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  1. #1
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Why do pro's have all the fun? New engineering plea [long]

    Why can't SRAM and Shimano design a gruppo that would allow regular
    riders to have as much fun as pros?


    I don't know about you all but I'm getting pretty tired of cycling companies
    ignoring the needs of cyclists. I'm buying a new bike and spending way way
    too much. Bottom line is it boils down to gearing options are simply not
    available. Nothing has changed in the last four years as I have been considering
    different bikes. It's still a situation of choosing between bad and worst.
    With the change from 9 speeds to 10 speeds the choices are now
    between WORST and MUCH WORST.

    This is improvement? Negative!! Not for the rider, just more profit for the cycling companies.

    What are the recent changes that lead to this sorry of affairs?
    Dynamic one seems to be the desire for these companies to reduce their offerings
    and so they have been pushing the double and especially the compact double
    as a replacement for a triple. Dynamic two is the change from 9 speed cassettes
    to 10 speed cassettes.

    Overview of the impact
    With SRAM's new 11-32, they can come close to the gearing range of a stock triple.
    However the cost is a heavy toll on shifting timing and rider dropping out of desired
    cadence range to a lower effective range. Naturally as the rider works to return to
    their natural range, there will be a spike in power generated and a decrease of
    energy reserves. This impact is worst because with the old 9 speed triples it was
    not difficult to swap out chainrings to obtain the ratios desired. With the new 10 speed
    compacts, you can't swap out the lower ring for a smaller one. Best case you lose
    at least 2 low end gears available on the triple.

    Details of impact -- gruppo range
    ---Small ring
    Compact's lowest is 32gi {gear inches**, range for ring 32..83gi {w/ 11.28**
    Triple's lowest 24gi, 2 lower gears than compact, range is 24..53gi {w/ 24x 12.27**

    ---Middle ring
    Compact- removed
    Triple-- range is 42..93gi {w/42 x 12.27**

    ---Large ring
    Compact's highest is 121gi, range 48..121gi {w/ 11.28**
    Triple's highest is 120gi, range 53..120gi {w/ 54x 12.27**

    So at first glance this looks good. The range for the large chainrings is about the
    same. The range for the small compact and the middle triple are about the same.
    The problem in ranges occurs on the uphill climbs and the windy conditions.
    Not all of us are pros who can just power on and burn watts to keep on going.


    Details of impact -- change in rider effort
    This aspect seems to have been completely overlooked, or companies choose not to discuss.
    Measure method is the percentage change in GI as move from one gear to a higher gear,
    i.e. want to go faster so chose a lower toothed cassette. The standard is taken from existing
    road cassettes. I don't have a power meter so don't have the watt impact of a change,
    and it would be an interesting experient for someone to test these and see how much
    of a watt impact is caused by different percentages of GI changes. Anyway, definitions:

    easy shifting = less than 10% GI change between gears
    moderate shifting = between 10% and 12% GI change between gears
    hard shifting = greater than 12% change between gears

    Compact Crankset results
    Easy 4, upper gears
    Moderate 2, lowest and middleish gear
    Hard 3, mid and lower gears

    Triple Crankset results
    Easy 5, upper gears
    Moderate 3, middle and lowest
    Hard 1, second from lowest


    Here's a comparison with 39t chainring
    cassette -- range -- change percentage when moving to a higher {lower number** cogring
    11.21 50 95 A-10.5 B-5.6 C-5.9 D-6.3 E-6.7 F-7.1 G-7.7 H-8.3 I- 9.1
    12.27 38 87 A-12.5 B-14.3 C-10.5 D-11.8 E-6.3 F-6.7 G-7.1 H-7.7 I-8.3

    Note for rings C & D the difference. Best cassette gives roughly a 6% change while
    the average cassette gives more than an 11% change. Basically you lose a gear choice
    and gearing changes are twice as hard.

    What is most bizarre with the current engineering is it does not matter much if you choose
    any double or a triple. After you run the numbers on the gears, you only have 15 to 16 effective gears available. {Effective means not duplicate and gear change percentage more than 3%**


    On the path to a better solution
    Why not use a cassette that is already available, the 11-21?
    Look at the smooth shifting
    Easy 9, most gears
    Moderate 1, lowest gear only
    Hard 0, does not happen

    Why not provide an honest 30 effective gears to cyclists?
    Inner of 16t for range of 20-39 GI
    Middle of 31t for range of 30-75 GI
    Top of 53t for range of 67-129 GI

    A double of this middle and top would serve most cyclists. Those needing
    more friendly gearing because of experience level/age/physical health/steep terrain riding
    could use a triple which just adds the lower ring.
    Worst case engineering should be able to create a low ring of 20t as they already
    do that for mountain bikes. That would still supply a range of 25-48GI.

