So does riding a single speed increase your fitness?
Mr Agreeable – Member
To be fair the weight of a geared drivetrain isn't that much, but then I suspect a lot of SSers will be those luddite weirdos who don't have suspension either…
Suspension? Isn't that the heavy stuff that you use to suck energy out of your body on hills. 🙂
Gears and suspension -just more levers and buttons to twiddle. I'd sooner just turn my pedals.
The disadvantage is only my legs get fit, while the non SS riders have better developed thumbs, so obviously gears and suspension make you fitter. 🙂Posted 8 years agoooOOooMember
Saves less than 1% weight I'd imagine.
Erm you can re-train your cadence, it requires more than just "trying it", and I think it's well established that the whole "ss damages knees" thing is a myth.
I don't like the sound of pedalling uphill at such a low RPM.
Maybe I should try to stick with the high cadence thing but I genuinely find it annoying.
You get succesful people that ride high RPM & other low RPM in road bikes don't you? Maybe it just suits some people more than othersPosted 8 years agodidnothingfatalMember
Single speeding bad for knees, same BS that suggests you need padded shoes for running. Bad backs, etc. are a sign of weakness in your back and core, try alternative strength training, I use kettlebells. IME SS helps with fitness, a road bike builds a better base for endurance in my experience.Posted 8 years agowarpcowMember
I'm probably taking my life in my hands with this but I S-S and only ever with geared riders because (the few) other S-Sers I've ridden with/met have been fairly pompous idiots. Then again the geared riders are too, but I've known them longer and can't seem to get rid of them 😉
I can't say that 5yrs of S-S has made me fitter than the 10yrs of geared riding I did before, but I have got fitter than I was. I just enjoyed singlespeed more and ended up cycling more. You can't always ride every hill at first, but for me that's like a red rag to a bull. Hills that I couldn't ride in the beginning I could ride a couple of months later, with much mashing and grunting, and then for the last year or so I've been able to do them seated. Much to my knee's dislike.
Genesis has it: arguing about gears vs. singlespeed is like XC vs. DH, road vs. MTB, steel vs. alu vs. ti vs. carbon, etc.Posted 8 years ago
trail_rat, in the sense that I can get a better speed & distance combined work out on my geared bike that I ever could on my singlespeeds.
Though of course we could be confusing faster with fitter.
I'm trying to get fitter for road racing, cyclocross and a bit of short course xc so I'm not cheating myself. As I said before I rode singlespeed for years and from my own experience I'd say I've got fitter as well as faster since gearing up, and slimmer which is an added bonus.Posted 8 years agoBigJohnSubscriber
The 2nd most important thing is to master the technique of supporting your weight through your arms when out of the saddle.
That means you can be out of the saddle on marginal gradients without knackering your legs. Then just think of it like walking up stairs.
The most important thing is knowing that it suits some people but not others.Posted 8 years agohopsterMember
I have ridden SS for ages. If you put the effort in then yes it does make you fitter but then so can riding a geared bike. Slogging round the Quantocks on one can be brutal if you aren't already pretty fit.
I like the challenge of getting up hills that the geared bikers find tough and just gives you a new challenge. You get what you put out and pootling along on a SS isn't going to get you fit.Posted 8 years ago
Riding rigid SS and riding gears require 2 completely different techniques for me.
To ride my full suspension geared bike I have to sit in the saddle and try to keep a high cadence on hills to limit suspension bob. (Yes, I know about lockouts, but what's the point of suspension if you cripple it)
On my rigid SS bike, I have it setup so my weight is on my feet and my arms carry virtually no load. This allows my legs to work as suspension (10" travel?) and I do not get much impact through my hands. The knee business is a myth – if it was true I should have been in a wheelchair 20 years ago.
Adding the bike and rider weight to come up with a total is nonsense. Perhaps a ratio of rider weight to bike weight may be a fairer comparison. I have had 2 bikes set up exactly the same, one steel and one alloy, and the heavier steel bike was harder work on the hills (but more comfortable). The difference in weight between them was only 3 lbs. This is not guess work. I timed myself on long climbs before deciding which one to use for races.Posted 8 years agodevsMember
I just started singlespeeding this winter out of curiosity and to see if it makes me fitter. Most of the points have been covered already. I started on 32:16 which was maybe a bit ambitious on my local trails but I have persevered. It certainly makes you work harder than on a geared bike. Ok, so you can select 32:16 on your geared bike and get out the saddle and mash until it hurts your legs and lungs but this takes far more mental hardness than I have. SSing, once out, you have no choice; work or walk. This is often anaerobic or borderline anaerobic. Whether this helps in the greater scheme of things depends on what you want out of your cycling, but if it includes wanting to be able to bust your guts up hills a bit faster than normal than yes – it makes you fitter. It probably doesn't help with endurance training as much, so flatter rides or geared rides for longer periods would be required too. I certainly feel a lot fitter and when it comes to an uphill race now on a club run there are very few who can pip me. When you consider I'm touching 17st I am flabbergasted that I can do so well. Before SS I was tail end charlie grinding up in granny.Posted 8 years agokcrMember
There's a lot of BS on this thread but this is the high-point for me:
A single gear is only effective when training under controlled, unvarying conditions, A.K.A a velodrome!
There are no other circumstances where using a singlespeed is effective training?
Absolutely. For any specific training objective, given a particular combination of gradient, conditions and fitness, there will be an ideal gear or range of gears. If your objective is always the same, and the conditions never vary, you can use one gear. As soon as things start changing, you need a range of gears to train effectively.Posted 8 years ago
Of course you can "train" on a singlespeed, but it won't be effective training. So, bypassing the discussion about the merits of singlespeed cycling, and returning again to the original poster's question – a geared bike is more effective for training than a singlespeed bike.
It depends what you're training for, surely?
If you are going to race geared bikes, then using geared bikes for training makes sense because you will tend to operate in a narrower range of cadence. You have also got to master all those extra controls. Getting the timing right is critical – a bad gear change can cost you metres – so that needs practise too.
If you want to increase leg strength over a wide range of cadence, going SS is a simple way to do it – no easy option except dismount.Posted 8 years ago
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