What's the correct gearing for my singlespeed?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What's the correct gearing for my singlespeed?

    hey guys! I just got a Redline Flight Monocog, and it's a very nice ride. A couple of things are bothering me,though:
    The bike is a small, and came with 175mm cranks, is this right? I'm used to 170mm in my full suspension...
    It also has a 32-16 gearing, which it's fine for riding in the streets and paved trails, but feels too hard in climbs and real trails. What would be the correct gearing?
    Also, it has Kenda Karma 26x1.91 tires(wire bead), which ara a little lighter than my fs tires, but they seem real squirrely in the trails. a little wet or muddy, and there goes traction. Any tire suggestions?
    I think that's it. So far, I'm really liking this singlespeed thing. Carry on!

  2. #2
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    I don't know that there is a "right gear." My impression from SS riding is that you're in the wrong gear all the time. Last season I rode 32 x 15 and it was fine. This year I got a dedicated single ring in a 34 tooth with a 16 rear cog. I'll spin out going down and groan going up but it'll be a good all around ratio I think.

  3. #3
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    Single speeders usually use longer cranks for added torque.

    Your correct gear ratio, would be different than others. It's just whatever feels best. You could go to a 32x18 or 32x 20. Break apart an old cassette and test out some different cogs. When you find one that work, get a single speed cog that isn't ramped

  4. #4
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    I forgot to add, that this bike came with a 16 tooth freewheel. I found a 17 and a 18 tooth freewheels at a lbs, but I'm not sure which one would work best...

  5. #5
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    and you wont know.... until you try then.

  6. #6
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    ... and if we just ... man is that a can of worms ripped open!

    these questions really don't have a definative answer,like the others said,as it is a matter of fitness,terrain,etc,etc.my 2 cents...

    i run 32tx21t (or is that a 22t back there?can't recall ) on my '04-ish monocog,and it's about right for me on my hilly trails...when i don't get lazy and not ride fer a while ( ).it spins out on the downhills,and a few smooth flats (we don't have many flats),but is bearable for me to climb all but the steepest/longest hills here with.if bmx cogs will work with yer setup,they're pretty inexpensive,and you could buy 2-4 and try em out,settle on a comfortable ratio for you,then buy a higher quality one (when that one wears out,of course ).

    as for tires,that's another can of worms...generally,myself and what i've seen others on trail and online like a pretty burly set,since momentum is yer best freind on a SS,you definately don't want tires you feel sketchy w/.

    i've been running continental vapor 2.1"s for a lil over 2 years because i got a GREAT deal on a few pairs.they're better than i thought for the size,but when they wear out,i'll probly go up to a 2.3",maybe a panaracer or wtb (i have bontrager earl 2.4"s on both my geared hardtails,but they ain't the lightest).

    welcome aboard the SS trail,and hope you enjoy yer new ride (my m'cog's certainly served me well...still my "goto" bike most dayz ).
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  7. #7
    Mark
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    I've settled on a 34 x 22 on a 26" wheel.
    I run a shorter crank (165mm) so don't believe everything you hear about long cranks.

    Many a SSer has blown the knees out and an incorrect crank length can certainly contribute.

    The mantra is: Gear for the climb and spin on the flat.
    ===============

    Mark

  8. #8
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    Like hoovermd said:

    The mantra is: Gear for the climb and spin on the flat.

    Basically, the only thing to remember. Consequently, there is no "right" gear. It all depends on terrain and fitness.
    Even then, a singlespeed gear is never perfect, but that's part of the challenge!

  9. #9
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    I like 34/20. I'm running Armadillo Crossroads, but they're definitely a bit sketchy on loose rock. WTB Velociraptors, I'd love as my off road tires, but they'd probably really suck on the street, and my riding's split about 50/50 between trail and street.

  10. #10
    (Ali)
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    A couple of people said that an SS in always in the wrong gear. Well, that's not possible because you can't be in the wrong gear without having any other gear to shift to.

    The truth is, you're always in the right gear! Aaahhh... What a great feeling...

    Ali

  11. #11
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    32x16 WTB Exiwolf up front and Weirwolf in back, I have tried all the other shoes but this combo is killer...the gearing and tires feel real good it is personal preference.

  12. #12
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    32x20 for me so far on my MC 29er, although you'll be amazed how fast you get stronger. and i really like my 2.3 exiwolf tires.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoovermd
    ...
    I run a shorter crank (165mm) so don't believe everything you hear about long cranks.
    ...
    hoovermd has spoken.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisket
    A couple of people said that an SS in always in the wrong gear. Well, that's not possible because you can't be in the wrong gear without having any other gear to shift to.

    The truth is, you're always in the right gear! Aaahhh... What a great feeling...

