Thread: Big Gears
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Old 06-26-17, 01:48 PM
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Big Gears

Our sport is one of trends and fads. I guess the only difference between the two is:

- If it works, it's a trend.
- If it doesn't work, it's a fad.

For example:

Narrow handlebars: Trend.
Smaller than 165mm cranks: Fad.

I'm still trying to figure out if the Big Gears thing is a trend or a fad. This is probably all over FB. I see pics of dinner plates on people's bikes. I've received several requests to make allowance for bigger and bigger chainrings in my apps.

I've asked a few friends (National/World level Masters) who are in on that trend/fad if they have seen anyone become significantly faster using them. They haven't been able to point to a particular person or cite themselves as having really benefited. They haven't taken a loss by doing so, but they also haven't gained.

So, does it work?

My assessment so far from what I've gathered is that:

- No one in particular has gained significantly using big gears (with all other things being equal). The "all other things being equal" is the key part. If someone is 15lbs lighter the season he uses big gears, that's a significant factor and it's not comparing apples to apples.
- If you train for big gears, you will learn to ride them and perform as well as you did on "normal" gears for a particular event.
- Basically, the hive mind has found that the power band using Normal gears also extends to Big gears.
- Big gears are an equal option, not a better option.
- Six one way, one-half dozen the other way.

One anecdote: When asked a few years ago, Steve Hill (2x US Elite Kilo Champ, Masters World Record Holder, trained engineer) was asked if small/normal/big gears made a difference. He told us that he'd actually properly tested for his own sake. He rode flying 200s on under, normal, and over gears and the times were nearly identical.

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