    Naturally the engineering challenge will be to handle the range of 36 teeth between
    inner and top chainring. Perhaps they need to review the solutions of the recumbent
    makers to see what they could apply to road technology.


    Advantages for cycling suppliers
    -- won't lose as many customers who give up because "shifting is too hard"
    -- new products to sell
    -- only two cranksets instead of current 4 or 6 sets
    -- fewer resources spent on a variety of cassettes
    -- potential of merging mountain and road cranksets
    -- with only a double or triple crankset, derailers & shifters should be able
    to be designed to work on both, so lower costs.

    Disadvantages for cycling suppliers
    -- initial investment in engineering
    -- have to create a new marketing name for this gruppo

    Advantages for cyclists
    -- double the number of effective gears
    -- compatibililty between doubles and triples
    -- gruppo will work with any bike, including all tris
    -- won't have to continually accept bad or worst solutions
    -- will be able to attack the steepest hills, even when tired
    -- won't struggle and lose pacing when shifting to faster gear
    -- won't struggle and lose momentum when shifting to slower gear
    -- should be able to ride faster
    -- should be able to ride longer

    Disadvantages for cyclists
    -- will feel the "need" to buy a new bike
    -- if stay with current setups, will suffer more than those with new setups
    -- can't argue as much about gearing and will have to focus on training
    Hi 'o Silver away

  2. #2
    Senior Member tligman's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be really hard to go from 1/10 to 2/1 and 2/10 to 3/1 in this "honest 30 effective gears"?

  3. #3
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I'm having lots of fun now and had lots of fun on my single-speed cruiser. It's not all about the gearing.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  4. #4
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tligman View Post
    Wouldn't it be really hard to go from 1/10 to 2/1 and 2/10 to 3/1 in this "honest 30 effective gears"?
    Opps, made a mistake. I didn't run the numbers but only looked at the ranges. 27 gears, but that's still better than the 16 with a triple. Here's the data:

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SP Shifting Pattern
    CRxFW ChainRing x FreeWheel
    GI Gear Inches
    GIdf Percentage of increase between present GI value and the
    next sequential GI value.
    DI Distance traveled in INCHES in a single pedal rotation
    diff Difference in INCHES between the present DI value and
    the next sequential DI value.
    DF Distance traveled in FEET in a single pedal rotation
    displayed as FEET' INCHES.decimal_remainder"
    PRPM Pedal Rotations Per Mile
    RT Gear Ratios

    Wheel Diameter: 26.70 inches
    Gears: 16/31/53 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SP CRxFW GI GIdf DI diff DF PRPM RT
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1> 16x21 20.34 10.53% 63.91 6.73 5' 3.91" 991.41 1:0.76
    2> 16x19 22.48 5.56% 70.64 3.92 5'10.64" 896.99 1:0.84
    3> 16x18 23.73 5.88% 74.56 4.39 6' 2.56" 849.78 1:0.89
    4> 16x17 25.13 6.25% 78.95 4.93 6' 6.95" 802.57 1:0.94
    5> 16x16 26.70 6.67% 83.88 5.59 6'11.88" 755.36 1:1.00
    6> 16x15 28.48 7.14% 89.47 6.39 7' 5.47" 708.15 1:1.07
    7> 16x14 30.51 7.69% 95.86 7.37 7'11.86" 660.94 1:1.14
    8> 16x13 32.86 8.33% 103.24 8.60 8' 7.24" 613.73 1:1.23
    9> 16x12 35.60 10.71% 111.84 11.98 9' 3.84" 566.52 1:1.33
    10> 31x21 39.41 10.53% 123.82 13.03 10' 3.82" 511.70 1:1.48
    11> 31x19 43.56 5.56% 136.86 7.60 11' 4.86" 462.96 1:1.63
    12> 31x18 45.98 5.88% 144.46 8.50 12' 0.46" 438.60 1:1.72
    13> 31x17 48.69 6.25% 152.96 9.56 12' 8.96" 414.23 1:1.82
    14> 31x16 51.73 6.67% 162.52 10.83 13' 6.52" 389.86 1:1.94
    15> 31x15 55.18 7.14% 173.35 12.38 14' 5.35" 365.50 1:2.07
    16> 31x14 59.12 7.69% 185.74 14.29 15' 5.74" 341.13 1:2.21
    17> 31x13 63.67 8.33% 200.02 16.67 16' 8.02" 316.76 1:2.38
    18> 31x12 68.98 7.98% 216.69 17.29 18' 0.69" 292.40 1:2.58
    19> 53x19 74.48 5.56% 233.98 13.00 19' 5.98" 270.79 1:2.79
    20> 53x18 78.62 5.88% 246.98 14.53 20' 6.98" 256.54 1:2.94
    21> 53x17 83.24 6.25% 261.51 16.34 21' 9.51" 242.29 1:3.12
    22> 53x16 88.44 6.67% 277.85 18.52 23' 1.85" 228.03 1:3.31
    23> 53x15 94.34 7.14% 296.38 21.17 24' 8.38" 213.78 1:3.53
    24> 53x14 101.08 7.69% 317.55 24.43 26' 5.55" 199.53 1:3.79
    25> 53x13 108.85 8.33% 341.97 28.50 28' 5.97" 185.28 1:4.08
    26> 53x12 117.93 9.09% 370.47 33.68 30'10.47" 171.03 1:4.42
    27> 53x11 128.65 0.00% 404.15 0.00 33' 8.15" 156.77 1:4.82
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SP CRxFW GI GIdf DI diff DF PRPM RT
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi 'o Silver away

