Should I change my gear ratio or toughen up?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Should I change my gear ratio or toughen up?

    I recently picked up a used older karate monkey off Craigslist to try out a rigid singlespeed. I wasn't sure it was for me and didn't want to invest a bunch of $ to find out I didn't like it. I've gotten about 6 rides in since picking it up 3 weeks ago and am absolutely hooked. I love the ride of such a simple bike. It has exposed my weaknesses and already made me faster.

    Now for the question. I've been putting in between 10-15 miles with elevation between 1500-2000'. On my geared FS I do double that. I feel like I could go a bit further on the surly, but not match my geared rides. Some of my climbs are pretty steep and there are some long fire road climbs. I can ride them all but struggle with a few. I feel like with an easier gear I could go longer as the intense climbs will take less effort, but is that the right direction to go? Should I just continue to tough it out and expect that my fitness will increase. Will going with an easie gear slow my progress fitness wise? Any input is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Try adding a few teeth. I run 32x19 - 32x22 ... on a 26er. I have sliders and one chain rules/runs them all. Currently 32x22 for the steeps of Priest Rock trail.
    Suicide by single speed. Work in progress.

  3. #3
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    Your fitness is going to improve anyway, as you're still likely turning a harder gear than you would on a geared bike. Gear for the ride you're doing as rascal stated, I run anything from 30x20 - 30x22 on a 29+ depending on where I'm riding. Been pretty happy everywhere locally on the 21T rear cog I just installed however.

  4. #4
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    I'd go up a couple teeth, too. Spent a year on 32/19 followed by a return to 1x10 last month. Having 32/21 on tap, I realize I was doing it all wrong, and killing myself to probably be slower, overall. All I could think about was being able to push a harder gear, even on the climbs. That might have been fine if the rides stayed the same, but continually increasing the distance and difficulty just meant every ride was a struggle.
    Never tried anything but 32/19, and regret not experimenting now that I realize I was geared too high to begin with. I constantly debate over gearing, and may be back to SS before long. If so, it'll be with a larger cog.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_twin View Post
    Some of my climbs are pretty steep and there are some long fire road climbs. I can ride them all but struggle with a few.
    That sound pretty okay.

    I feel like with an easier gear I could go longer as the intense climbs will take less effort, but is that the right direction to go?
    There's not one right way to gear your SS. You already pointed out some arguments for and against a higher gear. If you want to ride longer, you might gear lower, if you want to do short en intense rides, you might want to gear higher. Just experiment to find out what works. I, and many SS riders, have a full range of 16-22t sprockets laying around.

    +1 tooth already makes quite a difference in the way your bike behaves btw.
    Ride more!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by asphaltdude View Post
    That sound pretty okay.

    There's not one right way to gear your SS. You already pointed out some arguments for and against a higher gear. If you want to ride longer, you might gear lower, if you want to do short en intense rides, you might want to gear higher. Just experiment to find out what works. I, and many SS riders, have a full range of 16-22t sprockets laying around.

    +1 tooth already makes quite a difference in the way your bike behaves btw.
    ^ right on!

    I try to push the biggest gear I can for my local terrain (short, steep climbs usually no more than 200 ft of elevation at a time). I gear my bike so that i can barely make most of the tougher climbs, and just can't make a few. I dropped one tooth in order to make more climbs.

    There's always a trade off. No one gear covers all terrain or riding style. Your fitness will continue to improve even if you choose a slightly easier gear ratio. If you want to do longer rides you'll need an easier gear.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  7. #7
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    Yep, I go anywhere from a 32/ 19-22. It changes every trail for me. Sat I did all of Jake and Bull Mtn on a 32 /21 no Hike a Biking and then yesterday I was at Big Creek spinning 4 laps on a 32/20 with my heart rate up around 180 or so.
    Also remember your legs need to recover so eat sleep and change the cog according to how much you ride. I've heard that BS all my life make it hurt you will get stronger. In a perfect life maybe but in a normal human life there are way too many variables.

    Edit
    Making it hurt will make you stronger but within reason.


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    Last edited by RacerM41; 03-01-2017 at 12:31 PM.

