48/16 Gear Ratio! (Read This First)

48/16 Gear Ratio

The gear ratio helps determine the performance of a machine, helps change its direction, and increases its speed.

There are many gear ratios you can choose from, which makes it tricky to make the right choice.

A slight difference in gear ratio can affect how easily you can accelerate and reach maximum speed or restrict you from reaching top speed in less time.

Since gear ratio determines bike functionality, choosing the right one would be choosing a great bike. 

48/16 is a high gear ratio normally used in racing bikes and can reach up to 30mph within a minimal cadence (revolution per minute). A bike with a 48/16 gear ratio requires a super strong and athletic rider since pedaling can be very hard unless you have a good spinning technique and strength.

What Is a 48/16 Gear Ratio?

48/16 Gear Ratio

48/16 is a high gear ratio written as 3.0 in decimal or 3:1 in ratio form. 3:1 means it takes gear A (driver shaft) 3 revolutions to complete one revolution of gear B (driver wheel).

If the drive shaft moves at a 300 rpm cadence, the speed of the drive wheel will be 100rpm. It can take you to top speed in just a few seconds.

Smaller gears are harder to peddle and require a rider to exert a lot of force which can result in mashing rather than spinning most of the time.

48/16 is a small gear ratio that ranges from 79-80 inches. This range helps you develop neuromuscular coordination and speed, while bigger gear ratios assist in strength development.

Your bicycle’s gear ratio can determine its speed, how quickly it can get to top speed, and how hard it is to work to get to top speed.

While lower gear can pick you up to top speed, it requires you to spin too much to attain. You will require a higher gear ratio to reach a speed of even 30mph, but you need leg strength.

Is The 48/16 Gear Ratio Good?

It all depends on what good is for you; that is what you prefer, the terrain you live on, and your riding ability and strength.

A high gear ratio requires more strength to peddle and skills to control when it reaches a top speed. But 48/16 is a good choice if you have this skill set.

It is a small or high ratio gear normally used on flat lands because it can pose some problems when approaching a hill.

When you approach a hill, people most times would have to walk their way up because they don’t have the strength to mash their way up.

With this gear ratio, you will be mashing other than spinning, but you will just hit the peddle once to get almost three times the speed on a lower gear ratio.

What Is The Best Gear Ratio for Skidding?

Skidding is not solely dependent on gear ratios; the position of your body, the condition of the ground, and skid patches are other factors that aid skidding.

The smaller the gear ratio, the easier it is to skid, but it will require you to exert force to reach top speed.

That is, gear ratios between 2.7 to 3. 42/26 gear ratio is what people usually prefer to use for skidding because it can take a long while skidding.

The position you assume while skidding makes skidding easier and more efficient.

Pressing down hard with your leg other than locking your legs together and pulling your weight backward can be helpful.

But overall is; this practice skidding on wet floors until you become a pro before you hit the road.

Does Higher Gear Ratio Mean Faster Bikes?

A higher gear ratio does not mean faster bikes. You can reach high speed even when using a lower gear ratio.

For a bike riding at a speed of 20mph, a lower gear will require a cyclist to pedal harder or faster with less force, but a higher gear ratio would require a rider to peddle less hard and faster but with a greater force, even leading to the rider standing while riding.

A higher gear ratio is normally a gear that is hardest to pedal.

While a higher cadence on a high gear can take you to further distance, prolonged standing position and exertion of force can affect the joint and might have an after effect.

It can even lead to damaging the knee or muscle fatigue. 

Unless you want to use a bike with high gear for short distance races like 200m, it is advisable to use low gear for long distances since it will reduce the risk of knee problems.

Compared to a higher gear, a lower gear can take you to shorter distances even with a higher cadence than a higher gear. Check table 1 to see the comparison.

What is the Best Fixie Gear Ratio?

A gear ratio ranging from 2.7 to 2.8 is ideal for a single-speed or fixed-gear bike.

Fixie normally uses a 2.75 (44/16) gear ratio, but while others prefer higher, it is always your choice.

When choosing a gear ratio for a fixed bike, it is important to consider certain factors like personal preference, leg strength, or the intended terrain.

As the name implies, a single speed or a fixed bike is just one gear, which means one single gear ratio.

This means you won’t have any other option to choose from, so when choosing this kind of bike, it’s important to consider many factors.

It would be best to consider factors like the cadence, the rate of acceleration, and the speed you can get to on your bike before making a choice.

As noted earlier, the higher the gear ratio, the harder it is to accelerate and the lower the cadence, but the easier to maintain and keep speed.

While a lower ratio allows us to ramp up the rpm (cadence) to as high as 100 but still have an opposite result of a lower speed, This can radically change our mood, especially since it is a single gear and there is no other option to choose.

You can experiment with riding through the above ratio to see which one would be right for you.

Changing gear (cog) would cost you about $11-15, depending on the type, and the good news is you can change it yourself.

GearGain ratio 60rpmMph80 rpmMph100rpmMph120rpmMph
Very high9.422.329.737.144.5
Medium 5.212.516.62125
Very low1.

Table 1: gear variation and speed reached per cadence

Final Thoughts

The gear ratio you decide to use on your bike should be a personal decision. While some people prefer a high gear ratio, others love to cruise on a lower ratio.

48/16 is a gear ratio a lot of people would choose, but it is what serves you you should choose. If you find it hard to choose, get the help of an expert.

Josh Matthews

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *