Understanding SS- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Understanding SS

    Greetings SS riders! I am trying to understand the idea behind SS.

    Over the years I have seen a few SS riders around. I've see that there is lots of out-of-the-saddle grinding on the climbs. Obviously you have to be in great shape to ride SS, so props to you for that.

    What are some popular gear to gear ratios with SS riders?

    'hawg
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  2. #2
    Dive Bomber
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    2:1

    Actually if you ever ride BMX when you were kid and just having fun riding your bike without understand or know what drivetrain is, push the pedal harder just for joy - that's what SS like.

    I am 32 and when I start riding SS I feel younger than when I was 15 with gears.

  3. #3
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    I rode BMX when I was a kid but I don't really remember what it was like as far as the pedaling dynamics go. I just remember jumping and breaking frames, LOL!
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  4. #4
    Pedaler of dirt
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    You don't have to be in great shape to ride SS, but you will be in great shape after riding SS for a few months.

    I ride 34x16 which seems to work fine for my local trails with no hills and only a couple of short climbs.
    It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.

  5. #5
    Phatt Tire Luva'
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    Why SS...

    For each their own I suppose -

    With that said:

    - For the simplicity of the system.
    - The constant personal challenge of overcoming the trail/obstacles.
    - I find that I have a much greater feel and appreciation for where I've been, where I'm going and what I've accomplished!

    I ride out in OR & WA... you might say we have some respectable climbing out here... Gearing of choice is 32:20
    Ciao,

    -A-


    “Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health”

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackspade
    2:1

    Actually if you ever ride BMX when you were kid and just having fun riding your bike without understand or know what drivetrain is, push the pedal harder just for joy - that's what SS like.

    I am 32 and when I start riding SS I feel younger than when I was 15 with gears.
    well said. i feel the same way.

  7. #7
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    Riding a 32:18 here in MD on a 26er. I can say that for me it was about getting back on the bike cheaply. Actually it was more of an excuse to get another bike since I actually had a mtb already but wanted something different. Since having it, I have gone rigid and love it. It is definitely fun and less maintenance to deal with.

    Yes, I stand on climbs (steeper ones anyway), something I did not used to do much of on my geared bike. I have become a better rider and have learned to use my momentum. In the one race I have done so far, I found that I was able to get up the hills quicker than alot of the geared guys but this was largely due to their inexperience when shifting and then bogging down on the climbs. Perhaps I spent a little more energy than they did but I guess I was just in better shape as I came in 3rd that race out of about 30 riders of which there was only one other SS in my class and he came in 5th that day!

    The downside is that we can get spun out on flat sections (which is what happened to me in the race since the first 3/4 mile was frickn flat and the 1st/2nd place guys simply rolled out on us). Other than that, I have yet to find a real downside. Maybe we can't hit super hard climbs but we can still get off and run up the hill just like you had to do on your BMX bike when you were a kid. The bottom line for me is that it has been great fun every time I have gone out. Even when I am suffering, I at least know that I am getting stronger!

  8. #8
    Genius
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    Popular gear ratios will vary by terrain/trail. Some areas I roll a 16, other trails need a 18 or 20. My front is a 33.
    Last edited by De La Pena; 12-28-2010 at 08:19 AM.
    "I think im gonna go to walmart and look at the mountain bikes and see if i can salvage the rear frame."- Nick_Knipp 3/21/12

  9. #9
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    ^^ agreed. I normally ride a an 18 but have a 16 on hand and will be on that more this summer. Also plan on picking up a 33t front ring and running a 33:18 since I love my WI trials freewheel so much.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambassadorhawg
    Obviously you have to be in great shape to ride SS...
    Not true. Try it and see.

  11. #11
    The need for singlespeed
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    I'm still trying to understand gears.

  12. #12
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    Don't try to understand SS, it doesn't make any sense.
    Just try riding it.
    If you don't enjoy it there's something wrong with you.
    Does that make sense?