  8. #8
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    get a tugnut for that monkey and slap a second cog on and run something like a 20/22 combo on the back or if it has a surly new hub get a white industries dos enos...it only takes a minute to switch gears and that 2 tooth hop can be a leg saver...

  9. #9
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    I'm a little different than everyone else. I don't believe in changing the gearing depending on the ride. The essence of SS to me is choosing a gear and sticking with it. Yes, sometime that gear is gonna be too hard, sometimes...too easy. It is just a matter of making that compromise. It does make you stronger.

    You will adjust to whatever gear you choose. If you wanna ride farther and climb higher, then going to an easier gear is the way to go. Try adding 2 teeth in the back. Then again, we don't know what you are running, so maybe drop a tooth in the front.

    Me personally, I can turn a bigger gear for short rides....under 20 miles/3000'. However most of my rides are double/triple that, so I gear it for how I'm going to feel at mile 60-70/7500'+.
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  10. #10
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    What kind of gearing do you run for 60-70 7500'?

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  11. #11
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    No kidding, I've spent the past three hours looking for a 30T cog.

  12. #12
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    agree with others you have to experiment with gearing and it will never be perfect. I've done 101 miles and over 11k climbing on 32/20 but typically run 34/16 on flatter courses and races. Its easy to swap out cogs etc its hard to decide what to swap to so most of the time I just leave it as is.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacerM41 View Post
    What kind of gearing do you run for 60-70 7500'?

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    Prefer 32x21 but that combo doesn't work on my frame so have gone to 34x22.
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.:nono:

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    Prefer 32x21 but that combo doesn't work on my frame so have gone to 34x22.
    Ok, same here. Everytime I go 32/22 I seem to waste energy trying to control my climbing in techy slick sections. 32/21 is my sweet spot for that kind of ride anyways.
    I want to try the 34/22 myself a few others were running that combo at the Snake50.

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  15. #15
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    Like these:


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    Should I change my gear ratio or toughen up?-screenshot-140-.jpg
    Should I change my gear ratio or toughen up?-screenshot-141-.jpg
    Should I change my gear ratio or toughen up?-screenshot-142-.jpg
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.:nono:

    Ebikes are not bicycles :nono:

  16. #16
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    Alright, I just have to ask. I've seen your rides posted before J, and that's just nuts to me. I struggle with running out of air when climbing. Let me elaborate, if I pedal fast enough to stay on top of the gear, I go anaerobic. If I slow down enough to mash, I normally just grind to a halt. I'm sure smoking all those years didn't do my any favors, but geez, that's crazy on a SS! What the hell is the secret? Just HTFU and ride more?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPIguy View Post
    Alright, I just have to ask. I've seen your rides posted before J, and that's just nuts to me. I struggle with running out of air when climbing. Let me elaborate, if I pedal fast enough to stay on top of the gear, I go anaerobic. If I slow down enough to mash, I normally just grind to a halt. I'm sure smoking all those years didn't do my any favors, but geez, that's crazy on a SS! What the hell is the secret? Just HTFU and ride more?
    I'm a masher....have always been. The more you ride....the easier it gets.
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.:nono:

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  18. #18
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    Figured as much, doesn't hurt to ask though. Thanks J.

  19. #19
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    Ive been doing the SS deal for going 16years now. That said the last 12 on 29ers here in the AZ mountains . I ran 32-20 up until aabout 1 1/2 years ago I was getting a bit worn out. I switched to 34-22 and love it around hear. Started racing in the AZ state series "stupid short course stuff" anyway down in the desert Im running 34-20 and still getting dropped granted Im the oldest in Cat1 SS but these guys are running like 34-17/18 . I feel stronger now from racing and tried 32-20 on local trails last weekend . I could push it fine so now im torn between 32-20 and 34-22. Chainstay length is the same . Try to push the bigger gear or stay conservative that's the question of the day.
    Oh ya Hi J

