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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was on about a week ago about my problem( I live on a big, big hill and I want to commute on a fixie). I have two questions: is there any alternative to a surly dingle cog on the back i.e. can I lock two normal track cogs on there side by side? And secondly what are the range of options for chainring sizes? I can only find road compacts(50-34) and 53-39's, and for track rings there doesn't seem any way having two on at the same time. And the road rings have too big a difference for a surly cog.

Any suggestions?
 

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I have 2 questions

shellshock said:
I was on about a week ago about my problem( I live on a big, big hill and I want to commute on a fixie). I have two questions: is there any alternative to a surly dingle cog on the back i.e. can I lock two normal track cogs on there side by side? And secondly what are the range of options for chainring sizes? I can only find road compacts(50-34) and 53-39's, and for track rings there doesn't seem any way having two on at the same time. And the road rings have too big a difference for a surly cog.

Any suggestions?
more than that, actually, and some suggestions, I guess.

1. why do you think you want a fixed gear? have you really tried one? it doesn't seem really suitable for this ride.

2. how "big" is the "big, big hill"? You said 10 minutes, but more precisely, how steep (percent grade) and how long (in distance, not time)?

3. maybe a single-speed is more suitable, if what you're after is a simple, low-maintenance ride. Remember you have to go down the hill, too, and the fixed-gear will have you spinning wildly. SS is not "cheating" -- it's just another kind of bike.

4. Flipping a wheel and manually moving a chain every day, for a portion of every ride, is probably a giant PITA. Most people who get flip-flop hubs on fixed gears find that soon they stop flipping.

5. It seems you really need multiple gears, just not too many. Maybe there's a better way than this dingle-fixed thing. How about a SS freewheel, with a chain tensioner, and a double crank with a front derailleur? Mechanically simpler and cleaner than a full gear setup, but you have your bailout gear for the climb home, and you can coast down the hill.

Those are my suggestions. Fixed-gear just doesn't seem like the solution to your issues, without adding a lot of complexity, which kind of defeats the purpose.

If you're really committed to FG, because you love it (though it sounds like you've not really tried it much), the thing to do is to find the highest single gear combo that you can consistently muscle up that hill without hurting yourself, and then decide whether that gear is high enough to be comfortable on the rest of the ride (including the mad downhill spin). You can experiment a bit with the road bike to find a gear, though you can't really duplicate the downhill fixie experience.
 

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shellshock said:
I have two questions: is there any alternative to a surly dingle cog on the back i.e. can I lock two normal track cogs on there side by side?
Not that I know of. There won't be room for two cogs on the threads of a standard fixed hub. Maybe on a suicide hub, but I wouldn't recommend messing around with that (no matter how many people assure you that it is the bestest idea evar). But Surly offers up to a 4 tooth gap, IIRC -- how much variation are you looking to have?

shellshock said:
And secondly what are the range of options for chainring sizes? I can only find road compacts(50-34) and 53-39's, and for track rings there doesn't seem any way having two on at the same time. And the road rings have too big a difference for a surly cog.
You are going to have to buy at least one aftermarket chainring. A standard road double (130mm BCD) can accomodate 38T rings and larger. A compact will allow down to a 34T, IIRC.

Sugino has many affordable options in their "Standard" line, (e.g. web retailer, many sources exist, including your LBS): http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30&action=list&Category=203&brand=397&modelid=2007&type=T
 

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JCavilia said:
4. Flipping a wheel and manually moving a chain every day, for a portion of every ride, is probably a giant PITA. Most people who get flip-flop hubs on fixed gears find that soon they stop flipping.
So true...
 

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roadfix said:
So true...
On the other hand, Rivendell designed a whole bike around the manually shifted two speed concept -- the Quickbeam.

Not that Rivendell making something proves anything about its viability.
 

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PeanutButterBreath said:
Not that I know of. There won't be room for two cogs on the threads of a standard fixed hub. Maybe on a suicide hub, but I wouldn't recommend messing around with that (no matter how many people assure you that it is the bestest idea evar). http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30&action=list&Category=203&brand=397&modelid=2007&type=T
I ride "suicide hubs" [cue Monty Python voice: "I'm not dead yet!"]. NO way is there room for two cogs -- there often isn't room even for a bb lockring that's sometimes used for a little more security.
 

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PeanutButterBreath said:
On the other hand, Rivendell designed a whole bike around the manually shifted two speed concept -- the Quickbeam.

Not that Rivendell making something proves anything about its viability.
I'm aware of the QB and even if I owned one I can't see myself crossing the chain over every time I ride. I can see making occasional gear changes on long day rides.
 

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shell, that's my story. i rode SS and fixed for a long time, then moved to the top of a mile long very steep hill. so, i built a 2x2 for commuting,and then another one for touring and training. do a seach on 2x2 or dinglespeed (not my favorite term) and you may find what you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My thoughts

I am pretty sure I want to go with a singlespeed although I do take your point about the hill.
My reasoning for choosing one is that I want a maintenance-free, no-nonsense, fast bike for commuting every day which will give me a good workout and clean up my pedal stroke a bit more. My solution for spinning wildly down the hill is to just not pedal hard. I'll be commuting so the first few minutes of my day will not be my fastest! The hill itself is about 1.5 miles long. And I'm usually 3rd from bottom in the 39 ring on the way up.