  5. #5
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    You need to ride more, and calculate less.

    My crank runs 44-32-22, and I've run both 11-32 and 11-26 cassettes (yes, MTB); for commuting, the 11-26 was sweet, but for the silly stuff I'm getting more into (again), the 11-32 will have to stay.

    Personally, I have so much fun pedaling, I don't bother thinking too much about what gears are 'most efficient'.

  6. #6
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    you are overthinking this...

  7. #7
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    .........feeling dizzy...........need to try a different post-reading gear......................25 gear itches might work
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    You need to ride more, and calculate less.
    Personally, I have so much fun pedaling, I don't bother thinking too much about what gears are 'most efficient'.
    What I was thinking, too. I know a lot of people get into gear inches, but from my standpoint, this is about the most boring thread i've ever seen.

  9. #9
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    Just because of this thread, I'm going to ride my old 10-speed tomorrow (meaning 2x5, not 2x10 or 3x10).

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    You need to ride more, and calculate less.
    My crank runs 44-32-22, and I've run both 11-32 and 11-26 cassettes (yes, MTB); for commuting, the 11-26 was sweet, but for the silly stuff I'm getting more into (again), the 11-32 will have to stay.

    Personally, I have so much fun pedaling, I don't bother thinking too much about what gears are 'most efficient'.
    +1

    I run a mtn bike chainring and cassette on my road bicycle. I'm actually not sure what my chainring setup is (46-36-26, I think) but we're talking about changing the 26 out to a 22. And my cassette is an 11-32. That's one of the beautiful things about cycling. You can ride whatever equipment you want to ride.

  11. #11
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    Advantages for cycling suppliers
    -- won't lose as many customers who give up because "shifting is too hard"
    The common complaint is that the customer can't figure out how the relationship between the front and rear DRs (large ring in the front is hard, large ring in the back is easy). Your solution will add more complication.

    In asking for 30 (or 27) effective gears you are asking the manufacturer to eliminate cross chaining + a re-design of the RD cage (able to handle large-large and small-small front and rear gear combos). This would take a fundamental re-think of the entire drivetrain. The only option that comes close are internally geared hubs.

    With SRAM's new 11-32, they can come close to the gearing range of a stock triple.
    However the cost is a heavy toll on shifting timing and rider dropping out of desired
    cadence range to a lower effective range. Naturally as the rider works to return to
    their natural range, there will be a spike in power generated and a decrease of
    energy reserves.
    Another fundamental (marketing) issue: Why is the casual rider concerned about their power output? They will just go more slowly, problem solved.

  12. #12
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    You mean bikes can have more than 6 cogs in the back!

    I have a bigger problem with lacvk of compatibility between mfgs and planned obsolecence.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

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    Wait, why exactly would having more (than my current 12) gears allow me to have more fun?


    [k]

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    A lot of cyclists have a lot of fun with just one gear.

  15. #15
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Just get a NuVinci.

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I love my Rohloff hub, It s an oil bathed internal gear hub. with the gear ratio range of a mountain bike in 14 steps.

    and the 6 speed on my Brompton is nice too, they are similar in that a planetary gear set
    in the hub is used twice in 2 different ranges, the low range starts back thru the high gear ,
    though where the Rohloff engineers that to all happen in the hub, 7 speed x 2,

    with my Sturmey Archer 3 speed in the back, and the Mountain drive 2speed planetary gear in the crank
    I do that with a tap of the heel , center button on the crank,
    and a flick of the trigger shifter ..

