Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Ratio

I've decided to change the gearing on my fixie. Riding a fixed gear bike takes more dial in time and you may just find yourself messing with ratios for a while. I was previously running 45/16, which was perfect for when I built the bike. It was a flat commute for the most part without much stopping and starting. I tend to prefer to spin out a gear rather than power through it at a low rpm. I'm a high cadence guy.

Since I'd moved, I've ridden the fixie very seldom. I did about five 26 mile commutes last summer and after each one I kept telling myself I needed to change the gearing. I've got quite a few nasty hills between here and there. The last 26 mile commute I did on the fixie I decided it was enough. Standing up on the hills, so exhausted I was simply flopping my body weight on the top of the stroke and when I hit the bottom, muster up the strength to do it with the other leg. Well, it might not have been that bad, but it sure felt like it.
I've decided to make a significantly large change, by going one tooth bigger in the back. I say this is a large change, because if you're trying to fine tune your gear ratio, you would probably mess around with the front chain ring, rather than the rear cog. When I was running a 45/16 had 75.94 gear inches per revolution of the wheel. Now, with a 45/17 set up I've only got 71.47 gear inches. 4 gear inches per crank revolution makes a difference!

I'm interested to see how this new setup works.
I do have a bike repair stand, but I'm getting to be a wuss about working out in a cold garage.

6 comments:

Vik said...

Nice. I've never ridden a fixie. Next time I'm out your way maybe you'll let me take a spin?...=-)

Jerome said...

For sure. I've always meant to ask if you'd be interested in giving it a try. I will warn you though, it is incredibly addicting. Arguably the purest form of cycling. I built my first fixed gear bike without having ridden one and I will never not own a fixie! You are more than welcome to come take it for a spin and join the dark side! Cheers.

Doug said...

When I set-up my first fixie a couple of years ago I agonized over the gear choice. I went with a 41 x 16. It was a struggle on some of the steeper hills in Duluth. Near impossible on the steepest. I was afraid to go to a smaller gear because I was concerned about spinning out on the downhills. I finally changed to a 41 x 17. What I discovered was a smaller gear was easier to slow on the downhills. It's been the perfect gear for me. I went from a 69.19 inch gear to a 65.12 inch gear. The smaller gear helps with the strong headwinds off the big lake as well.

Roman Holiday said...

I geared down too, from a 48 x 18 (72") to 43 x 18 (64.5"). What a difference. Light on the knees, fast on the hills. The fact is that a 1-gear will always spin out on the hills no matter what your gearing is. Most Important: keep it light to protect thy knees.

Jerome said...

Hey thanks for the advice guys. I feel better about gearing down knowing that other who know what they're talking about think it's a good idea to go lower. Maybe I should have done it sooner. Cheers.

Roman Holiday said...

Read: http://keepitstreetlevel.blogspot.com/2007/04/gearing-down.html