What Are Skid Patches?

skid patch bicycle tyre

If you’re new to tracklocross, or fixed geared bikes in general, you might be wondering why people talk about skid patches and what they are. To put it simply, a skid patch is the part of your tyre that is in contact with the ground when you’re skidding. If you want to find out more, then read on.

You can count your skid patches because your feet will be in the same place every time you skid. Your cranks will be horizontal, with your back foot pushing down and your front foot pulling up. You can also learn to do this with your opposite foot forward for a bit of ambidextrous skidding.

While your feet will be in the same position, your back tyre may not always be in the same spot, and with a bit of basic numeracy skills, you can work out how many points based on the gearing you decide to run.

The gearing you run will tell you what your gear ratio is. Think of your chainring and cog as a numerator and a denominator. Your chainring will be the numerator. Your rear cog will be the denominator.

You then try and simplify the fraction.

Once you’ve simplified the fraction, you’ll have the number of skid patches you have by looking at the denominator. If you can skid with either foot forward, then you can double the number of skid patches if the numerator is odd. If the numerator is even, you’ll only have the number of skid patches that the denominator gives you.

41/17 is going to simply to 41/17 so you’ll have 17 skid patches but you’ll be able to double the number to 34 if you can skid ambidextrously.

48/12 will come down to 4/1, here you’ll only have 1 skid patch.

Skid patch calculator

Skid patch chart from bikecalc.com

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