    Ali
    yea,what he said
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  15. #15
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    Remember that as your fitness changes over the season a gear will get easier to push the more you ride. Also the gear you had on at the end of last season will be too big come a spring rider after winter hiatus. I recommend owning a batch of FWs and using the ones that feel right for the time.

  16. #16
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    Good job! 34X16 for me

    Quote Originally Posted by philneuve
    I don't know that there is a "right gear." My impression from SS riding is that you're in the wrong gear all the time. Last season I rode 32 x 15 and it was fine. This year I got a dedicated single ring in a 34 tooth with a 16 rear cog. I'll spin out going down and groan going up but it'll be a good all around ratio I think.
    I run the same ratio, it's a good "all around" set up. You become a strong climber real quick.
    I just installed a 16T ENO. It makes it easier. If you can afford one, don't hesitate to buy one.

  17. #17
    love my Simonds 519
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    Quote Originally Posted by themanmonkey
    Remember that as your fitness changes over the season a gear will get easier to push the more you ride. Also the gear you had on at the end of last season will be too big come a spring rider after winter hiatus.
    This is something I was wondering about since I'm currently on a 1x8, trying to decide which SS ring and cog to buy as a start, and have already gone from 32:17 to 32:16 (26er, 175 cranks, semislicks, flat-ish riding, though). How much do people find their preferred gearing changes over a season and how much did it change when starting to SS?

  18. #18
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedmetal
    I forgot to add, that this bike came with a 16 tooth freewheel. I found a 17 and a 18 tooth freewheels at a lbs, but I'm not sure which one would work best...
    You'll notice a one-tooth change on your freewheel.
    Also, the streets are full of horizontal dropouts...

    BSNYC

  19. #19
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    Well, I have found that 32-16 isnt so bad. being in Houston, the elevation is zero, so i have been having fun with the bike as it is. Maybe i will go for 17 or 18 for the the rough stuff, we'll see...

  20. #20
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    I had fun here in Austin running 34/17.

  21. #21
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    I run a 34/17 on my Moots 26er. I feel that this is the "Perfect Gear" for me.

    There is no pefect gear for everyone, just the right gear for you. Find a gear that you can climb with and when that gear starts to get easier go to the next smallest cog. This will insure that you do not get lazy on the climbs. As if that is possible on a SS.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    I run a 34/17 on my Moots 26er. I feel that this is the "Perfect Gear" for me.

    There is no pefect gear for everyone, just the right gear for you. Find a gear that you can climb with and when that gear starts to get easier go to the next smallest cog. This will insure that you do not get lazy on the climbs. As if that is possible on a SS.

    totally agree....i run 32x18 on my voodoo 29er but that will be changing in about a week or so as i am feeling stronger.
    Winter is coming.

  23. #23
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    I run 32/16 on a Trek 69er SS. Seems just right to me for all of the trails around Central Texas: BCGB, Reimers, Walnut, Cameron, and Muleshoe, so far. Nothing really flat, but not "mountains", either. I bought it mainly as a second bike for banging around town and a few trail rides, but loved it so much I have not ridden my Blur LT once since buying this bike. Have to power up climbs, but that's kinda the point. I climb the Hill o' Life on this bike with 32/16. (on a good day if not every day) So far, I'm really happy with 32/16.

    Anywhere around 2:1 ratio seems like a good starting point, but I'd recommend challenging yourself on some climbs if your able before gearing down. As others said, won't be long before you have a completely different understanding of just how capable a SS is for mtb-ing, even when climbing.

    james

  24. #24
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    good thread

    everyone has beaten the gear ratio thing to death. They are all right - start with a 2 to 1 ratio and adjust from there.

    In regard to crank length. This is real personal I have found. I am 5-11" with a 33.5" pubic bone height. If I listen to the so called "experts" I should be on 175s but experience has taught me I am more happy on 170's. On a single speed I do run 175's there is some truth to the the leverage theory.

    On tires here is an old school trick and then you can dial in your prefence from that point. Start with a larger tire in from eg: 2.25 or 2.3 and a 1.9 or 2.0 in the rear and then figure out what you like.

    VTW

  25. #25
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    I'm running a 34x17 on 175mm I am 5'10 and 190lbs ain't no sitting and spinning on climbs and I still spin out on downhills. I found that 2:1(+1tooth) was a great starter. Some like +2 or more, but I find you are doing it to crest a hill in comfort but you will spin out on most flat sections of trail. It's a single speed expect not to clean all the hills you did in the past at first. so my suggestion- start 2:1 +1 then go from there.

  26. #26
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    Ok, quick update:
    After riding the Redline Flight Monocog for a while, I have found that:
    A. Singlespeeding is addictive.
    B. 32-16 is actually pretty efficient in Houston.
    C. WTB Velociraptor tires work best.
    I'm still thinking of going for a 17 tooth freewheel and a suspension seatpost, maybe even upgrade for a suspension fork...

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