Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
tatanab
Posts: 4082
Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby tatanab » 8 May 2020, 10:44am

SimonCelsa wrote: must admit I haven't mastered the art of 'skidding' on fixed yet,
52 years with a fixed (NEVER fixie) in my stable. Only ever skidded a back wheel deliberately at low speed and by unweighting the rear wheel. Same applies to all my contemporaries. I think these modern stories of skid stopping are largely made up and only by fashionista hipsters.

Gear size - general use, club riding - commuting - touring, about 65" (48x20). Hipsters refered to above often say they use about 80" but that is playing around in flat lands I suspect rather than on a 100 mile social ride. 81 to 86 was my racing gear, time trial or track.

User avatar
SimonCelsa
Posts: 716
Joined: 6 Apr 2011, 10:19pm

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby SimonCelsa » 8 May 2020, 12:26pm

I did actually check you-tube for a few videos of people skidding on fixed at quite high speeds.

As I'm a bit older than most of the skidding protagonists I do not suffer any real envy pangs. However, I think it is mainly a psychological reaction which stops me attempting a full on skid stop. Surely if I just lean forward off the saddle and just lock my legs the wheel will simply stop and skid?? I have nearly been 'bucked off' a few times when forgetting to pedal so perhaps my sub conscious is telling me not to do it!

TooManyBikes
Posts: 66
Joined: 27 Dec 2017, 11:05am
Location: Notts/Derbys border.

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby TooManyBikes » 8 May 2020, 12:44pm

To add to the variables... How much does crank length affect things with only one gear? is finding a crank length that suits your pedalling strengths (spinning or grinding a hard gear) more important than when gear options are available?
My name is Michael, And I have too many bikes.

Raph
Posts: 604
Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby Raph » 27 Jun 2020, 12:20am

I completely forgot I'd put this question up! Thanks for all the replies.

I've gone down one tooth at the back and am now on 44/20 which is a snig below 60". Done a few 30 mile rides, moderate hills, no problem. Might tackle a 50 soon.

With a 44/21 (56.6") I was managing all the hills and they were getting easier. Having originally said there's nothing steeper than about 1:10 around here, I've found a couple of 1:8s, but I might still go down one more tooth, that'll give 62.5" and I've got an 18T spare so could go one further (66") if I'm feeling brave.

TBH it's not only about hills, but more about those times when you're long periods into a headwind or up a long slight gradient and the knees get sore, then they're twingeing for the rest of the week. I'm normally into twiddling low gears usually rather than grinding big ones, as it's currently set up I run out of spin around 18-20mph, if that can stretch to 22ish I'll be pretty happy.

About fixed - I haven't ridden fixed for so long I've got slight heebiejeebies about trying it again. A pissed mate once tried to borrow my bike for a prank - I never got to find out what the prank was cos he didn't realize it was fixed wheel, he set off down hill and the upcoming pedal threw him off and the egg was totally on his face! ...and a few bruises. Don't know if that's an advantage or not. On the other hand having to go slow down hills is definitely NOT a fave with me! Hence having gone for the somewhat namby-pamby single speed freewheel option.

djnotts
Posts: 1586
Joined: 26 May 2008, 12:51pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby djnotts » 27 Jun 2020, 8:24am

I gave up fixed about 6 years ago when I had gradually reduced from c.70" to low 60s as my strength declined. When I could no longer get up the hill to home (any direction!) on 60" decided that was too low for flat bits and went for years! For single speed free on roads always a couple of inches lower. Single free mtb, lower again!
A very strong man I know (recent new lejog record on an ordinary/high wheeler) used to train around the Derbyshire hills on an 81", but then he is exceptional!

thirdcrank
Posts: 28808
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Jun 2020, 9:41am

On the subject of how things used to be long ago, road conditions were completely different so if a rider needed to go a long distance they would use the main road which would usually take the gentlest route. Also, riders on fixed would walk up steeper hills.

bri7800
Posts: 6
Joined: 8 Jun 2019, 1:11pm

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby bri7800 » 27 Jun 2020, 1:07pm

I have a 42t chainring and 18t freewheel on my singlespeed. I think thats around 60 inch or something? I need a fairly low gear for the hills around here.

Raph
Posts: 604
Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby Raph » 27 Jun 2020, 1:32pm

bri7800 wrote:I have a 42t chainring and 18t freewheel on my singlespeed. I think thats around 60 inch or something? I need a fairly low gear for the hills around here.