For the rest of my commute it's completely flat. To be honest I'm willing to move the chain once a day in return for all the benefits. Plus fixies are unbelievably cool (and cheaper to buy).

I have tried fixies a few times on short rides and it is different, but enjoyable.

I should have been clear at the start that my real questions were on gearing and whether you can fit pretty different sized chainrings (maybe 47-37) to a dingle cog with only a 5 gear differential max. And if its actually possible to have a double chainring with that gearing.
 

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let's do some math

Maybe you can keep it simple. If the hill is 1.5 miles long, and it usually takes you 10 minutes, you're averaging 9 mph. I don't know what gear you're riding it in now (how many teeth on the "third from the bottom" cog), but let's assume that climbing it on a fixie in a less-than-optimum gear will make you a little slower (though it might not), so let's say you'd be climbing at 8 mph. With the typical road fixed gear of about 70 inches, you'd be turning about 41 rpm.

That's not optimum cadence for cruising on a road bike, obviously, but strong fixie riders climb safely at that cadence (and slower) all the time. You're standing most of the way, and 1.5 miles seems like a long way, but it's very doable if you use the right technique, and it's a great strength workout. You could go with a slightly lower gear to get a bit higher cadence, and you'd just have to spin a little faster on the flats. You can easily test this on your road bike. 52X19 gives you about 72 inches, 52X21 about 65. Try climbing the hill in one of those gears, and decide whether you can manage it safely. If so, you don't need to mess with all this multiple-cog stuff (which really is inconsistent with your worthy goal of maintenance-free, no-nonsense, etc.)

One more point, about the downhill.
My solution for spinning wildly down the hill is to just not pedal hard.
Your answer suggests you don't entirely understand what it's like riding a fixie. The wild spinning is not a result of pedaling hard. The hill makes you go fast, and you have to spin to keep up. "Not pedaling hard" is not a solution. There are 3 possible solutions:
1) a taller gear, so you don't have to spin as fast -- but that makes the climb harder;
2) ride the brakes to limit your speed -- and that's what almost all fixie riders with a brain and a survival instinct would be doing on that descent (except for hard-core brakeless guys, with great skill and strength and an even greater wild streak). If you do decide to go fixed, I'd STRONGLY encourage you to have TWO brakes on the bike.
3) use a single-speed instead of a fixed. That way you can coast down the hill. You can also use a lower gear if you want.

I really hear you on the wish for simplicity in a commuter bike. I commute every day on a fixed gear, and I really value the low-maintenance aspect. But my commute is mostly flat. I also occasionally climb hills like yours on a fixed (with a 73-inch gear), but it's a more of a test than an enjoyable ride. If I had a commute like yours, I'd probably opt for a SS rather than a fixed, with a gear around 66 inches. That would make the climb tolerable, the downhill a pleasant coast, and the cruising sections a great spin workout.

Just my humble opinion, but I think you're making it too complicated. Stick the road bike in the 52X19 and climb the hill a couple of times, and think about it.
 

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JCavilia said:
II also occasionally climb hills like yours on a fixed (with a 73-inch gear), but it's a more of a test than an enjoyable ride. If I had a commute like yours, I'd probably opt for a SS rather than a fixed, with a gear around 66 inches. That would make the climb tolerable, the downhill a pleasant coast, and the cruising sections a great spin workout.
I don't believe this!

You climb like a kid and went after Fisher Hill Rd just for the challenge.

You're right about the rest of the stuff. When my wife thought of riding fixed, she shifted her bike to a gear like the one I had, rode 50 miles with me and figured out that it was possible.
 

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"just for the challenge"

Spinfinity said:
I don't believe this!

You climb like a kid and went after Fisher Hill Rd just for the challenge.

You're right about the rest of the stuff. When my wife thought of riding fixed, she shifted her bike to a gear like the one I had, rode 50 miles with me and figured out that it was possible.
Those are the operative words. The only fun part of that was telling you I'd done it ;-)

So are you back to commuting yet? I was on a week, off a week for the snowstorm, and this week I'm back on the bike again, hopefully for good.
 

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shellshockI should have been clear at the start that my real questions were on gearing and whether you can fit pretty different sized chainrings (maybe 47-37) to a dingle cog with only a 5 gear differential max. And if its actually possible to have a double chainring with that gearing.[/QUOTE said:
just to answer this question: you can't do the above with just one length of chain (e.g., easily moving the chain once a day). for one chain length, you need to keep the total number of teeth the same in your two combos, to use your example, if you have a 10 tooth difference in your two chainrings, you need a 10 tooth difference in your two cogs. my set up uses an 8 tooth difference which gives me the cruising gear i want and a nice low climbing gear.

i need the climbing gear. i can climb pretty steep hills in a high gear, a technique learned from riding an SS mt bike for a long time, but i cannot climb the mile-long hill near my house in a cruising gear without something (me or the bike) breaking. maybe it's just my own limitations.
 

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shell....
Before jumping into this whole 2x2 project perhaps you should start off with the typical, simple, single ring/flip flop set up and work from there. You'll be able to gauge for yourself what works and what won't work for your particular riding style and terrain.
 

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Commuted 1 day since December and went for 1 Saturday ride with Peter. I've become a gym going jogger. I've even used the treadmills and elliptical machines. I'll have to learn the commuting rituals all over again. Hope I don't have to take the straps off to get in the toe clips.
 
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