what gear ratio is right for me?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    what gear ratio is right for me?

    Anyone know of any web page that has a singlespeed gear ratio calculator for a rider's charachteristics? I mean like answer a questionaire and then be told what gear ratio you should be using? Or a table with that information?

    Or can it only be figured out by trial and error? I'm new to SS and I ride a Fisher Rig with 32-18.....I guess if anything I would go lower, but it would be nice if there were some guidelines for what ratio I should be riding.

  2. #2
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    Go with what works for you. I know guys who ride smooth rolling single track with 32:16 or 32:17 gearing. For steeper more technical riding, 32:18-20 seems to be the ticket. Basic ruler of thumb, if you cant spin smoothly and keep up your momentum, you're geared too high.

  3. #3
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    Last edited by 29Colossus; 03-22-2007 at 06:37 PM.

  4. #4
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    just depends...

    Yeah, I think it just depends on your style, terrain, fitenss, etc etc. Go with what is comfortable for you most of the time on most of the rides you do - cogs are generally cheap. Get a range of 'em and adjust as necessary.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29Colossus
    I think shiggy says:

    "Gear for the climbs, and learn to spin."

    It makes a lot of sense to me.

    Well I haven't heard that said, and that makes alot of sense to me. But I fail to get the "learn to spin". You mean to basicly get used to the "pedaling like chocolate being chased by a fat kid"?

    Guess I need to have a convo with Shiggy.
    Evolve or Die

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChubbyBiker
    Yeah, I think it just depends on your style, terrain, fitenss, etc etc. Go with what is comfortable for you most of the time on most of the rides you do - cogs are generally cheap. Get a range of 'em and adjust as necessary.
    which is kind of like running gears..

    32 x 16.. unless your Lance

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TREK 4 Life
    Well I haven't heard that said, and that makes alot of sense to me. But I fail to get the "learn to spin". You mean to basicly get used to the "pedaling like chocolate being chased by a fat kid"?

    Guess I need to have a convo with Shiggy.
    nope, but you're going to have to learn to have a smooth spin, even on climbs. Not really spinning like a rat in a cage, you just need to be smooth and concentrate all your power into your pedals. I have 2 freewheels that I run, 32:18 in the spring when I'm weak, 32:16 in the fall when I'm really strong.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lane
    Go with what works for you. I know guys who ride smooth rolling single track with 32:16 or 32:17 gearing. For steeper more technical riding, 32:18-20 seems to be the ticket. Basic ruler of thumb, if you cant spin smoothly and keep up your momentum, you're geared too high.
    The gear ratios you mention will feel different for different sized wheels, right? Or are you strictly talking 29'r?

    The place I ride has lots of steep sections where I am out of the saddle, pumping, not smoothly, but one leg at a time. I can make it up these hills but I am not spinning smoothly. I guess I might need to try an 19 or 20.

    Probably should go with 20 I guess.

  9. #9
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    Nobody can tell you what is right for you. A good place to start is seeing what other people in your area are running. 2:1 (about 1.8:1 for 29er) is probably a good place to start, and see how it goes from there. I run a 34:19 on my 29er, which is essentially the same as 32:18. I can make most of the hills in my area (southeast Michigan) and still maintain a reasonable pace on the flats. If you're spinning up the steepest hills then you are geared WAY to low. To spin up some of the hills in my area you would have to gear less than 1:1.

  10. #10
    enjoying the kool-aid
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    I started at 32:18 for a 26" bike and am not at 32:17. I'm thinking of going up to 32:16 soon.

    I find that when I am climbing out of the saddle, sometimes even on some hard climbs, I can't spin the cranks fast enough standing up to really use the gear. At the same time I can't sit and spin b/c the gear is too high. I long for a harder gear, so I can be putting more effort into each pedal stroke (while standing) and propel myself forward. I find that I have a "sweet spot" for a standing cadence and I can't really pedal faster than this sweet spot for an extended climb. If I try to pedal faster I get tired in the lungs, so I have climb at a certain speed to get the smooth cadence going. I had this feeling with the 32:18 and I moved up to 32:17. Now after a couple months I'm getting this feeling of being "trapped" in my gear and wish I could push a harder gear again. BUT this isn't for all the climbs... just a couple long ones on a trail I ride frequently. I think I will prob ride 32:17 for a bit longer and increase my strength. Oneday I'll try the 16t and see how it works. 32:17 is working good so far for most of my local trails.

    I own 16, 17 and 18t freewheels so even if/when I go up to 32:16 I will prob switch out to the 17t depending on the trail and how my body is feeling.

    I agree though that no one can tell you what to run with just a questionare. Ask the other SS riders in your area to get a ballpark starting gear. Then get a couple cheap freewheels or cogs so you can experiment.

  11. #11
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    I've been on my ss for over a month now. I sold all my other gearies and so this is all I have. Not knowing any better I started out with 32:16 and basically was taking my bike for a walk on the steeper more technical trails around town, (trails I could just spin up on with the geared mtb).
    Now that I am getting stronger and more used to riding and keeping my momentum for the ss, I can stay on the bike longer and not have to hike-a-bike so much. I have two more fw's on the way in 18 & 20, that should keep me spinning all the way up some of the hills out here. It's such a learning process for figuring out what gear works well where, and I'm sure it is very individual for each person's riding style.
    Like I said, learning how to keep my momentum and trusting that I won't die from staying out of the saddle so long has really helped develop my ss abilities.

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