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Single speed or geared bikes better ?

Old 04-26-21, 07:40 PM
  #1  
utku1985
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Single speed or geared bikes better ?

Also vintage or modern bikes I m looking to buy a bike . Looking at cinelli single speed ones how good are they ?
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Old 04-26-21, 07:50 PM
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Bikes aren't better or worse because of the number of gears they have. They are better or worse because of the quality of frame material, construction, design, and components. Cinelli makes good bikes, both geared and singlespeed. I like their Tutto Plus singlespeed, because of the tire clearance and the ability to run a derailleur if you want to. Available in June, supposedly.
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Old 04-26-21, 08:13 PM
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I own both single-speed and geared bikes. Agree with Rolla on this one. Looking at this thread:

https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...-possible.html

If you're new to riding, and interested in comfort, it's my hunch that a single speed bike will be a disappointment, assuming typical hills, headwinds, cargo, etc. Multi speed gearing is a really great invention, and makes a bike a lot more versatile. With that said, there are certainly folks who love their single speed bikes and swear that they ride them everywhere.
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Old 04-26-21, 09:53 PM
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Seriously? There is no better/worse answer to your question.
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Old 04-26-21, 10:22 PM
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Do you live in a flat or hilly/mountainous area? The question might answer itself.
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Old 04-27-21, 03:10 AM
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I was road cycling for 30 years then bought my first single speed bike, mostly out of curiosity. It instantly became my favorite bike. What surprised me was my average speed didn't really decrease and hills/headwinds didn't hurt like I thought they would. It does make you a stronger rider no doubt. After awhile I wondered why I even had bikes with multiple gears. Very simple to clean and maintain and you don't have to deal with tuning. If I lived in the mountains it would be different.

The bad part for me is the limited selection because I want road geometry and bottle mounts. Not track geometry, no bottle mounts or a lack of brake mounts. But being a vintage bike kind of guy the Wabi Special was perfect.

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Old 04-27-21, 04:36 AM
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What kind of riding are you planning on doing? Very different answers if you're planning on riding around a bike path around a lake vs. riding up and down steep grades, for example.

Tell us a little bit about what you want to do and where you want to do it and we might be able to give you some insight.
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Old 04-27-21, 08:08 AM
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They used to call those "track bikes" back in the day when I worked in a bike shop. Far better than a single speed Schwinn but really a specialty bike. The ones I remember were direct drive with no freehub so the cranks were always turning when the wheels turned.

I remember owning a one speed bike and thought what a great improvement when I got my first "10 speed bike", a Fiorelli racing bike. It was far easier to ride because I could usually find a comfortable gear for the terrain. I'd never go back to a one speed bike.
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Old 04-27-21, 08:46 AM
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Depends on the terrain and weather conditions. More hills means you need more gears.

If you ride in adverse weather conditions, it might be better to go with single gear just from a maintenance point of view. I rode last week when it was a bit slushy and snowy and my geared bike became a single speed bike when the entire cassette was like a solid block of ice.
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Old 04-27-21, 08:51 AM
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There is no "better" type of bike without context. The best bike is one that fits your needs, budget, and quality concerns.

For me, at my 50+ age and creaky knees, multiple speeds are better, and a primary concern. 30 years ago that wouldn't necessarily been true.
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Old 04-27-21, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
What kind of riding are you planning on doing? Very different answers if you're planning on riding around a bike path around a lake vs. riding up and down steep grades, for example.

Tell us a little bit about what you want to do and where you want to do it and we might be able to give you some insight.
my main goal is fitness workout purpose , I never used a road bike I donít know if I will be comfortable for me , I had car accident back in 2017 I have herniated disks like almost always I have some discomfort on my neck or back . I have used specialized 2021 roll sport after checking reviews that is the one of the most comfy hybrid upright sitting position and step through so my fiancť can use it , but somehow itís too heavy for me and saddle hurts my back bone even saddle is very comfy on this bike . I m looking for something light and I live in New York City there is bike path but also regular city streets with some bumps cuts on the road itís New York and also when I go boardwalk itís wood road wood bricks old school . Most bikes paths and some hills will be my ride do I need shocks or it doesnít make difference ?
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Old 04-27-21, 09:44 AM
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Since you have some comfort issues, it may be a better idea to get a bike fit before buying a bike if that's within your budget. For example, if you're planning on spending $1,500 on the bike, spend $300 of it on a decent bike fit up front, then spend the $1,000 on the bike, spend the $200 on saddle, stem, and bars; it'll fit better, you'll be more comfortable, and therefore you'll ride it more than an uncomfortable $1,500 bike. If your budget is below $700, then it might be better to get the bike, then get a bike fit down the road. Most bike fitters will help you select a bike that fits your needs.

