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  1. #1
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    Lower gearing can sometimes speed you up.

    Well for me it has. I had not ridden in 15 years when I got my racing bike in a trade. It had an 11 25 cluster and at 265# and even now at 212 some of my little steep hills were a challenge. I could not spin up them and standing was not really better. So I got an 11-28 cluster and my average on the same route got a little better.
    Now here comes my bent. It is not as low geared as same and it has a 11-28 on back. Those same hills were only a tiny bit easier then on my road bike and I am spinning pretty slow. So when I upgrade to 9 speeds I got a 11 34. well my average went up a bit because now I can spin up the hills only the worst get me down to 60 or 70 rpms verses 40 to 50 and more work that less gearing got me
    Ha anyone else noticed this?

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    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    I dont know, for me personally I'm faster when I have to mash the gears a bit vs. when I sit and spin. Some of it may have to do with my singlespeed/mountainbike background though.

  3. #3
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    Same here... push the gears and I am faster... spin alot and nada... slow.

    Of course force has never been my weak point in racing... endurance on the hills is...

    Of course for me standing and walking up the hill "on the bike" is the easiest way to go.

    But if the lower gears are helping then by all means go for it...
    Just your average club rider... :)

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    I found standing never did anything it just tried me out fast. I never went much faster either. I think it was the weight I had to put the bike in such a big gear that it was way to hard to peddle.
    But I have carried this weight for a long time and I have always walked quite a bit. So my legs are really strong I can really put leverage into it. When I felt good I could hit 18 or 20mph by the time I crossed the street I would have shifted 4 times atleast in that time. I always out accelerated everyone else that was standing up.
    Also my asthma keeps me from pushing hard. If I do much of it then I am wheezing. So there the gears help me out.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SanDiegoSteve's Avatar
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    I can do faster bursts in the "mash" gears, but I can sustain much greater speed for longer when I spin. That includes climbing.

  6. #6
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I find that my fastest speeds on hills are when I do a combination of spinning and mashing. My typical hill attack tactic starts out with either a good spin or I start standing and mashing initially... usually it's a spin. Then about 1/4 to 1/3 the way up the hill, I'll switch. Usually since I began the hill with a spin, I'll start trying to stand up and mash up it. I'll do this until around the halfway point and then switch again. I have found that I'm more comfortable if I try to complete the halfway to 7/8 way portion of the hill in a spin and then try and mash/sprint the last 1/8 portion to really attack to the top which carries my speed over for the descent. This was how I always hit hills while MTBing and it seems to work equally well on the road. Switching around allows me to fully utilise all my muscle groups while alternatively giving some time to recover when others are working.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveknight
    Well for me it has. I had not ridden in 15 years when I got my racing bike in a trade. It had an 11 25 cluster and at 265# and even now at 212 some of my little steep hills were a challenge. I could not spin up them and standing was not really better. So I got an 11-28 cluster and my average on the same route got a little better.
    Now here comes my bent. It is not as low geared as same and it has a 11-28 on back. Those same hills were only a tiny bit easier then on my road bike and I am spinning pretty slow. So when I upgrade to 9 speeds I got a 11 34. well my average went up a bit because now I can spin up the hills only the worst get me down to 60 or 70 rpms verses 40 to 50 and more work that less gearing got me
    Ha anyone else noticed this?
    Total dumb question here so I will do a pre-emptive mea culpa, but I never did understand what x-y meant when referring to gears. For example, what does "11-28" on back mean? Same thing with this 53-11 fellow. What is 53-11? Can someone help? Thanks.

    Q
    "I gotta have more cowbell!"

  8. #8
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qroo
    Total dumb question here so I will do a pre-emptive mea culpa, but I never did understand what x-y meant when referring to gears. For example, what does "11-28" on back mean?
    Well, let's set some common formats here. Typically gearing is described as a combination of front and back. So 53x11 is a 53 tooth gear in front combined with an 11 tooth cog in the back. Now things get a bit confusing because componentry is often described in a similar format however they should be expressed differently for sake of clarity. A cassette is often expressed in terms of a range (ie. 11-28) of smallest to largest cog. This means that the small cog is an 11 tooth cog with the largest being a 28 tooth cog. The actual in-between breakdown follows some sort of "logical rule" with usually the spacing in the higher gears (smaller cogs) being one or two teeth and the spacing in the bigger cogs (typically once you get beyond around 18T) being three or four teeth... sometimes higher beyond the 30T. There's also different spacing conventions for road-specific vs. MTB specific vs. comfort bike type cassettes. My roadbike cassette breakdown is {12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27** and my MTB cassette breakdown is {12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 23, 26, 30, 34**. The front chainrings are typically described explicitly such as 39/53 which means that the inner ring is 39 tooth and the outer is 53. Sometimes they will be described going the other direction (ie. 53/39). From what I've seen, it seems that roadbike chainring sets are described from outer to inner and MTB chainrings from inner to outer although this is by no means a canonical convention. My roadbike has a 53/39 and my MTB has a 22/32/44.


    Quote Originally Posted by qroo
    Same thing with this 53-11 fellow. What is 53-11?
    He's trying to impress people by telling everyone he always rides or rather likes people to think he rides in a 53x11 combo which is typically the highest gearing you'll see on most modern roadbikes.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  9. #9
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    Thank you Khuon. Great response!
    "I gotta have more cowbell!"

  10. #10
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Right on... my singlespeeding has taught me to spin into the approach and keep the cadence high as long as possible but mash out of the hill... you pass a LOT of people using this approach even on a geared bike.


    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    I find that my fastest speeds on hills are when I do a combination of spinning and mashing. My typical hill attack tactic starts out with either a good spin or I start standing and mashing initially... usually it's a spin. Then about 1/4 to 1/3 the way up the hill, I'll switch. Usually since I began the hill with a spin, I'll start trying to stand up and mash up it. I'll do this until around the halfway point and then switch again. I have found that I'm more comfortable if I try to complete the halfway to 7/8 way portion of the hill in a spin and then try and mash/sprint the last 1/8 portion to really attack to the top which carries my speed over for the descent. This was how I always hit hills while MTBing and it seems to work equally well on the road. Switching around allows me to fully utilise all my muscle groups while alternatively giving some time to recover when others are working.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    11 of the last 14 Tours de France have been won by a rider using a low spinning method for everything, including climbing.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

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