Long time biker but new to the fixie craze. I am digging my new (old) bike revived as a fixed gear machine. So much so that I am going to attempt my anual MS 150 on it. I am currently able to struggle up all the toughest hills in my area with a 42/16. But it is a bit lacking on the flats in the speed department.
The MS 150 I do is on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and is pancake flat. This weekend I was playing around with my multi speed bike and figured that a 53 with a 15 or 16 was about right for me on the flats with slight inclines or small hills for keeping it between 17 and 20MPH. That is about the speed my flat land friends I visit in VA maintain for the MS 150.
So on to my question. Does it ultimatly matter how you come up with the gearing you want as long as you get what you want? Or do I need to change both the front and the rear? Not sure the numbers are exact, but for the sake of argement is a 53/16 the same as a 50/15 or a 47/14 or a 42/13? If there is a difference why; and is it better to arrive at that gearing with a smaller chainring and smaller sprocket or bigger chainring and bigger sprocket? I currently have a 39, 42 and 53 for that particular crank so it would be nice to swap my 42 for the 53 and be done.
Bonus question. I have an ENO hub on the bike (vertical rear dropouts). I have yet to need to flip it over and use my freewheel. It happens to be a 17 tooth. Anybody have any experiance in knowing how many teeth difference you can take up the slack on an ENO hub?