Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Ant_S
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Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby Ant_S » Thu May 12, 2016 1:15 pm

Hi All,

Just curious as a bit of a discussion topic as I notice a few SS/fixie guys also ride roadies.

I got into cycling ~2yrs ago with SS and generally ride that the most. I commute ~3 days a week, 36km round, plus local streets a bit. Setup is drops & levers with 47 x 17 gearing (72.6GI).

Early this year my usual riding mate got a carbon roadie, so I also got one ('16 TCR Adv1). We now do 40-50km rides most weekends on those.

I enjoy the SS, just pushing myself as needed. On SS, my mate was always faster, though I did close the gap a bit over time. He's probably still a bit quicker but we're close.

When I jump on the roadie, I feel I should be 'spinning' more as I have the gears. I usually just keep it in the big ring and flick between the middle 2-3 rear cogs. However my mate generally chooses higher gears & mashes away, usually leaving me behind. I find I get more frustrated having gears and feeling slower! Overall my speeds are quicker than the SS & the distance is much more manageable, somehow I just feel I don't get as much out of myself on the roadie.

I suppose I was wondering what others do coming from 1 biggish gear to a roadie. Do you try to spin for the win, or stick to lower cadence mashing style like on a single gear? Or is it the best plan to do both and train your legs (that's sort of what I'm trying to do!).

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cancan64
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby cancan64 » Thu May 12, 2016 1:31 pm

On a geared bike I try and sit on 95 cadence.... SS is what ever I can manage.
I have been using the SS a lot the last couple of months but Tuesdays hilly ride I used the light weight carbon roadie and I was quicker but not by much and a lot of that I could put down to the ability to pedal faster downhill although there was only 1 uphill segment that was faster on the SS when I rode this last month.....also this morning I used my geared CX bike on a course that I had been using the CXSS and again quicker times but only just....the difference was my heart rate was a lot higher on the SS so can only presume that I have no choice on the SS but to bust my arse whereas with gears I am spinning more but also not pushing as hard. with the road bike being 3kg lighter and CX being 2kg lighter than the SS if I put the same effort in I should be a lot quicker.
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KGB
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby KGB » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:58 pm

This thread is a little old but hey...

To the OP, I think what you are saying is all in your head. It sounds like you're spinning more on the road bike but worried you aren't as fast as if you used a bigger gear? CHANGE GEARS!

I think it's a myth that riding a SS teaches you to grind big gears. I haven't commuted much this year but have done years with 5000+km of commuting, largely on the SS and riding a similar gear to you. It certainly made me stronger, I felt I had more kick in races and could hammer standing starts on the track like never before. However, if your gear is "correct" for the rides you are doing then a lot of the time you're also going to be spinning at a reasonably high rate. If I get a tailwind home then I'm sitting on 100-120rpm for extended periods.
What I'm getting at is, riding a SS will make you stronger but will allow you to ride at higher cadences as well. There should be no problem swapping between them and in my experience, riding SS made significant improvements to my fitness that I didn't get if I spent a month commuting on a geared bike.

Perhaps the gearing on the road bike is exacerbating your mate's higher fitness level? Perhaps he is just better at managing his gears to maximise his pace?
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foo on patrol
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:57 am

53x20 will give you 71.55inc gear on the roadie, if you don't have compact cranks. :wink: Not where you are sitting at the moment so if you're sitting in the middle of the rear, you are riding a way bigger gear than you fixie :idea:

A fixie on 72 compared to a free wheel on the same gear climbing hills, you will always get up the hill quicker, due to constant forward motion, unlike your free wheel hub, where you need to constantly keep exerting pressure to turn, so it is much easier to lose rhythm. :wink:

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Ant_S
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby Ant_S » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:40 pm

KGB cheers for the thoughts. I've ridden a couple of times with my mate now since he got a Garmin, and 90-95rpm is certainly more than I generally sit on with my SS gearing. I think I could possibly drop a tooth on the SS to be honest since I am generally grinding a bit against it on the long runs I do. I guess I was just figuring it'll just toughen me up! haha

Since he's had the Garmin and tried to up his cadence I find sitting a gear up on him and doing a bit slower cadence seems faster to me. Same goes up hills, I find it better to mash in slightly higher gear than is perhaps good cadence. So I'll just keep working at getting used to gears etc. I'm now riding over 100km a week and feeling more comfy on both bikes :)

Foo my TCR has compact cranks I believe, 50T big ring and 11-28 cassette. But yep I'm pretty sure I just settle into my slower cadence rhythm in a bigger gear on the roadie.

All good fun!!

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Derny Driver
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby Derny Driver » Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:29 pm

Ant_S wrote:... 90-95rpm is certainly more than I generally sit on with my SS gearing. I think I could possibly drop a tooth on the SS to be honest ..... I find it better to mash ....... But yep I'm pretty sure I just settle into my slower cadence rhythm in a bigger gear on the roadie.
All good fun!!

