|I wish I remembered where I took this great picture|
|Shirley, Surly? BTW, this carbon fork is history.|
ON other notes I have been riding a 34x17 on my Gunnar Ruffian Singlespeed until I started to ride it more offroad. That had to change to a 34x18 and that felt better for going up the hills. Crank length on the bike is 175mm and tires were 2.1
My Selma Ti has a 34x18 with 180mm cranks and that has been my bike for Iowa missions. That made my legs very sore, got my knees "cracky" and exhausted my whole body. Some of the hills in the sacred land were un-do-able. We walked long uphills bringing our speed down to 3mph. The Selma is set up perfect and will not have any changes. I got rid of some doggy Specialized Fastrack tires for some Kenda Karmas that were on closeout.
Then came the "Troy Krause Experiment". You see Troy Krause is a beast that finished in second place in Trans Iowa and to my continuing disbelief he turned a 42x18 for the whole event. He rode a cross bike with I would guess 35mm tires.
I built up my crosscheck with a 42x18 and donned the road rims with 35mm tires and turned 172.5mm cranks. I rode it to work everyday and I felt the strain on my knees. Then I did an 80 mile ride on it and got really tired. The wide Salsa bars were great for cruising and jamming up the hills. My last change has been to install some sram cranks in 177.5mm and to drop the 42 chainring for a 38. Yes, 4 teeth. Yesterday I got out in the frosty morning and rolled 30 miles with new setup. I really enjoyed the longer cranks and lower gear ratio. I was able to cruise around 15-16mph on the road and climbs the rollers without any effort.
As a result from all this I have become addicted to riding a single cog. I got back on the geared bikes and felt wrong. I feel that bikes with gears feel dead and heavy. I also feel that singlespeeds put your body in a hurt zone, high zone that becomes addictive. My knees have been sore for a while. It might be the singlespeeds, it might be the cold weather. This coming week I will go back to geared bikes and see what happens.
In any event, I see that singlespeeds have a place in Cycling. They offer a much cheaper alternative to us broke-ass mechanics. They are machines that become the #1 go to bike when you need to go somewhere and don't have time to fiddle with prepping before a ride.
I really think that selecting you gear-ratio is super-important. Riding Trans Iowa on single speed is super-hard. Do you ride a stiff gear to not spin out on the flats? Do you ride an easier gear to make all the hills and not kill yourself? Will there be permanent damage? In any case take the time to experiment. Changing cogs and chainrings is not as expensive as changing 11 speed cassettes. You owe it to yourself and your body to find the right combo.
If you have any questions or help on this let me know. I stay awake thinking about all this.