question about the right gear

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by darts180, 10 Aug 2018.

  1. darts180

    darts180 Regular

    hi, I was just wondering, if you had your gear set in the middle so it works well for flats or bit of undulating surface with few inclines and down sections, could you stay in that set up if a really steep hill came? I've not had any practice yet with steep hills and just wondered yeah. I find if on a camel trail I can stay in the middle gear and it feels quite smooth and I not need to adjust anything yeah. I find changing gears very confusing lol
  2. Threevok

    Threevok Junior Member (Trainee)

    South Wales
    What you are describing there is a single speed :becool:
  3. Katherine

    Katherine Guru Moderator

    You should be moving through the gears as the terrain changes. Make the gears work for you. That's what they're for.

    Yes, they're a bit confusing to start with, remembering which ones are easier or harder and which way to move them.
    So, practice, practice practice and before long you will be doing it instinctively and enjoying the ride.

    Don't try to stay in the high gears on an incline, it puts strain on the chain.
    rugby bloke likes this.
  4. twentysix by twentyfive

    twentysix by twentyfive Clinging on tightly

    Over the Hill
    Agreed but strain on my legs is my main concern.
  5. Cycleops

    Cycleops Guru

    Accra, Ghana
    In relation to this cyclists are often referred to as 'spinners' or 'grinders'. In other words a spinner would prefer to use a lower gear in any given situation spinning the cranks. A grinder would use a higher gear and push rather more. It all depends what is most comfortable for you.
  6. gavroche

    gavroche Getting old but not past it

    North Wales
    And even more strain on your legs.
    rrarider likes this.
  7. Phaeton

    Phaeton Guru

    Oop North (ish)
    Depends which way you are riding on the Camel Trail, towards or away from Padstow,
  8. rugby bloke

    rugby bloke Über Member

    Don't forget those of us who aspire to be spinners but end up as grinders due to lack of fitness / ability !

    With regard to the OP,the gears are there for your benefit, with practice you will get the hang of it. Remember that you don't have to use all the options. You will soon get a feel of which ones are right for different conditions.
  9. Ajax Bay

    Ajax Bay Veteran

    East Devon
    The several times I've cycled the Camel Trail from Padstow through Wadebridge to Bodmin (Dunmere), I've found that one gear does it all - off hand, 52 on the front and 16 on the back. But then the steady climb on the poorer surface up the Camel valley to Wenfordbridge needs a lower gear. And the climb, whichever way one goes, from there needs 'gears' (use of) - all 4 roads are steep, varying from steep to really, really steep (chevron).
    My advice would be to practise changing gear up and down when you're on the estuary-side trail and then find a quiet stretch of road with some ups and downs, and practise changing to a lower gear before a climb and changing up (ie to a smaller sprocket (cog) at the back once you've crested the rise. If you have three chain rings at the front, do this in the middle chain ring. Once you've got to grips with the rear changing, on easy (ie flat) trail/quiet road, try chainging 'up' and 'down' at the front (with the chain on a middling rear sprocket).
    For steep climbs you'll need to be on the small chain ring at the front so change down when you can see the climb ahead.
    Pat "5mph" and Katherine like this.
  10. OP

    darts180 Regular

    apparently I was told it will all be 2nd nature in time. thanks for the advice anyway
    Pat "5mph", Katherine and Threevok like this.
  11. OP

    darts180 Regular

    what worries me is where they say about cross chaining, I'm not sure if that would break the chain but would probably make pedalling feel hard.
  12. Threevok

    Threevok Junior Member (Trainee)

    South Wales
    It certainly will wear your drivechain quicker and would be noiser too
  13. rugby bloke

    rugby bloke Über Member

    I went through various stages with this - at first I was blissfully ignorant, then I was worried I would break my chain ... now I'm aware that its something to avoid but I don't obsess over it.
    Bikes are pretty resilient things, as has been said - find a suitable area to practice and just have a few goes going up and down the gears until you feel comfortable.
    Pat "5mph" and Katherine like this.
  14. Ajax Bay

    Ajax Bay Veteran

    East Devon
    I avoid cross-chaining too, but it really doesn't matter. It puts minimal additional stress on the chain, it's quite likely that there may be a bit of rub (and therefore noise) on the front derailleur cage - use this as a catalyst for changing to a better chainring/sprocket combo; and the loss of efficiency is (according to a paper that seemed based on experimentation/testing/research of good quality) at most about half a per cent.
    Edited to add: For a given ratio, using the large chainring and a large (even the largest) sprocket (say 50/25) is more efficient (eg 11t > 21t = +3%) than using a smaller chain ring and a smaller sprocket (say 34/17). This advantage dwarfes the cross-chaining issue (from an efficiency PoV).
    "Human Power" Number 50 Spring 2000 $5.50 TECHNICAL JOURNAL OF THE IHPVA
    "the effect of chain offset can be estimated.
    These data were obtained with
    the 52–11 and 52–21 configurations in
    the offset condition while those in the
    long-duration tests were taken with no
    offset. Comparing the data for 60 RPM
    100 W tests shows that the offset lowers
    the efficiency by, at most, 0.5%
    when measurement precision is considered.
    Additionally, if the efficiencies are
    normalized by efficiencies measured in
    the 52–15 configuration (both sets of
    data were obtained with no offset),
    then it appears that the offset has a
    negligible effect on efficiency."
    Last edited: 10 Aug 2018
  15. OneArmedBandit

    OneArmedBandit Active Member

    The reason it's worth using them is that, like a car engine, your legs work most efficiently at a certain speed. Just like an engine you can still maintain a speed outside that "sweet spot" but it is less efficient and thus harder work.

    It might be worth consciously trying to use them for a while and you will probably find what cadence is ideal for you. Without doing the car analogy to death, just like a car driver eventually knowing where to change gear will become second nature
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice