My FARTS Adventure Racing teammate is an advocate of bikes with only one gear ratio.
Or is it?
From an Adventure Racer, Mike:
A single speed will not only make you a stronger rider, it will improve your peddle stroke, improve your bike handling skills and teach you how to use momentum. Over all, your riding will improve in many ways. However, the most important thing is that it’s just plain fun.
Riding a single speed is more a frame of mind then a piece of equipment. I ride a Gary Fisher Rig with 29 inch wheels. I never use an odometer or heart rate monitor when I ride it. I call it pure riding – the effort is measured by feel not electronics. The direct power, from peddle to the rear tire is the difference.
Single speeds, especially with disk brakes are the only way to go in the winter. Geared bikes just get destroyed in the mud and wet. The single speed doesn’t have any of those problems and clean up is simple – just hose it down. Repairs also are simple.
When you first start on a single speed, it may take a while to determine the gear ratio that is best for you. This will depend on your fitness, skill level and the terrain. I started with a 32 X 18 but now normally ride a 33X16. When you first start, you may have trouble keeping up with your geared friends. Over time, you will find that they have trouble keeping up with you. The only place I feel at a disadvantage is on a downhill road section. Then I have to really work on drafting and high peddle cadence, another bonus. …