Best single speed gear ratio for cruising speeds?

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  • Thanks for the advice. I'll look into it, midlife.

  • I’d rather a loose chain than a tight one.
    Track slack baby…
    Yet clearly one of these needs attention.

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  • Track slack baby

    Tracks tend to be slightly smoother than the blacktop of London's famous London.

  • True true, but that monstrosity of a wankster has never dropped it’s chain. Even on the roughest of rides. Dies next time I ride it.

  • It's Personal

    Surely there's no 'right' answer to the original question; strength and style vary so much between individuals.

    Here are some comments:

    48 x 16 (81" with 27" wheels) was widely used as a racing gear back in the days of fixed time trialling - oddly enough sub hour 25's were not common on this gear, but I think this indicates that it might be a bit high for just knocking about.

    The right gear does depend a bit on what your riding companions are using. When I was very young I started going on West Twickenham RC runs using 46 x 18 (69" on 27's). My much older club mates (mostly on 68") told me I was over geared (because of my tender years) and more or less ordered me to fit a 19 sprocket (65"): a small change which seemed to make me a slightly better climber but a significantly worse descender.

    No one above has mentioned that crank length is a factor in gearing - longer cranks equal a lower gear (leverage innit). Many years ago Henry Sturmey ( yes, he of the hub gears) advocated using a gear of ten times your crank length e.g. 6.5" crank (165mm) would go with a 65" gear. that doesn't sound too silly, until you hear that he suggested 9" cranks with a 90" gear. I think this gives an insight to the reason why SA three speeds have such crap ratios!

    My Dad, who liked cycling but was not really interested in bikes, toured extensively using a 74.7" single freewheel with 6.5" cranks, thus demonstrating that if you don't really care and ride mostly on your own, you can manage with almost anything.

  • No one above has mentioned that crank length is a factor in gearing - longer cranks equal a lower gear (leverage innit).

    Is it though?

    It’s not part of the equation to calculate gear inches or development and while going from 165mm cranks to 180s on the same gearing might make a noticeable difference I doubt very many would notice the difference in how easy/hard to push a gear was if making a more usual 5mm increment change. (Power data or someone with good knowledge of geometry can probably tell us what actual difference 5mm of crank length can make.)

    I think where crank length comes into play is in looking at cadence and your max/ave cadences may well be a factor in choosing a gearing.

    OP did say freewheel in which case I’d always recommend a slightly lower gear than someone riding fixed on the basis that a single gear ratio is nearly always a compromise and I’d rather be making less of a compromise for climbing since I could freewheel on descents.

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Best single speed gear ratio for cruising speeds?

Posted by Avatar for Kinny-PB @Kinny-PB