Pretty much same gear as me. I'm getting used to the fact that an oncoming hill is always scarier as it looms than it turns out to be when I'm actually going up it - the stress is worse than the gradient, the bark worse than the bite, etc. etc... So for known rides and known hills, the stress factor is waning.

Cyril Haearn
Posts: 13537
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Between the woods and the water

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 27 Jun 2020, 6:39pm

bri7800 wrote:I have a 42t chainring and 18t freewheel on my singlespeed. I think thats around 60 inch or something? I need a fairly low gear for the hills around here.

63" with a 27" wheel
Entertainer, intellectual, idealist, PoB
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies

Raph
Posts: 604
Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby Raph » 28 Jun 2020, 12:18pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:
bri7800 wrote:I have a 42t chainring and 18t freewheel on my singlespeed. I think thats around 60 inch or something? I need a fairly low gear for the hills around here.

63" with a 27" wheel

Oh yeah - sorry, mental arithmetic fail. When I go to 44/19 it'll be approx. same as me!

Chris56
Posts: 29
Joined: 3 May 2020, 9:30pm

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby Chris56 » 28 Jun 2020, 9:25pm

My SS Cross bike is just ovet 52" which works well for the light off-roading I do but is way too easy on flat roads. If I drop from a 16t sprocket to a 14t it will take it up to 59', which im hoping will be fast enough on road bit still able to deal with the off-road hills I sometimes tackle.

Raph
Posts: 604
Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby Raph » 29 Jun 2020, 12:30am

Depends how fast you can spin. I’ve always gone for more spin less strain, so I often get laughed at by mates for my puny gears, then sworn at for leaving them behind. I found I pretty much never used the top few gears, say above 90”ish, so I’ve got 14t top sprockets on most cassettes and even a 15t on my tourer, and that one’s with a 44t front, means not needing a triple and having a 30” bottom gear.

iandusud
Posts: 319
Joined: 26 Mar 2018, 1:35pm

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby iandusud » 29 Jun 2020, 7:57am

Although I haven't ridden my fixed gear bike in a few years (since I lent it to my son for going to and from college and he ruined it!) I first rode fixed about 40 years ago and it transformed my cycling. After one winter of riding on a fixed gear when I refitted my gears for the summer season I discovered that I was pedalling much faster and using lower gears, making things so much easier. I found that a gear in the high 60s worked well for me then and that is still the case. On that gearing I can, eventually, get up anything and descents aren't too hairy. I've never ridden single speed but if I were to then I would definitely favour a lower gear to make going up hills easier, probably something around 60".

Raph
Posts: 604
Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby Raph » 30 Jun 2020, 8:01pm

Funny you should mention that - it was fixed wheel that sorted me out quite early on:

I was one of those typical kids who push huge gears cos the illusion was that you went faster for less effort. Two mates I used to ride with were in a club, they kept on at me to ride lower gears, and I sort of tried to take note but always ended up back on the big ring out of habit... Until I tried a fixed wheel and realized with a bit of changing the pedalling technique that I could twiddle faster, and doing so for long periods was absolutely fine, after which when back on gears I stopped using the top few cogs.

On an epic 2000-mile tour from London to the Pyrenees and around France I went on a 38/44 front and 16-21 rear - with panniers, up 1:4s in the Pyrenees, no problem at all. Since then I've been a fan of namby-pamby un-macho gears. Even when I used to do 80-100-mile rides at averages over 20, it was usually on 40/50 with 14-20. So when numbers of rear gears went to 8 then 9 I extended the range downwards, not up.

Now that 30-50 miles rides struggle to achieve measly averages around 16mph, I definitely don't need big gears! And I sometimes cringe when seeing people a lot slower than me killing themselves on the big ring. People faster than me are usually pedalling at a similar rate - so if they're on a 53/13 it's because they're a blur!

belgiangoth
Posts: 1318
Joined: 29 Mar 2007, 4:10pm

Re: Single speed / fixed gear ratio?

Postby belgiangoth » 5 Jul 2020, 12:25am

I think I use a ~64"; I ran higher for a while (71"?) but I wasn't faster, just less comfortable.
If I had a baby elephant I would let it sleep in the garage in place of the car. If I had either a garage or a car. (I miss sigs about baby elephants)