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  1. #1
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    Why the ever more number of gears

    Really------isnt the ever more increase in the number of gears on the freewheel over kill. Even if we are talking about a 7 or 8 speec cassette--------who really uses all of them? Isnt it really just an example of the manuf to keep making more money off people that has to have the "latest" on their bikes. Granted if you are talking an Aveo a Chevvy Malibu is a far better car, but what extra do you really get with a Lexus over a Malibu. Mainly snob appeal.

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    It's done solely to piss you off. However, I do somehow manage to use every cog on my 8, 9, and 10 speed bikes on almost every ride. Obviously, these systems were not created to piss me off, hence my earlier conclusion.

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    It's to help you maintain a higher, more efficient cadence (90 to 105 rpm at the crank). This is especially important when riding in a fast group or when fighting a hard head wind.
    I use every cassette cog on every ride, 9 and 10 speeds.

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    You don't really need more than 8 cogs if you ride in the flatlands of Nebraska, but come to the Colorado mountains and you'll appreciate having more.

    Using Campy 11, I've managed to switch from a triple to a compact crank and still have a cassette with close cog spacing. I don't have quite as much low gear, but it's adequate. With 10 speed I can use the same 11-25 cassette, but then I lose the 16T cog and get a big jump in the middle. It's not a huge problem, but occasionally annoying. I can't complain about the extra cog with 11 speed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Well, I don't know about 11

    I do remember that going from 6 to 8 in the back made it much easier for me to go on group rides. It's not such a huge deal when setting your own pace but when you're in a pace line it's really nice to have closely spaced gears so that you can fine tune your speed while maintaining the cadence you want.

    I'm content with 9 but I could see how somebody really serious might want more. If 11 allows you to dispense with the triple, that's huge too.

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    Crispy Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Get a horse...

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    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Marketing.
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

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    the main reason to go from 5 or 6 to 10+ was to make the transition between gears smoother. insted of a 2 or three tooth jusp to go from a 12t to a 23 or 24 now you only jump one tooth. thus this make index shifting sommther.

    however I do agree to a point with the OP it is alot of marketing hype. just as in recent years the firearms industry and come out with several "new" cartridges ie a .270 Winchester Short Magnum. oddly it has almost the exact same bullistics as a normal .270 Winchester but, the firearm weighs 1/4 pound less so you it is a must have to save weight on your next Elk hunt.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

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  9. #9
    Senior Member jack002's Avatar
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    To the OP, I say GET A FIXIE! You'll love it.

    The human engine has a narrow power band, more gears helps you stay in it more. AND I'm sure the racing scene drives what we have in a big way. Theres no downside to more gears unless its more expensive components, or the fact you can't run cross chain combos like you could on your old Schwinn. They still make some with 5 or 6 cogs, go get one of them and ride it. If you like it, then good for you. Its win-win for you and us.
    Biking isn't a sport because anybody can do it. I can bike, you can bike. For goodness sakes, my mother can bike! You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    There's another advantage that's probably not very obvious to people who are into bikes. That is that cycling novices are often confused by front shifters. In fact my wife would never shift the front derailleur until after her 2nd triathlon because she didn't really understand how it works.

    Can't blame her, the left and right shifter typically work the opposite way from each other. The same button on the left that makes pedaling "easier", makes it harder on the right. Aside from that, a front derailleur that goes out of adjustment can easily lead to dropped or jammed chains.

    So in my mind if more gears on the back allows for just a single ring on the front, that's progress for casual bikers.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by layedback1 View Post
    Really------isnt the ever more increase in the number of gears on the freewheel over kill.
    Why do you ask?

  12. #12
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    "These go to eleven" Nigel from Spinal Tap
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbVKWCpNFhY

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I usually ride a mono speed... anything after that is a bonus and I find I need less gears on the road than I do on the trail. The mtb needs the gearing to get me there and gearing to handle some serious terrain.

    If I drove to the trail head I could eliminate a lot of the mtb's gearing.

    The road bike only needs the "getting me there" gears and for this 12 speeds is enough.

    If I was racing competitively I'd be just as involved in the arms race as anyone.

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    I ride an eight speed and a ten speed and I notice the slightly bigger jumps in the gearing on the eight speed. It's not an issue really as I mostly ride the eight speed to work and back. However on group rides where I'm struggling to keep up with people who race competitively and think 25mph is a good flat road cruising speed, the tighter gear spacing is valuable as I'm able to stay within my power band at 90-95RPM.

    It's only a matter of time before Shimano figures out how to do half steps between cogs, and then the 20 speed (x 2 or 3) will be the next must have drivetrain for racing.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I won't have enough gears until I've got a 12-24t straightblock!

