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Old 05-09-07, 12:32 PM   #1
SaiKaiTai
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Roadie vs Hybrid gearing

As I continue to learn my Reno, one thing stands out that really baffles me: gearing and the perception of gearing (no, it really is still one thing).

This is what my Fisher has: 48/38/28, 8-speed: 11-32; and this is what my LeMond has: 52/42/30, 9-speed: 12-26 and yet it seems I spend a lot more time on the Reno's large ring than I do on the Fisher. On both bikes, I spend most of my time in the middle -front and rear- yet, gear for gear, the Reno feels like the lower ratioed bike. Even when climbing, I can seemingly go much easier using a 30 front 23/26 rear on the LeMond than I can using the Kaitai's 28 front, 26/32 rear. Is it the reduced weight of the LeMond? The 25cm tires? Is is the cranks, the geometry? Am I imagining it? Maybe I should just roll with it and forget about analyzing it.
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Old 05-09-07, 12:39 PM   #2
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A formula 1 Ferrari does not need anywhere near the same gear ratio's as a Peterbuilt. More effecient use of energy.
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Old 05-09-07, 12:40 PM   #3
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As a big F1 fan, I do get this analogy. Better transfer of power.
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Old 05-09-07, 01:01 PM   #4
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It is mostly in your head. It's still a human powered machine with gears, chains and a couple of wheels. Shaving off five pounds didn't make THAT much difference. Neither did the riding position. The bearings weren't ****ty and dragging on the KaiTai were they? The skinny tires do make a huge difference, but it's mostly in your head. And that is the best part about it IMHO, I absolutely feel the same way about the Coda, it is so far and away different in feel and fun factor that it SEEMS a lot easier, but the laws of physics have not been repealed, so it's MOSTLY in our heads. Which is what makes it so cool, to feel that fun factor, and to WANT to get on the bike and just ride and never stop. Strange isn't it?
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Old 05-09-07, 01:24 PM   #5
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It sure is but I know what you mean about not wanting to stop. I went out last night and rode up to a friend's house. He lives in the middle of a 895 foot, 13% grade. I stopped briefly -he wasn't home- and I headed out. Instead of turning to go back down, I climbed the rest of the way up the grade. Not a super long climb but I had to -HAD to- do it. The bike made me do it. Later, I was heading home on this rolling road -up, down, up, down, UP, down- the last climb up is another 850-950 climb of 7%. I was about 200 yards south and I saw a guy riding along at the start of this climb. I don't know what came over me but I started sprinting... head down and pushing. I caught him int the middle of the climb and just blew past him (now, granted, he wasn't moving all that fast but still... ok?). I did it because the bike could. I could. The bike let me. And there is still no sadder moment than when I pull into my driveway and dismount. Ride over. Fun over.
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Old 05-09-07, 01:26 PM   #6
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I found exactly the same when I went to a road bike. On the road hills- I used to use the 22 front sprocket on the MTB and probably the 28 rear sprocket- leaving the 32 as an emergency gear. Those same hills and I use the 30 /26 gearing on the road bike. Admittedly that is my bottom gear but it is nowhere near as low as on the MTB. But then the MTB is a different geometry and weighs 5 lbs more.

If the MTB was on a road ride with slicks- then I would be 44 front and 11 or 13 on the rear for most of the ride-- and this is where I differ from you in that I am mainly in the middle ring on the road bike, a 42, and 12 on the rear. I have just started using the big ring- the 52, and probably somewhere around the middle gear on the rear.

