32 chainring up front I'll be running 16, 17 or 18 tooth cogs on 26 inch wheels.

    32:17 at my current fitness level will allow to to make a climb of 2 miles of tarmac that averages 10% gradient. Mind you it's not fun, by any means, but it is do-able (just) (when I'm fresh).

  7. #7
    nothing to see here
    Reputation: Stevob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    3,271
    I make sure I carry a pocket full of small rocks to throw at the geared riders as I pass above them on the uphill switchbacks sections.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Cujo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    408
    The SS'ers are generally the fastest in our group rides.
    '14 Scott Genius 730 650b
    '16 Heller Bloodhound rigid

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    2,120
    I don't think it matters at all whether or not you are riding a single speed. In a group ride there are usually varying degrees of fitness and ability so you just need to find where you fit into the group dynamic. I ride my single speed most of the time and I always lead the group uphill or down. Like Lance says, it's not about the bike.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    130
    I ride SS with a group and I muscle up hills trying to dodge them. You have to keep your momentum more than they do. If you know how to ride a SS, you will be fine unless they are flying on the flat stuff.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29
    I don't think it matters at all whether or not you are riding a single speed. In a group ride there are usually varying degrees of fitness and ability so you just need to find where you fit into the group dynamic. I ride my single speed most of the time and I always lead the group uphill or down. Like Lance says, it's not about the bike.
    This is a good point. I am only concerned about gear to the extent that it will allow my riding to best suit the group dynamic and allow me to have the most fun.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    37
    I live near Guelph and have ridden at Kelso, I suspect you know the place, doing the "race route" with all of the climbs (stalling near the top of the first big climb on the third lap, otherwise riding everything for 3 laps), on a SS 29er with a 33:17 ratio. I am really not much more than a weekend warrior, so I think that may give you some guidance as to what you'll be able to do. For the long climbs, I usually had to be in front of my geared friend because, as stated by others, you need to be able to keep the gear going and granny pace is too slow.

    I have done several group rides as the only SS (as well as the only rigid ride) and have never found it to be more than slightly limiting at times in the terrain we ride. From what you have said about your riding, I think you will be pleasantly surprised and/or relieved at how well you are able to ride with a group of geared riders. I say go for it.
    True North custom chromoly SS Rigid 29er. FUN+

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by pg3317
    I live near Guelph and have ridden at Kelso, I suspect you know the place, doing the "race route" with all of the climbs (stalling near the top of the first big climb on the third lap, otherwise riding everything for 3 laps), on a SS 29er with a 33:17 ratio. I am really not much more than a weekend warrior, so I think that may give you some guidance as to what you'll be able to do. For the long climbs, I usually had to be in front of my geared friend because, as stated by others, you need to be able to keep the gear going and granny pace is too slow.

    I have done several group rides as the only SS (as well as the only rigid ride) and have never found it to be more than slightly limiting at times in the terrain we ride. From what you have said about your riding, I think you will be pleasantly surprised and/or relieved at how well you are able to ride with a group of geared riders. I say go for it.
    I live on the border of Hamilton and Dundas and am planning to do the group rides at Freewheel Cycle this coming season. I just moved to the area from a different part of Ontario, so I don't know much about the local trails. I may have been to Kelso without knowing it by name. Thanks a lot for the encouragement! Can you recommend any trails in my area that I can check out on my own (note that I am a grad student without a car)?

  14. #14
    openwound
    Reputation: voodoochild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    580
    I'd definitely do it. I pass mixed geared and ss groups all the time on my rides. It's all good. And just think, you might actually make a few of them into converts.

  15. #15
    NormalNorm
    Reputation: norm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    935
    I also live in Hamilton.If you intend on riding Dundas Valley...a 32X17 might be too hard. I ride a 32X19,,,but it all depends on your fitness level. There are some really good climbs in the "valley".

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by norm
    I also live in Hamilton.If you intend on riding Dundas Valley...a 32X17 might be too hard. I ride a 32X19,,,but it all depends on your fitness level. There are some really good climbs in the "valley".
    Thanks Norm. This is exactly the kind of advice I need. I've done a lot of SS road rides around Dundas (Sydenham Hill on 48/16 in August is not very fun). If those are any indication, I'm in for a lot of climbing. I think I'll pick up a 19 just in case. Where do you buy your bike parts?

  17. #17
    My spoon is too big!
    Reputation: medieval's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    881
    All that really matters, is that you like what you're riding, and like the people you ride with. I ride SS with primarily geared riders, and it seems to go pretty well. I'm usually one of the first up the hills, and one of the last down them. In between, it's fairly easy to keep a social pace.

