Using the top couple of gears only

colind

New Member
Location
glasgow
Hi. I just bought a cube aim 29er hardtail and am a complete beginner but I'm finding that I'm only using a couple a the gears on the bike when I'm on the road. I'm more or less stuck in the highest gear, but it still seems too easy to pedal. Is this normal? Im probably only going about 11-13 mph. The store says it is because it is set up for off road and I will need to buy a new cassette if I want to go faster. Does this sound right? Thanks in advance for your help.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Can you see or read off the specification what gears it has now?
 
OP
C

colind

New Member
Location
glasgow
Pedal faster. Assuming standard triple, if you're doing 13mph in your highest gear that's about 40rpm for your legs. Get it up to 70-90 or more. 90rpm will be 30mph, see if you find that easy.
going out tomorrow, so will try to pedal faster. thanks for the advice
 
OP
C

colind

New Member
Location
glasgow
Here's an article by the late great Sheldon Brown which briefly explains the concept.

http://sheldonbrown.com/gears.html
Thanks for that. just need to get used to pedalling faster. just didnt seem like enough resistance to power me forward any faster but I guess I just need to practice. Also when the gear was in the biggest ring at the front and the smallest at the back, it was making a slight noise.
 
As mentioned by others, just pedal faster. For a start aim for an rpm/ cadence of about 60. One revolution of one pedal per second. If you're pedaling slower than that, taking more than a second to complete a pedal stroke/revolution, then spin up and pedal faster. My average cadence is about 90rpm.

And no, you don't need a new cassette.
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
Might be worth investigating if you can fit a bigger crank on it though, depends on clearance between the front rings and the frame but a 42 front ring is a bit 'titchy'
 

helston90

Eat, sleep, ride, repeat.
Location
Cornwall
Possibly, if this continues, you've got a case of what's known as 'owning a mountain bike' the best thing you can do is to ride it off road or if you choose to ride a bike on roads and want to go fast buy a road bike.
 

shouldbeinbed

Rollin' along
Location
Manchester way
Slightly harsh to just say pedal faster to a self confessed novice.

1st off the noise you hear in big cog/little cog is most likely going to be the alignment settings of the derailleur gears just needing tweaking slightly, as new cables bed in, and generally with riding, the mechanisms.go slightly out of adjustment and need a bit of TLC, easy to do - rather than me bore on through it here, use the search facility on this site, google is your friend as are Sheldon Brown and Park Tools websites for all things bike technical.

2nd, there are 2 schools of thought on pedalling: A) Grinding= slowly turning a big ratio between front and back gear set up using powerful leg muscles, B) spinning, fast pedalling on a closer ratio gear set up. In general people tend towards spinning a fast pedal stroke, but it is purely personal preference & element of what body type/geometry you are. You can gear your bike to suit whichever your mind and body are comfortable and happy doing. Listen to peoples advice and try it out sufficiently & if it works for you all well and good but if it doesn't then don't feel you have to carry on doing something just because someone told you it is right. Right for me may well not be right for you, all we can do is advise & suggest not definitively tell you how you ride your bike.

Back to the bike, MTBs tend to be geared more for bad surfaces on slopes etc and as such are geared in a more gentle manner with more teeth on the rear cogs and less on the front when compared to a road bike (giving an easier more naturally spinny ride and slower road speed in general) frame geometry, tyre size and grippyness (word?) all contribute too to making a MTB set up on the road a slower option.

The cassette suggestion by your bike shop is not wrong per-se, they will be no doubt suggesting that you go for one with smaller number of teeth per cog than you have now, this will make you go faster and likely see you using lower gears for the same speed as now / go faster than now in the top couple for the same leg speed. Kind of begs the question why they sold that bike in that set up to you, only to be seeking to change the gear combo (free? or are they gonna charge you for the cassette and fitting?) almost immediately after sale
*edit: Bear in mind that generally what you do to make the road element better will have a knock on effect taking away some off road effectiveness, tho with I guess a 3x9 combo and you being in 3x8,9 mostly now, you've got room to downgrade the MTB aspect and not lose it totally. End edit*

If you are intending this to be a principally used on the road bike then you may have made a mistake in buying/allowing yourself to be sold the current trendy option 29er; that you say is set up as off road 1st and foremost bike; over a different style that maybe would be more suitable to roads and some trail/off roady stuff , such as a hybrid, cyclocross or for more exclusive road use : flat or drop bar road bike. You can kit the Cube out for better road performance than you have now, change the cassette, smooth tyres, maybe a more leaned forward aggressive headset to get you lower and more aerodynamic?? but you may well end up getting rid for a more specific road style bike as you get more into riding and if you find the road is your happy place.