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPIguy View Post
    if I pedal fast enough to stay on top of the gear, I go anaerobic. If I slow down enough to mash, I normally just grind to a halt.
    Is this when using the same gear? If so, I'd say try an easier gear. If you're not spending most of your time on top of the gear, you're going to blow up. Maybe good for a short training ride, but for longer distances, you gotta minimize going into the red ("burning your matches") and stay aerobic. Also, mtnbikej is just a friggin' maniac.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixgeardan View Post
    Ive been doing the SS deal for going 16years now. That said the last 12 on 29ers here in the AZ mountains . I ran 32-20 up until aabout 1 1/2 years ago I was getting a bit worn out. I switched to 34-22 and love it around hear. Started racing in the AZ state series "stupid short course stuff" anyway down in the desert Im running 34-20 and still getting dropped granted Im the oldest in Cat1 SS but these guys are running like 34-17/18 . I feel stronger now from racing and tried 32-20 on local trails last weekend . I could push it fine so now im torn between 32-20 and 34-22. Chainstay length is the same . Try to push the bigger gear or stay conservative that's the question of the day.
    Oh ya Hi J


    Hey Dan....hope all is good.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    Is this when using the same gear? If so, I'd say try an easier gear. If you're not spending most of your time on top of the gear, you're going to blow up. Maybe good for a short training ride, but for longer distances, you gotta minimize going into the red ("burning your matches") and stay aerobic. Also, mtnbikej is just a friggin' maniac.
    Well, since going to the 21T in the rear, I feel much better. Tried a 22T, but was spinning myself crazy on the flats. I've made a lot of milder climbs while seated staying on top of it. For really steep stuff, I still grind down to 20RPM or so (guessing) and mash, tug on the bars etc, but that's pretty normal for me. I have pretty strong legs, and terrible lungs. LOL And yes, J is a beast for sure.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_twin View Post
    I recently picked up a used older karate monkey off Craigslist to try out a rigid singlespeed. I wasn't sure it was for me and didn't want to invest a bunch of $ to find out I didn't like it. I've gotten about 6 rides in since picking it up 3 weeks ago and am absolutely hooked. I love the ride of such a simple bike. It has exposed my weaknesses and already made me faster.

    Now for the question. I've been putting in between 10-15 miles with elevation between 1500-2000'. On my geared FS I do double that. I feel like I could go a bit further on the surly, but not match my geared rides. Some of my climbs are pretty steep and there are some long fire road climbs. I can ride them all but struggle with a few. I feel like with an easier gear I could go longer as the intense climbs will take less effort, but is that the right direction to go? Should I just continue to tough it out and expect that my fitness will increase. Will going with an easie gear slow my progress fitness wise? Any input is greatly appreciated.
    What's your current gearing? That would help you get more informed answers!

  24. #24
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    Current gear is 34/18. I may try a 19 and see how that feels.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_twin View Post
    I recently picked up a used older karate monkey off Craigslist to try out a rigid singlespeed. I wasn't sure it was for me and didn't want to invest a bunch of $ to find out I didn't like it. I've gotten about 6 rides in since picking it up 3 weeks ago and am absolutely hooked. I love the ride of such a simple bike. It has exposed my weaknesses and already made me faster.

    Now for the question. I've been putting in between 10-15 miles with elevation between 1500-2000'. On my geared FS I do double that. I feel like I could go a bit further on the surly, but not match my geared rides. Some of my climbs are pretty steep and there are some long fire road climbs. I can ride them all but struggle with a few. I feel like with an easier gear I could go longer as the intense climbs will take less effort, but is that the right direction to go? Should I just continue to tough it out and expect that my fitness will increase. Will going with an easie gear slow my progress fitness wise? Any input is greatly appreciated.
    I have been adding SS to my riding for past couple years. What I have learned is that I cannot go as far on SS as I can on a gear ride. Now for mean that means 6 -8 hr rides with 4000+ feet of climbing. On a geared bike I always have low gears to allow me to spin up climb when I gassed. Plus the gears allows me to stay well away from redline. SS riding is about peaks and valleys. I redline alot more and also spin out on some descents. It it not so much gearing as it is muscle fatigue. I did my longest SS ride this January at 103 miles. Same basic route I did last year about 10 hrs both times. However the SS ride was much harder since my "SS Legs" were roasted. I could still sit and spin, but climbing out of the saddle was hard. This is due to the different muscle group. Now I did go up 1 tooth in on the rear cog vs what I would normally ride in that area to account for distance. It helps some, but in the end you just need to get stronger in different ways.

