Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-07-09, 03:25 PM   #1
TrekJapan
Each Drop of Sweat Counts
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Iwakuni Japan
Bikes: MASI Speciale Road, Specialized Rockhopper 29'er, Dahon Jetstream XP, Dahon Speed P8, Dahon Speed TR, Dahon Speed TT, Ignio Folding bike
Posts: 825
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Do you prefer less gears or more on a foldie?

Here's the reason I ask. I have a Speed P8, Speed TR, and Speed TT.

I use Ascent Training program to log about 95% of my rides. Looking through the logs last night it sure looks like when I make a utility ride I almost always grab the P8. As many hills as there are here around my house you'd think I would want as many gears as possible. I can climb fine with the P8 and it would be nice to crank down the big hills rather than coast but that's very small potatoes.

I'm not sure if they told me I could only keep one that I wouldn't keep the P8. I do a lot of utility cycling. Running to the store to buy one item that easily fits on a bike rack.

More gears or less?

John
TrekJapan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 03:59 PM   #2
puppypilgrim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Bikes: Brodie Force w/ Xtracycle, Dahon Helios, Merida Folding, Pacific Carryme, Softride Classic
Posts: 791
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a Dahon Helios P8 on SRAM 3.0 with 8 speeds which I neutered to a singlespeed at 62 gear inches. I guess that answers the question.
puppypilgrim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 04:13 PM   #3
itsajustme
Banned.
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 247
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hills make me slow and having more gears on hills makes me even slower because they just tempt me to shift down while going up the hill (which I can't make back on the other side). Plus more gears means more maintenance, which is a drag.

So I vote less gears or at most a single chainring. More than that is overkill, folder or not.
itsajustme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 05:04 PM   #4
jur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 6,858
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
I find a 300% gear range adequate for the vast majority of rides. It's just when I am extremely tired that I wish for lower gears.

I have a 500% range on my Birdy and I find I use almost the entire range when riding it. Even my singlespeed's "range" of 1 gear was adequate. So it's just a case of use whatever's available.
jur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 05:25 PM   #5
wahoonc
Senior Member
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On the road-USA
Bikes: Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG
Posts: 16,687
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Unless you are a dedicated spinner and have to have just the right gear, 3 should be enough. FWIW I ride everything from a 3 speed to a 27 speed. I can get by fine with 3 speeds no matter where I ride, but I find 8 evenly spaced seems to be the sweet spot.

Aaron
__________________
Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 05:31 PM   #6
pibach
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Bikes: Dahon Mu Sport & Mu Ex
Posts: 299
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
As folders are meant for travel and are carried a lot, light weight and simplicity (for ease of folding) is a primary concern.
I have a Mu XL with 8 gears Nexus hub. It has 300% gear range and I cannot imagine a situation where I would need more. I easily get up steep hill (anyway it is a total flat terrain around here) or can pedal up to speed of 50km/h or even more. Its a clean chain line. Smooth shifting experience. However, this hub is terribly heavy. And also slightly inefficient. A single speed might be the better choice. But you frequently need to stand and crank then. Requires a good fitness level. And a stiff frame and handlepost. My tests showed that accelerating in a single higher gear without shifting is faster than shifting through gears. Many gears only make sense on longer rides, where optimization of cadence becomes important.

A dérailleur with single chainring setup has the problem, that chain can jump off. Needs a chainkeeper.

A "dual speed" setup with a Schlupf Speed Drive might be worth consideration.

Last edited by pibach; 05-07-09 at 05:37 PM.
pibach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 05:59 PM   #7
noteon 
Drops small screws
 
noteon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: NYC
Bikes: Heavily modified Xootr Swift, Trek 1000SL that's been turned into a brevet bike, two 20" Torker Interurbans
Posts: 2,600
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
For me, it's kind of a trick question. I couldn't tow my kids up a 25% grade with my 8-speed, and the only way to get the gearing low enough on my Xootr Swift was to install an internal gear hub. I now have 24 speeds. I don't actually need all of them, but I couldn't get down to 20.5 gear inches without them.
__________________
RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles • RUSA #5538
Learning to wrench better this year—current project: Fixie from build kit
noteon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 06:07 PM   #8
nekohime
I... Don't care.
 
nekohime's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sunny SoCal
Bikes:
Posts: 1,279
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Depends. For commuting, if LA were totally flat or at least only moderately hilly, one speed would do. However it isn't, so I need to have my speeds-three is fine, six better, but my sweet spot is around 8-10. Anything else is overkill unless racing or touring over long distances (which I don't do; I just pootle).
__________________
Wanna join my charity folding bike ride? Sign-up here!
Quote:
Originally Posted by AEO View Post
you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p
nekohime is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 06:23 PM   #9
ChiapasFixed
hipster traffic dodger
 
ChiapasFixed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Bikes: IRO Mark V Pro, home made bamboo track bike, eddy merckx corsa extra, Airnimal Joey commute, UGADA Tikit
Posts: 596
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
8 internal gears for me thanks. I have this setup on both my Joey and my Tikit. The former has the nexus redband, and the later the alfine s-501. the alfine is by far smoother, quieter and yes, more efficient, but both work great and I have never needed any more gears whether going up or down. Not as light as a ss, for sure, and I do prefer the Tikit wich requires no chain tensioner.
I may set up the Joey as a ss yet...
ChiapasFixed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 06:39 PM   #10
Bacciagalupe
Professional Fuss-Budget
 
Bacciagalupe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 6,438
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
One reason I stopped using folders was that I didn't like the limited gearing; 8 gears in a limited range didn't work well for my particular uses.