  16. #16
    Ovdabak, OR DArthurBrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by layedback1 View Post
    Really------isnt the ever more increase in the number of gears on the freewheel over kill. Even if we are talking about a 7 or 8 speec cassette--------who really uses all of them? Isnt it really just an example of the manuf to keep making more money off people that has to have the "latest" on their bikes. Granted if you are talking an Aveo a Chevvy Malibu is a far better car, but what extra do you really get with a Lexus over a Malibu. Mainly snob appeal.
    I'm going to take a wild stab at it and say that in Nebraska, you probably don't need that many. In Oregon, West Virginia, Cali, Montana...those extra gears, particularly the lower ones, come in pretty darn handy.

    I've also got to take issue with the car analogy. A Chevy Malibu offers more space than an Aveo, but is about as reliable. Most Lexus's are about the most reliable car ever made. Now if you'd said, "Isn't a Cadillac an overpriced Malibu?" Yes, that's true, especially since most Caddies are less reliable than Malibu's. Refer to Consumer Reports.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack002 View Post
    To the OP, I say GET A FIXIE! You'll love it.

    The human engine has a narrow power band, more gears helps you stay in it more. AND I'm sure the racing scene drives what we have in a big way. Theres no downside to more gears unless its more expensive components, or the fact you can't run cross chain combos like you could on your old Schwinn. They still make some with 5 or 6 cogs, go get one of them and ride it. If you like it, then good for you. Its win-win for you and us.
    The weird thing is this: When I ride my single speed, I don't really miss the gears. I have three modes: coasting, pedaling seated and pedaling standing. I climb some pretty steep hills with 69 gear inches and get a lot of speed out of them too (to the point that I don't really average a faster speed with a geared bike). People talk about maintaining cadence, but I can ride longer if I vary the cadence. I really don't get why anyone would need more than about 5 or 7 gears on the rear wheel.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  18. #18
    Ovdabak, OR DArthurBrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    The weird thing is this: When I ride my single speed, I don't really miss the gears. I have three modes: coasting, pedaling seated and pedaling standing. I climb some pretty steep hills with 69 gear inches and get a lot of speed out of them too (to the point that I don't really average a faster speed with a geared bike). People talk about maintaining cadence, but I can ride longer if I vary the cadence. I really don't get why anyone would need more than about 5 or 7 gears on the rear wheel.
    It's true. The gears are useful but more of a hassle. Singlespeeds are certainly very pleasant.

    Maintaining cadence does conserve energy, but it takes training to maintain higher and higher cadences. My guess is that when you are changing your cadence, you are exercising your muscles differently, which gives you some reprieve, but if you timed yourself on a course maintaining 90 rpm, and then again varying cadence, you'd be much faster with higher cadence up to about 110 rpm. I say this because I feel the same way, but when I time myself both ways, I am much faster when I keep a higher cadence in slightly lower (or more options of) gears.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    I really don't get why anyone would need more than about 5 or 7 gears on the rear wheel.
    I really don't get the obsession on this forum with denigrating the gearing choice of everyone besides yourself . If you are happy with your gearing, great. If not, change it to what works for you and not what others feel you should be using. That includes increasing the number or rear cogs and/or chainrings or removing or resizing the same.

  20. #20
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    Why? It sells bikes.

  21. #21
    Crispy Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Why would anybody want anything besides a 286 processor and 14.4kb internet connection? Daggum speed demons. Always showing off.

    A 286 processor played solitaire just fine and you can get pac-man, too!

  22. #22
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    I find that having finer spacing between gears really makes a difference when I'm very tired. I'm happy I have 10 gears in back!

  23. #23
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    The weird thing is this: When I ride my single speed, I don't really miss the gears. I have three modes: coasting, pedaling seated and pedaling standing. I climb some pretty steep hills with 69 gear inches and get a lot of speed out of them too (to the point that I don't really average a faster speed with a geared bike). People talk about maintaining cadence, but I can ride longer if I vary the cadence. I really don't get why anyone would need more than about 5 or 7 gears on the rear wheel.
    Well, like I said, if you're setting your own pace, it's less of an issue. If you're riding in a group where the rider at the head of the line is setting the pace, then it's nice to have lots of gear choices so you can match the speed utilizing a cadence that's comfortable for you rather than being forced to pedal at an uncomfortable cadence to maintain that pace. For that matter you can vary cadence while maintaining the same speed if that helps keep you from getting fatigued.

    With my old 80's road bike I found it more difficult to ride with people because at least once in awhile I'd get in a situation where one gear was too low for my liking but the next gear was too high.
    Last edited by tjspiel; 02-23-10 at 02:27 PM.

  24. #24
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    The greater number of cogs at the rear, and their closer spacing, does make indexing adjustment more critical, at least theoretically. I also strongly suspect that the current 9, 10 and 11 speed chains have a shorter life than the 6 through 8 speed chains did. Cassette cogs with their shaped teeth and ramps, as well as thinner bodies, also seem to wear faster.

    Much of the increase in cog counts is marketing driven I am sure but it can help the competitive cyclist by allowing a more steady cadence via smaller steps between gears.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  25. #25
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    But if you have a triple in front and 11 in back that gives 33 speeds. How many are repeats, or so close as not to make any difference. Also wont the skinney chain wear faster??

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