If you are just riding it on the roads to get you to MTB heaven & somewhere with slopes and rocks and jumps etc that you'll be doing most of, then the compromise of a soft road ride for more effectiveness where the bike comes into its own is one you'll have to live with and pedal harder to go faster ;-)
 
Last edited:
My reply was not meant to be harsh, though re-reading it it does sound blunt. My advice stands though, even if you are a grinder, those speeds with those gears is too slow a cadence.

I wouldn't worry if you have the right bike either. If I was forced to have one bike (good god, the thought!), it would be a mtn bike. With a few tweeks it can go on road and off road and touring. Likewise I don't see a need to change the gearing, it'll be fine for now. Do some riding first. About the only thing you might want to change is the tyres but that depends on where you want to ride it. For now just alter the pressue, higher on road, lower off.

Cubes are decent bikes by the way.
 

sidevalve

Über Member
Nice bike but it is what it is - an off road machine and after all you wouldn't try to race a landrover against a ferrari. You wont find a cassette with a much smaller gear than 12 [ Ok maybe 11 - and that seems to be the smallest in the spec] so all you have left is the front. See if you can fit something in the 48 range [ might have to move the derailleur though]
 

Cyclist33

Guest
Location
Warrington
Slightly harsh to just say pedal faster to a self confessed novice.

1st off the noise you hear in big cog/little cog is most likely going to be the alignment settings of the derailleur gears just needing tweaking slightly, as new cables bed in, and generally with riding, the mechanisms.go slightly out of adjustment and need a bit of TLC, easy to do - rather than me bore on through it here, use the search facility on this site, google is your friend as are Sheldon Brown and Park Tools websites for all things bike technical.

2nd, there are 2 schools of thought on pedalling: A) Grinding= slowly turning a big ratio between front and back gear set up using powerful leg muscles, B) spinning, fast pedalling on a closer ratio gear set up. In general people tend towards spinning a fast pedal stroke, but it is purely personal preference & element of what body type/geometry you are. You can gear your bike to suit whichever your mind and body are comfortable and happy doing. Listen to peoples advice and try it out sufficiently & if it works for you all well and good but if it doesn't then don't feel you have to carry on doing something just because someone told you it is right. Right for me may well not be right for you, all we can do is advise & suggest not definitively tell you how you ride your bike.

Back to the bike, MTBs tend to be geared more for bad surfaces on slopes etc and as such are geared in a more gentle manner with more teeth on the rear cogs and less on the front when compared to a road bike (giving an easier more naturally spinny ride and slower road speed in general) frame geometry, tyre size and grippyness (word?) all contribute too to making a MTB set up on the road a slower option.

The cassette suggestion by your bike shop is not wrong per-se, they will be no doubt suggesting that you go for one with smaller number of teeth per cog than you have now, this will make you go faster and likely see you using lower gears for the same speed as now / go faster than now in the top couple for the same leg speed. Kind of begs the question why they sold that bike in that set up to you, only to be seeking to change the gear combo (free? or are they gonna charge you for the cassette and fitting?) almost immediately after sale
*edit: Bear in mind that generally what you do to make the road element better will have a knock on effect taking away some off road effectiveness, tho with I guess a 3x9 combo and you being in 3x8,9 mostly now, you've got room to downgrade the MTB aspect and not lose it totally. End edit*

If you are intending this to be a principally used on the road bike then you may have made a mistake in buying/allowing yourself to be sold the current trendy option 29er; that you say is set up as off road 1st and foremost bike; over a different style that maybe would be more suitable to roads and some trail/off roady stuff , such as a hybrid, cyclocross or for more exclusive road use : flat or drop bar road bike. You can kit the Cube out for better road performance than you have now, change the cassette, smooth tyres, maybe a more leaned forward aggressive headset to get you lower and more aerodynamic?? but you may well end up getting rid for a more specific road style bike as you get more into riding and if you find the road is your happy place.

If you are just riding it on the roads to get you to MTB heaven & somewhere with slopes and rocks and jumps etc that you'll be doing most of, then the compromise of a soft road ride for more effectiveness where the bike comes into its own is one you'll have to live with and pedal harder to go faster ;-)
That's just a very long way of saying what's already been said.
 
Top Bottom