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Old 08-26-2008, 02:40 PM
dwillym dwillym is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Default single-speed newbie: what gear ratio?

I just replaced my 3 year-old road bike with a Bianchi San Jose s.s. for commuting & getting around town. I love it, but I feel like I could use a bit more juice on flat areas where I'd like to go faster without pedaling embarrassingly fast. It's fine on most hills (which are few & far between on my commute, anyways) but otherwise it could be a bit harder. The guy at the bike shop said it's a 42/17 gear ratio.

Is that a pretty normal ratio? If I wanted a bit harder would 16 teeth on the back be a noticeable difference? I'm hoping for some feedback before I make the switch since I'll probably have them do it for me.

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Old 08-26-2008, 02:55 PM
whiney whiney is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 32

I have a 2006 San Jose. I replaced the stock 17 with a 16 (for 42/16). The difference is small, but significant and I think this is the ratio I'll stick with for the near future.

The best ratio is the one that works for you. I'd get a 16 and see if that is fast enough (only ~$17). If not, you'll need to change your front chainring (freewheels don't come any smaller than 16 teeth).

Another option is a White industries double freewheel:

You can get 16/18 or 17/19 for more options (they are ~$100 though)
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:10 PM
rider_08 rider_08 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Lake Oswego
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Don't forget about the front cog. I am currently riding 48/16. I had inquired about this at my LBS (my problem is too many hills) and they said that three teeth in the front is equal to one tooth in the rear. Just another thing to consider.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:50 AM
boneshaker boneshaker is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 283

When in doubt ask Sheldon Brown. Here is his gear inch calculator. You can use it to find out how many gear inches you currently have and how much of a change you would get by changing either the rear cog or your front chainring.

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Old 09-09-2008, 07:20 AM
tonyt tonyt is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Long time NoPo, now in SE.
Posts: 92
Default Also keep in mind that you might want to change your gearing as the season changes.

You probably are going to be feeling pretty frisky and run a higher gear in the summer than you will in the depths of winter in February.

I run a 42-17 most of the time, but will throw on a 16 if I'm feeling strong, and then sometimes even put on an 18 when my knees start to speak up in the cold rain.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:01 AM
Dillon Dillon is offline
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46-17 here. I've been happy with this setup for a couple years, but I'm riding fixed. For SS I'd probably go a bit lower since you can coast on the downhill.
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