Looking Out To Sea

Lower gear on Fuji for Edinburgh's hills

The stock Fuji Track Classic comes with a 46/16 gear ratio, which works out at about 76 gear inches. This is pretty good on a flat road. Riding across the work car park or along George Street is very relaxing. What it’s not great for is Edinburgh’s sharp inclines, particularly without a head start. Getting the initial forward movement on the hill in such a high gear is pretty harsh!

The solution then was to adjust the gear to something a bit lower. Replacing the 16 tooth cog with an 18T produces 67 inches which is a substantial step down. There’s always a trade off in these things and there were two here. The first of course is that a gear which is good for climbing is not good for descending. I must learn to spin faster (though this is always true). The second consideration is chain length since altering the cog size shifts everything around. The move to 18T is the most I can manage with this chain; anything larger would require an extra link in the chain to compensate.

Finally in the process of putting it all together I learned the difference between a fixed hub and a freewheel hub since my bike has one of each. On the fixed side there’s a slightly larger diameter forward-thread to accept the cog and then a smaller diameter section which is reverse threaded. The cog screws in “forward” and the lockring screws in “backward” to prevent the cog coming undone with a hard backpressure.

The other side has only a forward-threaded section: there is no room for a lockring. Opinions differ as to whether this is a bad thing or not. If the cog is wound tightly enough then it shouldn’t be, and each pedal stroke under normal use will tighten the cog further. Personally I would prefer the safety of a lockring and I would have put my new 18T cog on the side which fits the lockring… except I couldn’t get the old 16T off first! It’s had a lot of hard pushing and is quite firmly locked in place.