Knowing What Gear You're in...

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
I seem to remember a thread a little while ago in which one poster was lamenting their inability to know which gear they were in.

Assuming that wasn't all an odd dream (and dreaming about this place would, I think, be odd) the poster of that, and perhaps other people might be interested to know that there's a Sora lever with an dial of some sort that tells you where the levers have shifted to. I've not seen the lever itself, but it's mentioned in this review of the Trek 1.5 on bike radar;

"Braking and gear selection comes courtesy of Shimano's entry-level Sora levers that have been upgraded from 8-speed to 9-speed for 2008 and now come with a little optical display to tell you which chainring/sprocket combo you're in."

Full review here

Edit: although shimano's site does mention the optical display here
 

snorri

Legendary Member
John the Monkey said:
Full review
A review that would make you puke, as if written by the cycle equivalent of Clarkson.;):biggrin:
 

Bigtallfatbloke

New Member
when i went from my old mtb to my new galaxy i missed the gear levers on the mtb as they told me which gear I was in on the display. My bar end shifters on the galaxy took some getting used to and lots of looking down at the cogs to figure out which cog i was on etc. But now it's irrelevant..i just switch gears on auto pilot like I do when driving a car...i feel which gear is needed and use it....i don tneed to know what number on the cog it is.
 
I use a Shimano Flightdeck computer with 105 shifters - the current chainring and sprocket are displayed for a few seconds every time I change gear.

It was OK at the start but, as BFTB states, after a while you just know what gear you are in and what gear to select.
 
I encourage new cyclists not to fixate on the numbers displayed on the shifters, they are a distraction. It doesnt help that almost all new bikes have superfluous front rings. I dont think very many entry level commuters require more than eight gears.
 
OP
John the Monkey

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
mickle said:
...It doesnt help that almost all new bikes have superfluous front rings. I dont think very many entry level commuters require more than eight gears.
I reckon on my commute I probably use 3 of my available ten speeds (3rd cog rear, small cog front for starting off, 3rd cog rear, big cog front once I get going, and 2nd cog rear plus big cog front on long flat straights). With that said, I don't have the wherewithall to get a bike specifically for the commute - and when I'm cycling recreationally, I use rather more speeds (esp. in Normandy, where the low gearing got a good workout on the local climbs, and the high on the other side :blush: ).

For people who can afford a commuter, and a "fun" bike, I reckon you're right, but for me at least, the commuter will usually also be my recreational bike, so gearing etc has to be considered in that context.
 
As others are saying, does it matter which gear you're in ?

Knowing you're in 3rd, or 4th, or 5th - so what ?
As long as it's the correct gear, you're not not grinding or spinning unduly, and your legs should be telling you that, not a number in a display.

Years ago I gave someone driving lessons and they were very hung-up on 'what gear should I be in when I'm doing Xmph ?' type questions.

No right answer - if the engine's screaming its nuts off you're too low, if the engine's juddering on the point of a stall you're too high (as well as in danger of knackering driveshafts, etc).
But if you're accellerating or going up a steep hill you might be in a lower gear for a particular speed than you would be in steady driving.

I guess, on a bike, knowing that you were in 1st and had no lower gear available, or 8th/9th/10thtop and had no higher, would be useful.
But you're now into the realms of 'which gear should I be in at the front and which at the back' and cross-chaining, etc and again you should be aware of that by how it feels and what noises the chain's making rather than by looking at the numbers in the displays.
 

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
Does it really matter what the number on the shifters are, if your legs are keeping a good cadence?? So long are the legs can turn the cranks round a comfortable pace you are in the right gear...
 
OP
John the Monkey

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
Hairy Jock said:
Does it really matter what the number on the shifters are, if your legs are keeping a good cadence?? So long are the legs can turn the cranks round a comfortable pace you are in the right gear...
It does if you throw the chain off because you think you've another cog yet to go... :blush:
 

gavintc

Guru
Location
Southsea
My night commute is almost liberating. I have not a clue what gear I am in most of the time, but like to keep an awareness of which front cog I am in. Just cycle and click up or down depending upon what your legs are telling you.
 

Membrane

New Member
Hairy Jock said:
Does it really matter what the number on the shifters are, if your legs are keeping a good cadence??
Yes, to avoid running your chain at to great an angle, or when eyeballing an upcoming ascend to make sure that you have the right number of gears below your current gear available at the back. You really don't want to have to switch front gears when you are attacking a hill. Etc. etc.
 

rich p

ridiculous old lush
Location
Brighton
Hairy Jock said:
Does it really matter what the number on the shifters are, if your legs are keeping a good cadence?? So long are the legs can turn the cranks round a comfortable pace you are in the right gear...
Unless you're crossing the chain severely.

I have a friend who seems to be incapable of learning which way to shift. He's been out with us enough times to have learnt but cannot seem to grasp which chain ring and sprocket to select. I'm not sure that he ever will. It's actually started to really irritate me - I've lost sympathy. We've gone blue in the face riding behind him trying to teach him the principle but to no avail. Maybe indicators on the shifters would help but I have my doubts.

We went on a jolly a few weeks ago to the Peaks and started calling the shifters names ( George Cohen - right back); (Ray Wilson - left back) etc:biggrin:
 
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