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    How many is besides the point, the ratios and the range of those ratios is what counts ,
    so, with a focus on having more 'gears' , a lot of ratios are redundant or nearly So.

    remember the Pros are the tools of the teams and the sponsors to wear the advertising brands
    and try out the new stuff the component corporation engineers design,
    those corporations are in a competiton for the Eyeballs and wallets of every one else in the world watching...

    to convince them that they Need a new bike with the latest Widget scheme.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    Ride your way and model for the rest of us.
    I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.

  19. #19
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Am waiting for the new Alfine 11 speed IGH... can get a nice 25-95 gear inch range with a single chain ring which is what most folks are going to find useful for their day to day riding, commuting, and it should be especially nice for touring and people who ride small wheeled and folding bicycles.

    With derailleur bikes I don't think many people need more than a 7 speed and a well chosen double and for many, a single would do.

  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I run bikes with 1, 3 (IGH), 8 (2x4), 12 (2x6), 21 (3x7), and 24(3x8) speeds and still don't have a 9 speed in the house... my new wheel set on my touring bike will use a 7 speed with a touring triple.

    Can't forget this... my tandem runs a 4 by 8 so has a 32 speed drive.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    Yuck! A triple with a 16 tooth granny would shift horribly. The smaller gears in your setup would also wear out faster.

    Your premise is completely backwards - the professionals and racers are the only ones who need such tightly spaced gears. The rest of us are perfectly happy to pedal a little slower or faster cadence than optimal rather than constantly shift between tightly spaced gears. Beginners are the ones who benefit the most from lower range gearing and they tend to shift as little as possible.

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    my Brompron Got a mountain drive Crankset , single chain-ring , 2 speeds,
    2nd one is a planetary, [6 gears in total]
    chain stays on the one chainring, in low range crank turns faster than the chainring.

    If I had a 40t chainring , the low range would work like it's a 16t..

    but since the wheel is 16", the chainring is a 54t so the low is like a 21.6t
    and with the 15t cog on the 3 speed low gear, in low range is like 17",

    almost 1:1 with the wheel size.. unicycle gearing..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-08-10 at 12:53 AM.

  23. #23
    Gear Hub fan
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    HiYoSilver;

    I would love it if you could be forced to ride your suggested gearset and see how bad it is.

    The 9-10 shift and 18-19 shifts, either direction, would be monsters as you need to shift across 8 cassette sprockets to reach the next gear. By the time you do you have slowed down too much so need to shift back. Also the gear steps are too close together, particularly in the lower gears where the rider can easily handle larger gear steps.

    Get a copy of Frank Berto's 1988 book called Bicycling Magazine's Guide To Upgrading Your Bike. Usually available used on Amazon. It has an excellent chapter on gearing and discusses gearing ideas similar to yours, and their problems.

    The 16-31-53 front rings would give very poor shifting on to the middle ring as they exceed any front derailleur capacity limits. The total range of 46 teeth also exceeds rear derailleur takeup capacity and your gearing scheme ignores rules about not cross chaining. A design that looks pretty on paper can be a total disaster when ridden. IMO yours is a perfect example of such a design.

    From a rider convenience and ease of shifting standpoint duplicate gears and minimizing shift time at the rear when going between chainrings is the way to go for a derailleur system. In the days of 5 rear sprockets many loaded touring bikes used a setup with minimal duplicate gears. It was called "Half Step + Granny" gearing. It required a lot of double shifts if used as intended. Again well covered in the above mentioned book. If you want to eliminate duplicate gears and have a wide gear range then get something like the Rohloff IGH Hub.
    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

    Visit and join the Yahoo Geared Hub Bikes group for support and links.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Geared_hub_bikes/

  24. #24
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
    Why can't SRAM and Shimano design a gruppo that would allow regular
    riders to have as much fun as pros?

    I've dropped fewer chains this season than Andy Schleck.

    I win.

  25. #25
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post
    In asking for 30 (or 27) effective gears you are asking the manufacturer to eliminate cross chaining + a re-design of the RD cage (able to handle large-large and small-small front and rear gear combos). This would take a fundamental re-think of the entire drivetrain. The only option that comes close are internally geared hubs.
    Agreed, except for the cross chaining. I don't care how they design it. I would just like a full range of gears
    and smooth transitions between gears without taking a horrible impact on pacing.
    Hi 'o Silver away

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