Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31
  1. #1
    I like my car ShadowGray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,628
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    How do bike gearings work?

    Ok, so I finally got my bike (no more bugging you guys ). It's a Jamis 18spd Ukiah.. feels pretty good.

    Now, I just wanted to know how the bike gearings work? Current it's set on 1 in the front and 6 in the rear, but when I drop the rear gears, it just seems to loosen up and make it near impossible to pedal. How exactly do they work?

  2. #2
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Caldwell, Idaho USA
    My Bikes
    mid-60's Dunelt 10-speed, Specialized Allez Sport Tripple, Trek 7.2 FX
    Posts
    887
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The numbers on the shifter can be confusing. My wife has problems with following them. I finally put labels on the shifters that say "hill" and "fast." Now she knows which way to move the indicator in her shifter window without thinking the whole thing through.

    Basically, find a combination that allows you to pedal without making you breathe hard or straining your legs. Riding a bike will give you a workout, but it should also be fun and something you can sustain for as many hours as you wish without destroying yourself and your muscles. When pedalling becomes more difficult, switch to an easier gear to keep the effort about the same. Naturally, you will be going more slowly. When the pedalling becomes too easy, switch gears again to keep the effort about the same. You will now be going faster.

    In general, learn to assess the situation a bit ahead and make your shift before the hill starts to rise, etc. Shift to an easier pedalling combination as you approach a stop sign or red light. It makes starting out again easier.

    A smaller gear ring in the front means easier hill climbing. A smaller gear ring in the back means more speed, but harder hill climbing.

    I always shift to the smallest sprockets front and back when storing the bike. It relaxes the tension on the springs and keeps them from weakening. Some say this is no problem, anyway.
    Who am I?
    Where did I come from?
    Why am I here?
    Where am I going?

  3. #3
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    828
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Congrats on the bike, that's a good beginner bike (I ride a Jamis myself).

    For these really basic questions you should check Sheldon Brown's site first:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html

    He's explained it a lot better than most people could.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ahuman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    NEW JERSEY
    My Bikes
    Specialized,Klein,Paramount,Univega
    Posts
    230
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by envane View Post
    Congrats on the bike, that's a good beginner bike (I ride a Jamis myself).

    For these really basic questions you should check Sheldon Brown's site first:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html

    He's explained it a lot better than most people could.
    Wow He does explain how to work the gears. very well.
    "I Love To Ride My Bicycle, My bicycle"

  5. #5
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    My Bikes
    Kona Cinder Cone, Sun EZ-3 AX
    Posts
    1,195
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
    Ok, so I finally got my bike (no more bugging you guys ). It's a Jamis 18spd Ukiah.. feels pretty good.

    Now, I just wanted to know how the bike gearings work? Current it's set on 1 in the front and 6 in the rear, but when I drop the rear gears, it just seems to loosen up and make it near impossible to pedal. How exactly do they work?
    What does that mean, "loosen up"? If your gears are numbered normally, you probably shouldn't be using that setting. Generally, you shouldn't use smallest front with smallest rear, or largest front with largest rear.

    Usually, in the front the smallest gear is called 1, and the largest is called 3. In the rear, the largest is 1, and the smallest is N (6 in your case).

    So, if you're using 1-6, you've got the chain making its most extreme angle, from the nearest-to-the frame front gear to the farthest-from-the-wheel rear gear.

    You should probably begin by using the middle gear (2), in the front. Do most of your shifting with the rear gears.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    54
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Remember, the higher the number the faster/harder the gear.

  7. #7
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    My Bikes
    Panasonic DX4000, Bianchi Pista
    Posts
    2,863
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by twobikes View Post
    I finally put labels on the shifters that say "hill" and "fast."
    I've always thought that was the perfect explanation for a beginner.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    St Peters, Missouri
    My Bikes
    Rans Enduro Sport, Hase Kettweisel Tandem, Merin Bear Valley beater bike
    Posts
    23,615
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Eighteen gears - I assume that means that you have 3 in front and 6 in back.

    Think of your bike as having 3 different gear ranges - one for flatland, one for uphill and one for downhill.

    For 90% of your riding, the flat 90%, put your chain on the middle front sprocket and forget about it. Use the rear shifter to match your gear to your speed. If your feet seem to be spinning too fast, pick a higher number. If it feels too hard to pedal, pick a lower number.

    As you approach an "Oh my God" uphill, shift your chain onto the little sprocket in front. That'll make it a lot easier to pedal up the hill, but you won't go very fast. You can fine tune your gear with the rear shifter if you need to.

    Save the big front sprocket for downhills and the twice a year that you have a tailwind.

    That's all that you really need to know.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
    My Bikes
    86 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.
    Posts
    6,811
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Start off in 2-1 or 2-2 for normal flat land riding. Work your way up with the right shifter to 2-6.
    If you need an even faster gear after 2-6, shift to 3-5.