I would forget about analysing the bikes- They are for different uses, but When I get to the TANDEM- this is a completely different beastie. It is a full offroad machine with the weight to go with it- 55lbs in ride trim. One set of gears--48/36/24 on the front and 9 spd 11/32 on the rear. It is an offroad machine but fit slicks on it and it is fast on the road on the flat and downhill- just hold your breath. Take a smooth flat road with no wind and no bends. In 48/11 at 100 cadence- we are 30mph on slicks. BUT we do not ride in the11- we are normally around the 13. We like to ride at a cadence of 95 and this gives us around 25mph as our riding speed. We only use the 11 on downslopes or downhill. This thing is Heavy but it has momentum. Get it up to speed and it stays there with very little effort. Then you hit a hill and it is surprising how quickly you find yourself in granny and wondering if you should fit the normal MTB crankset of 44/32/22.
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Old 05-09-07, 02:24 PM   #7
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Welcome to one of the most efficient machines ever designed. It is not in your head. Everything about a road bike conspires to turn your energy into forward motion as effectively as possible. It has a little to do with weight, a little to do with aerodynamics, a little to do with tire width and tire pressure, a little to do with body positioning that maximizes the transfer of power to the pedals, a little to do with smoother rotating parts, a little to do with frame stiffness and so on ad infinitum.
Road bikes have been evolving for many years with the primary purpose of turning human power into speed. It works.
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Old 05-09-07, 02:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Road bikes have been evolving for many years with the primary purpose of turning human power into speed. It works.
That it does, that it does. The one big thing that I noticed about the Reno from Day One -before Day One, really- is how it just seems to glide forward. This Saturday will be interesting... I pick up my Kaitai from the shop (a little yearly tune up and chain replacement) and from there I'll be heading out to and across the GG Bridge. That's the plan anyway... it's about a 16-17 mile round trip. I can do 15-20 miles on that bike pretty easily but I haven't done a ride of any distance since the LeMond came home. The last time I brought the bike in, I had only been riding for a couple of months -a long way from where I am now- and I did 10-12 miles without a whole lot of difficulty. But now? I wonder what this is gonna feel like.
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Old 05-09-07, 03:34 PM   #9
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Check this out... http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/ calculate the gear inches for each bike taking all variables into account and compare. If two bikes are the same gear inches but one seems easier, then it is something else such as weight difference or your fit / riding position.
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Old 05-09-07, 05:20 PM   #10
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Agree with Bluesdawg.
A lot of "littles" add up to a "bunch"!
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Old 05-09-07, 05:38 PM   #11
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If you could mount 700c wheels with 120psi tires on your hybred, you'd be amazed at how fast it is in spite of its weight.
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Old 05-09-07, 05:46 PM   #12
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Well, I do have 700's on my Fisher... 700x38 Armadillo Crossroads
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Old 05-09-07, 05:54 PM   #13
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Uh, I think he meant 120psi in each tire, not 60psi in each.
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Old 05-09-07, 06:05 PM   #14
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23mm was tire width, not tread depth.
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Old 05-09-07, 06:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
It sure is but I know what you mean about not wanting to stop. I went out last night and rode up to a friend's house. He lives in the middle of a 895 foot, 13% grade. I stopped briefly -he wasn't home- and I headed out. Instead of turning to go back down, I climbed the rest of the way up the grade. Not a super long climb but I had to -HAD to- do it. The bike made me do it. Later, I was heading home on this rolling road -up, down, up, down, UP, down- the last climb up is another 850-950 climb of 7%. I was about 200 yards south and I saw a guy riding along at the start of this climb. I don't know what came over me but I started sprinting... head down and pushing. I caught him int the middle of the climb and just blew past him (now, granted, he wasn't moving all that fast but still... ok?). I did it because the bike could. I could. The bike let me. And there is still no sadder moment than when I pull into my driveway and dismount. Ride over. Fun over.
It's just that the Reno climbs like a scalded monkey.


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Old 05-09-07, 06:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Uh, I think he meant 120psi in each tire, not 60psi in each.
I'd say you might want to go read up on the specs of these tire but Specialized doesn't list PSI.
Suffice it to say, these ain't no 60 lbs tires. Far from it.
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Old 05-09-07, 07:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
I'd say you might want to go read up on the specs of these tire but Specialized doesn't list PSI.
Suffice it to say, these ain't no 60 lbs tires. Far from it.
Hey, I was foolin' around. I'm sure they are fine tires. What do they run, about 90psi ? Anyway, I think you would agree that they aren't going to roll as easy as the tires on your Reno, which was the point.
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Old 05-09-07, 07:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Hey, I was foolin' around. I'm sure they are fine tires. What do they run, about 90psi ? Anyway, I think you would agree that they aren't going to roll as easy as the tires on your Reno, which was the point.
It ain't right messin' with someone's tires, ya know. And don't be jokin' about no bar tape neether.
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Old 05-09-07, 08:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Hey, I was foolin' around. I'm sure they are fine tires. What do they run, about 90psi ? Anyway, I think you would agree that they aren't going to roll as easy as the tires on your Reno, which was the point.
Humor just doesn't really translate well in print... Truthfully, I was just joshin' back at ya. Absolutely, no offense was taken.

I don't have the bike here right now to verify but I think they will take 100 lbs. I run 'em around 90-95 since I do mostly street and hard-pack riding with the Kaitai. 100 lbs, btw, is also the limit of the Bontragers that came with the Reno. Bah. I'll be replacing those soon enough (with Armadillo Roubaix Elites)

But, yeah, just compare the contact patch of a 38 to a 25 and it's not too hard to figure which one's gonna roll better.
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Old 05-09-07, 08:54 PM   #20
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The road bike's superior aerodynamics and ergonomics and lower rolling resistance make a noticeable difference.
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Old 05-09-07, 09:26 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
Is it the reduced weight of the LeMond? The 25cm tires? Is is the cranks, the geometry? Am I imagining it? Maybe I should just roll with it and forget about analyzing it.
I think weight is a big factor, plus more efficient riding position. I got fitted for my road bike on a size cycle. As I got closer and closer to my optimum geometry the pedaling seemed easier, more comfortable. The hills certainly seem easier, and I've noticed my HR is down on my climbs compared to the old hybrid. Speed is up as well. I did over 15mph avg on one loop of the park the other day, never did more than 13.5 on the hybrid.
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Old 05-09-07, 09:28 PM   #22
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The road bike has four main advantages over the MTBs and hybrid bikes:
  1. It's riding position is more aerodynamic.
  2. It's wheels are lighter, and have lower rolling resistance
  3. It's lighter, overall.
  4. The riding position allows your muscles to transfer power to the pedals more efficiently.
Taken together, these advantages easily offset the MTBs' and hybrids' lower gear ratios. Even a cheap road bike will run rings around a high-end MTB on good pavement.
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