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Poll: Mountains, Fixies, and commuting(6 posts)

Poll: Mountains, Fixies, and commutingwonderdog
Nov 26, 2003 6:10 AM
Hey all,
I have a fixed gear bike with a flip-flop rear hub. I lived in a flat locale for awhile and rode my fixie everywhere. However, I moved to a more mountainous area about 4 months ago and haven't ridden fixed since. Before I forget, I switched my gearing from 48-18 to 42-18 and the climbs are much more managable.

My reason for posting here is to take a quick survey. For those of you who ride fixies regularly (for commuting mainly...that's what I use mine for) what is the length of the longest climb you tackle, and what is the approximate pitch of the steepest climb you grind? Lastly, what gearing do you use? I'm particularly interested in those of you living in mountainous areas......I live in the southern appalachians.

Conversely, what's the longest/steepest you descend regularly? (nt)wonderdog
Nov 26, 2003 6:21 AM
I don't commute but I dowspokes
Nov 26, 2003 7:58 AM
live in a hilly region...western Pa. I run a 39x18 presently but am switching to a 16 soon. I can manage some of the tougher climbs using these gearing...with the 16 just being a real grind and art of dancing it up the road. The climbs range anywhere from the short grinders that are very steep and usually under 1/2m or long gradual...1-2 miles at 10%-13%. I do ride some others as well but usually try and choose routes that avoid the big ups and downs...I don't fear the ups as much as I don't care for the downs...I have double brakes on my fixie. The downs I am speaking of can be upwards in the mid 50s on a road bike so some of the hills really are harsh and mostly pretty twisty. One in particular is about 1.5 miles long with a pitch at the top of about 20%. I measure the pitch using a bubble guage I got years ago which seems to be very close to accurate when comparing with the various signs in the area for trucks with the 12-13% grades. I originally thought I would be bored of the low gearing but I like it. I am only going to use the 16 on the flatter rides I may do from time to time. There are some Very long graduals as well and I actually really enjoy those, especially on my fixed.
I agree with you when you say...wonderdog
Nov 26, 2003 8:23 AM
that it's not the climbs but the descents that you don't care for. I can grind a climb, but I really don't like spinning madly out of control bombing down a road with traffic. I have double brakes and think I'll be using them alot more than I ever did in Memphis (flat land).

Thanks for the response.
Let's see...PdxMark
Nov 26, 2003 12:10 PM
I ride 44/18, mainly for commuting, but I also rode a tour this year and quite a few mountainous training rides.

In-town I sometimes ride a 1000' hill as part of my commute with average of about 6% grade and short pitches of 8+%. I've ridden a few climbs of 3000+' over distances of about 10-14 miles. The steepest pitch I've climbed was about 14%, and I just barely got up that.

By the end of the tour, the descents were easier to control without the handbrake. Descents of 1000' or so are not bad. Descents of 2000+' can wear me out. I can climb to the top in fine form. I sometimes stop for a breather on the descent.

My old gearing of 48/19 was just a bit too stiff for my knees. The 44/18 gearing feels just right.
Let's see...mdehner
Dec 2, 2003 4:00 PM
I also commute in Portland, OR, in SW. I use a 42 x 16, 71 gear inches. Painful at times on long, steep > 9% climbs, but a great combo fol flats and mild descents.