Are Big Fixed Gear Ratios Actually Faster?

Are Big Fixed Gear Ratios Actually Faster?

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Since street fixed gear riding was born from track cycling, a lot of fixed gear riders have an obsession with riding the biggest gear ratio possible. But there’s two schools of thought when it comes to ideal gear ratios for street riding: spinners vs. mashers. Spinners argue that learning to spin a lower gear ratio at higher cadences allows the rider to traverse steeper terrains AND be faster on flats. Mashers argue “big ratio, big muscle, big speed.” To find out whether a big gear ratio is actually faster for street riding, not just for pros on the track, I try riding my normal 25 mile loop with the biggest fixed gear ratio I’ve ever ridden. The results may surprise you.

Sources:
Gear Inch Calculator: https://www.bikecalc.com/gear_inches
World Hour Record Gear Ratios: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hour_record

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50 Comments

  1. Tipsy spirit on August 10, 2022 at 11:39 pm

    Ive got a 52/13 gear ratio on a 30kg old MTB, no front derailleur so I choose the fastest one, and I live in a province with a lot of uphills, it’s hard on the knee, but trust me, it’s all worth it, after almost a year of cycling, I get past hills really fast without changing gears✊



  2. Bobby Boucher on August 10, 2022 at 11:40 pm

    If i lived in a really flat Area, I would ride a much bigger ratio, but because there is plenty of hills around my area/city, I have to compromise

    49×17

    Otherwise💁‍♂️



  3. james marcelo on August 10, 2022 at 11:41 pm

    I have 52 17 Gear ratio is it bad or good?



  4. Joshua Perez on August 10, 2022 at 11:46 pm

    Does anyone know a thinner bike frame brand



  5. Alexander Korne on August 10, 2022 at 11:50 pm

    Immediate like for preview image xD



  6. father christmas on August 10, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    i want it



  7. Caleb Archer on August 10, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    If a bigger gear wasn’t faster they wouldn’t make geared bikes.



  8. Mouse Tenacity on August 10, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    I thought fixies were all about smooth spinning?



  9. Zeruiah [Wild 1] on August 10, 2022 at 11:56 pm

    Me probably being the only single speed rider subscribed lol. In all seriousness though I run single speed and two multi speeds because where i live has a ton of hills, but I love the different feelings each give and I have experienced that subtly faster average speed with my single speed vs my multis. It’s a huge reason I always love having a single speed in my fleet and maybe one day a fix gear. But great videos and your videos are always helpful so keep it up ^^/



  10. Kyle Hagerty on August 10, 2022 at 11:56 pm

    how do you deal with sweat? it seems like you commute on bike and I cant do that unless I want to show up wet



  11. Gun Kang on August 10, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    Big ratio
    Pros
    Faster, More comfortable on decents, Slower candence faster Riding.
    Cons
    Hard to stop
    Hard to climb
    Hard to start Accelerating
    .
    Low gear ratio
    Pros
    Faster Acceleration (0-15km example)
    Easier to climb
    Easier to stop (by foot)

    Cons
    Slower if you’re riding on a comfy Cadence
    Faster Cadence just to ride faster
    Uncomfy on decents



  12. Tj Omg on August 10, 2022 at 11:58 pm

    Do people run oval sprocket on Dixie



  13. Franciskian Rayo on August 10, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    Is he using the limited edition chainring?? I forgot what’s the brand of it but all I know is only 50 of those chainrings were ever maid



  14. Screaming Eagle on August 11, 2022 at 12:00 am

    what was your top speed? average speed?



  15. Glorfindel on August 11, 2022 at 12:03 am

    ew miles per hour



  16. Kevin m. P on August 11, 2022 at 12:03 am

    You hang your bike on a tree… lol. Sweet



  17. Edrich Sigua on August 11, 2022 at 12:04 am

    I’m currently using 44-11 gear ratio with 600 tires on a mountain road (not trail) haha i thought my gear ratio is low



  18. MIKE DISCO; CYCL🌀MANIACS on August 11, 2022 at 12:04 am

    In my experience,… I e ran several different ratios. For one, it depends on the rider and what your comfortable with. I’ve done 55-13,53-13, 53-15, 53-16, and 56-16 on both single speed and fixed. 53-13 was a bit grueling in the beginning but I got use to it. The real question is not the spinning or the mashing because everyone is different,… But can you stop and skid in those ratios. Trying to hold the skids at 53-13 was hard at faster speeds so i had to run a front brake. When I switched to a 15 or 16 tooth cog, i was able to go faster because my legs became stronger so at a lower ratio I could control the skids and even track stand better. Now running a 56-16 on a single speed is not at all hard for me because my legs became stronger from riding fixed which most pro cyclist train on fixedgears. What it comes down to is your comfort level. Not everyone is the same so your set up should be for you to enjoy. I don’t recommend riding big ratios for long distances and for climbing because I have experienced pain in my legs and knees. You can always go bigger in the chainring than in the cog because changing one tooth on a cog like going from a 16 to a 15 is like changing 3 teeth on a chainring. So you can go from 48-16 to 49-16 or 50-16 and feel a slight difference in speed without having pain or discomfort and to control the skids 🌀



