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  1. #1
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    a theory, geared vs ss

    lots of ss people claim to be stronger riders than geared people due to the ss. i'm thinking that it's not so much the ss, but that modern drivetrains are overbuilt.

    when climbing, the ss rider hammers on a lighter bike with less drivetrain friction. but his energy reserves are still limited. a geared rider has the option of dropping ratio to save energy, but with modern 27 speed drivetrains, he can often end up in a more inefficient situation; dropping to granny/32 for instance seems more likely to wear out the rider due to the higher effort required to spin over a given distance. (not to mention, such a low ratio seems likely only to be useful to those that are out of shape, puttering around their local park. like me...)

    as well, a geared rider will tend to stay seated and use gear changes to change cadence. the act of changing gears itself is inefficient with losses of momentum while shifting, loss of energy in the shifting mechanism and possibly, inefficiency in gear selection due to wide spread cassette (in number of gears, not gear ratio) ranges.

    on the flats and downs, the primary forces to overcome are wind resistance and rolling resistance. a geared rider has the option of a 4:1 ratio, but realistically cannot effectively or efficiently turn those gears. the higher the speed, the greater the counteracting forces and therefore, the greater the energy input required. the end result is a rider that bonks sooner than the ss'er that used the flats/downs to rest. while the rider is not required to attempt to turn such a tall gear, having the gears may tend to encourage the rider to do so, to make the attempt and to turn the tall gear at slow, strained cadence until he wears of it.

    1x9 riders (and other selectively geared riders) compensate by reducing the complexity and inefficiency of their drivetrains. given a good selection of ratios, equal fitness levels and equal trail skills, i suspect that ss riders would not compare favorably with these types of riders. by eliminating the extremes of useless low gears and pipe dream high gears, 1x9 (or even lower, 1x8..7..5..etc) riders have advantages of both camps; lowered complexity, weight and friction with useful and effective gear selection.

    so in conclusion, i think shimano, sram, suntour, etc are to blame for the rise of the ss machine. the increased complexity and cost with decreased efficiency and focus of the modern drivetrain created a backlash amongst enthusiasts who are tired of still missing shifts on their $1000 drivetrain kits, of inappropriate gearing, of increased expenses and of decreased fun. while the reaction of the enthusiasts may be extreme, forsaking gears all together, the lack of intermediate choice (over the counter) between over geared and mono geared left no alternative. a rise in commercially available 1xX or 2xX drivetrain solutions may and in fact should occur to fill the gap.

  2. #2
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    1x9 efficiency is about the same as 2x9 or 3x9.

    Internal gears are the next big thing.

  3. #3
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    i dont know if this is completely relevant,but what i find when i ride my SS i want gears.when i ride my geared bike,i never shift?!?!hahaha guess i can never be happy,but all in all i love SS
    so this is how you add a signature!!

  4. #4
    Nat
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    Bahhhhh. Overanalyzing. A newbie on a SS will not be stronger than a Pro gearie. No way.

    I say a SS rider will become stronger than he was when he was riding only geared bikes, unless he had the discipline to ride really hard. I discovered that I did not have that discipline.

  5. #5
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    most gearies dont even use their big&middle rings.

    IMO the only reason a sser would pass a gearie that is just as strong as he/she is because the gearie is spinning a higher cadence seated while the sser is mashing a big gear .

    dont forget that the gearie has the ss gear on his bike. what the ss bike does is force the rider to push a higher gear, but he/she could always push the same gear on his gearie and go just as fast. not taking weight into account.
    overanalyzing...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vermont29er
    1x9 efficiency is about the same as 2x9 or 3x9.

    Internal gears are the next big thing.
    is it? i think elimination of the front derailler, 2 chain rings, improved chainline over the range of gears and elimination of redundant ratios to be an improvement in overall efficiency and effectiveness.

    however, i'm inclined to think that something less than 1x9, something even as low as 1x5 or 1x3 would be ideal; eliminate the "finicky" 9 speed chain, derailler and cassette, eliminate any front chainguide to truly find the happy medium...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    Bahhhhh. Overanalyzing. A newbie on a SS will not be stronger than a Pro gearie. No way.

    I say a SS rider will become stronger than he was when he was riding only geared bikes, unless he had the discipline to ride really hard. I discovered that I did not have that discipline.
    the idea is simple. that the mega 24+ drivetrain is the real reason that ss riders can be "stronger" than geared riders. or more precisely, that geared riders are weaker than ss riders. you suggest something similar when you say "unless he had the discipline to ride really hard".

    i did indeed try to analyze it, the reasons being 1) I have the time and 2) i'd like to see high grade 1x5 or such drivetrains. i don't believe it was an overanalysis, i dont buy the hippyish "ride what you like" or "ss is all about flow" arguments. i believe there is a real reason ss is more fun than geared under certain or even all circumstances.

    and i did not suggest that a newbie anything will be better than a pro anything.