Of course, if you're doing a flat commute, one gear is fine. If you're doing a hilly century though, you at least need a wide range; if you're doing group rides, finer control over cadence is helpful.
Bacciagalupe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 07:35 PM   #11
Jerrys88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New Jersey
Bikes: Cannonade Synapse Carbon Ultegra 3, Dahon Formula S18, Fuji Touring Series III (bought new in 1980's, all original components, many, many great, memorable rides), Kickbike Sport Max
Posts: 195
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Wow - this thread is really timely. I'm really unhappy that my Brompton has only 6 gears. In fact, I just emailed my LBS asking about the possibility of reducing all the gears by 12% (an option when you buy a new Brompton) because I sorely miss having one gear lower than the lowest stock gear. The problem is that in order to do that I will have to sacrifice the highest gear, which for me is the perfect high gear, and that means I will have to coast down steep hills. So, to answer the question, after 8 months of commuting with my Brompton I have come to feel that yes, more gears is better, 6 is not enough, and 8 gears is a much better minimum for varied-terrain touring/commuting. I know the new Bromptons come with the 6 gears spaced wider, giving a much wider overall range, but personally I think that's a big mistake. Spacing is just as important as range. I wouldn't want my gears to be any more widely spaced than they are now - I would find that equally annoying.

I guess all of this depends on where you live and bike and your riding style. Being 50 years old I am more concerned about preserving my knees than I am about achieving any speed records. I like to spin and I really don't like to push.
Jerrys88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 07:38 PM   #12
djgonzo007
Sprint the hills!
 
djgonzo007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: South Pasadena, CA
Bikes: Klein Q-Pro w/Campy, Dahon MU P8
Posts: 611
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jur View Post
So it's just a case of use whatever's available.
True, I noticed this when I switched from a triple to a double on my road bike.
__________________
-----------------------------------------------------------------

'06 Klein Q-Pro with Campy
'09 Dahon Mu P8
djgonzo007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 08:03 PM   #13
stevegor
Senior Member
 
stevegor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oz
Bikes: lots... even a Raleigh twenty !!!
Posts: 2,117
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Horses for courses......and learning to ride in the correct cadence for whatever given terrain can make a world of difference to your cycling experience. I've seen countless folk grinding away on huge gears, body rocking side to side at 30 rpms? and at 15kmh...wobbling all over the place. I often ride up to them to have a friendly chat and suggest spinning a bit more in a lower gear, most are receptive to my advice and are surprised the difference it makes.
stevegor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 08:30 PM   #14
itsajustme
Banned.
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 247
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pibach View Post
my tests showed that accelerating in a single higher gear without shifting is faster than shifting through gears. Many gears only make sense on longer rides, where optimization of cadence becomes important.
+1
itsajustme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 08:58 PM   #15
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Bikes: See my sig...
Posts: 27,264
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
The fixed P20 folder runs 65 and 70 gear inches which is great for spinning along in the 30 kmh range and the new 3 speed P20 runs a gearing of 45/65/80 gear inches which makes it a little more versatile.

I rode the 3 speed home today and took a dip through the valley which meant I had to climb back up nearly 800 -900 feet on grades that went as high as 18%.

It was a bit of a hammer fest.

I removed the dual drive from the 3 speed and am thinking I may upgrade a few parts and reinstall it to give me that nice 6 speed gear range with 25% jumps and allow me to do more seated climbing.
Sixty Fiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-09, 09:07 PM   #16
vmaniqui
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Bay Area, SF California
Bikes: Citizen Tokyo, A-Bike, Dahon Boardwalk D6, Dahon Boardwalk D7, Dahon Curve D3, Dahon Mu XL, BF Tikit2, Dahon Speed TR, Dahon Curve SL.
Posts: 1,504
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i live in the bay area with so much hills on my commute so i'd say more gears the better for me. it will come in handy when i need it.

thanks,
vic
vmaniqui is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 01:49 AM   #17
Kaito
小型自転車マニアック \(^o^)y
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Okinawa, Japan
Bikes: Mu P8, customized Xootr Swift
Posts: 133
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
For me, it's more gears for more situations.
Kaito is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 01:53 AM   #18
bendembroski
My legs hurt
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Farther behind you than I'd like to be
Bikes: Vaya, Brompton, '73 Schwinn Super Sport, Cresswell Fold-it, '81 Trek 610
Posts: 683
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Two issues really; range and spacing.

If you are out for a pootle, and just want to be able to make it up some hills, and pootle along comfortably, then the number of gears is less important than having enough range in the gears you do have to match the terrain.

