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Thread: Singlespeed Gearing

  1. #1

    Singlespeed Gearing

    Picking up a karate monkey frame for almost nothing today, and was wondering what gearing you guys use for Ohio trails. This will be my first singlespeed build. The rear hub is singlespeed specific so I will be buying freewheels instead of just using spacers and cassette cogs.

  2. #2
    I like 32x20 for my single speed gearing. It's a bit low, but with our twisty trails, by the time I spin it out, I'm braking for a corner.

  3. #3
    I just started riding SS a few weeks ago. I'm not a lightweight at 205 lbs, but I'm in decent shape and ride 2-3x/week. I'm running 32x20. I think it is a good compromise for where I typically ride (Beaver Creek in Ohio; Brady's Run, Bavington, and North Park in western PA; and Tomlinson Run in WVA). There are only a couple hills during an average 13-18 mile ride where I have to get off and hike up. These trails have a lot of elevation though, at around 125-135' of climbing per mile. As a reference, the Bedford MTB trail loop has 58' of climbing per mile, and there is nothing there that comes close to making me dismount. If I were regularly riding places like this with less climbing, then I would gear taller, maybe 32x18 or 32x16, so that I could carry more speed on the flatter segments and not spin out as much.

    In the end, it comes down to a lot of factors like how good of a rider you are, what your fitness level is, and what kind of trails you ride. If you are doing a lot of pavement to get to the trail head, consider doing a "dingle speed", with a larger chainring and smaller cog with the same overall tooth count as your trail-riding gearing: i.e., 32x20 + 36x16.

  4. #4
    Oh man I was way off then. I was thinking 36x18 but that sounds like it will be way too tall! I usually ride Medina, Royalview, OCER, and Findlay so not a lot of climbing. I'll probably pick up a couple different gearing options and mix and match until I find something I like.

  5. #5
    34x18 might be a good place to start (size the chain for a 20t, in case you find you need it). It's hard for me to say because the area I frequently ride in is very hilly. My ride at Brady's Run starts out with a 1 mile climb with 300ft of elevation gain. That's almost 50% of the total elevation gain in all 11.5 miles of Bedford. I will say that when cruising flatter transfer sections, spinning out is annoying and you end up wasting energy if there is a hill immediately after a flat section, because you can't carry the momentum like you could with a taller gear.

    In general, it's better to use higher tooth-count gears because they reduce drivetrain wear, so 34x18 would be better than 32x16. You can always run 34x18 and easily switch out the ring and cog to 32x20 if you decide to ride somewhere like Mohican where you would want the lower gearing for the climbs.

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