  8. #8
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    I can only judge performance from my own personal point of view.

    My experience has always been the same over all the years that I have ridden bikes. There is NO doubt in my mind that singlepeed riding does make you stronger.

    Riding geared bikes .... generally makes you weaker.

    I notice the difference. Always.

    If I ride a geared derailleur bike or a Rohloff Speedhub equipped bike for a few months, then get on a singlespeed bike ... the singlespeed bike is much harder work, and I always feel weaker.

    If I ride a singlespeed bike for a few months and then get on a geared bike, I am much stronger after riding the SS .

    This has always been so, for me.

    Singlespeeding makes me stronger, fitter, faster...because I can't bludge, I can't take it easy, I have to work hard and use the momentum to make the climbs. I can't just sit and spin and change down gears to climb.

    So my results over the years have always been the same for me.

    My conclusion is that singlespeeding makes me stronger and fitter and faster.


    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  9. #9
    I wasn't Kung Fu fighting
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    I agree

    For Sea Otter last year I trained a lot on my road bike, trying to raise my fitness... vs previous years when I trained on my ss exclusively. Even following my fancy Lance Armstrong fitness program, doing intervals, etc. I felt much weaker at the race, and I wished I had just stuck to my using training. The geared training would have suited me just fine if I were going to race on a geared mtb... but nothing can simulate the punishment of ss.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman

    My conclusion is that singlespeeding makes me stronger and fitter and faster.

    R.
    as a training method, i agree, just like using heavier wheels. but on race day, do you suppose having a couple extra gears could maximize your potential? or would they simply give you a cop out to not work as hard?

    that's my theory, that for equally trained riders (ie., two riders cross trained with weights, ss, heavy wheels, running, swimming, whatever), the guy on the min/max (min clutter, max efficiency) geared drivetrain would beat out the ss'er.

  11. #11
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    Bs...

    Quote Originally Posted by drunkle
    the idea is simple. that the mega 24+ drivetrain is the real reason that ss riders can be "stronger" than geared riders. or more precisely, that geared riders are weaker than ss riders. you suggest something similar when you say "unless he had the discipline to ride really hard".

    i did indeed try to analyze it, the reasons being 1) I have the time and 2) i'd like to see high grade 1x5 or such drivetrains. i don't believe it was an overanalysis, i dont buy the hippyish "ride what you like" or "ss is all about flow" arguments. i believe there is a real reason ss is more fun than geared under certain or even all circumstances.

    and i did not suggest that a newbie anything will be better than a pro anything.
    I ride a SS because I like it. I ride my geared bike because..... I like it...... I'm a stronger rider on my geared bike for the SS and I'm a stronger rider on my SS due to my FS geared bike....

    You are indeed over thinking the entire thing.

    How is riding what you like, "hippyish"? Perhaps it's people comfortable riding what they like vs. trying to label and catagorize riders and bikes? SS isn't more fun than riding gears. It's just a different way to ride trails. Geared riders don't have less fun than SSers, they just have fun on a different type of bike. You may have more fun riding SS but that doesn't mean that everyone does.

    Ken

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC
    I ride a SS because I like it. I ride my geared bike because..... I like it...... I'm a stronger rider on my geared bike for the SS and I'm a stronger rider on my SS due to my FS geared bike....
    others have posted to the contrary, specifically that they found themselves weaker on their ss after riding their geared.


    You are indeed over thinking the entire thing.
    why do you think that?


    How is riding what you like, "hippyish"? Perhaps it's people comfortable riding what they like vs. trying to label and catagorize riders and bikes? SS isn't more fun than riding gears. It's just a different way to ride trails. Geared riders don't have less fun than SSers, they just have fun on a different type of bike. You may have more fun riding SS but that doesn't mean that everyone does.

    Ken
    i shouldn't have said anything about fun, that was a mistake and complete tangent. i had just read a bunch of the "why ss" threads/articles and found them to be completely unsatisfying. again, a tangent, ignore this.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunkle
    Originally Posted by Ken in KC
    I ride a SS because I like it. I ride my geared bike because..... I like it...... I'm a stronger rider on my geared bike for the SS and I'm a stronger rider on my SS due to my FS geared bike....

    others have posted to the contrary, specifically that they found themselves weaker on their ss after riding their geared.



