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Old 11-14-09, 06:31 PM   #1
folkdancer
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Join Date: Nov 2009
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Speeds

A long time ago I had a wonderful Rahleigh internal hub 3 speed and in high school I traveled a lot of miles on that bike. Now in old age I have a Specialized 21 speed derailer commuter bike with rear baskets for going to the store for groceries.

I don't understand or use all those 21 speeds. So far I have only used 4 speeds: 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, and 2-7. So here is my dumb question:

Do the gears go up like this:
1-1
2-1
3-1
1-2
2-2
3-2

on up to:
1-7
2-7
3-7

Or do the gears go up like this:
1-1
1-2
1-3
1-4
1-5
1-6
1-7
2-1
2-2
2-3
2-4

On up to:
3-1
3-2
3-3
3-4 etc.
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Old 11-14-09, 06:54 PM   #2
old and new
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Too much for me to figure out, never did focus much on gearing per say. Like many riders though, I find I don't allways use all the gears just a few favorites so it's a range as well as "close" gearing that one looks for; many speeds, some just a tiny bit different inbetween. "Gear number charts" break it down also called gear calculators.
these are avilable on line as well as other explanations.
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Old 11-14-09, 07:21 PM   #3
AndrewP
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Montreal
Bikes: Peugeot Hybrid, Minelli Hybrid
Posts: 6,521
You shouldnt use 1-6, 1-7, 3-1 & 3-2 because the misalignment of the chain is bad for the system. Shifting onto a different chainring is the equivalent to changing several gears at the back. So carry on as you are, using the middle chainring most of the time. If you come to a sudden uphill, dropping down into the small chainring reduces the number of downshifts you will have to make. Similarly if you have a strong tailwind or are in 2-6 or 2-7 at the start of a long downhill shift up to the big chainring.
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