Best gearing for 26" single speed

May 10, 2016
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Built a schwinn for my dad. 46/22 with sturmey 2 speed, 26 x 2.1 tires. Ok for me, no OK for him. Too steep on regular drive, no fun in overdrive. Ordered a 23t cog to keep the schwinn chainring.
Hmm. See again, gearing is so individual. The only 22t rear cog on any of my bikes is paired to a 65t chainring.... 180mm crank arm tho..
 
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Apr 1, 2014
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Crank arm length makes a big difference for me. Picked up a "planet transit" bike a couple years ago. Full size 26" bike rode odd when I parted it found out it had a 165mm OPC.:p
 
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I have a stripped down cruiser with alloy bars, a road saddle, 1.5 tires on 26 inch steel rims, steel 165 crank arms and the old Christe toe clips. It is fairly light, considering what it is. With 44 x 22 gearing I can climb a 6 block grade that varies from 5 to 10 percent. I have to stand. Anything steeper I have to push. I ride 2 different trails on my mountain bike that have a three quarters of a mile climb and the grade varies from 10 to 13 percent and that is steep enough to give most people problems. I use 22 x 34 or 36 to climb these with 27.5 tires and 175 crank arms. 10 percent is getting steep but on the cruiser it is paved and the steepest part is less than 2 blocks. 44 x 22 works well on the flats but you have problems keeping up, but I mostly ride alone. Another considerstion is wind. I have ridden along the North Sea and that was windy, hard and unplesant. I also rode the Great Planes and that can be windy. I live near Lake Superior and the local bike path can be too windy for a single speed old cruiser, even with lower gearing. Tonight here there is a high wind warning with 70 mph winds on the Lake. They are predicting that power will be out. I am 72 so my legs are far from what they were. My advice is less hills than I have go higher, good legs and no hills a little higher still. If you have a heavier bike and steeper hills I would recommend the same 44 x 22 to start with.
 
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Jul 25, 2016
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I was riding tonight and this came to mind. 26 x 2.125 tires, 175 crank. parked it on the center front ring and tried different rear gears from dead stop and rode a while seated. Considering I usually ride standing this was different.

For me, 38/17 seemed to be the best all around easy cruising - anyone can jump on and ride gear. The build I have planned will likely get a banana seat.

If you plan on long rides, youll spin to cruise, but its a nice easy pace.

59 gear inch.
 
Jun 13, 2019
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Bringing back this old thread.

I'm running 26x2.4 big knobby, high rolling resistance, 27.25" tall tires on my Nexus-4 equipped, 35 pound klunkruiser, with a 39 front and 22 rear, for something near 48, 60, 72, 88.5 gear inches.

I don't quite get full leg extension sitting down, and I might be a little wimpy haven not ridden much until recently, but I don't think that the four speed is optimized with this high of a gear ratio.

I'm leaning towards dropping down to a 33 tooth in front, which would put me around 41, 51, 61, 75.
I'd use 1st gear far less often, probably staying in 2nd for most starts and general coasting around. But I believe this will let me make use of all four gears more often.

Now I'm also on the verge of building up my old '97 Kona AA with multiple wheelsets. At least one single speed, and a three speed Nexus. Possibly an 8-speed down the road.
This is a little trickier situation, as there will be no chain adjustment. And I'd like to use the same half-link chain for whatever wheelsets.
The 172.5 Sugino Mighty 900 will be setup with one 32t chainring.
I'm thinking 18t on the rear, which would put me at 48 gear inches on the off-road SS setup with 2.35 tires. A little low. But with knobbies and the potential to climb a little. I hope it would be ok.
The road and trail setup Nexus-3 would probably benefit more from a 16t rear, which would give me 39, 53, 72 gear inches.
I'm undecided. Maybe 17t rear would be best. Or 42 and 22, or 20.
 
Jun 13, 2019
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Chart was posted on page 2, but this one has additional information, starts at 9 instead of 11
View attachment 106037
Here's the other one:View attachment 106038
That's a good quick reference, but is of course assuming that all 26" tires are 26 inches tall.

Since I don't know the exact formula, I just used Sheldon Brown's calculator.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html
And rounded off to the "27 inch nominal" for the 26x2.4 Rock Hawks, which gave a slightly higher gear inches reading than the 26x2.35 option, because there was no 26x2.4 listed.
 
Apr 1, 2014
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When I built up my Schwinn Cruiser four I thought the stock 46 t front sprocket (original) and 22t rear sprocket was too tall geared on the street.
1st gear (direct) 46tooth/22tooth= 2 wheel revs per crank rev x 26"= 52 gear inches
2nd gear (1.244 overdrive) 52 gear inches x 1.244 = 65 gear inches
3rd gear (1.500 overdrive) 52 gear inches x 1.500 = 78 gear inches
4th gear (1.843 overdrive) 52 gear inches x 1.843 = 96 gear inches

So I changed to a 36 t front sprocket from a wallyworld Schwinn 20" kids bike.
using 36 t front sprocket (kids 20")and 22t rear sprocket (original)
1st gear (direct) 36tooth/22tooth= 1.63 wheel revs per crank rev x 26"= 42 gear inches
2nd gear (1.244 overdrive) 42 gear inches x 1.244 = 52 gear inches
3rd gear (1.500 overdrive) 42 gear inches x 1.500 = 63 gear inches
4th gear (1.843 overdrive) 42 gear inches x 1.843 = 77 gear inches

As I rode more, this combo seemed to low geared for highway cruising, so when I rebuilt the bike I replaced the 36 t with a 49 t front sprocket (from Ross 24") and 22t rear sprocket (original) and I also added 1/2" longer crank for more stroke.
1st gear (direct) 49tooth/22tooth= 2.23 wheel revs per crank rev x 26"= 58 gear inches
2nd gear (1.244 overdrive) 58 gear inches x 1.244 = 72 gear inches
3rd gear (1.500 overdrive) 58 gear inches x 1.500 = 87 gear inches
4th gear (1.843 overdrive) 58 gear inches x 1.843 = 107 gear inches

Now for me the bike is a tad to tall geared for a couple steep hills, but I can peddle it with a little more effort. Worth it for me to have the high gear cruise comfort.
 
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