- singlespeed vs gears
Polarised debate I know but some of us do and enjoy both…
I had a difficult decision recently whether to spend my £1000 Evans bike to work voucher on a SS or a geared bike? I already had a boardman team carbon from the previous scheme and a converted crosser as a SS.
I really SS but my commute route is a little hilly so slightly painful on the SS.
I wondered if many have both or some I completely converted to SS? Any tried SS but returned to conventional gears?
BTW I bought a Genesis Flyer for £699 with a load of cycling gear to get up to £1000!Posted 6 years agoElfinsafetyMember
Have both, for road and mtb use. SS is more tiring offroad, but I’ve found it good for developing a good pedalling rhythm, as well as improving my climbing technique. For long and/or very hilly rides I’ll ride gears though, don’t see the point of suffering!
Round London; SS ftw. Don’t really need gears; I’ve even climbed Swains Lane on a SS*. 😀
*I woon’t want to repeat that too soon, mind…Posted 6 years agojohnikgriffSubscriber
Had one, was fine when I went out with family. But tried riding with my mates at a trail center and it was a nightmare, have to ride really hard up hill cos you cant go slow so ended up at the top of every hill on my own. Mine was a fully ridged so I got left for dead on the downs. On top of that I felt like I had been in a fight the next day (one I’d lost badly).
I am however over 40 and a would appear to be a wimp, I like my “loads of gears skill compensater”. There where 3 guys on them at landegla this morning and seemed to be having loads of fun and also they appeared to be way way fitter that I have been (or would want to be.)
I’d have another one in heart beat, but only to be used when out with my lad or for days when I’m feeling god like 🙂Posted 6 years agosamuriMember
I have been completely SS in the past for a few years. Didn’t really miss gears for a while. Road, cross and mountain bike. No problem.
I have a geared road bike now which I ride a lot. I think for proper road riding it’s a bit silly not to. For mountain biking SS is just fine, maybe when I get past 50 or 60 I’ll go back to gears there. Cross riding is all done on a fixie at the moment. Again I’m quite happy with that at the moment.Posted 6 years ago_tom_Member
I kind of go through phases of loving SS then hating it. I’ve currently got one of each which is nice. I like the no hassle maintenance of it and it’s silent all the time. As I only really ride dh and jumpy stuff now I might just ss the main bike in a hard gear as well.Posted 6 years ago
sold all my geared bikes and now have a couple of 29er Single speeds that quite happily get used for race/event duties and big days out in the peak district, long mynd and North wales.
They tend to be much quicker over a lot of stuff than most of the geariedearies as wellPosted 6 years ago
I don’t get this business of needing gears to get up hills. People were riding up steep hills on worse surfaces over 100 years ago without any gears.
I’ve ridden over most of the Northern Highlands on SS – I did stop a few times on the Bealach though (purely to take pics of course). 🙂
But I won’t knock gears because when I’m old and frail I’m going to get a set… 🙂Posted 6 years agomuddydwarfSubscriber
I’ve never ‘got’ the idea of SS but three weeks ago i went to Spain with Ciclo Montana. Those who know the Alpujarras region will know its incredibly steep and rocky.
One chap turned up on a SS hardtail – apparently the first CM had ever had in 21yrs of business.
You know what? That fella was a demon on that terrain, fast enough on the climbs and much faster than me on the descents (and i was riding a 140mm full suss) much to my eternal shame!Posted 6 years ago
Don’t know what that proves about SS except this fella was a really skilled rider….SprocketJockeyMember
I rode exclusively singlespeed for about 3 years before moving from Kent to Devon back in May. We live on Dartmoor where there are some madly steep hills. Still got one SS, which I use for commuting and shorter blasts, but also have geared bike for bigger days out.
Weirdly I’m still learning to use gears….. still doing contant mis-shifts and sometimes struggle to find the right gear for the conditions. I rode a hill earlier today on the gearie which although really horrible I’ve cleared a few times on the singlespeed and was genuinely struggling by about 3/4s of the way up.
I still much prefer the “feel” and directness of a singlespeed bike, but sadly local terrain makes it impractical (for me at least) as the only option.Posted 6 years agoSinglespeed_ShepMember
As the name says.
Ditched gears when I had no money. Never looked back,
If you try to ride a single speed like a geared bike you’ll hate it. If you have an open mind try different things till it works then it will work for you regardless of where or what style you do.
You could run single cog at the rear and a double at the front to get you up the hills if needed, for a lightweight simple bike.Posted 6 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
It is perfectly possible to have gears and not use them. And once you realise that, you realise that the only benefit of singlespeed is that you’ve got slightly less parts to fill with mud/whack off rocks/weigh a paltry number of grams. If that’s enough for you, then go for it.Posted 6 years ago
SS also gives you massive confidence that your chain will still be where it should be ready to take your full power output out of rough corners with almost zero chance of slipping, much more so than even the most secure chain device set-up. the silent chain of a SS set-up also allows you to ride better too. IMHO
Now, if only every descent/jump needed exactly the same gearing 😐
(and I had the knees/physique/youth to ride uphill in that high a gear 😉 )
I def need gears (sometimes just one a day)Posted 6 years agoMugbooSubscriber
I’ve built up a slotted SS Inbred with Pikes for winter and it’s like riding a big BMX. Weird how just losing gears can change how it feels.