    You are indeed over thinking the entire thing.
    why do you think that?



    i shouldn't have said anything about fun, that was a mistake and complete tangent. i had just read a bunch of the "why ss" threads/articles and found them to be completely unsatisfying. again, a tangent, ignore this.
    My FS bike makes me stronger on my SS because it allows me to take harder lines without the penalty of failure. Then, when I'm on my SS, I'll take that harder line. So my FS bike helps me take a line that flows better and allows me to carry my mo, which allows me to ride faster and better on my SS.

    You're over thinking the whole thing because it doesn't really matter what people ride, how they ride, etc. There are plenty of SSer's who are stronger riders than geared riders. There are also plenty of geared riders who are stronger riders than SSers. To quote some guy named Lance, "It's not about the bike".


    No worries on the tangent.

    Ken

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunkle
    as a training method, i agree, just like using heavier wheels. but on race day, do you suppose having a couple extra gears could maximize your potential? or would they simply give you a cop out to not work as hard?

    that's my theory, that for equally trained riders (ie., two riders cross trained with weights, ss, heavy wheels, running, swimming, whatever), the guy on the min/max (min clutter, max efficiency) geared drivetrain would beat out the ss'er.
    The only place that SS lets me down, if that is the right phrase, is on the flats.

    This is where the geared riders pick me up. On the climbs and downs, I either hold my own or dominate.

    So ... an extra gear for the flats would make a singlespeeder even harder to hold onto, imo...but then, it wouldn't be a singlespeed anymore, would it?

    So much depends on the course, the day, the way you are going, fitness, etc...etc... it's too hard to state an absolute here.

    All I know for sure is that SS'ing makes me stronger ... noticably stronger and fitter than when I ride geared bikes.


    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  15. #15
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    In a race, I'm faster on my geared than my ss any day of the week. I can roast some people on my ss and I roast some ss'ers on my geared. And the whole having the most efficient gear selection deal, if you a good rider your going to know what gear to use to get up the hill the quickest.
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  16. #16
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunkle
    i believe there is a real reason ss is more fun than geared under certain or even all circumstances.
    Here's the problem as I see it: you're trying to make a logical analysis of why riding a singlespeed is fun. You're trying to explain it by discussing efficiency, ratios, physics, mechanics, etc. but if anything we should be talking serotonin, endorphins, adrenalin, etc. if we want to explain why we're having fun.

    Can you really calculate why you're having fun? More importantly should you???

    Also, people keep talking about drivetrain efficiency. I think the modern geared drivetrain is pretty darned efficient. Any efficiency gains made by eliminating a derailleur or having a straighter chainline would be more than made up for by having a fatty 2.4 tire at low pressure like so many SSers like.

    The euphoria comes from the ride itself, not from the machinery (even though the machinery is golly-gee neato).


    EDIT: I just now saw your statement, "i shouldn't have said anything about fun, that was a mistake and complete tangent. i had just read a bunch of the "why ss" threads/articles and found them to be completely unsatisfying. again, a tangent, ignore this."

    Alright, if you're not talking about having fun, then you're talking about what? Fitness? Drivetrain efficiency? Race performance? Am I completely missing your point?
    Last edited by Nat; 10-18-2006 at 10:56 PM.

  17. #17
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    With SS, you don't have the option of bailing out to a lower gear when the going goes up. So naturally, with time, you will become stronger from riding SS because you have to constantly push harder than you would have to with gears.

    Think about two weight trainers who have the same routine in terms of reps, sets, etc. One uses the same weight all the time, the other switches to progressively lighter weights between sets, as it gets harder. The first one ultimately will become stonger, obviously.

    But SS is really more about the simplicity, and thumbing your nose to the complexity, fragility, cost, maintainance, noise, marketing hype, etc of multi gear systems produced by said companies. Getting stronger just happens to be a nice "side effect". Of course there are those that just use SS to train on, so that on race day they will be stronger on their geared bikes than they otherwise would be.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunkle
    the lack of intermediate choice (over the counter) between over geared and mono geared left no alternative. a rise in commercially available 1xX or 2xX drivetrain solutions may and in fact should occur to fill the gap.
    I'd love an internally geared three speed and have lobbied for one on these boards in the past -- one that can be set up for 20, 50, and 80 gear inches. I feel it would cover all riding circumstances, with 95% of my time spent at 50 gear inches, 4.8% of the time in 80 gear inches, and 0.2% of the time at 20 gear inches (but when you want 20 gear inches, you really want it!). I actually have a Rohloff hub which I lover dearly, but for anything short of the 100 mile races in the Rockies that I love so dearly, it's pretty much overkill. I'm becoming more and more enamored with SSing, even though I'm aging fast and would be expected to be looking for the comfort of the granny ring.