  19. Aldyan Faizal on August 11, 2022 at 12:06 am

    I’m using 48×14 gear for a year and still struggling to stop 😂 but i found out jump skidding method really help big gear ratio fixie to stop 😜✨✨



  20. Mike Mann on August 11, 2022 at 12:08 am

    I’m try 49:16 I usually run chill gear ratios like 48:17 or 49:17



  21. endymion2300 on August 11, 2022 at 12:08 am

    i ran 102 and 106 gear inches for years, and definitely cruised way faster than my 70 gear inch days. i’m a bigger rider however (i’m built like a linebacker), and spinning at 120rpm wasn’t gonna happen for too long.

    but even with my huge gear ratios, i can get around like 98% of oakland just fine. i do mostly okay in sf as long as i’m riding alone, but the speed at which i climb hills makes group rides difficult. once i get stuck behind someone climbing with a lower ratio, i just have to get off and walk, lol.

    at first, the larger ratios were much more difficult, but the extra time it takes for every revolution makes it easier to fire off my muscles more efficiently. so i’ll get tired slower over a long ride with a high ratio, vs lower.

    i do ride with a brake though. skidding makes my knee hurt and slowing down in an emergency takes waaaaay too long.



  22. Braeven Requiero on August 11, 2022 at 12:08 am

    not bike related but why do you always look fresh af what soap do you use?



  23. Heath McEuen on August 11, 2022 at 12:09 am

    Probably better if you use a bigger sprocket on their pedal part but like a 2 ft and a half diameter but you be within inches of hitting the ground with your sprocket on a bike like that which I think they would work on one of those trikes over a two-wheel bike that’s like yours and we should give you more speed and more power for less leg power and pedal time so you don’t injure yourself I would think it’ll be like that especially you got a hood motor to it and solar to help cut down on your pedal time on your trike which would make you ride more enjoyable in the long run



  24. Ramo Yann on August 11, 2022 at 12:11 am

    Im running 44×16 but I was thinking go up to 48×16 but lol now im thinking I’ll go 46×16



  25. GHEE!! on August 11, 2022 at 12:12 am

    please turn green line i can relate since i got cleats LOL



  26. Adrian Lopez on August 11, 2022 at 12:13 am

    Where I live everything is fucking mountains, so I’m gonna try with a 42/16 ratio and see what happens.

    Cadence has little meaning in this scenario as you either let yourself slide down, or suffer to climb. So maybe an even lower ratio would do better. I just don’t wanna make the ratio so small that It’s a pain the few times I ride on flat terrain. Also, it’s a PAS, so there is more to it.



  27. Zachery Cox on August 11, 2022 at 12:13 am

    I know I’m late to the party but this simple math is why everybody should be familiar with geared bikes. Also for a good sample you should ride it 10x for a good average and compare to your previous average. I bet as you got comfortable and stronger your times would improve.



  28. Here Today Gone Tomorrow on August 11, 2022 at 12:14 am

    I ride fixed and have for a decade plus. I have always had a 56/16 with back brakes. I ride from Folsom to downtown and mob it. I pass and drag race guys with gears on the bike trail allot more often than you would expect.
    I am however getting old now and will be switching to a 52



  29. Xander Chavez on August 11, 2022 at 12:15 am

    I just bought a 60t crank and a 12t sprocket on Amazon, because I’m curious to see how fast I’ll go. I’m still waiting for it to come in the mail, pray for me⚙️😂



  30. Purus Piaculum on August 11, 2022 at 12:17 am

    I started riding fixed almost 40 years ago and generally ~75 GI with a 165mm crank has been the best compromise year round in all weather conditions allowing me to avg 18 mph on a 50 mile ride, even as an old fart. spinning=winning



  31. Jozhua Bautista on August 11, 2022 at 12:17 am

    most of aero dynamic builds dont know how to use a drop bar



  32. LvHydro on August 11, 2022 at 12:18 am

    I’ve ridden Fixed since high school daily as my main means of transportation for many years now [im 26 now] and have always gone with my 52/13 ratio. keep in mind im only 5’9 and weigh 140 pounds on a wet day. I love this ratio especially on flat land and down hill. Up hills are always a tough one but after some weeks you get used to it.



