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Singlespeed road/commuter??(5 posts)

Singlespeed road/commuter??stlman
Feb 28, 2002 11:38 AM
I am very intrigued by getting a singlespeed road bike for a possible commuting solution. I am thinking a Surly Crosscheck set up as a ss that way if I don't like it I can add stuff and have a commuter w/gears. My questions are as follows:

I ride ~75+ miles a week at 17-19mph for ~20+/- miles during the season. Am I "bike" fit enough for a ss commute of 12 miles each way on pretty flat terrain with a few small hills?

What would be the appropriate gearing for such a ride?

Will this make me better on my weekend rides on my regular road bike??

Thanks.
Just built one for a similar commutecory
Feb 28, 2002 11:57 AM
Actually I built it last fall, but I've just started riding it seriously in the last few weeks. Works great--it's my first singlespeed since I was about 12, and it's much more fun and more versatile than I expected.
Your fitness should be fine--I rode only once a week from Halloween until early February, and I haven't had any trouble. Surly's a good choice, I think--I was going to buy one, but I had an old Trek tourer I was able to convert cheap (BMX freewheel screwed right on, with a spacer), so I did the whole thing for less than $20. If you can find a frame with horizontal dropouts, or want to use a chain tensioner, you could save a few bucks that way.
As for gearing, I have about a 600-foot elevation loss on my way to work but a 600-foot climb, often into a stiff wind, on the way home. I'm running a 34-tooth front (the middle from the old triple) and a 20-tooth rear. It's too low for riding on the flat (spun out at 17mph), but this time of year, I need it for the climb. As I get back into shape, I'll swap to an 18 or 16 in the back. I think most s/s road bikes are geared higher than mine (there are some s/s mountain bikes around, usually geared 2:1, but I haven't seen any roadies locally).
There's a ton of stuff on line about this, and you'll learn a lot if you look at some of it. www.sheldonbrown.com is a good place to start.
You should be fine,The General
Feb 28, 2002 12:28 PM
That is pretty much all I ride, I have 5 bikes and 3 are SS's, 1 is my nice road bike and 1 is a 6 speed run around bike. I run a 41x18 and do some good climbing (5-8miles 1000-1500') on it as well as some long rides (40-75 miles). Play with a gear on your current bike and see what you can climb with. SS'ing is a compromise, you need to make it so you can climb but also make it so your not going 8mph on the flat's.
It has defently made me stronger, a better spinner and all around better rider.
I ride 2.556:1 (46:18)Humma Hah
Feb 28, 2002 7:14 PM
... on a commute of 5.4 miles AM, about 9.6 miles coming home, with an option for another 18 or so as a side trip. Like your route, gently rolling, a couple of very short sorta steep sections, but no big climbs. This is a good route for a coasterbrake cruiser (of course, I think 150 miles of that kind of stuff is a nice ride on the bike).

I think it will do you good. It will build leg muscle, and pedaling the faster downhills will improve your high-end spin. However, the big leg muscles do not necessarily make you a better gearie. If you're not judicious in using that strength, you'll just dig an anerobic hole for yourself. I think it will improve your hillclimbing and sprinting ability.
42x17char
Feb 28, 2002 8:39 PM
On your next week's commute, just stay in one gear each week (no cheating changing) to develop some ideas. My route is ~13 miles one way [short version], I set up my single-speed as a 42x17, I lucked out, it worked with vertical dropouts. I can't remember right now, but the gear is around 66 inches, that is the classic setup. I have 2 pertubations of topology on the route; no problem getting up the hills and I have 25 pounds extra on the body. I have outspinned a fixe running a much bigger gear (83") going downhill and passed him and then had the luxury of coasting! Also use it offroad, bit of a grunt on the uphill, but it works. If you are in doubt of the gear combo, stay with a lower gear and just keep pedaling.