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Looking for the gearing on your fixed gear that will best be suited for the terrain you ride and your riding style? Here’s the Fixed Gear Gearing Guide.
To find the gearing that’s best for you, we need to understand some gearing basics. Gearing is measured in what’s called gear inches. The higher the gear inches, the harder it will be to pedal but the faster you’ll go. To increase your gear inches, increase the number of teeth on your chainring or decrease the number of teeth on your cog. Tire size will also affect gearing a little bit.
Gearing will influence your riding style by affecting your cadence and your bike’s resistance.
Your ideal gearing will depend on your strength, the terrain you ride, whether you like to spin or mash, whether you’re riding with brakes or not, how rough of surfaces you’ll be riding, how much weight you’ll be carrying, the list goes on. There’s no one correct gearing for one person, let alone everybody. Gearing is highly subjective and whatever you think is the best ratio IS your best ratio.
Generally, people are most comfortable and efficient pedaling between 75-90 revolutions per minute (RPM). That’s about one and a half to two pedal strokes every second. I recommend choosing a gearing that’s low enough to get you up the steepest hills you’ll ride but is as high as you can go without having to get off and walk your bike.
50-70 gear inches is low gearing and good if you mostly do climbing or carry a lot of weight. 75-85ish gear inches is medium gearing and is the sweet spot for a lot of people. 75-85 gear inches are good for 50/50 climbing and flat riding or mostly flat riding. 90-120 gear inches is high gearing. This is for racing and trying to break records. If you’re just riding around town, don’t go higher than 90 gear inches since too high a gearing can lead to injury with knee injuries being the most common.
The best way to find which gearing is best for your needs and riding style is to try out different gearing. Use the gear inch calculator to find out what your gearing is, so you can have a reference point. Buy some cheap cogs from a friendly bike shop, swap them out, and have a blast crushing the terrain on your fixed gear.