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Just finished building up my first road singlespeed with a cassette hub and cog. I am running 44x16 as a start but will change to a 42x16 as I have a couple of short steep climbs on my run that are a test at present (ie get off and walk).

I want to fix the hub with a Surly fixxer and have the question:

Will my free gear of 42x16 feel the same as a fixed 42x16 gear on the hills? I realise it will feel different spinning downhill but I note that most riders have a slightly taller gear for fixed on a flip flop hub. Your experience?
 

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42x16 will require same effort to climb whether fixed or free. The reason folks usually have a taller fixed gear is that the free side is usually the "bail-out" or "fall-back" for when things get too tough on the fixed gear. Though I have to wonder how often folks actually flip a hub...

44x16 is a tall gear. I ride a 44x17, which is close to your 42x16. I can get up hills and over centurys, but 42x16 would be too much for me.
 

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Dr.Kildare said:
Just finished building up my first road singlespeed with a cassette hub and cog. I am running 44x16 as a start but will change to a 42x16 as I have a couple of short steep climbs on my run that are a test at present (ie get off and walk).

I want to fix the hub with a Surly fixxer and have the question:

Will my free gear of 42x16 feel the same as a fixed 42x16 gear on the hills? I realise it will feel different spinning downhill but I note that most riders have a slightly taller gear for fixed on a flip flop hub. Your experience?
As PDXMark says, effort level is the same. However, on a single you can push, coast, push, coast. Little rests between efforts. On a fixed gear you hammer, or you stop. No other options. To me climbing fixed is both harder and more enjoyable than climbing on a freewheel and the same gearing.
As for swapping, I am running 42X16 fixed and X20 free, but I have yet to flip the hub. I plan to ride this bike on the Reach the Beach Century here in Oregon, and there is a really steep hill towards the end, after a long steady climb, and right before a very long descent. I suspect I will flip for that last climb and decent, more to be able to coast down the other side.

Best,
Gordon
 

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Cerddwyr said:
As for swapping, I am running 42X16 fixed and X20 free, but I have yet to flip the hub. I plan to ride this bike on the Reach the Beach Century here in Oregon, and there is a really steep hill towards the end, after a long steady climb, and right before a very long descent. I suspect I will flip for that last climb and decent, more to be able to coast down the other side.
Don't do it... ride it all fixed. The hill isn't that steep. Just stand for the steep bits... and brake a bit on the descent to keep your spin under control. It'll be much more satisfying to ride the whole thing fixed than to stop, flip the wheel, get greasy, fuss with chain tension, and after all that be left with saying "I most of RtB fixed, but I switched to SS for the last couple miles."

"Coasting is a pernicious habit."
 

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The reason for the taller gear on the fixed side is for the descents, since you can only spin so fast. If you run a front brake and gear that falls between, say, 656 and 75 gear inches (with 70 being ideal for a lot of people), you'll be able to climb all but the most vertical climbs and ride down the other side without bouncing off the saddle.

Sheldon Brown's gear calculator can help you; just be sure to specify you want it to calculate Gear Inches: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/
 
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