I tried 32/16 but have swapped the back to an 18, much better.
My other HT is a summer season and I don’t seem to be missing the slacker headangle or the extra fork travel..Posted 6 years agobullheartMember
It is perfectly possible to have gears and not use them. And once you realise that, you realise that the only benefit of singlespeed is that you’ve got slightly less parts to fill with mud/whack off rocks/weigh a paltry number of grams. If that’s enough for you, then go for it.
But if you don’t have gears, then you don’t have the ‘bottle it’ option when doing something tough. Like a hill.
Having said all of this, I’ve no doubt I’d have been faster at Mayhem or 24/12 this year. Although it would have made my entry to SSUK a little trickier…Posted 6 years agoDISMember
Went through a period of only single speed for couple years but now have SS hard tail and a new recently acquired FS (never ridden FS till 2 months ago and i am quite surprised how much i like it!).
I love riding the SS, especially this time of year as things get muddy. Technically mine is a dingospeed (thinks that what you call them) I have two rings at front and back and have to change manually. Reason for this is i commute and ride of road, so its nice to have the two options.
Personally i think if you have got your gear ratio right for you then there’s not much difference between SS and geared, if your fit and fast then you will be fast riding geared or SS.
Despite loving SS it is still nice to have a geared bike for longer rides or just something different. As said above if its got 2 wheels then its good, i just like bikes, SS, geared, fixed, rigid, FS or HT.Posted 6 years agoSinglespeed_ShepMember
giving you almost none of the advantages of either SS or gears, yay!!
2 speed pace, (not mine) and i’ve seen an Two speed orange with a hammerschmidt. And i know a chap who has a dead flat commute apart from a 20% climb so runs a pompino with a 50/34 up front and a 17t cog at the rear.
I never said it was a good idea. Just possible and works for some people. like those that run 3 speed 😉Posted 6 years agobigdonxMember
Have both SS & Geared. SS gets most of its use night riding off road in the winter. Mainly because it doesn’t need much looking after, and because in the dark you don’t get the same impression of how fast your not getting anywhere on flat bits!Posted 6 years ago
The thing about SS is that your always in the right gear – cos you don’t have a choice, so you just have to make it work – its a waste of time if you can’t be arsed with a bit of a challege.
Couldn’t ever see myself giving up gears though – SS is just a different option.van cough coughMember
I ride singlespeed purely for reduced maintenance/cost reasons. No point in wasting hundreds of pounds per year that I dont have on maintaining geared bits.
After 2000 miles on the mmmbop all that has needed changing is the chain. Gears have never needed a twiddle at all. On this bike I run 3 x 9 SRAM X9, Connex 900 chain, jagwire full outers with middleburn cable oilers. So, maintaining geared bits so far since June on this bike has cost £15 (I buy 3 x Connex 900’s from Ribble for about £45 after discount). 990 cassettes last an age if the chains are swapped out between 0.075mm and 0.1mm per link stretch and I am heavy.
Geared. Single speed is for BMX and track and children.Posted 6 years ago
To be fair there’s nothing wrong with a decent set of gears on the road. There’s everything wrong with derailleurs though.
A Sturmey-Archer 3 speed provides enough gears for any occasion if you gear the middle gear at the old standard for a gentleman’s bike, ie around 60-65″.
Then you have a low gear around 45″, which is approx what your SS mtb uses, so that’s good for any hill or when you venture offroad.
The middle gear is good for general work and commuting.
The top gear at between 75-80″ is roughly where you’d set your lightweight road ss, and it’s nice to have for downhill.
Thus all needs are covered. Your gears will cost about the same as a decent cassette and will outlast several derailleurs and cassettes. People were getting 50,000+ miles out of those hubs 70 years ago, and they’re even better now. A suitable chain will cost about £10 and outlast a derailleur chainset.
I’m not biased or anything 🙂Posted 6 years agoBezSubscriber
In an attempt to respond to the OP rather than willy-wave…
You’re contemplating a road bike, I assume? If so the main difference IME is that a singlespeed has a sort of terminal velocity. You can go faster, but can’t sustain it. This means pedally downhills become sluggish and you can’t carry speed from a sharp downhill through a subsequent flat bit. On my commute it makes roughly 15min difference at most over about 1h45m, using a 42:16.
But singlespeed is of course minimal maintenance, which is a bonus on a winter commuter.Posted 6 years ago
Bez – Member
…the main difference IME is that a singlespeed has a sort of terminal velocity. You can go faster, but can’t sustain it. This means pedally downhills become sluggish and you can’t carry speed from a sharp downhill through a subsequent flat bit…
I agree, that’s the biggest disadvantage of SS. Not the climbing, but the descents.
Paradoxically, the answer is to gear a bit higher. You’ll still manage the climbs (and get stronger) and have a bit more gear for the downhill.Posted 6 years ago
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