    I too have ruminated about why so many see SS superior and while I appreciate your perspective and find merit in it, I've got a different theory. Rather than divert your thread, I'll start my own -- not that anyone will care or pay attention!
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  19. #19
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    depends on the coarse

    I'm only faster on gears on rolling hills with some flat sections... Most of what I ride is strait up and strait down, the SS is harder, but keeps me going up faster, and comming down the same. On the east coast where it's flatter but rocky and rooty, I'm about the same speed because the techinical nature of the trails keeps me in my middle/middle most of the time anyway. Up in northern cali, the trails have a lot more flat sections than here, and you really can add some speed by going to the big ring.

  20. #20
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    I don't measure calories, time, miles, speed or much of anything any more. I get on the bike and ride it. I try to pummel myself and others in a race to the best of my ability regardless of machinery. That is all. A single speed is just perfect for me, no thinking, just pedal, pedal faster, stand, push the dang thing whatever the moment dictates to keep going as fast as is sensible or not. Anything more than one gear is just that to me, extra parts.

  21. #21
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    I'm fueled by bacon, how does that figure in smart guy?
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  22. #22
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    The SS did pretty good in Moab, how do you factor in weather??
    Black Sheep...where it'ss at!!
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish
    I'm fueled by bacon, how does that figure in smart guy?
    snicker, snicker, snicker....

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    Bahhhhh. Overanalyzing. A newbie on a SS will not be stronger than a Pro gearie. No way.

    I say a SS rider will become stronger than he was when he was riding only geared bikes, unless he had the discipline to ride really hard. I discovered that I did not have that discipline.
    I think you might be surpried how stong someone whos been riding a SS bike would be after riding one for years & then watch them get on a gearie.

  25. #25
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    The speed secret to riding a SS bike is keeping the momentum going!
    Donít use your brakes! Thatís one reason I believe a lot of SS riders
    Are faster then some gearies. But thatís not always the case. It really depends on the rider of each bike.

  26. #26
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS-Rider
    I think you might be surpried how stong someone whos been riding a SS bike would be after riding one for years & then watch them get on a gearie.
    I'm not surprised because I agree with you, but there's no way in hell a beginner mountain biker would be anywhere close to as strong as a Pro cyclist just simply by riding a SS. It's the training and physiology that makes a strong rider, not so much the bike itself (but the SS can force one to train hard).

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBearings
    most gearies dont even use their big&middle rings.
    What kinda dorked up trails are you riding? I would say the middle ring is the most used, followed by the little ring.
    Vecsus

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  28. #28
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    Conditioning Question...

    I know that SSing can make me feel stronger. But I'm wondering if rding a SS or spinning good gears efficently makes for more endurance and conditioning training?

    Anybody have an opinion?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT
    I'd love an internally geared three speed and have lobbied for one on these boards in the past -- one that can be set up for 20, 50, and 80 gear inches. I feel it would cover all riding circumstances, with 95% of my time spent at 50 gear inches, 4.8% of the time in 80 gear inches, and 0.2% of the time at 20 gear inches (but when you want 20 gear inches, you really want it!). I actually have a Rohloff hub which I lover dearly, but for anything short of the 100 mile races in the Rockies that I love so dearly, it's pretty much overkill. I'm becoming more and more enamored with SSing, even though I'm aging fast and would be expected to be looking for the comfort of the granny ring.

    I too have ruminated about why so many see SS superior and while I appreciate your perspective and find merit in it, I've got a different theory. Rather than divert your thread, I'll start my own -- not that anyone will care or pay attention!
    I've enjoyed SSing, But now I'm waiting for my new Speedhub wheels to get here. I believe that I too would like to have a 3 or 4 speed internal hub that was lighter and as reliable as the Speedhub. I'd buy 2 of those! Anyway, I hope to enjoy my Speedhub for a long time, I know the investment was painful. If I want to ride SS, I've just not move the shifter (I know its not the same).

  30. #30
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    The day I see a pro rider consistently ride faster on SS than on his/her geared bike in a variety of courses, I will agree that the SS is faster. Of course, that will never happen.

    Let's just enjoy SSing and stop justifying and analyzing. It is as pointless as 29er riders trying to convince everyone that 29er wheels are god's gift to humanity.
    My rides:
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