    The real key to SS is picking the right base ratio. On my 29er SS I run 34x19 for racing or flatter courses and 34x20 for more hills. One even was a 12 hr duo race on flat terrain and I ran and effective 34x18. That was good for the first 3 laps, but I was cooked and moved to a 34x19 for the last 2. (5 3/4 hrs race time combined)

    Now for short races in 90 min-2hr range I will go 34x19, but if there are more techy features I perfer 34x20. I will be slower, but can clear more tech moves. For racing picking the gear is important as it defines my speed to some extent. I tend to run best in small cadence range both sitting and standing. So if I can run my cadence that feels good I will be faster with the bigger gear. If I have to stand where I should be sitting and spinning may be over geared.

    For just fun riding an easier gear helps right to the point you are spinning like hamster. In the end if you never stand to climb and spin out alot you need to go to tougher ratio. If you always have stand to climb and have to walk alot go to an easier ratio. If you just get tired... ride more and develop those muscles. SS is harder and to be honest if it were faster then all the world cup guys would race SS. They don't, but that does not mean SS slow or is not fun. It is just different.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    I'm a masher....have always been. The more you ride....the easier it gets.
    34x22 is hardly a masher, but when riding long distance and big climbs that gear is still work.


    The more you ride the easier it gets very true. This is what "SS legs" are all about. When I started SS riding I could not stand and pedal very far before I blew up. However the more did SS rides the better I got at standing and climbing up grades. It still not easy, but I have developed a method. I have some trails local that are pretty smooth, but have 7 min climbs up stead 6-8% grades. On these there are couple spots I can't clean on the SS in 34x19 or 34x20 due a pitch up ni the grade, but I still try. I have fond on these I am faster int eh 34x19 vs 20 because I still can't clean the stuff on the 20, but when I am rolling have my body moving I just go faster in the 19. For me it comes down to motion and cadence where my body just flows.

    That said other guys can run bigger or small cogs and be just as fast. They just ride things differently. The guy I am chasing my SS racing is running one tooth bigger than me (easier). He is beating me not due to the gearing, but because he is just a bit faster. If I move to that gear I will go slower. Just how my cadence works out. Now we have a race coming up in a few weeks and I need to pre-ride the course to choose my 19(what I have been using) or 20. There are a couple steep climbs on that course that are short , but supposedly rocky and some shallow grade climbs too. I won't know which gear to run till I get there and try both out and see what happens. Plan to do that this weekend.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  27. #27
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    For adventuring on the 29er, I'm currently favoring 32/22 with grippy tyres.
    Normal training type rides and most racing, 32/21 with faster tyres. Flatter racing, 36-38/20.

    My power to weight ratio puts me at the top end of the "Untrained" category
    I'm not fast, but after 90km and 2,000m of climbing, I'm still riding.

  28. #28
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    For where I ride, with lots of steeps, I am running a 32x22. I have a 21 and a couple others, and would eventually like to switch to the 21, but I am pretty happy making it up some of the craziness I encounter. Couldn't care less about the ego factor. To me I would rather make it up stuff and go slower on the flats, but I know some people can't stand slow speed on the flats, so in that case it is a personal choice.

  29. #29
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    i'm with mtnbikej on this one.

    keep the same ratio everywhere and just ride it. if it's too steep....htfu.

    the only time i switch is when i'm racing and the course is flatter than ~100 vertical/mile. then I'll go from 32/19 to 32/18, and I think I feel that difference pretty good. Rear tire just feels heavier, I get less pop out of corners and up little steep punchy climbs, but it adds ~0.5mph at an equal cadence on the flats.