    It's also somewhat important to gauge the attitude of the group. Are they mellow, social riders, or are they racers, out for a training ride? Group rides are always more fun if eveyone has similar goals and fitness.
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
    J. R. R. Tolkien

  18. #18
    NormalNorm
    Reputation: norm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    935
    Quote Originally Posted by datalore
    Thanks Norm. This is exactly the kind of advice I need. I've done a lot of SS road rides around Dundas (Sydenham Hill on 48/16 in August is not very fun). If those are any indication, I'm in for a lot of climbing. I think I'll pick up a 19 just in case. Where do you buy your bike parts?

    Thats pretty impressive. I would wait and see then. I usually buy my ss parts on ebay. My LBS isn't into ss'ding, they don't carry any ss parts. A few more weeks and you should be good to go in the valley.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    37
    I rode Dundas Valley before winter really got going down there (we had tonnes of snow already) and did it all the long climbs with my 33:17. There were a couple of short steep spots where I hiked, but I doubt that geared bikes make it up the spots I'm thinking of. The long climb that parallels Sydenham Road, for example, was hard, but I made it and my fitness had already started leaving at that point of the season. If you've ridden Sydenham on the road with a 48:16, I think you may not have enough gear a lot of the time if you go to a 19 for mtb. Having said that, it won't cost a fortune to find out what will really work for you...another beauty of SS.
    True North custom chromoly SS Rigid 29er. FUN+

  20. #20
    master blaster
    Reputation: veloreality's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1,149
    i ride ss with my friends who rider gears. never really had issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.
    :D

  21. #21
    don't try this at home
    Reputation: moschika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,601
    Quote Originally Posted by medieval
    All that really matters, is that you like what you're riding, and like the people you ride with. I ride SS with primarily geared riders, and it seems to go pretty well. I'm usually one of the first up the hills, and one of the last down them. In between, it's fairly easy to keep a social pace.

    It's also somewhat important to gauge the attitude of the group. Are they mellow, social riders, or are they racers, out for a training ride? Group rides are always more fun if eveyone has similar goals and fitness.

    i agree. depends on the group and your skills more then the bike. i'm kinda mid-pack up hills and rollers and one of the first coming down whenever i've done group rides with friends. gearing is gonna be dependent on your terrain and what you can push.
    will you rep me?

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by norm
    Thats pretty impressive. I would wait and see then. I usually buy my ss parts on ebay. My LBS isn't into ss'ding, they don't carry any ss parts. A few more weeks and you should be good to go in the valley.
    I really hope you're right about the "few more weeks". Typically, how early in the year can you really ride in the Valley?
    True North custom chromoly SS Rigid 29er. FUN+

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by pg3317
    I really hope you're right about the "few more weeks". Typically, how early in the year can you really ride in the Valley?
    I'm feeling the itch already. I'm going to try to drag my girlfriend out on the rail trail this weekend.

  24. #24
    NormalNorm
    Reputation: norm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    935
    Quote Originally Posted by pg3317
    I really hope you're right about the "few more weeks". Typically, how early in the year can you really ride in the Valley?

    Depending on the weather....anywhere from early April to late April. Yeah, fingers are crossed.

  25. #25
    Is that Bill rated?
    Reputation: Lord Humongous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    440
    Riding geared vs riding singlespeed isn't going to make or break your integration with the rest of the group. If the group is too fast for you, they are too fast for you and if you can keep up you can keep up. You may get a little more ribbing when you walk a climb that others ride, but when you ride a climb that others don't . . .
    Well, it was a good try.

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation: masterofnone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,239
    If they're out for intermediate/recreational/social riding, they will be tolerant of all riders. Once you've trained your mind that singlespeed is not a "handicap", you will surprise yourself and others what you can climb. Probably the only places you will lag behind will be the flats where they're jumping up gears for speed. Ridgid singlespeed is not my primary ride, but I find it very addicting and liberating. It makes gears and suspension feel like wimping out sometimes if the climbs and terrain aren't too severe. Have fun

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by norm
    Depending on the weather....anywhere from early April to late April. Yeah, fingers are crossed.
    Have you been out on the Valley trails? I've been away, but coming through today it seemed things look promising down your way. I'd love an update if you've got one.
    True North custom chromoly SS Rigid 29er. FUN+

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by pg3317
    Have you been out on the Valley trails? I've been away, but coming through today it seemed things look promising down your way. I'd love an update if you've got one.
    I was planning to go check things out tomorrow, but it's supposed to rain all weekend in town.

  29. #29
    Mtbr Forum Sponsor - Homebrewed Components
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,419
    it doesnt matter, ride whatcha got.
    To put it in perspective, I did a 100 mile cross country race on my SS, and rode 80% of it with a geared full suspension guy. It's not like we were intentionally riding together, it's just that we had the EXACT same pace.

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.