Single gear training

Grant W
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Single gear training

Postby Grant W » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:11 pm

Hi all,
I have a 09 Orbea Dauphine which has been sitting in the office for the last 9 months collecting dust.
After reading an article about changing old bikes into single gear training bikes i'm contemplating ditching the group set on this bike and turning it into a single gear bike with a 42 front ring and 16 rear ring for training on as this article claims excellent strength gains from this form of training. This was backed by a fellow club member who also uses a fixed gear bike to train on the road.
The other two options I have been placed with is a kids trailer with a bag of sand (if the kids are not willing) :-) or I have been told to train on the road with a mountain bike with road tires.

I'd look like a knob with the trailer and I have a feeling that the single gear bike maybe better for strength than the mountain bike as you are forced to face all elements of the ride in the one gear.

Love to know your thoughts.


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Re: Single gear training

Postby DanielS » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:12 am

Well, you could just use a really high gear on a multi-speed bike and not shift down....

Perhaps what you are really asking is about 'strength endurance' training? This is doing efforts at a low cadence, relatively high load, for a longish period of time. This is a pretty popular way of training, but from what I understand, it doesn't seem to be any more effective than going out and riding just as hard, but at a normal cadence.

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Re: Single gear training

Postby HappyHumber » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:37 am

Grant W wrote:I have a 09 Orbea Dauphine which......

..... an article about changing old bikes into single gear training bikes ....

Hang on.. just because it's got dust on it - doesn't make it OLD ;)

Why don't you just use it as is for a while longer and wear the parts a little? The simplest and cheapest answer to your question would be to be ride it as a single speed - ie. consciously pick a gear at the beginning of your ride and stick to it. Make a note of the sprockets & chain size and compare ratios to the 42x16 you suggest. There'd be near equivalent amongst the combos. Here's my preferred gear calculator.
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Re: Single gear training

Postby MiG » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:46 pm

There's a big difference between fixed and single speed. I am 90% certain you won't practice high cadences on SS because it just feels so retarded having the freewheel slapping twice every revolution when you could be coasting and you're not going to do high cadences without the slap until you have a fair bit of practice. Fixed feels nice, SS is just a broken multi-gear bike :) Now that I've done 2000 km fixed, I am comfortable between 80 and 110 rpm, can ride for some time (~20 min) between 60 and 130 rpm and can do a peak effort of 180 rpm. Now you might be thinking that cadence is useless for you, but for a sprint, the strength you're seeking x good cadence = power++ and to be able to use high leg force at your sprint cadence you need to train your neuromuscular system at speeds beyond what you'd normally use.

BTW, 42x16 is a good compromise gear but if you want strength training go a bit higher. I usually run 47x18 (similar to 42x16) which is OK for commuting into headwinds after a long day at work, but I run 47x15 at the velodrome and on the road when I want to go fast and there isn't a headwind.

Oh and if you want strength don't do lame arse slow starts like most roadies do along the beach in Melbourne. Stay in the 53t chainring, clip in and pretend you're a steam locomotive with a strong pushing and pulling action until the cadence increases, then resume a more normal stroke without the strong pulling.

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