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April 18th, 2011 [print] Go to comments

After a year and a half of riding my SS road bike, and repeatedly singing the praises of riding with just one gear, I’ve decided it’s time for a geared road bike.

I love Manhattan which, ironically enough, is derived from the old Lenape Native American word Manna-hata, meaning "island of many hills", yet is now damn near ruler flat.  To ride there for the rest of your life, you’ll need exactly one gear.  Columbia, MO, on the other hand, is nothing but hills.  One visiting rider from Wisconsin once said to me at a stop light, "Around every corner is another hill!"  He was right.  Occasionally, you may be lucky enough to spend a minute or so on a flat section of road, but it won’t be long before you’re doing 45mph down a large hill, or climbing up an even steeper one at 8mph.

I run a fairly high gear ratio one my singlespeed so I can enjoy the descents, but it makes climbing a huge pain.  Going to a slightly lower ratio makes all my climbs somewhat easier, but I end up coasting down all the hills.  As a speed freak, the coasting part sucks, and as a guy who’s about to turn 35, the hard climbs are beginning to wear me out more and more.  So, the only viable option is to have a geared bike for the bulk of my riding, while keeping the SS around for my NYC trips, or shorter rides around town when I feel the need to blast my quads.

I’ve spent some time working out a decent build, and plan to have something ready to ride as soon as possible.  It’ll be based around a generic Chinese-sourced FM015 carbon frame–do your research, they’re loved by all who take the plunge into no-name bike land.  I’ll be using that extra Sram Force crankset I bought a few months back at ridiculous discount, as well as other Sram drivetrain components, and some wheels I’ll build up myself.

Lots of photos and info will follow once I begin piecing it all together, so stay tuned.

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