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Discussion Starter #1
I refer of course to the 48x16 that comes with all the budget track rigs [bianchi, khs, etc...] i just picked up a fuji and have a few commutes under my belt on it with the 48x16 [25-30k each way depending on route] and no issues so far despite it being taller than my usual summer gear [44x16]
i can feel it a bit in my lower back but as this bike is so much lighter/more efficient than my converted cruiser, it hasn't been as bad as i thought it may have been as the track bike is so much more efficient.
most of you guys modify your ratio or do you ride it as is?
 

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I think a lot has to do with terrain, fitness, and age. Years ago I started on the stock 48 x 16, but eventually found climbs to be hard on my knees. The downhills, however, were a blast! Nowdays I'm running 46 x 18, which gives me a 69-inch gear -- or it may be 70, since I'm using big cyclocross tires. I've found that as I got more experienced my leg speed increased to the point where descents weren't as much of an issue and I could spin that gear on all but the steepest downhill pitches without braking. The climbs are much more maneageable now, and I can maintain a decent cadence when the road goes uphill. Overall, I'm not as fast on the smaller gear as I was on the big one, but the ride is more comfortable, I enjoy spinning much more than mashing, and my aging knees no longer give me any complaints.
 

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My gearing is 42x15, about 75 gear inches. I've only taken my fixed on three real rides so far, about 60+ miles, and had it less than a week, but that gearing seems like it will probably be good for me.
 

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Here's my take on this... if you are using the bike as a dual track/street fix, leave the 48t or even up it to a 49 or 50 depending on the track. That way you can just switch out the rear cog when switching back and forth between 'drome use and street duty. Cogs larger than Shimano's largest cog (16t) are can be found these days... EAI, Soma, Phil Wood all make cogs between 17t and 22t(!), this will give you a wide range of gear possibilites.

Now if you are using it strictly as a street fix and really tall track gearing isn't your thing, I'd switch down to a 42t chainring. This way you can use the easier to find and slightly cheaper Shimano cogs to attain a nice range of possible street gearings.

As most of the other posters will allude to a tall gear isn't all that desirable in the face of hills and repeated climbs you'll encounter depending on your local geography. Here is one of the prior gear selection threads... it may give you some more info. That said, on my track bike I use 49x15/14 for track and 49x18 for street while my commuter fix has 42x16 for a nice spin to work/school.
 

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I'm not exactly sure why so many bikes come with that 48 x 16 - it seems neither fish nor fowl. It's a tall gear for just riding around, and for track events it's too small. The most common gearing on the track is much higher - usually around 90".

I did find that a 48 x 16 (or any other 3 : 1 ratio) is just the ticket for hanging with a fast group riding geared bikes on flat terrain unless there are strong headwinds.
 

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chica cyclista
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I do

I've adapted well to the 48x16 on my Pista. I love it, because most of my commuting, shopping, errands, daily running-around rides are in urban / mainly flat to rolling areas. I can ride it up all but the steepest hills in Boulder proper with no real pain or effort.

I agree with whomever said it allows one to hang with fast group rides and so on. and it keeps me from feeling like my knees will fly off going down longish descents. the 42x15 on my old fixte was way too small (IMO) for riding around the Boulder area. it was fine for the short steep rollers in Cincinnati, but not for here. terrain plays a role.

so for me, the 48x16 is great. and I'm a girl. and an old one at that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
m'k that seals it!

if a girl can ride 48x16, so can i!
:D
ottawa is pretty flat and the bike is damn snappy so i think i will stick with it - only time it was a issue was 30-40kph headwinds on a couple of rides.
now that i have a real track bike i feel sooooo cool - even with the front brake!
 

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chica cyclista
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dave66 said:
only time it was a issue was 30-40kph headwinds on a couple of rides.
headwinds suck ass on a fixed. even with the 42x15 I almost gave up a couple times riding into the teeth of the hurricane out on US 36 north of Boulder. I don't care who you are or what size gear you're on, they're not fun. as far as the brake, that's just common sense. I've been riding fixed off and on for almost 2 decades and I'm pretty damned crazy but even I wouldn't ride one without. of course like I mentioned I'm not 20 anymore either. From what I've seen my theory is the only guys who can gracefully get away with riding brakeless in traffic on a fixed either have rocks for brains and have killed all their braincells smoking weed and drinking cheap beer (bike messengers) and/or are those ultra tall leggy fit young uber-racers who are studly enough to pile a load of torque onto the gear whilst backpedalling. Anyway once you're over 35 your knees just don't enjoy playing those games anymore nohow.
 

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Yo no fui.
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Boldest Boulder . . .

lonefrontranger said:
as far as the brake, that's just common sense. I've been riding fixed off and on for almost 2 decades and I'm pretty damned crazy but even I wouldn't ride one without. of course like I mentioned I'm not 20 anymore either. From what I've seen my theory is the only guys who can gracefully get away with riding brakeless in traffic on a fixed either have rocks for brains and have killed all their braincells smoking weed and drinking cheap beer (bike messengers) and/or are those ultra tall leggy fit young uber-racers who are studly enough to pile a load of torque onto the gear whilst backpedalling. Anyway once you're over 35 your knees just don't enjoy playing those games anymore nohow.
You might want to add me to your list of exceptions. I live in Boulder, ride brakeless to the grocery store and the Flemming Law building, up and over Morgul Bismark including Kevin Costner's "Wall," slowly down from NCAR, and in downtown Denver on the way to my externship as a law clerk. Moreover, I'm not one of the "ultra tall leggy fit young uber-racers"--I rarely race and I'm only 5'9". Riding "gracefully" and safely without brakes is more about knowledge ad subtle skills than shere strength. I used a brake for years to teach myself the ways. The trick is that it's primarily positioning and forethought--not muscle--that makes it safe and graceful.

But I'm with you on the wind. It can get bad here on the Front Range.
 
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