Classic & Vintage - friction shifting method
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07-30-09, 07:30 AM
My primary commuter is a vintge fuji track bike, but on really hot/humid days like today I take my '80 mclean tourer w/ rear rack and rack bag, and gears! I'm pretty used to shifting w/ the downtube shifters, but have noticed that often I ride using only the front shifter - going from "downhill" to "uphill" gears. Of course I shift the rear on really steep hills. Maybe I'm lazy but this technique seems to work for my commute. When I take the bike for longer rides, or when I'm riding my '89 paramount w/ sti shifters, I use both shifters much more. Am I alone w/ this technique?
Yes you are, unless the terrain around you is very flat, with an occasional hill. It would be very difficult to keep a steady cadence by just using the front derailleur. If anything, it would be more common to just use the rear derailleur. You have a lot better chance of keeping a steady cadence when you have 6 (or 7, 8 or 9) gears to choose from than 2.
I don't know your age, but as you get older, mashing is very tough on your knees. By using the full compliment of gears on your bike, your knees do not take the beating.
07-30-09, 08:15 AM
Well, it's a modified fixed gear technique. I keep a fairly constant cadence on both bikes by speeding up on the uphills! Not really mashing much, I do downshift on longer/steeper hills. Just something I noticed on this morning's commute.
07-30-09, 10:19 AM
I, like many others, do just the opposite. Unless I am going over 20 mph, I keep the front in the small ring (42t). It seems to me it is a lot easier to shift the rear than the front. I have a bad knee and hip and it is important to me to keep a high cadence going. This causes less stress on the joints.
07-30-09, 10:43 AM
I generally stay in the large ring (50-52t depending on which bike) and use the 3rd and 4th cogs in the rear (5 speed) for most of my riding. I drop it to the small ring on uphills, and usually only hit 10th gear on a downhill.
07-30-09, 10:46 AM
That is one beautiful bicycle! I love all those period Campy and Cinelli parts. And that luscious Brooks Pro saddle! Out of curiosity, are the brake lever hoods Campy or Modolo?
07-30-09, 10:56 AM
Thanks! It's all Campy super record I think. The saddle and bar tape (and tires, tubes) are new, the rest is mostly original to the bike. Here are some pics of it when I first got it (before I cleaned it up):
07-30-09, 11:01 AM
Am I alone w/ this technique?
Yes. Yes you are. :D
07-30-09, 11:07 AM
Works for me! But don't get the idea I don't ever use the rear shifter, it's just mostly on my commute that I flip the front back and forth. My cadence is probably 80 - 95 or so most of the way. One thing I've noticed is this bike's super record system shifts much better than an early 70s nuovo record set up I had on a bottecchia I used to own - it wasn't as crisp and was prone to needing on-the-fly shifter D-ring adjustment.
07-30-09, 11:36 AM
Here in flat Florida I end up doing much the same thing. Ya got yer high range and yer low range. Drop it into low range to stop, then get back up to speed and into the high range.
07-30-09, 11:46 AM
I'm not alone!:D
07-30-09, 11:55 AM
No, you're not alone. There's nothing wrong with it, if it's comfortable for you.
For all the range of gears I have, I use surprisingly few.
Now, let's talk about McLean. I have one, too, making you and me rare.
Did you know the builder died suddenly at the age of 29? So he only made a few frames, so I consider them to be collectors' items. Mine is a racing frame. I kinda wish I had a touring frame instead.
07-30-09, 12:04 PM
Is yours pictured on the CR link you provided? I'm not sure if mine is a full tourer ( I suspect not), or a "perfect pleasure" model (likely?). Mine was once on the CR link, but Dale pulled it for some reason...
07-30-09, 12:07 PM
No, mine isn't pictured. I feel a little guilty about having had it repainted. It was a light blue. Now it's purple. I'll provide photos one of these days.
07-30-09, 12:12 PM
yes, pics please. The orignal owner of mine had it repainted because (as she told me) the original color was too similar to her Mclean race bike (which she still has). So she had mine repainted and got original decals from Mclean's wife. A few weeks ago there was an organized ride that passed through Silk Hope, N.C.! I tried to enter but it filled up before I knew about it. I so wanted to ride my Silk Hope to Silk Hope, and maybe see his workshop if it remains.
I don't think I've ever used the big ring on any of my road bikes. Ever.
Not that I race or anything, just getting from place to place...
07-30-09, 01:01 PM
Under certain conditions, that technique can work quite well. Those conditions are far from universal though.
07-30-09, 01:35 PM
Maybe I'm the weird one. :) On my Motobecane I'm constantly shifting the rear. Taking it up to the second to largest one at stop lights/signs, and rapidly down to the smaller gears as I take off. The only time I'm on the big ring up front is for downhills and when I'm feeling rather fast on flats.
I'm only 27, but my knees thank me when I can find ways around mashing.
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