  13. #13
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    I'd advise borrowing or getting a cheap SS to try it out. Go on a few rides and see if it's for you.

    I'm in the Rockies, ride a 29er and my ratios are 33/32 front and 18-22 rear.

  14. #14
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Seems like one of the mistakes people make is to gear too steeply. I've known people that go back to gears since the SS punished them. I ask them what they're running and many say 32x17 (29er). On the same terrain(PHX, Flagstaff), I run a 32x21 which you might say is whimpy, but it's easy on the knees, and I can do long rides (40-55miles) without dying. So, when you try it, start with easy gearing and work your way up...otherwise, you might give up way too soon.

  15. #15
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    Never say that SS cannot shifting.

    You can always change your riding position from sit, to stand, hammer, even push, get total control of your RPM and power.

  16. #16
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    For me, it started like this...



    No, not adjustment issues... I understand limit screws. Just some backcountry Arkansas trails that broke more than a couple of derailleurs. Now, I ride/race SS whenever the opportunity is offered.
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  17. #17
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    I am in moderately good shape and I only ride SS. grinding up hills seems easy because I have never experienced riding a geared bike. ignorance is bliss eh? I have three SS bikes:
    Simple Debut BMX (street/ramps)
    Redline Monocog
    BIanchi Boardwalk 1991 conversion (looks like a SS CX bike with drop bars, cantis, road wheels, big tires, etc)

    I started out with BMX and at the time that I got my first mtb two years ago, I was terrified of gears. I have worked at a bike shop for a while and I am 95% confident that I can maintain any geared bike, but I choose not to.

    bmx- 27/10 ratio
    mtb- 32/16, 18, or 20, depending on terrain
    road- 40/16 for now, not done experimenting

  18. #18
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    I've just realized that I only use gears on flat for speed, when uphill I forget to shift even I push the bike when it's too steep LOL.

  19. #19
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    Just when you thought you understood singlespeed - in comes these nutjobs:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=591040

  20. #20
    Dinner for wolves
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138
    For me, it started like this...



    No, not adjustment issues... I understand limit screws. Just some backcountry Arkansas trails that broke more than a couple of derailleurs. Now, I ride/race SS whenever the opportunity is offered.
    Yup. That's how it started for me as well. If I lived in, say, Denver, I am not sure if I would have stuck with SS for as long as I have. But where I ride (Philadelphia environs), SS is perfect. Fewer parts to break, lighter bike, and I focus on learning how to conserve and cash in on momentum. PS: I am 37 and in average physical condition (perhaps below average after gorging on Xmas cookies and eggnog).
    Responds to gravity

  21. #21
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    Very terrain specific. I have two SS 29ers: one rigid SS geared at 32x18 for the rolling hills, one front suspension SS geared at 32x20 for the trails with more significant climbs. I'm toying with the idea of getting a 22T cog so I can ride SS in the high country.

  22. #22
    Ride,Smile, Pedal Damn it
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    i ride my SS in Md, hills and all. and do it w/ 36/16. A 15 really hurt my knees a bid. I rode a BMX for years as a kid. Now i'm a older kid. I don't know what the big deal is. SS is easy. When you can pedal, you pedal. when you can't, you can't. Get speed up when coming upon a hill, ride out of saddle often, but who cares? Just do it.

  23. #23
    REALLY?
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    I run a 32/15 (ride mostly urban) and feels perfect. What's there to understand, SS is a lot like a beach cruzer...just hop on it and ride...that's it, that's all you need to understand.
    DJ, "Because I'm sure the world need's more dudes stalking the woods stoned out of their mind carrying a deadly weapon."

  24. #24
    WNC Native
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    see my sig
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffgothro
    I run a 32/15 (ride mostly urban) and feels perfect. What's there to understand, SS is a lot like a beach cruzer...just hop on it and ride...that's it, that's all you need to understand.
    I only asked because once in a while, I see an SSer climbing the same ultra steep grinds that you see an average rider struggle with in 22/34...