However, if you are riding for longer periods of time at a faster pace, then being able to fine - tune your cadence to maintain your speed effcientlly can be helpful. More gears are appropriate in these situations, even if the range of gears is the same as described above.

Personally, my knees aren't the strongest so I need a decent range to keep my cadence up on hills. Mashing isn't an option for me. This, combined with often pulling a trailer means I need to have wide gear range. I also like to longer, faster paced rides when I get the chance. I like having realitively narrow spacing for these rides. For me, it's typically been a triple up front and a 10 speed in the back.

This is changing as my riding style is changing and as I am looking to use my 20" wheel as my primary ride. I might wind up a double up front and a 9 speed 11-32 in back, and see how I like it.
bendembroski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 03:26 AM   #19
ChiapasFixed
hipster traffic dodger
 
ChiapasFixed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Bikes: IRO Mark V Pro, home made bamboo track bike, eddy merckx corsa extra, Airnimal Joey commute, UGADA Tikit
Posts: 596
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i have considered adding a shlumpf crank to my Tikit, which would give me possible 16 gears (with some redundancy), and a range of around the 500% mark.
then again for the cost and weight penalty, I may as well go for the Rohloff....
For now, the 8 gears have served me well, even on steep climbs with full panniers.
ChiapasFixed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 07:40 AM   #20
pibach
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Bikes: Dahon Mu Sport & Mu Ex
Posts: 299
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Marcel Hahn, single speed champion, showed that gears are not really relevant for touring, climbing, speed, etc. In many races he ranked in front of many pros with full gearing. And he toured the Alps with only one gear - east to west! Here's the site: http://www.singlespeeder.de/contenid...nt_content.php
Admittedly, he has very high level of fitness.
But it shows, that the effect of cadence optimization is generally overrated.
pibach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 07:46 AM   #21
pibach
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Bikes: Dahon Mu Sport & Mu Ex
Posts: 299
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed View Post
i have considered adding a shlumpf crank to my Tikit, which would give me possible 16 gears (with some redundancy), and a range of around the 500% mark.
then again for the cost and weight penalty, I may as well go for the Rohloff....
For now, the 8 gears have served me well, even on steep climbs with full panniers.
If using the Schlumpf in combination, bear in mind that efficiency loss gets multiplied. Also the Nexus is not speced for that high power transmission. So better don't do that and go for a Rohloff. Or install the Schlumpf but remove the hub gearing in favor of a single speed sprocket.
pibach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 07:49 AM   #22
noteon 
Drops small screws
 
noteon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: NYC
Bikes: Heavily modified Xootr Swift, Trek 1000SL that's been turned into a brevet bike, two 20" Torker Interurbans
Posts: 2,600
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pibach View Post
Admittedly, he has very high level of fitness.
Admittedly the ocean is slightly damp.
__________________
RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles • RUSA #5538
Learning to wrench better this year—current project: Fixie from build kit
noteon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 10:16 AM   #23
itsajustme
Banned.
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 247
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pibach View Post
Marcel Hahn, single speed champion, showed that gears are not really relevant for touring, climbing, speed, etc. In many races he ranked in front of many pros with full gearing. And he toured the Alps with only one gear - east to west! Here's the site: http://www.singlespeeder.de/contenid...nt_content.php
Admittedly, he has very high level of fitness.
But it shows, that the effect of cadence optimization is generally overrated.
If you're strong enough then riding in anything but the highest gear can only make you slower.
itsajustme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 10:24 AM   #24
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Bikes: See my sig...
Posts: 27,264
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Over the past 4 years I have ridden in excess of 40,000 km and a good portion (about 50%) of that has been on a number of fixed gear or single speed bikes and when I ride my geared bikes the granny / bailout gearing was seldom used unless I was towing some huge weight or have the bike loaded up with gear.

I am using those gears more now as I have some permanent nerve damage in my back and although I can still ride I cannot put out the same power and don't always have full use of both my legs...with that the fixed gear still helps as it helps me maintain a steadier cadence and several of those have lower gearings than what I would normally run.

I can understand how a person could tour and ride long distances on a one speed as I have done it and in many cases been the fastest / strongest rider out there but that stemmed from having an inordinately high level of fitness as well.

I still think that having a huge number of gears is overkill unless a person has some physical issues that prevent them from just pushing a little harder and agreed with Sheldon Brown when he said most people shift gears way too much.

For now I can still rock the triple on my newly built up folder and it's mate (nearly identical) is a fixed gear that is great for when I can't do that coasting thing.

I refer to these as my rehab bikes...

Sixty Fiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-09, 10:51 AM   #25
vik 
cyclopath
 
vik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Victoria, BC
Bikes: Surly Krampus, Surly Straggler, Pivot Mach 6, Bike Friday Tikit, Bike Friday Tandem, Santa Cruz Nomad
Posts: 5,265
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've got 8 speeds on my Bike Friday Tikit and 8 speeds on my NWT. I plan to tour on the NWT in the mountains so it has the tougher job by far. I'm hoping I've setup the gear range correctly so I'll be happy with only 8 gears....time will tell. For around town general use I find 8 gears more than adequate.
__________________
safe riding - Vik
VikApproved
vik is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:23 PM.