If its all just for fun it doesnt matter what you do. :D
If you are trying to improve your cycling you are making some basic mistakes (in my opinion).
Many racing type bike riders use a fixed gear either on the track or on the road to help them improve their speed and to win races at an elite level. The aim of the fixed gear is to improve pedalling speed and technique, not to labour and grind. If you want to push weights, there are gyms for that. A fixed gear should be a small gear (if you are trying to improve). If not, ride whatever you like.
My single speed runs 66 and I find that a bit big at times. 72 might be okay for riding around on but I think its too big to pedal with efficiency. Why not try the 18 cog and see how 68 feels?
68 will be slower than your mate and you will lose the little "races" you have but down the track you may just end up being a way better bike rider than him. 47-18 gives you the following speeds ....at cadence 80, 26kph, at 90, 30kph, at 100, 33kph. Since you should be riding a fixie at cadence 100 then 33 is pretty fast in anyone's books. NRS riders dont even train at that sort of speed. So you dont need a bigger gear than 68 in my opinion.
When a rider gets used to riding a fixie at 100rpm and then swaps onto his road bike for race day, he then uses the bigger gears at cadence 90-100 to sit comfortably at a speed between 40 and 50kph. Thumping around in the 50-11 at cadence 60 is only 35kph. 50-14 at cadnece 100 is 45kph.
Ive said many times, cadence is speed. Improve your cadence, improve your speed. Many people use a track bike / fixie/ singlespeed to improve cadence.
Mash a big gear if you want to, but its poor technique.
cheers :D

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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby bychosis » Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:00 pm

I find my fixie gives me more consistent times on the commute compared to the roadie. The gears mean I can cruise slower with a similar cadence than the fixie where I need to keep on top of the single gear to keep moving efficiently. On the fixie if I'm below my regular cadence it seems to require more effort at a lower speed where on the roadie I can keep my cadence up but be slower through the gearing. At the end of the day I can be both faster and slower on the roadie depending on energy level.
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby minhyy » Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:07 pm

a lower gear offers more control when riding fixed imo, if you want to speed up then you just pedal faster, better than grinding out a big gear at a very low cadence when you just want to cruise

i ride 47/18 or 68" as above, it's comfortable for cruising in the mid 20s on the flat, easy to get on top of when starting at the lights, and gives the option of sitting or standing to climb depending on your riding style.

also easier to skid on light gears :wink:
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Ant_S
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby Ant_S » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:46 am

Derny Driver it is for fun in that none of this is for competition, but I'm still a bit competitive in myself and with my mate haha :)

Maybe my terminology is wrong, I meant that I feel comfy when pushing at decent RPM & speed on the biggish gearing, but I understand I am probably outside an efficient range more often than I'm in it, in terms of cadence. Just I am used to that feeling.

I understand what you're saying with the lower gear inches, its probably something I didn't quite get before when I started off. Many of the fixie guys I know seem to run my gearing at a minimum, if not higher like 48-50T up front, around town and on the street. So I thought my gearing was relatively tame actually until I started paying more attention to cadence & general gearing.

I like my White Industries freewheel which is a 17T. But I may have a look around either for a deal on a WI 18T or drop a tooth up front. I'll use some cadence/gearing calculators and see what I can suss out and give it a go :)

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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby Ant_S » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:29 pm

Well to update this, I got a Dicta 18T fitted at my LBS to try 47/18 gearing. Only cost $20 fitted but the teeth were bent straight out of the box! Not bad enough to worry about since I'm just using it as a 'test cog' but still! :P just didn't want to spend ACS or WI money straight away..

I used a cadence/gear calculator which says I'm basically 5rpm faster now throughout the speed range. Its pretty noticeable but I think an improvement. I just have to adjust my perception of what speed I think I'm doing relative to my leg speed.

I've only ridden to/from work a couple of times with it so far. Average speed for these journeys has been above my general average lately, though no achievements on Strava haha I think overall I'll prefer this gearing, definitely feels more natural pedalling a bit faster and not as hard on my knees.

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Derny Driver
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby Derny Driver » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:36 pm

Ant_S wrote:Well to update this, I got a Dicta 18T fitted at my LBS to try 47/18 gearing. Only cost $20 fitted but the teeth were bent straight out of the box! Not bad enough to worry about since I'm just using it as a 'test cog' but still! :P just didn't want to spend ACS or WI money straight away..

I used a cadence/gear calculator which says I'm basically 5rpm faster now throughout the speed range. Its pretty noticeable but I think an improvement. I just have to adjust my perception of what speed I think I'm doing relative to my leg speed.

I've only ridden to/from work a couple of times with it so far. Average speed for these journeys has been above my general average lately, though no achievements on Strava haha I think overall I'll prefer this gearing, definitely feels more natural pedalling a bit faster and not as hard on my knees.

Good job, sounds great!
Thanks for the update :D

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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby mikesbytes » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:37 pm

I ride my fixie like a fixie and my road bike like a road bike. The fixie has 48*17 and I can ride pretty much anything including 10% gradients and can spin it out, for example I've kept with the roadies descending into RNP from Waterfall. The difference being that when on the road bike I'm selecting gears to make the ride as easy as possible at a given speed
If the R-1 rule is broken, what happens to N+1?

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bychosis
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Re: Jumping between Single Speed & Roadie?

Postby bychosis » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:38 am

Some thing else I've noticed is that initially it can be a bit wierd switching between two bikes, but once your body gets used to the differences it will become 'normal' to ride both particularly if you switch regularly and ride often. I noticed similar yesterday when switching cars, the new one felt normal while the old one felt a bit wierd to drive.

Early on my fixie would regularly surprise me when the pedals kept going and I tried to coast, but it happens a lot less now. The different bar position (bull horns vs drops) is also normal on both.
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