    OP, you're probably new enough to it that you should run the slightly more difficult gear and see if your legs adjust after a month or two.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    The real key to SS is picking the right base ratio. On my 29er SS I run 34x19 for racing or flatter courses and 34x20 for more hills. One even was a 12 hr duo race on flat terrain and I ran and effective 34x18. That was good for the first 3 laps, but I was cooked and moved to a 34x19 for the last 2. (5 3/4 hrs race time combined)
    Some may disagree, but I absolutely think this is cheating and I would be livid if my competition was switching out gear ratios mid-race.

    It's singlespeeding, not duo-speeding.

    If you want to use different gears in a race because you're tired, use a derailleur and ride in the geared category.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomit View Post
    Some may disagree, but I absolutely think this is cheating and I would be livid if my competition was switching out gear ratios mid-race.

    It's singlespeeding, not duo-speeding.

    If you want to use different gears in a race because you're tired, use a derailleur and ride in the geared category.
    If i lost to someone who was sitting in the pits for 10 mins changing ratios, I'd be blaming me, not them.
    Also, some people ride single speed in races where the is no single speed category.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    If i lost to someone who was sitting in the pits for 10 mins changing ratios, I'd be blaming me, not them.
    Also, some people ride single speed in races where the is no single speed category.
    He said he was riding duo, which means there were lap breaks where there's time to switch ratios. Or someone could switch out bikes completely in a matter of seconds.

    Even if he were competing against gears, though not cheating, I still think it goes against the spirit of singlespeeding.

  33. #33
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    The spirit of single speeding is to use one gear on the bike. That is just what I did. Geared riding means using multiple gears on the course. I never did that. I use the same gear for the entire lap. What happens in between laps is maintenance. I did not have crew person(s) feeding me or massaging my legs or working on the bike. No I had to do it all myself. Some guys will show up to a race with the gear they run all the time because it is easy. I tested before hand to make sure I had the right gear I wanted for the race. Everything is a trade off on effort vs reward.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Geared riding means using multiple gears on the course. I never did that.
    yea....you did. the course is 12hrs, if you use different gears then it's no longer singlespeed riding. i mean....it's in the name, SINGLEspeed.

    I use the same gear for the entire lap. What happens in between laps is maintenance. I did not have crew person(s) feeding me or massaging my legs or working on the bike. No I had to do it all myself.
    it's not maintenance to switch cog sizes. maintenance is cleaning your chain and fixing broken parts. if the cogs not broken, it doesn't need fixing.

    and it's not difficult, or a time penalty when you're racing duo to switch the cog out. Should take 5-10 minutes, and your partners going to be out riding for a half hour to an hour and a half, so I don't understand that justification of 'doing it all yourself'

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    I am about to start riding my new rig (in Colorado), which is currently setup with the AB oval 32 and a 20 in the back. The only SS I rode, and the one that made me fall in love with SS, was a belt drive, and I have no idea the size of the CR or cog.

    Anyway, I am planning to get my ass kicked this spring, hopefully leading to a summer of some decent rides. The one thing I MAY change the cog / CR for is riding in Denver. This has me thinking I may want to pickup a 34 for the front.. but I am not sure on that. Which is easier to change?

  36. #36
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    probably about the same effort, chainring might be easier because it doesn't require a special tool.....but at $80 for an AB ring vs. $10-$30 for a cog, the cog's way cheaper.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomit View Post
    yea....you did. the course is 12hrs, if you use different gears then it's no longer singlespeed riding. i mean....it's in the name, SINGLEspeed.


    it's not maintenance to switch cog sizes. maintenance is cleaning your chain and fixing broken parts. if the cogs not broken, it doesn't need fixing.

    and it's not difficult, or a time penalty when you're racing duo to switch the cog out. Should take 5-10 minutes, and your partners going to be out riding for a half hour to an hour and a half, so I don't understand that justification of 'doing it all yourself'
    Just caught the end of this one but:

    1. I'm with nomit, 1 gear for 1 event.

    2. ZiaRides does not follow that rule and allows as much cog swapping as folks want to do. I checked and urged them to change it. They cited maintenance, multiple bikes, too hard to control, etc.. Riders at most of the 10+ hour races I've done did switch, including the recent TommyKnocker.