For fitness/workout purposes, I would lean towards a nice and light fixed gear/single speed bike. Seems like you're not an avid cyclist yet and the simplicity of a single speed can help in getting you out and riding more than a geared bike. Some beginners don't feel comfortable shifting. I've seen many of my family members refuse to shift to an easier gear up a hill many times. If you're already familiar with shifting, adjusting, and maintaining your geared bike, then no reason to not go with a geared bike.

I don't know how hilly your area is, but I'm in a relatively flat area(500 ft elevation gain over 20 miles). I loved riding my fixed gear(sold this year to fund a new road bike), and I will probably get another one in the next few years.
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Old 04-27-21, 10:05 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by utku1985 View Post
Also vintage or modern bikes I m looking to buy a bike . Looking at cinelli single speed ones how good are they ?
It all depends of your fitness level and experience...A strong and experienced rider can ride a singlespeed or fixed gear bike just about anywhere where a geared bike can go...A weak rider or a rider who is just starting out should start out on a geared bike to build some basic fitness before moving on to a singlespeed or fixed gear bike.
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Old 04-27-21, 10:40 AM
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Here is my new Roadster middleweight. This is the third bike these wheels have been on. The front dyno drum has done 26,000 miles, including two tours for 8,100 miles at 120 lbs.

The SA 3 speed was designed for this. Still nothing better at what it does. Moderate uphills and up to 29 mph downhill, if 48 to 86 GIs. SS as geared the usual 65 GI or so, wizzes out at 20 mph. Ok in the city, but rather dumb on the highway.
Better yet is my SA XL-RD5w. With 33 to 86 GI I can climb most any hill and it's very peppy this way. I did have it 45 to 115 or 46 to 117 GIs for 8,000+ miles. Struggled up hill, but zoomed down one hill at near 46 mph and still wizzed out. ALL my longest day rides were with this. I love this hub and DRUM brakes.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 04-27-21 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 04-27-21, 11:19 AM
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A bike's quality isn't related to its number of gears. Single speed versus geared bikes fill different needs.

On a 100 mile road race, you'll find everyone is using geared road bikes, because that's the best tool for that job.

A NYC messenger is often riding a single speed, because that's a pretty good tool for that job. Nimble, no fuss, light weight, minimal.

In a velodrome track you'll see single speed bikes with steep gearing, but you won't see hills, and the whole race is over pretty quickly. Gear changes would slow them down.

A single speed can be used in hilly terrain, but it's often not considered as well suited for extended climbs and descents. A geared bike is preferable in those circumstances. But if you're bringing your bike on a subway, and spending your time weaving between cars and track-standing at traffic lights, a single speed is probably ideal.

You haven't said how you intend to ride; to what purpose you are putting this trusty steed.
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Old 04-27-21, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
In a velodrome track you'll see single speed bikes with steep gearing, but you won't see hills, and the whole race is over pretty quickly. Gear changes would slow them down.
Track bikes have one gear because you're not allowed to use anything other than a brakeless fixie with one gear.

Multi-speed would be a significant advantage in many events, and some of the shorter events are actually where this is most true, since they have to make slow or standing starts: gear selection is a big compromise between acceleration and top-end stride.
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Old 04-27-21, 12:19 PM
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Single speed or geared bikes better?
Yes.
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Old 04-27-21, 12:45 PM
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The answer is annoyingly simple. If you have mountains, big hills or sometimes even difficult overpasses, it's better (much easier) to have a gear that you can drop into. Also that top end gear is handy if you want to hang with the faster than ordinary riders.

On the other hand I can hop on my single speed any time, wearing anything, because I could enclose the whole chain. I also have no expectation of riding it faster than 18-20 or setting personal records downhill so I can enjoy a relaxed ride more often.