  33. danny m on August 11, 2022 at 12:19 am

    If I want to wheelie and I have trouble raising the front wheel should I get a chainring with less teeth or a cog with more teeth ?(I’m on a budget)



  34. Joe Gomes on August 11, 2022 at 12:20 am

    Knee pain,u got your grandpa’s shoes on,duh



  35. Pablo lombardi on August 11, 2022 at 12:21 am

    I use my fixed gear bike to ride long distances every day, with a few traffic lights, so bigger gear ratios work for me, even knowing that I have some very high hills in that long travel make me feel less exhausted having not to spin alot.



  36. Beater Bike Channel MFGA on August 11, 2022 at 12:23 am

    42-18. No I don’t want the blindfold. Truthfully I live in an area with four 10% hills all linked. Great resistance braking practice going down but climbing needs spinning.



  37. RSTJ X3J on August 11, 2022 at 12:24 am

    This is exactly the video I needed to see.

    My former manual bike was should I say, frustrating me because I was topping out max gear and wanted more to allow myself to push myself more.

    Well, recently got an ebike 250W and once again a little disappointed at how quick it cuts out on assist.

    So, I have already changed the seat for comfort, the handle bars to sit up more, and even changed the chain set all from my old bike to have a baseline.

    The wheels are bigger, so +2 on the chain set, but I am running a rear 16t on the rear and before my smallest was 14t so would assume the same.

    I have just ordered a complete crank with 58t and plan to place a 10-12t on the rear cog once I can find one suitable.

    With the motor, should assist me on hills, and allow me to be like you enjoying riding at a fair pace, comfortable cadence and have the best of all three of my worlds, the old, up cycled and the new and modified.

    Ebike 42/16
    Manual 48/14
    Current 48/16
    Next will be 58/10 or 12 ideally 10

    I recall the differences in hearing from being a biker and changing the sprockets, but in the opposite manner. 3 teeth more on rear, and a drop of a tooth at front. Acceleration was made, wanting to lift 1-3 gears on throttle.

    So it’s interesting to be playing around now on single gearing front and rear on push bike.

    Thanks for sharing.



  38. Eduardo Benassi on August 11, 2022 at 12:24 am

    I’ve been working as a delivery since the pandemic started and the perfect ratio for me is 48/13. I also installed a rear brake because riding for 5 hours with just straps is dumb.



  39. Jewell Master on August 11, 2022 at 12:25 am

    This is not an accurate test at all. You can’t just suddenly switch to a higher gear for the first time ever, and test it by going for one ride. You need time to adjust your body to the bigger gear ratio first.



  40. Bboy GOES on August 11, 2022 at 12:27 am

    Just did a huge jump from 53/18 too 53/13 …
    I was maxing out at 22 mph before and know 26 mph. This isn’t my average speed, just what I’m maxing out at



  41. Jæ Š on August 11, 2022 at 12:28 am

    Increased ratio is only useful after also finding a corresponding margin gain that can make use of it.

    For example: lighter rotating mass, increased leveraged or stronger rider.

    Also: freewheel > fixie



  42. #joseph_the_human on August 11, 2022 at 12:30 am

    Riding a bike with loafers on? ..hella suspect.



  43. Amaroq Starwind on August 11, 2022 at 12:30 am

    You ought to try out an oval chainring. Preferably one that’s in the correct orientation, unlike the infamous Biopace.

    That, or become a cyborg.



  44. max marrero on August 11, 2022 at 12:30 am

    Now I have strong steel legs, i ride my bike at a ratio 4 : 1 as my main gear with ease , i love it. 👌



  45. Kaneohe Boyz on August 11, 2022 at 12:31 am

    50:14



  46. Jeff Lilyea on August 11, 2022 at 12:31 am

    I ride 4619. 65y.o. nice to knees



  47. NewTube Channel on August 11, 2022 at 12:31 am

    After refitting the bike you need to train for a couple of weeks at least before you can make a fair comparison.
    A big gear definitely makes you stronger and faster. Then try doing that going uphill and you will find out how much mastery you really have of hill climbing. It’s a question of scale. More of the momentum is carried through the drive of a fixed gear bike. A bigger gear gives a nonlinear gain of speed.
    But if the reason for not doing it is because you will bust your knees then your technique is utterly flawed. You shouldn’t be putting any amount of strain on your knees (be it a big, small or reasonably sized gear).



  48. An Dy on August 11, 2022 at 12:32 am

    46:20 is my tooth combo. My bike commute is 50 flat ang 50 hills. And i cant bomb downhill bc of traffic. So, spinning to win is for me.



  49. Gaboom on August 11, 2022 at 12:35 am

    When i bought my first fixie few months back, i though that 49/13 is a normal gear, been popping wheelies with ease, till i saw this video and now i know that 49/13 is big.



  50. Hey Vsause Micheal Here on August 11, 2022 at 12:37 am

    What’s the name of that chainring?