    Now I see it's a personal challenge/blast from the past (BMX) thing which is cool. I too use to ride BMX when I was a kid.
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  26. #26
    REALLY?
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    Me to, in fact I still have my 20" Standard bmx bike (retired - in pieces in a box). Eehhh...the good ol' days.
    DJ, "Because I'm sure the world need's more dudes stalking the woods stoned out of their mind carrying a deadly weapon."

  27. #27
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    Fun Fun Fun (fatigue) Fun

    I am still "transitioning" into the world of SS- or maybe I am on the brink of accepting that I will always have a geared bike as well as my SS. I just got my SS at the end of last summer and I LOVE it, but I haven't had a TON of time on it. I ride a 29er SS with front sus and remote lockout (key, if you ask me). I ride a 32x23 here in Colorado where almost everything is up, up, up and then down. I love it, but I engage all three gears all the time (sitting, standing, pushing). Sometimes, when I just want to get out and spin and not blow myself out, I still go back to my FS gearie.

    I think part of the SS thing is that there is definitely a culture/ image (like the guy who posted about the fixie nutjobs) that it is ultra bada*s. It is. But you don't have to be ultra BA to ride it- There is also a lot of d*ck wagging about what gears people run and who runs a harder gear and who rides only SS and who runs rigid and who runs blah blah blah. Stay away from that. You're out riding a bike, that's all that matters .

    The key for me enjoying it was finding an easy enough gear that I could see it as a challenge, but one that, given enough time, I can overcome. In a month or so of riding it a few days a week, I saw major improvements. I felt stronger, and I was getting further and further on trails before collapsing over my bars, gasping for air. My backyard trails are steep, but I've had it on some mellower trails where I can get some flow and momentum for a while and, like so many people say, I feel like a kid on a BMX bike. My goal for next summer is to make it to the top of my backyard trail without resting and, if I get to that point, to go down to a smaller cog in the back. I'm in.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by alshead
    Sometimes, when I just want to get out and spin and not blow myself out, I still go back to my FS gearie.
    Nothing wrong with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by alshead
    There is also a lot of d*ck wagging about what gears people run and who runs a harder gear and who rides only SS and who runs rigid and who runs blah blah blah. Stay away from that. You're out riding a bike, that's all that matters
    Really? In my experience it's been the exact opposite, where SS riders are much more chill and care much less about what you ride. Even on MTBR the SS forum is one of the forums where people are actually nice and fighting is kept to a minimum.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by alshead
    I think part of the SS thing is that there is definitely a culture/ image (like the guy who posted about the fixie nutjobs) that it is ultra bada*s. It is. But you don't have to be ultra BA to ride it- There is also a lot of d*ck wagging about what gears people run and who runs a harder gear and who rides only SS and who runs rigid and who runs blah blah blah. Stay away from that. You're out riding a bike, that's all that matters .
    I laugh when people pull up to the SS start line with their 36-15... i think, ooh tough guy, you're f-ed, I'll be the guy passing you on lap 3 cause your knee's hurt... ha ha...

    **match your gear to your surroundings and your riding style/prefered cadence. end.

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  30. #30
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    Culture Club

    BM (he he)- you're probably right and half of what I see/ experience is my own daft perception of what's really going on. It is common in my neck of the woods, though, that when people stop and chat with me on the trail- especially other SS'ers- they want to know what ratio I'm running- it's pretty much the first thing out of their mouths. There is also an "alternative" culture that runs alongside SS, it seems- not exclusive, and, yes, very chill, but definitely the "how big can I grow my chops" and "I wouldn't be seen dead in spandex" culture. Just my perception, of course.

    Quicklaps- that sticker is awesome.

  31. #31
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    alshead - You're confusing SS MTBers with coffee shop fixie crowd. All talk and no man jeans.

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