    3. I could switch gears all day and still not win so...1 gear, 1 event!

    Also--what about a dinglespeed? Can I have 2 SS drivetrains, side-by-side, ready to go? Next event is a 12 hour with laps split into 6 miles of climb followed by 6 of descending. Can I swap by hand at the top? I won't but....where is the line?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matterhorn View Post
    where is the line?
    For me? I am not gonna win, so that line is in my head. - My outcome is NOT affected by others. I am not losing sponsorship money or anything else of consequence.
    The rules are the rules and the moment I paid my money, I have agreed to the rules as stated.
    Ride your bike and accept others are riding their bikes. Beyond that, it is none of my business. I enter races to challenge myself and have fun, not to be the moral police of how someone else races.

    And as far are "in the name" goes. It is singleSPEED so the moment you fall off pace, you should have to quit the race. You should go just one speed. It is in the name.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bloaker View Post
    For me? I am not gonna win, so that line is in my head. - My outcome is NOT affected by others. I am not losing sponsorship money or anything else of consequence.
    The rules are the rules and the moment I paid my money, I have agreed to the rules as stated.
    Ride your bike and accept others are riding their bikes. Beyond that, it is none of my business. I enter races to challenge myself and have fun, not to be the moral police of how someone else races.

    And as far are "in the name" goes. It is singleSPEED so the moment you fall off pace, you should have to quit the race. You should go just one speed. It is in the name.
    I hear you, my race is my thing. My outcome is entirely up to me.

    Certainly not trying to be the moral police but I guess more expressing my shock when I found out people had been switching gears in the SS category. Hadn't crossed my mind as a possibility, didn't and doesn't seem like the right choice for me.

    As for the rules, again I agree, they are what they are. I'd just be in favor of changing those rules to 1 event=1gear. That is my line, but I honestly think a person could push the boundaries in our local endurance series and run a dinglespeed. If cogs can be changed, can they be changed anywhere, does switching the gears by hand make it SS? I'm not at the race policing people, and wouldn't, but the race director can.

    So read that first post as an honest question, not a judgement.

    Nice effort on the SPEED part but obviously that is just silliness. (there is a bit of judgement!)

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    My point on the 'singlespeed' is that it is just a name. Nothing more

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    It is a name and also happens to be a category at most races. Surely it means something?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matterhorn View Post
    .. Next event is a 12 hour with laps split into 6 miles of climb followed by 6 of descending. Can I swap by hand at the top? I won't but....where is the line?
    The line is simple. Same gear for the lap. SS riders don't change gears on course. That is why it is singlespeed. You police it by making sure the bike has one ratio on their bikes. If you have 2 cogs on the bike or 2 chainrings it not a single speed. Now if you want ride to the top, stop pull out your tools and remove/replace a cog or chainring be my guest. Chances are high that doing that on the clock for each lap is pointless. However SS does not mean running one gear all the time for every course.

    Also who want to be gear ratio policeman. Checking ratios on each rider before during and after? Never going to happen. The easy and practical way. Does the bike have 1 chain ring and 1 cog (and no internal geared hub or gearbox)? Yes = SS, No = geared.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    I'm with you, SS riders don't change gears during laps but I'm willing to say it shouldn't happen between laps either. 1 event=1gear!

    As far as policing, well call me naive but I thought SS riders held themselves to a high standard. Mostly at the regional races SS is a smallish category and we all generally know each other. Prizes are not worth the ridicule of being caught cheating for most. In the end though I don't care too much if folks cheat. Doesn't take away from my enjoyment.

    1 gear=1lap will likely always be the rule for reasons suggested above. I get it.

    As Michelle O said, pretty sure she rips, "when they (geared riders?), go low, we (SS) stand and mash! I think I got that right. USA!