There's not much else to it.
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Old 04-27-21, 02:11 PM
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I share the sentiment. There's just something pleasant about hopping on a bare bones bike, like being a kid again. A single speed can be any kind of bike you want to start with. Mine is basically an urban comfort cruiser. It's well suited to where I live. I can barely crawl up the steepest hill that I know about, and reach about 18 mph before the cadence becomes uncomfortable. Within about 10 miles of town, the terrain is pretty flat, then it gets quite hilly, and I have a geared bike for longer rides.

I don't know if this is your situation or not, but there's a school of thought in towns like NYC, that a bike with fewer cables and complications is less likely to get shredded. My daughter goes to a large university, and rides a single speed for this reason. The same is true for bikes that are likely to be neglected, abused, stored outdoors, etc.


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Old 04-27-21, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by utku1985 View Post
my main goal is fitness workout purpose , I never used a road bike I donít know if I will be comfortable for me , I had car accident back in 2017 I have herniated disks like almost always I have some discomfort on my neck or back . I have used specialized 2021 roll sport after checking reviews that is the one of the most comfy hybrid upright sitting position and step through so my fiancť can use it , but somehow itís too heavy for me and saddle hurts my back bone even saddle is very comfy on this bike . I m looking for something light and I live in New York City there is bike path but also regular city streets with some bumps cuts on the road itís New York and also when I go boardwalk itís wood road wood bricks old school . Most bikes paths and some hills will be my ride do I need shocks or it doesnít make difference ?

That's an interesting question as to whether or not an upright position is actually bad for you. I hate to say this, but I think you'll get a lot more insight into what works for your back by trying out a bunch of different kinds of bikes than talking to us.

Cheap shocks are pretty worthless, especially if the weight of the bike bothers you. One thing to consider when you have back problems is that actually carrying a heavy bike can be a problem, so some of this might depend on whether you have to store it up a flight of stairs or something. If that's the case, it's probably a matter of the simpler being the better.
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Old 04-27-21, 03:15 PM
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I'm 61, and I ride about 4000 miles a year on my three singlespeeds -- on road, trail, and gravel. I've raced singlespeed MTB, CX, and BMX. It's not always the right tool for the job, but that's part of the fun -- they make bike riding less about the bike and more about the riding. While I own and appreciate geared bikes as well, I think every well-rounded rider should have at least one singlespeed in their quiver.
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Old 04-27-21, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
Bare bones!

I was once on a ride and made a pit stop at a little store. Ran into a couple of guys riding single speeds. I asked them about the attraction, they mentioned a few things. One being riding totally simple, no this or that. They left then I left a couple minutes after only to find them on the side of the road with a flat. As I rode by, they asked if they could borrow my pump. You don't bring a pump on your rides? No! A little too simple.

Do go too bare bones out there!
Yup, the little black bag on the rack is my sag bag. Everything for fixing a flat.
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Old 04-27-21, 04:46 PM
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I've recently considered converting a Peloton to single speed but the immediate issue is I live in the hills. It would be a nice change on the flats (MUPS) but the 2 X 10 in the current group is just more practical for where I live.
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Old 04-27-21, 07:24 PM
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All the bikes! Geared and single speed,

I do like my Cinelli Mash Work, it is a fantastic single speed. But I also really like my geared bikes as well. Get what works best for you and your riding and your area.
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Old 04-27-21, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
I'm 61, and I ride about 4000 miles a year on my three singlespeeds -- on road, trail, and gravel. I've raced singlespeed MTB, CX, and BMX. It's not always the right tool for the job, but that's part of the fun -- they make bike riding less about the bike and more about the riding. While I own and appreciate geared bikes as well, I think every well-rounded rider should have at least one singlespeed in their quiver.
Yeah, Iím liking me some single speed once again. Not sure why I put gears on a couple of years back.

Anyway, the last nine months Iíve had both bikes set up that way. It changes my state of mind. I enjoy addressing the challenges of hills and headwinds with position, effort and attitude, not lower gears. Iíve also just been having a lot of fun riding like a kid, so to speak.

I have increased my typical ride length, which may relate to fun and may also be related to the relative comfort of spending more time out of the saddle. Bear in mind, my rides are just fun and conditioning. No races, no touring and no groceries. Gears are awesome for so many purposes, just not the ones I need at the moment.

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