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fixing the surly: go 42/17 or 42/16? free is 18 now. why? nm(14 posts)

fixing the surly: go 42/17 or 42/16? free is 18 now. why? nmJs Haiku Shop
Jan 31, 2002 12:20 PM
Now see, you gotta include some text if you want good answers.MB1
Jan 31, 2002 12:53 PM
But if you want to fool around with your gears go to a BMX shop and get the 16 and the 17 and see what works best for you. Generally I would say for SS riding the hillier it is the larger freewheel you are going to want.

If you are going to go fixte it is just the opposite since it is the downhills that kill you fixed. If you are happy with the 18T cog free, try a 17T fixted for starters.
text? i don't need no stinkin' text!...Js Haiku Shop
Jan 31, 2002 1:48 PM
not sure what kind of chain they put on the rig, but i'm using a suzue rear hub with a shimano freewheel on the free side. i called excel and they said to use the surly cogs ($20 each), as the bmx cogs ($5 each) were incompatible.

I had the same thought: get a $10 lockring and two bmx cogs at $5 each and see what works. but, when you go from $5 to $20 a pop, it doesn't seem so economical.

is this right???
Go with the 16....Greg Taylor
Jan 31, 2002 1:56 PM
...if you can get away with it. Otherwise, you will be beating yourself senseless bouncing up and down on the seat as you flail down hill....unless you can turn some serious RPMs. Frankly, I don't know how you guys can run something as short as a 42 x 16 on the road...

You are going to run this as a flip-flop, right? You will have to make sure that you have enough adjustment travel in the rear dropouts to accomodate both a 16 and an 18 cog using the same chain.
what's really interesting is...Js Haiku Shop
Jan 31, 2002 2:20 PM
on the geared bike in 2001 i did my "short TT route" at intervals through the season. yesterday i did it for the first time this year, and did it on the surly at 42/18 (freewheel). the route is rolling with four short climbs (1/4 to 3/4 linear miles), all tree-lined, light traffic and few stop signs.

yesterday, single speed: 17.5 mph

2001, geared bike:


2001 average: 17.7125

interesting that i'm fairly efficient on the single. i suspect speeds would have been higher with a smaller rear cog/freewheel. i've also found that my speeds on long-ride saturdays (only 50-60 miles this early in the year) are as high, if not higher, using the single. there are copious amounts of long, flat or gently inclined roads on saturday's commute to and from the group ride.

perhaps this has something to do with my lack of options in shifting the single. i think i prefer to spin a higher gear with 27 to chose from (the bianchi is a triple, though i've never used the inside ring 'round here), whereas i spin as fast as possible in the 42/18 on the surly, including hills, and fighting wind (which is plentiful).

if i thought i could make it up those mountain centuries in 42/18, i'd take the surly. it's my most comfortable, and seemingly most efficient bike for semi-flat rides. but, then again, it's probably all in my head.
what's really interesting is...Greg Taylor
Jan 31, 2002 2:38 PM

I've used my fixie on Sunday rides with the gang (mixed terrain, a couple of really good hills and descents) and have come to the same conclusion -- I'm not giving up much (if anything) to my geared/freewheeling bretheren up to about 50 miles or so. After that distance, I do feel a bit more worked-over than normal. The only place where I really lose out are on long, fast descents. I'm geared 46 x 16 (about 75 gear inches) which means that I can roll along in a paceline just fine. I've got a 52 that I'm tempted to slap on for the Seagull Century in October (Eastern Shore of Maryland -- ironing board flat!).
Centuries do seem much harder fixed but we are getting better.MB1
Feb 1, 2002 6:21 AM
A couple of weeks ago we did the NSA/OCE Fixte Century course on the tandem. Half way through Miss M was getting pissed that it was taking longer on the tandem than on the fixtes. In the last 25 miles though we were much faster on the tandem than the fixers.

Course the roads were icy. No question to me that the fixtes are tough riding at the end of long rides. I think the downhills get to you after a while (your spin is spun).
You may have to adjust your brake too.MB1
Jan 31, 2002 3:39 PM
If you switch back and forth with a 2 tooth difference it may move the wheel enough to mess up your brake pad adjustment. Your track dropouts should be able to handle the 2 tooth difference.

Fixtes are fun! SS are fun!
That's been my experience too.Alex-in-Evanston
Feb 1, 2002 9:06 AM
When I'm riding the Gunnar I make sure to carry a 10mm wrench to adjust the brake. Flipping the wheel from the 16 cog to the 18 freewheel will put the pads a few millimeters above the rim.

I like to ride a rear tire with a non-directional pattern as well. Vittoria cross tires aren't bad.

I'm wondering, does your ISP charge by the key stroke??? nmMB1
Jan 31, 2002 12:55 PM
re: fixing the surly: go 42/17 or 42/16? free is 18 now. why? nmlook271
Jan 31, 2002 1:48 PM
I'm going 42-17 at the advice of my LBS. Some fairly good hills around here, they say spinning is everything. Should be able to keep up about 20mph on the flats geared 42-17.
re: fixing the surly: go 42/17 or 42/16? free is 18 now. why? nmJs Haiku Shop
Jan 31, 2002 2:42 PM
i'm able to keep up with the front of the pack of our "rec group" with the free 42/18, peaking between 22 and 25 mph, mostly holding between 18 and 22 mph. spinning like crazy, yes, but thrilling to do so on a single.

in november and december, when i started riding the SS, i was having problems getting above 18.5 mph on flats due to bounching around on the saddle. i've gone from 18.5 to ~22 mph, spinning, at the "dashboard hula dancer" threshhold. granted, i can't hold 22+ for long at that RPM, but i can do it for some amount of time.

I found that my saddle was a little too high, and lowering it added a lot of power (seemed to bring my upper legs more into play). when spinning, i'm placing a nearly equivalent amount of weight on my legs as my arse. i'm also 2.5 months stronger than i was in november, and i've more fit (working out or on the trainer/in the gym up to 6 days per week since the end of DST). still, i think this comes back to time on the bike, spinning, getting used to the high RPMs.
re: fixing the surly: go 42/17 or 42/16? free is 18 now. why? nmBudhaSlug
Jan 31, 2002 2:48 PM
I went 42/16 for my cross-check. Ride it on mostly flat, but with some light hills mixed in... The best way I can suggest to finding the gear you want is to figure out what your target cadence is, and what your target speed is and then find the gear from there. For me cadence is around 105rpm and speed in the low 20mph range... so I went with 42/16 (about 21-22mph at cadence).

Figure that you can always spin a bit slower than usual comfortably, but won't be able to spin much faster for long time periods, and downhills are always gonna hurt. Unless you're really good on downhills, don't expect to go more than 50% over your peak cadence (I've hit about 32mph on that bike... thats around 160rpm) and it hurt. As for climbing long hills or steep hills, I find it difficult to get below about 50rpm (10mph) and usually don't drop much below 14mph (70rpm).

So, figure out what your ideal cadence and speed are on the roadbike, and go from there.

Peace and Light,
re: fixing the surly: go 42/17 or 42/16? free is 18 now. why? nmRay Still
Jan 31, 2002 4:41 PM
Only bike I have been on since OCT 1, 2001 has been the steam roller have put on a fair number of miles about 3200. i have experimented with all different gearing for me what works the best for gentle to moderate rolling terrain is 48x16 I know that is alot of gear inches and may be defeating the purpose of fixed gear but that is what works for me.