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    Hi Guys, I was the guy at the Tommyknocker on the Krampus who DID stop after two laps and change gears. I honestly had never thought about it. I've been riding single speed for 6 months and wanted to see how many laps I could do solo in my local race. I was pretty scared I wouldn't be able to do more than 2 or 3 laps so I geared WAY down. After two laps of spinning like a hamster, I stopped and switched to a little tougher gear. It never occurred to me that I might be breaking a rule, or that I might offend other riders. I was simply out to participate and have a great time. I flamed out spectacularly one nap and two laps later. I'm not sure how cool that would be at the front end of the race, but after a few laps things get all jumbled up anyway and its hard to tell where the front is, exactly. I sincerely hope that the way I chose to enjoy the day didn't ruin anyone else's. If it did, please accept my heartfelt apology. Matterhorn, it's cool that you came. Perhaps we can meet if you come to Signal Peak. Take care!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_twin View Post
    I recently picked up a used older karate monkey off Craigslist to try out a rigid singlespeed. I wasn't sure it was for me and didn't want to invest a bunch of $ to find out I didn't like it. I've gotten about 6 rides in since picking it up 3 weeks ago and am absolutely hooked. I love the ride of such a simple bike. It has exposed my weaknesses and already made me faster.

    Now for the question. I've been putting in between 10-15 miles with elevation between 1500-2000'. On my geared FS I do double that. I feel like I could go a bit further on the surly, but not match my geared rides. Some of my climbs are pretty steep and there are some long fire road climbs. I can ride them all but struggle with a few. I feel like with an easier gear I could go longer as the intense climbs will take less effort, but is that the right direction to go? Should I just continue to tough it out and expect that my fitness will increase. Will going with an easie gear slow my progress fitness wise? Any input is greatly appreciated.
    Depends on what you want. If you just want to have fun and do SS to ride simply - sure, gear easier and give it a try. If you are looking to SS for training, stick with the harder gear. It is no more complex than that.
    My other bike is a /7.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NM520 View Post
    Hi Guys, I was the guy at the Tommyknocker on the Krampus who DID stop after two laps and change gears. I honestly had never thought about it. I've been riding single speed for 6 months and wanted to see how many laps I could do solo in my local race. I was pretty scared I wouldn't be able to do more than 2 or 3 laps so I geared WAY down. After two laps of spinning like a hamster, I stopped and switched to a little tougher gear. It never occurred to me that I might be breaking a rule, or that I might offend other riders. I was simply out to participate and have a great time. I flamed out spectacularly one nap and two laps later. I'm not sure how cool that would be at the front end of the race, but after a few laps things get all jumbled up anyway and its hard to tell where the front is, exactly. I sincerely hope that the way I chose to enjoy the day didn't ruin anyone else's. If it did, please accept my heartfelt apology. Matterhorn, it's cool that you came. Perhaps we can meet if you come to Signal Peak. Take care!
    You did not break any rules at all mate. I didn't notice and it wouldn't have impacted my day if I had. I'm only saying that I'm superior to everyone, in every way. Nothing personal!

    I ran 32X20 on my 29+ WED. Had the Duro Crux 3.25 up front.

    What gearing did you start with and switch to?

    I've raced the Signal Peak XC event in years past and might be back this year. You headed to 12 Hours in the Wild West? Might be a good place to get in a shoot out ya law breaker!

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    Good to hear! I was running 34X25 (yes, 25!) and switched to 32X22. I like 34x25 because it keeps the wheel at the very back of the drop-out (wheelbase as short as could be) and I don't have to walk too much in the steeps. I figured it to be about 42 gear inches, which is awesome for everything around me BUT Ft. Bayard. Won't make it to Wild West, Signal Peak will probably be next for me. Have fun out there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    The line is simple. Same gear for the lap. SS riders don't change gears on course. That is why it is singlespeed. You police it by making sure the bike has one ratio on their bikes. If you have 2 cogs on the bike or 2 chainrings it not a single speed. Now if you want ride to the top, stop pull out your tools and remove/replace a cog or chainring be my guest. Chances are high that doing that on the clock for each lap is pointless. However SS does not mean running one gear all the time for every course.
    You just said the definition is running the same gear for the same course. You just define the 'course' differently than I do. I say the course is 12hrs or however long the specific event is, because that's how you're measured against all the other competition. You say the course is just a lap and you're free to do whatever you want between laps, I guess.

