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Knowing your bike gears

Multi-speed gears (often found on Road bikes & City bikes) permit you to climb hills comfortably that might force you to stand up and "pump" or even get off and push if you were riding a fixed gear bikes. Additionally, they permit you to go quicker downhill or using the wind at your back.

Every cyclist has an ideal "cadence" (pedaling speed), and an ideal amount of resistance in the pedals. Whenever you are pedaling at your perfect cadence, you're placing out the greatest quantity of energy that you are in a position to sustain efficiently. You select your cadence by shifting gears. The gear needed to permit your "ideal" cadence will depend on the slope of the road, the wind conditions, and your own situation at any given time.
High or Low?

"Higher" gears place much more resistance around the pedals. If you choose a gear that is as well high for the conditions, it'll force you into a slower cadence. Pedaling slower than your ideal cadence is wasteful of energy. You also run a higher danger of muscle strains and joint harm, particularly to the knees and hips.

"Lower" gears make the pedals easy to turn, so it becomes simpler to spin to a quick cadence. Pedaling faster than your ideal cadence can permit you to generate an extra burst of speed, but you will tire your self out too soon in the event you try to preserve an excessively quick cadence.

The perfect Bicycle

If you had a perfect bicycle, with an infinite quantity of gears, you would always be pedaling in the same cadence, using the same quantity of resistance towards the pedals. Obviously, the bike would go slower uphill, and quicker downhill, but your legs wouldn't know the distinction.

Inexperienced cyclists often pedal at a cadence that's too slow, (too high a gear.) They occasionally think that this really is much better exercise, because they have to push tougher around the pedals. This really is an illusion.
Power lifting or swimming?

Think about two extremely various kinds of physical exercise: Power lifting vs. swimming. Following you've lifted the 200 LB barbell half a dozen occasions, you go take a shower--high force, couple of repetitions. Swimming, around the other hand, involves extremely little resistance--you are only moving your hands and legs via water--but with numerous repetitions.

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"Pushing" vs. "Spinning"

"Pushing" a higher gear at a slow cadence is like energy lifting. It is great for developing up muscle mass and bulking up your legs, however it does small for the heart or lungs, and you may hurt yourself in the event you overdo it.

"Spinning" a lower gear at a rapid cadence is much more like swimming. The rapid motion, with numerous repetitions tends to make the legs supple and flexible, it is highly aerobic, and also the light stress that goes with this style reduces put on and tear around the joints. With practice "spinning" becomes simpler and much more comfortable.
Securing your feet

Toe clips or "clipless" pedals make it easier to spin effectively. They also improve security, because they keep your feet from slipping off of the pedals. They take a little of getting utilized to, but skilled cyclists find them invaluable.
Nuts & Bolts of Derailer Gears

On a 10-speed bike, the front from the chain runs over one of 2 "chainwheels" or front sprockets attached to the pedal cranks. The rear of the chain wraps around one of 5 sprockets attached towards the hub from the rear wheel. The 2 chainwheels occasions 5 rear sprockets give 10 theoretically possible combinations. This set-up requires two separate gear shifting mechanisms or "derailers", one for the front 2 and also the other for the rear 5. This is as complicated as bicycle gearing gets.

A 27-speed bike is just the same, except that there are 3 chainwheels in front and 9 sprockets in back. There are still just two derailers, and two control levers.

The control on the left side shifts among the 2 or 3 front chainwheels; the 1 on the right shifts among the 5-9 rear sprockets.


How Derailers Work

A derailer leads the chain from one sprocket to another, while the chain is moving forward. The front derailer is a simple guide that moves the chain from side to side.

The rear derailer is much more complicated, because it also contains the spring and pulleys that adjust the length of the chain as it moves to different-sized sprockets.
Always pedal forward

The chain can only move sideways while it is also moving forward. For this reason, you are able to only shift while you are pedaling forward.

The rear derailer shifts using the bottom of the chain loop, which is under light tension from the derailer's pulleys and springs.

The front derailer shifts using the upper part from the chain, the part that transmits energy to the rear wheel. As a result, the front shifting will not work so well while you're pedaling very hard, or slowly, or both.

The rear derailer can usually shift under full load, however it is much better for the chain to ease up a bit during the shift.
What's What

Try to visualize gear shifting in terms of where the chain is, rather than by rote memorization of positions of the shift controls.

The sprockets that are closer towards the middle from the bike (small front, large rear) give the lower gears. The outer sprockets (large front, small rear) give higher gears.

Try to avoid the gears that make the chain cross over at an extreme angle. These "criss-cross" gears are bad for the chain and sprockets. Especially bad is to combine the inside (small) front sprocket with the outside (small) rear sprocket. This noisy, inefficient gear causes the chain to wear out prematurely.


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