Looking for advice re fixed gear gearing

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8 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

"What's a good gear choice for FG riding around the city and Central Park? This would be my first FG bike. The bike would come with a 48t front ring.

I've been sitting here calculating gear ratios and went for a test ride on my road bike. I was pretty comfortable sticking with a 42x14->81"" gear for a couple of loops. I had to stand and crunch my way up the hill but it wasn't too hard. I thought I could also live with a 42x13->87"" gearing but the hill becomes tougher.

From searching through some of the older msgs and looking at other websites, it seems like people are more commonly in the 60-70"" gear range.

I've been trying to alter my riding habits to spin more than churn over the past couple of years. But churning always seems to be my first nature. So maybe what I thought was ""comfortable"" today is biased towards a big gear.

I just want to be able to handle the hills, maintain a decent pace on flats, and be able to accellerate my way through city traffic from time to time. Not to mention learn to spin those perfect circles :-)

Looking forward to your advice...


Anonymous's picture
Joao (not verified)

"""Churning"" doesn't work too well with fixed gears. The bike sorta forces you to keep a smooth cadence, and that's why most riders prefer lower gears. If your goal is to improve your cadence, go for the slightly lower gear. The higher gear might be faster in the short sprints, but you'll burn out faster on longer runs, and the recovery time after pushing very tall gears is usually longer."

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)

"i rode a canondale fixed gear bike for a few years using a 44x16. i tried to find a dual sided hub so i could flip between 44x16 (72.3"") and 44x17 (68"") but didn't have any luck. went to nyack a few times on it...never had the heart to put a brake on the thing (crazy, ey? maybe so but not as crazy as rocketing down state line in full tuck on speed skates!).

great way to improve your spin and overall bike handling.


Anonymous's picture
Anthony Accardi (not verified)

I've got a Pista with a 48x16. Some would call this a big gear for an all around fixed gear but having ridden nothing else i like it. It can get me up a hill and still accelerate. I took it out to nyack on saturday morning and came via river road with no trouble. ( well climbing over the landslide on rr was not fun but that was not due to gearing.) Rember when you are choosing a gear that there is no coasting. Too big of a gear may cause undo discomfort. good luck

Anonymous's picture
Sal (not verified)

"Another thing to keep in mind is that a lower gear makes stopping with your legs easier (less important if you use a brake).

Personally, I've ridden 81"" and 72"" and definitely prefer the lower gear -- easier to stop, cadence is higher, and of course easier to climb.


Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Whatever works

"Some people ride the same gear year round, others switch to a smaller gear in the winter. Some use the fixie to develop their spin, others just ride. Either way it's a compromise of some sort. You may need to experiment with different gears to find your comfort zone - changing them is no big deal, and anyway IMO no bike is ever completely finished. I've settled on 43x16 (73"") after trying gears from the low 60s to the upper 70s, but I might change my mind tomorrow."

Anonymous's picture
bill (not verified)

Thanks all for your advice!

I'm going to go somewhat lighter than the 81 and just see what it's like.

What do I need to change cogs btw - I've got a chain whip but what holds the cog in place?

And when you go from something like a 16 to an 18, do you have to add links back to the chain - or does the horizontal dropout have enough play for that kind of change?

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Everything you ever wanted to know...

...about fixies:


And then some.

Anonymous's picture
Sal (not verified)

Lockring holds the cog in place...unlike a geared bike's lockring, this actually looks like a ring, so you'll need a lockring wrench specific for fixed gear.

In terms of play in the dropouts, it all depends on what your starting with, but I went from a 16t to 18t cog on my pista and had enough clearance...it seems that two teeth translated to about an 1/8 of an inch of clearance (but don't quote me as this was based on visual judgement).

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