    Can I sign up for Solo Open Male, then bring my friend and switch riders ever lap. I mean....only one of us will be on the course at a time. Solo's just a word, after all.

    If it was a 100 mile point to point race, do you still think it should be allowed to switch gear ratios as many times as you want? by your first definition, you shouldn't be allowed to switch gears since that's most definitely the same course the whole way (you're never touching the same spot twice). what if it was two 30 mile loops that cover the same ground (like the gunnison growler)? what if it's two 30 mile loops that cover different ground (like the breck 64/100)? what if it's an out-and-back 100 mile race? (like the leadville 100)

    If I developed a quick-release cog that I was able to swap out in ~20 seconds that allowed me to get to the top of a climb in an easier gear (thus saving energy), then swap out for the descent/flats (to have a speed advantage over a singlespeeder), and win a race in the process.....do you think that should be allowed? What if the top of the climb was the same as the pit stop and not mid-lap? If laps are 20 miles and there's an aid station at mile 10, can I stop there and swap it out? What if I had a pit crew that helps me, like nascar racing....where I pull in, lift up my rear wheel and they swap my cog out in 10 seconds flat? Or you think it should only be allowed in the sense that it takes you a long time to swap it out yourself? What if I practiced a lot and was able to swap my cog out in 30 seconds with tools? What if I developed a contraption that allowed me to swap cogs by just pushing a lever on my handlebars? what if they sold that contraption at every bike shop in the country?

    The point I'm trying to make is that it's a convoluted can of worms if you allow singlespeeders to change (aka shift) gears during a race, regardless of how it's done or where it's done. Single speeding should be single speeding....period. One gear, one event, no changes. If you picked the wrong gear, learn from the experience and try again next time.

    Also who want to be gear ratio policeman. Checking ratios on each rider before during and after? Never going to happen. The easy and practical way. Does the bike have 1 chain ring and 1 cog (and no internal geared hub or gearbox)? Yes = SS, No = geared.
    That's absolutely a cop out to rules and racing in every way.
    Just because it's harder to regulate doesn't mean something shouldn't be enforced, or at least be enforced on an honor code. People could easily cut courses and gain huge advantages, is course cutting okay because it's hard to police? Riding with 4 people in a duo would be hard to enforce too, since the number plates are general just on the bikes. Should doping be allowed at higher levels because it's hard to police? Electric motors can be bought for a few grand and installed inconspicuously, should they be allowed because it's hard to enforce....particularly on a local/amateur level?

    Quote Originally Posted by NM520 View Post
    It never occurred to me that I might be breaking a rule, or that I might offend other riders. I was simply out to participate and have a great time. I flamed out spectacularly one nap and two laps later. I'm not sure how cool that would be at the front end of the race, but after a few laps things get all jumbled up anyway and its hard to tell where the front is, exactly. I sincerely hope that the way I chose to enjoy the day didn't ruin anyone else's. If it did, please accept my heartfelt apology.
    If you're out there having fun, I don't care....I think it's more honorable to stick with what you got and ride it out and learn from that experience, but oh well. If you're out there fighting for podium spots and taking advantage of (imho) an unspoken rule to do so then it's a problem.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    Like these:


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    Damn, I have to try these trails out. I'm in LA, so I tend to head for the Santa Monica Mountains but I need some new scenery!
    Los Angelino looking to escape the clamor.

  50. #50
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    I ride SS but I definitely don't race SS so I'm just making a comment here. If there's no rule against changing cogs between laps or stages then its not against the rules. There are no unwritten rules in competition. Just like in tournament golf, you can't replace a club, unless damaged during the normal course of play, during a round but you can swap out a club between rounds. Different loft driver or wedge, or you can adjust loft and lie of drivers between rounds. You don't necessarily have to "run whatcha brung". If there were no alterations to your set

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    Let me rephrase some of what I just posted. I don't believe in changing out cogs during a single competition, meaning not between set laps. But if that competition is split into stages or sets of timed laps, then I don't see why a competitor couldn't swap cogs between those rounds if its not against local rules.

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