Single speed group riding

General bike chat that does not fit elsewhere
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SlipSpace
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Single speed group riding

Postby SlipSpace » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:20 am

Hi Folks

This is a somewhat of a how long is a piece of string question but I'll ask it anyway :lol:

Been riding at various levels forever it seems, less so over the last few years for various reasons. Kinda got back into it in october just commuting on my old Trek 810 MTB. In Jan I bought a SS mountain bike (Genesis Fortitude) which I love. Not having gears is a revelation!

I'm keen to get back on the road too but having gone SS I'm thinking this is the way forward for road too. Now Norfolk is flat (relatively) and has lots of cycle clubs, all road biased, and all my friends and colleagues ride road. Now for the string bit, I realise it depends on fitness/commitment/pride etc but can a SS comfortably ride with a group of geared riders on a 50/100 mile route or would a geared bike be a better starting point?

Your experiences are welcomed.

stifflersmom
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby stifflersmom » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:40 am

I would say it is worth a go if your gear is suited to the terrain. You may struggle to win sprints if the group indulge in that kind of thing but otherwise there's no downside.
There are still people who ride ss or fixed in winter as part of club rides. I commute ss and sometimes take it on long club rides. I can't keep pace with the gear spinners up the hills but the club tends to scatter on climbs anyway. I'd say go for it!

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goonz
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby goonz » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:42 am

I've done essex to Brighton on the singlespeed and got up dithcling on it albeit pretty slowly. everyone else was geared but not experienced riders. Depends what pace everyone will be riding I guess, on flats could probably keep up but then hills you would probably be slower unless you are a beast!
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SlipSpace
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby SlipSpace » Fri Mar 28, 2014 15:14 pm

Interesting answers guys, thanks. Much more positive than answers I got elsewhere that basically said 'gears were designed for a reason, you won't be in your cadence zone (?) and you'll pee people off if you can't keep up!'.

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marcusjb
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby marcusjb » Fri Mar 28, 2014 15:28 pm

I don't do a lot of group riding on my fixed, I use it mainly for shorter training efforts, but do ride with fixed riders on long rides rather a lot.

A good fixed rider will be able to keep up with or even sit at the front of a group on flatter terrain. But hills, both the ups and the downs, will often cause a fixed rider to not be part of the group.

Now, you're on single speed - so the downhills aren't going to leave you so far out of touch to geared riders.

Uphills - up to a certain steepness, you may well climb faster than many geared riders anyway (many of my fastest ascents of local smaller hills are on fixed) - you've got no choice, you can't be lazy and click down the gears.

But you're in Norfolk - so there's not too much up and down (but more than people think!).

If you're fit and strong, I don't see the problem at all. Go for it.

Again, a fixed problem more than single speed - but fixed riders need to take wider lines on corners in general, so riders around them do need to be careful not to box them in too much.

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goonz
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby goonz » Fri Mar 28, 2014 15:31 pm

Good answer...
Scott Speedster S20 Roadie for Speed
Specialized Hardrock MTB for Lumps
Specialized Langster SS for Ease
Cinelli Mash Bolt Fixed for Pain
n+1 is well and truly on track
Strava http://app.strava.com/athletes/1608875

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darkhairedlord
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby darkhairedlord » Fri Mar 28, 2014 15:40 pm

if you know the likely pace in advanced just gear accordingly

Martin bikeradar
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby Martin bikeradar » Fri Mar 28, 2014 17:01 pm

My Club rides thru Herts, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk sometimes too, on rides 40-100 miles. There's often a fixed rider or two in the pack. Never any problems. Go for it, I say.

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Monty Dog
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby Monty Dog » Fri Mar 28, 2014 17:25 pm

I ride fixed gear lots of times with groups - pace up the hills is more consistent, so usually start steady at the bottom and catch most by the top due the more even pace, likewise, easier at the top of the downhills and whizz by them near the bottom, spinning like a loon at 180rpm+ ;-) Might be a bit more of a challenge if you've got a bunch of Cat 1s, a howling tailwind and the rest are riding 53x11...
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iPete
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby iPete » Fri Mar 28, 2014 22:20 pm

I only had a FG when I went on my first club foray and it wasn't an issue. The most fun part was politely asking what club etiquette was up Box Hill before leaving everyone standing ;)

The downhills were the hardest but you'll have a freehweel, can always drop off the back and you'll find a safe group isn't going to race down hill anyway.

As others have said, pick a suitable group to ride with and a suitable gear.

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markos1963
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby markos1963 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 19:05 pm

I belong to a large club in Norwich and we have a large contingent of SS riders. Mainly during the winter months but even so the groups manage to stay together regardless of gearing. A couple of years ago a group of us in the club did the Norwich 100 on SS's in around 5.30.

rnath
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby rnath » Sun Mar 30, 2014 19:07 pm

If it's mostly flat you'll be fine. I ride SS a lot (I like the simplicity) and the only times I feel at a disadvantage are on fast flats where I spin out or up steep hills, but it's never a major issue and if you're in a friendly group with a "we don't drop people off the back" rule it works out fine. I'm "alright" rather than "rhino" fit so 50-75 miles is fine SS in a mixed group, but 100 miles might be pushing it?

cougie
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby cougie » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:00 am

On club runs a fair few people use fixed wheel in winter. SS is quite rare.

It depends on the rider - we had a lot of track guys who are happy to spin at ridiculously fast cadences. Their range of cadence is so good that you don't even notice they don't have gears.

I've done a couple of sportives on my fixed - for me the hard part is always the descending.

I'd certainly give it a go anyway.

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SlipSpace
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Re: Single speed group riding

Postby SlipSpace » Tue Apr 01, 2014 08:46 am

Thanks for the input folks. :D

Nice to get a local perspective too from Markos, thanks :wink:

I think I might seek out a second hand SS first before spending many £s on new one to find that we don't really work and I need gears.


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