    You might even be OK starting in 3-1 and just staying in the big ring.

  10. #10
    cat person GlassWolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    N.W. Michigan
    My Bikes
    Nashbar Race SIS (1987), Kestrel Talon (2007), Trek Fuel EX 9.5 (2007)
    Posts
    509
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Eighteen gears - I assume that means that you have 3 in front and 6 in back..

    6x3 or 9x2. I'd think a 9 speed cassette, double crank is far more common than a 6 speed freewheel, triple crank.
    GlassWolf
    Organ Donors Save Lives.

  11. #11
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    828
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by GlassWolf View Post
    6x3 or 9x2. I'd think a 9 speed cassette, double crank is far more common than a 6 speed freewheel, triple crank.

    Not on a mid-90s mountain bike.

  12. #12
    kellyjdrummer
    Guest
    Another thing to remember, that can in some cases, make remembering easier.....the right side of the bike (sitting on it) is called 'outside,' and the left side (sitting on it) is called 'inside.' Your smallest rear cog is 'outside.' Your largest front ring is also 'outside.' Right is outside, left is inside.

    This will help when you get around to installing your own derailleurs on the bike, if you ever do.

  13. #13
    I like my car ShadowGray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,628
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I understand outside and inside, that's fine. It's just the high/low combos that get confusing... why is high and low switched on the front and back? Is there some good reason or is it just to make visualizing things difficult?

  14. #14
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    My Bikes
    Kona Cinder Cone, Sun EZ-3 AX
    Posts
    1,195
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
    I understand outside and inside, that's fine. It's just the high/low combos that get confusing... why is high and low switched on the front and back? Is there some good reason or is it just to make visualizing things difficult?
    High and low aren't switched. In the front, the large outside gear is high, and the small inside gear is low. In the rear, the small outside gear is high, and the large inside gear is low. In both cases, inside is low, outside is high.

    Remember what I said about not using 1-6 and 3-1 combinations? It's called "cross-chaining" when you use those. The chain has to run from the innermost front gear to the outermost rear gear, or vice versa. It's inefficient and hard on the chain and the gears. To quote Sheldon Brown...

    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.

    The way bikes are built, the chain runs more nearly in a straight line for both the highest and lowest of gearing combinations.

    There's a lot of overlap in the gearing on a bike, so you really lose very little if you avoid the crossing situation...you still have the full range of gearing, from highest (large front, small rear) to lowest (small front, large rear).

  15. #15
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?
    Posts
    13,857
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Firstly, don't worry about anything -- you're not going to break the bike as long as you're not stomping the pedals while shifting. You'll probably experience some chain rub in particular combinations (small front ring + small rear cog, for example), but that's no big deal, relatively speaking. So, you can do a lot of experimentation.

    For a quick lesson in shifting, try this -- put the chain about in the middle of the rear cogs, and shift between the three front rings. BUT, and this is the key, try to keep your pedaling at the same tempo. What you'll find is, when the chain is on the big ring, you'll be putting more effort into each pedal stroke, but you'll go faster; when it's on the small ring, each stroke is easier, but you'll go slower.

    Another idea: inside gears (both front AND rear) are for climbing, outside gears are for going really fast. Middle gears are for everything in between.

    I like how Retro Grouch put it, too.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    St Peters, Missouri
    My Bikes
    Rans Enduro Sport, Hase Kettweisel Tandem, Merin Bear Valley beater bike
    Posts
    23,615
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
    I understand outside and inside, that's fine. It's just the high/low combos that get confusing... why is high and low switched on the front and back? Is there some good reason or is it just to make visualizing things difficult?
    Everything on a bicycle works together. That's one of the things that I love about them.

    Look at how the tubes on your bike are angled. On the front the big chainrings have to be on the outside or they'd rub the chain stay tube. On the back the big cogs have to be on the inside or they'd rub.

    I might get a little argument about this but I'm convinced that shifters work best when they use cable pull tension to pull the chain up onto a larger sprocket. That means the shifters have to work opposite one another, front and rear, to access easier hill climbing gears.

  17. #17
    kellyjdrummer
    Guest
    Actually knowing what gear you are in is irrelevant. If you need to have leverage, shift to what you know is easier. If you need to just cruise on flat ground, shift to what you know is relaxing.

    It's exactly like a car.

    I do it this way.....front rings: Big is for flat....middle is for grass, gravel, light dirt.....small is for mud, trail riding, and anything I think will be hard to pedal through, disregarding inclined surfaces for small.

    I've done lots of road riding and almost never used the small ring, and almost never used the two inside cogs. My resting cog was always the third from the inside and big ring.

    Don't even pay attention to the little windows on the levers, or whatever indication they use. I never do. They don't offer me anything that will change the physics of reality.


