What is the Ideal Gear for a Single Speed Bike?
Well, the answer to this question certainly depends on a number of variables. Will you be racing on the track? If so the gear will need to be pretty high. Will you be riding on the road with cycling buddies in the winter when it is cold and messy? If so the gear should probably be between 63 inches and 70 inches. Or will you be riding off-road in the winter when it is cold or messy? If so then the gear should probably be somewhere around 60 inches.
Single speed bikes can have coaster brakes, be fixed gears, or have a freewheel built in. Regardless of what kind of single speed we are talking about the above gear recommendations hold true. It is usually not all that difficult to update your bike so it is geared correctly for the type of riding you do during the time of year you ride. Simply go online and find a gear chart for your bike’s wheel size and look for the combination of chainring and cog that you can use. The larger the chainring (front sprocket), then the larger the cog (rear sprocket) if you want to keep the gear constant. So you can have a 65 inch gear with a large chainring and large cog, or have that same gear with a small chainring and small cog. It’s your call.
During the winter months you should be seeking to spin on your bike a lot. That means move the pedals around quickly without having to put a lot of pressure on the pedals. You will stay warmer riding this way. There will be less wind chill riding this way. And your pedal motion will improve riding this way.
If I had a single speed 29er that was set up with a freewheel and front and rear disk brakes I would probably modify it so the gear was 60 inches and the rear wheel was a fixed gear cog. I would eliminate the rear disk brake since when riding a fixed gear bike you only need the front brake for emergencies. And I would make sure my riding position with regard to the handlebars was similar to the position I ride on a road bike.