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Gearing for Newbmeister?(13 posts)

Gearing for Newbmeister?toonces
Jan 8, 2003 12:38 AM
I asked about converting an old frame to do some fixed riding, but I wussed out on the project due to lack of time/patience speccing parts and stuff, and ended up ordering a 2003 Bianchi Pista. The Bianchi web site says it comes with a 48/16 gearing; is that a good gear for a fixed gear newb or should I go lower in the chainring? I still live in central Texas where there are lots of rolling hills and some that aren't so rolling. I've been riding MTBs for a loong time, so the 48/16 sounds like a massive gear but I always see the massive rings on the road bikes. Low rolling resistance and all. Anyhows, thanks for the help again.
re: Gearing for Newbmeister?fixedgearhead
Jan 8, 2003 5:18 AM
There is nothing wrong with ordering a ready made bike. Plenty of people have done it and are very satisfied. I think it is sometimes a better way to go if you don't know much about assembling a frame from scratch and you don't have a high degree of mechanical ability.
I use various gearing on various bikes they are:
42/15 = 76 gear inches
43/15 = 77 gear inches
50/18 = 75 gear inches
The gear inches system is an older method of quantifying the result of various combinations of gearing that originated in the High Wheeler period of bicycle usage.
Your combination works out to be: 81 gear inches.
I think that is a little high for just starting out. It would be different if you didn't have any hills but I think I would lower the gear inches to something about 75-76 gear inches. You might need something even lower if you are not already is great shape, or willing to put some effort into it. If you purchased a 17 tooth cog that would give you a 76 gear inch final ratio. An 18 would give you a 72. You should get yourself a gear inch chart so that you can estimate the various combinations that are possible. One place for that information is Sheldon Browns website.

good luck

re: Gearing for Newbmeister?Oneheart
Jan 8, 2003 6:48 AM
As a fairly new fixed gear rider I would agree with the advice to start with a bit lower gearing. Here in middle Tennessee we have a lot of hills ranging from rollers (less of these) to steep climbs (up to 15-18%). Most of us ride around 65-66 gear inches. Since you have mostly rollers it seems like a 18 or 19 tooth cog on the rear would be a good place to start. Best of luck.
I'd go lowerRay Sachs
Jan 9, 2003 10:52 AM
I've been riding a lot of fixed for about five years now and still ride a roughly 65" gear (about a 20 tooth cog with your 48). Go larger if you want to keep up on group rides, but if you want to work on your spin, most coaches advise going low, with gears in the mid-60s being pretty common. I have a flip flop and sometimes flip it over to closer to a 70" gear, but I really prefer the 65" most of the time. It's also easier to stop with your legs with smaller gears, FWIW.

Me too.look271
Jan 9, 2003 2:17 PM
I have a 42 x 17 on mine and it seems like the terrain you are riding on is not too different from me. I thought the guy at the LBS was crazy when he suggested that I go with that combo, but he was dead-spot-on. If you spin smoothly and quickly, you can maintain a 18-20 mph cruise on the flats and still be able to tackle some fairly sizeable hills. I'd go with at least the 18 on yours. I know a couple of guys around here that have that combo and they seem to be able to ride OK with that.
I'd go lowerdesmo
Jan 9, 2003 7:00 PM
I would advise starting lower as well. Big gears (70+) are fun to go out and hammer time trial style, and will build some muscle fast if you climb in them. But the smaller gears offer more of the real fixie experiance. Plus as Ray said you can actually stop the bike without brakes with smaller gears (a very bad idea with over 70 inches), and trackstands are much easier.
I'd go lowerRon in NorCal
Jan 9, 2003 9:28 PM
This time of year I'm running a 42x18 on a flip/flop with a 16 for fast group rides. The 42x18 is a 63" while the 42x16 is a 71". Come February I'll be replacing the 18 with a 17 and the 16 with a 15.

I may be 55 but I'm still racing triathlons so it is important for me to keep my cadence high.
Use about 70 gear-inches to startLC
Jan 8, 2003 12:40 PM
Save the 16 for the track, but get a 18T cog now.

