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  1. #1
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    Why do some people ride in cross-chain gears?

    I notice quite a lot of people on bikes, usually those ambling along the pavement or right on the edge of the road, that seem to insist on riding in the small-small gear all the time. I know sometimes you may find yourself in that gear for a moment, but I'm talking about those who ride in it all the time, usually accompanied by a whole range of noises from the transmission. I saw one guy on a fast-looking road bike riding in this gear, constantly looking at his chain wondering he was struggling to get up the hill he was on.

    This seems to be the default gear until people learn to shift properly. The question is, why? I would have thought if you didn't understand how the gears worked, you'd put everything in the middle position.

  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Most probably don't know better. I used to do this on my 10-speed, because I only needed to use the smaller chainring but with a 5 speed cog, is it really cross-chaining?
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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    Ignorance, I fear. Hear at the university, I see bikes all the time that are severely cross-chained. Many of these kids essentially never shift; they find a gear that will get them around the campus in most situations and leave it there.
    Often I'll see folks pushing a 24-speed mountain bike up a small hill.... They simply don't understand how the gears work.

  4. #4
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    IMO this is where and internal hub has a huge leg up on derailleurs.....visual simplicity and ease of use. For most duffer bikers all they know, or care about, is how easy it is to pedal which is much easier to do with a hub since it's a simple matter to shift up/down with no thought at all.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member mvnsnd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
    Ignorance, I fear. Hear at the university, I see bikes all the time that are severely cross-chained. Many of these kids essentially never shift; they find a gear that will get them around the campus in most situations and leave it there.
    This is what I see as well. For what I believe are the same reasons given.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Why do people vote for their capitalist oppressor?

  7. #7
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    Next you see a person riding in such gears, stop and ask them.
    Two Wheels One Love

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Perhaps they aspire to a single speed bike and are trying to find what gearing to put on the "New" bike when they get it

    Not all people on cycles are cyclist's. Some of them have got the bike out of the shed for the first time in 10 years- just to be able to get some fitness back and lose weight. Don't worry though- by tonight the bike will be back in the shed for another 10 years.
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  9. #9
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    If it's a girl and you are not, be sure to tell them about what they're doing wrong. Then offer a lot of unsolicited advice about how to pedal at a higher cadence, etc. so you sound like a real winner .
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  10. #10
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    Why do people care what chain ring other people ride in?

    My wife cross chains all the time, but she is out riding... so i don't bother her about this. Id rather replace parts as necessary, when she is ready to learn to use gears more efficiently, she'll let me know. (she's like a kiddo... just wants to do it on her own and have fun doing it... she's not in a race she always tells me). I have had to learn patience

  11. #11
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    +1

    They probably are not going at a cadence you like. Or have their seat high enough for your taste. Or wearing the right clothes. Or using the right bike, tires, pump, basket, pedals, etc ad nausea.

  12. #12
    Bicycle Rider & Mechanic Trekbikedude's Avatar
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    How about when on a technical fast downhill, it puts more tension on the chain and lessens the chance of it falling off? Sometimes I do it so I don't have to change my front derailleur. It really isn't that bad to cross chain, you've got to replace your drivetrain at some point in time!
    On top of the world.

  13. #13
    smitten by саша pwdeegan's Avatar
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    actually, in cyclecross, isn't cross-chaining 1x9 or 1x10 normally preferable to trying to use your FD? for my part, i thought it was just way more fun to ride than to worry about cross-chaining. this may explain my final move to a 1x1 IGH setup.

    in any case, +1 to just riding any old bike in any old gear you please.
    No slogans, just 14 facts.

  14. #14
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    The cross chaining is mostly a problem because it accelerates wear of the chain and drive train components that contact the chain. It would take many thousands of miles for it to show up. For a kid in University, chances are his or her bike will not have a long life anyway due to all the misadventures of curbs, potholes, being left in the rain, etc. etc. (been there, done that). For a 300 dollar campus special, it's no big loss. If you have a full Dura Ace bike that's a completely different calculus.

    You are not going to make many friends going around yelling at everyone with a crossed chain

  15. #15
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    I'm not about to argue with anyone riding cross-chained. It's their bike after all, and they're probably no more likely to fall off and crash by riding cross-chained. It just perplexes me how the gear they find to ride in almost always ends up being the small-small gear. I'd imagine some people look at other bikes to see what gear they're in, and copy that, but I don't know how this became the default gear to ride in.

  16. #16
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    On my daily commutes, I often see people who are stuck in one gear, crossed up chain, and no lube. I hear them before I get close. The chain is squeeking on the cogs. Probably the reason their gears won't work is the rusty chain which has worn 120% of it's effective life. I always carry a bottle of lube and think sometimes I thought I might ask if they would like me to lube their chain. As yet I haven't though.

  17. #17
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    Forget about cross chaining. It is none of my business but if there is something that bothers me is people with seats waaaaaaaay too low where they barely get to unbend their knees. As I said, none of my business, but I really have to look away.

  18. #18
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    Here is my take on much of the "bad" cycling practices you see.... Most folks nowadays start out riding on the little 20" kids bikes, usually cheap ones. Single-speed... They spend most all their time standing; kids seem to rarely pedal while seated.
    They are used to climbing small hills by standing on the pedals and mashing... The only way to do it.

    So... When these kids become adults and decide they'd like to get back into cycling, they essentially know nothing about managing or setting up or even riding a modern multi-speed bicycle. They ride the thing much like they did their little 20" bike.
    Rarely if ever shifting, standing when necessary for hills, pushing when the hill gets too steep....
    They have no idea of fit, set-up, technique...
    A shame, since many of these folks rapidly become very uncomfortable on the bike and give up.
    Those who stick with it are generally driven to learn a bit, and will buy a book or go to the bike shop and get some decent advice or sign up for the forum....

    When our department interviews new-hire police officers, we tell them that bike patrol is part of the job description. I always ask them if they are familiar with how a modern mountain bike works. They always say "sure!" Then when I start to set up a bike for them, it's pretty obvious that this is not the case at all.
    The shifters are a total mystery, the front brake will propel them over the handlebars.... Etc.

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