Monday, November 8, 2010

Winter Commuter Project Bike: Day 12

Gear Ratios

So after reading extensive stuff online about fixies and single speeds, I have been trying to decide for myself what gear ratio to use. I have a 175 mm crank and 26" wheels. I was thinking about a 42/18 or 42/16 gearing for winter. Anyone have any thoughts?

Update on my component order: Sarah said that the gear should be here by Wednesday! Assuming that my supplementing Nashbar order (for pedals, tubes, etc) comes in by Friday (and also assuming that I am super ambitious... riiiiiight.), then I can have this thing together in time for Cranksgiving!


  1. Scott, Are you taking your Earl or your hybrid to Cranksgiving?

  2. 42x16 on your bike will be about the same as 45x18 on my 700C bike. I've found it to be a decent gear, but not sure how well it'll work in winter once the streets get interesting.

    With single speed/fixed, it's all about compromise. There's times where I've been coasting down a hill, spinning with no resistance left in the pedals and thought, man I wish I had a harder gear. But then I've also come to a stop at the top of a hill and had to really strain to get over the crest to get going again. I'd be kicking myself for not having an easier gear in those situations. So it's all about compromise.

    I'd suggest getting both gears and start out on the 18 to see how well it works. If you are constantly finding it too easy and hills are manageable, slap the 16 on and get ready for some hills to bother you.

  3. munsoned, glad to hear that my choice of gearing isnt too bad. I think I will take your advice and buy both cogs.

  4. Hey Ben:

    My plan is to put the regular street gearing on the Earl (44x17) and use it for Crankgiving. With a rack bag, bungee net, and a messenger bag, I should be able to carry stuff comfortably.

    For me, I know I'd get bogged down in the deep snow with your 42x16 gearing. For well plowed roads, it might be just fine. There were some days last year where even with my lowest granny gear on my Tricross, I couldn't push through the unploughed snow. I had to get off and walk. I suppose those are the extreme days where it doesn't matter what kind of gearing I use.

    My plan is to try 44x22, which is pretty low. I'll just be grinning and coasting on even the slightest downhills.

    It'd be cool to see your new build, but even if you can't get it all put together my Saturday, join us at Cranksgiving on any bike you have.