Not sure why, but normally on a geared bike I will ride a 53x15 or even 14 on the flats and feel very comfortable. Guess it is because I know that I will bail out if i get to a hill. On my SS I use a 40x16 or even 17 and after a couple of nasty hills, back on the flats that is about all I can push comfortably.
re: Gearing for Newbmeister?fixedgearhead
Jan 10, 2003 9:30 AM
After reading the numerous posts to this question, it seems that many people like to use a lower gear than I do. When I first started out in fixed gear I was told to use a 42-15 or 16 and go from there. I did and it seemed to be right for me and the terrain that I was riding. I think that when you start out you go with what you find comfortable. While that can mean buying various cogs they will not go to waste. You will use them for various types of riding conditions and purposes. The smaller sizes are not that expensive. Who knows, you may even get hooked and aquire more fixed gear bikes and then you will have some of the parts already. I find the lower gear inch size too easy and it causes me to spin out and not achieve the best mechanical advantage. On the other hand, the use of to high a gear inch number will cause you to overwork your knees and possibly do damage on the hills. It probably seems to be a moving target to hit and so it is. Everybody has to seek there own level of comfort/utility.

re: Gearing for Newbmeister?JBergland
Jan 10, 2003 8:49 AM
Running a lower gear might be a good suggestion, but it can depend on how strong of a rider you are and what kind of training/riding you are planning to do with your Bianchi (hope there is some 'green' on it!!:)) I finished a fixie project a couple months ago and after considering a couple different options, I went with a 52-20. This gives me a speed of 20.3 @ 100 rpms and 24.4 @ 120 rpms. It is also low enough to get up most hills in my area without killing myself.

I'd suggest considering more than one cog... used whatever comes stock, then buy a 2nd cog depending on what you need/want.

Good Luck!!
re: Gearing for Newbmeister?toonces
Jan 12, 2003 9:51 AM
Thanks for all the info everyone! I'm thinking about picking up an extra chainring (42t) and some extra cogs (17t, 18t) to see what I like best and so I have options. But I have a few questions. The crank is a Truvativ Elita according the spec on Bianchi's web site; does anyone know if that's a 130 BCD? And who's a reliable retailer for fixed cogs and general fixed-gear goods? I've heard Harris Cyclery mentioned a few times and have had good dealings with Webcyclery. And lastly, what tool do I need to install and remove cogs? Thanks again, this board rocks.
re: Gearing for Newbmeister?fixedgearhead
Jan 12, 2003 2:17 PM
The 130bcd chainwheel has a measurement of 3" center to center, between adjacent bolt holes, or 75mm if you are metrically challenged. That should tell you if it is 130bcd.
You use a chainwhip to unlock the cog from the hub. But first you must use a cog lock ring hook wrench to release the cog lock ring from in front of the cog. If you look at the wheel from the drive side you will see that the chain pulls the cog clockwise to provide motion. The cog lock ring is turned the opposite direction to lock the cog in place. Therefore, to release the lockring you must rotate it with the hooked wrench locked in one of the notches, clockwise and then use the whip to undo the cog from the hub. This rather windy explanation is understandable if you just remember that the chain tightens the cog when it is in forward motion and must be reversed to be taken off. The cog is tightened in exactly the reverse direction in order to lock on the cog. Reverse both directions to undo either one. I hope that is clear. If not, have a beer and think it thru and it will become clear. Harris is very helpfull in regard to all things fixed and their prices are not too bad. Sheldon will be able to walk you thru all the things you will need. Good luck and happy pedaling.

re: Gearing for Newbmeister?desmo
Jan 12, 2003 4:57 PM
What fixedgearhead said, except I think he meant to say lock ring the last time he said cog, but again you'll figure that out. I'll add you might want to stick to just swapping cogs and leave the chainring. Surley makes nice cogs up to I think 22t. That or a 20t with the 48t ring should be fine to start on. Along with the lock ring tool, and chain whip, you'll need a good chain tool as well to add or subtract links. Especially if you do go with a different chain ring.