Single speed gearing for women- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Single speed gearing for women

    I'm taking a chance by building my wife's new Pugsley as a single speed and wonder what steps I can take to increase the odds that she will be a happy convert. I'm not opposed to setting her up with gears but think she is likely to prefer single speed if we can manage a good introduction.

    We live in the mountains at 6k feet, she is not interested in speed, and the bike is going to be about 29 lbs. I've been happy with the 32/18 on my 29er and figured maybe to start her at 32/20-22.

    I intend to start the gear selection process by borrowing cogs from a Miche 12/27 cassette so having options available shouldn't be a problem but I don't want to bore her with a super low gear or frustrate her with one that is too tall. Do women tend to run similar gearing to men on single speed bikes?

    My wife had a single speed cruiser/commuter/tank that I fixed up for her several years ago and I remember that she wanted it geared lower than I would have chosen for myself. We have since given the bike away but I think I could find it to assess the gearing. Would there be a somewhat standard difference between road/mountain gearing that I could use to gain insight from that old bike?

    PS. The Pug is to be a trail bike. It will likely never see snow, she just likes they way it handles.
    Last edited by bugshield; 11-12-2012 at 04:53 PM. Reason: PS

  2. #2
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    Wimmin-folk should be in the kitchen cooking, not riding with the men folk! Tell her to go make you a turkey pot pie!

    Or, take her for a ride on a geared bike and tell her to shift as little as possible. Start out in the middle of the cassette and note what cog she is on when you finish. Women TYPICALLY (disclaimer) aren't as strong as men, so I'd expect to run her 2-4 teeth larger on the cog than you do.
    Mind your own religion.

  3. #3
    Mashed Potatoes Johnson
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    My wife's SS Santa Cruz has 34-15. She says it's perfect for where we ride- not too hilly, tight singletrack in the woods.

  4. #4
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    My wife's SS Santa Cruz has 34-15
    Your wife has to be a champ! 34/15 is bigger than most men use.

  5. #5
    Mashed Potatoes Johnson
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    Its what I had before she took it over. She rocks!

  6. #6
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    I run 34:18 on my 29er and settled on 32:20 on my Pugsley which given the extra drag/weight of the Pugsley 'felt' about the same. But at the end of the day it's a combination of how strong a rider she is, her riding style (spinner or grinder?) and the terrain that you'll be riding in.

    [heretic mode]Having said all of that I've just converted my Pugsley to geared (Alfine 8 speed). Round here the trails get very muddy and on the steep sections I was getting no traction if I had to stand on the pedals. Putting the gears on has made all the difference and it'll stay geared until Spring at least.[/heretic mode]

    Just to relax the die-hards the 29er will remain singlespeed
    If you need me I'll be at the bar

  7. #7
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugshield View Post
    ... I remember that she wanted it geared lower than I would have chosen for myself.
    Starting SS, the best thing is usually to make an educated guess and see how it goes. Change if change seems like a good idea.

    ... In my case, the educated guess was based on riding a gearie without shifting. You have previous experience of her preferences.

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

  8. #8
    Dirty South Underdog
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    I find that I'm usually using the same gear as the guys that are the same speed as me.
    Brickhouse Blog (most known unknown)

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  9. #9
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    Thanks for the input.

  10. #10
    SSolo, on your left!
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Starting SS, the best thing is usually to make an educated guess and see how it goes. Change if change seems like a good idea.

    ... In my case, the educated guess was based on riding a gearie without shifting. You have previous experience of her preferences.
    Yes.
    Get off the couch and ride!

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