  18. #18
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    On the road-USA
    My Bikes
    Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG
    Posts
    16,112
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Now I KNOW why I like IGH hubs...you only have to shift up or down... (It is what got my wife back into cycling) I do ride multi geared bikes, done it without thinking for years.

    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

  19. #19
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Iron Mountain, MI
    My Bikes
    1974 Stella 10 speed, 2006 Trek Pilot 1.2
    Posts
    1,195
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
    I understand outside and inside, that's fine. It's just the high/low combos that get confusing... why is high and low switched on the front and back? Is there some good reason or is it just to make visualizing things difficult?
    I think I know what you mean. The largest ring in front is highest but the smallest cog in back is highest. But if you understand the function, it makes sense. In front, the pedals are directly turning the rings. So it takes more power to turn the biggest one (more distance moved). In back, the cog turns the wheel. Now, the smallest cog requires more power because you are using less distance (i.e. the circumference of the cog) to move the wheel (as compared to the bigger cogs). Don't know if I explained that clearly; perhaps someone else can do it better.
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
    2006 Trek Pilot 1.2

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
    Bertrand Russell

  20. #20
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?
    Posts
    13,857
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chinarider View Post
    I think I know what you mean. The largest ring in front is highest but the smallest cog in back is highest. But if you understand the function, it makes sense. In front, the pedals are directly turning the rings. So it takes more power to turn the biggest one (more distance moved). In back, the cog turns the wheel. Now, the smallest cog requires more power because you are using less distance (i.e. the circumference of the cog) to move the wheel (as compared to the bigger cogs). Don't know if I explained that clearly; perhaps someone else can do it better.
    It's like levers, basically (that's really what gears are anyway). Big in front & small in back is like putting the fulcrum at the far end, away from you, right next to the load that you're lifting. Small front/big back is like moving the fulcrum closer.
    Last edited by BarracksSi; 05-03-08 at 09:50 PM.

  21. #21
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Iron Mountain, MI
    My Bikes
    1974 Stella 10 speed, 2006 Trek Pilot 1.2
    Posts
    1,195
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    It's like levers, basically (that's really what gears are anyway). Big in front & small in back is like putting the fulcrum at the far end from you, right next to the load that you're lifting. Small front/big back is like moving the fulcrum closer.
    Actually, I think this is backwards. When the fulcrum is next to the load and far from you, the load is easier thus corresponding to small front/big back. But I think the concept is right. For a given number of chain links, the biggest back cog moves the bike less distance than the smaller ones corresponding to the fulcrum next to the load lifting the load less than when it is further away. And the smallest front ring moves fewer chainlinks per pedal rotation than the bigger ones corresponding to the fact that when the fulcrum is far away from you & next to the load, pulling down on the lever a given distance moves the load less than pulling it that distance when the fulcrum is closer to you. But then again, I may be wrong. I'm no Archimedes.
    Last edited by chinarider; 05-03-08 at 10:14 PM.
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
    2006 Trek Pilot 1.2

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
    Bertrand Russell

  22. #22
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?
    Posts
    13,857
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chinarider View Post
    Actually, I think this is backwards.
    Whoops, you're right, I had it backwards...

  23. #23
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?
    Posts
    13,857
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Oh, I figured out the right way to think about the lever idea -- at least in terms of just the back wheel.

    Picture the hub as the fulcrum, the tire as the "load", the spokes as the "load side", and the cogs as the "near end" that you'd be pushing on. Better yet, imagine pushing on one particular tooth of the cog to move the opposite side of the wheel.

    Using the small cog is like pushing on the lever right next to the fulcrum, requiring higher effort while yielding greater speed. Etc.

  24. #24
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Iron Mountain, MI
    My Bikes
    1974 Stella 10 speed, 2006 Trek Pilot 1.2
    Posts
    1,195
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    Oh, I figured out the right way to think about the lever idea -- at least in terms of just the back wheel.

    Picture the hub as the fulcrum, the tire as the "load", the spokes as the "load side", and the cogs as the "near end" that you'd be pushing on. Better yet, imagine pushing on one particular tooth of the cog to move the opposite side of the wheel.

    Using the small cog is like pushing on the lever right next to the fulcrum, requiring higher effort while yielding greater speed. Etc.
    I think its simplier to consider that it is the chain that moves the bike & the relationship of the ring or cog to movement of the chain: The bigger the front ring, the further the chain goes on 1 rotation of the ring, but the bigger the rear cog, the more chain movement is required for 1 rotation of the cog (and thus for the same effort the bike is moving less distance).
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
    2006 Trek Pilot 1.2

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
    Bertrand Russell

  25. #25
    I like my car ShadowGray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,628
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    lol wow you guys get detailed.

    I think the first few posts got it good... 3rd gear for easy conditions, 2nd for normal, 3rd for hard and uphill. On rear, lower number = lighter, higher number = more force.

    Am I getting this right?

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •