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Any other single speeders out there? What gear ratio …

So, any other single speeders out there doing the Week long RAGBRAI? I will be on my first and not being familiar … what gear ratio do you run? I am currently set up as 42/16 but probably will go 46/16 by time we start. Is that a good balance? What do you run? I run the 42/16 here for ALL hills and climbs and around the Kettle Moraines, we have some dandys! I can bring a spare chainring and pre-cut chain if need be. Recommendations? Advice? Looking forward to thi slong a trip on the SS YAY!

5 Replies

RonB, May 4, 2012 at 7:40 am

Not a ss guy, but here’s my $.02…..What speed can you comfortably cruise at with the 42 x 16? If high teens or better, I’d suggest leaving this combo on. There will be a few bumps that match the K-M in pitch but maybe not so long, so you may want the lower gearing. As mentioned in many topics, it’s not a race so an easy cruise is all that is needed.


mtbmed, May 4, 2012 at 10:04 am

RonB thx for feedback. I’m totally unfamiliar with what hills may be present. Heard there are a few on the Karras loop day? I am pretty comfy riding at 16-18 with this setup. Get spun out quickly if any faster for sustained pulls. On my geared bike I like to roll at 20-22mph most times. Was thinking going 46/16 just to get a bit more speed outa the roll in the flatter areas. If I can climb in that for short distance maybe that is better suited, plus when I wanna go slow and since not racing, slower feet are OK too. maybe I’ll just bring the extra chainring and chain … change if needed.


Jack in VA, May 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

This will be my 4th year riding SS / fixed. I usually ride a 48-16 here in the coastal flatlands of Virginia, but for Iowa and the western terrain of Virginia, will switch over to an 18. I also suggest a freewheel – fixed flip flop on the rear wheel – I don’t have any trouble riding fixed for most of the week, but once we get into the hills in the eastern part of Iowa, you can easily hit 35 – 40 on the downhills, and it’s really difficult to get the legs to spin that fast and smoothly at that speed. Make sure you bring a retaining ring tool with you – I had some spokes snap on me a few years ago and several of the shops didn’t have the tool to remove the sprocket retainer. I had to go from shop to shop to find someone who could remove the ring, then the gear before they could repair the spokes.


mtbmed, May 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

Thanks Jack – I am running a flip-flop and since I got my new wheels I will not be running a fixie (because of your comment about tools) I’m not going all that way to get punted cuz I didn’t bring the right tools. My spokes are a pain anyway since the nipples are inside the rims. I’ll have that tool with me tho. Well, my 42/16 and your 48/18 are nearly same ratio and that serves me well here in the hills of the Kettles, but not so well on flats where I wanna roll with some speed. 46/16 is right in between your 48/16 and 48/18 tho so maybe that is a good balance to strike. meh, if I must walk a hill somewhere, so be it. Will be easier to get to know that stretch of Iowa.
Is it July yet? dang.


Jack in VA, May 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

They haven’t made a hill yet that I haven’t been able to walk up (and push a bike if necessary).I prefer to stay in the saddle as long as possible and alternate between pushing on the down stroke, then pull on the up stroke, then mix ’em both up. You finally reach the point when you say “There’s a time to sit, and a time to stand” then get up and throw a little body weight into getting up that hill.


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