Thread: Big Gears
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Old 06-26-17, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Personally, I consider big gears somewhat of a gamble in match sprints and mass start races.

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In mass start races, a big gear can be detrimental when there are lots of speed changes because it takes that much energy to speed it up and slow it down.
I was mostly a mass start racer and picked the gear based on what the race was and who was there. I didn't have the high end to contest the sprints in a win and out when the real sprinters showed up, but could still finish in the money by putting on a big gear and just rolling in the draft of the first couple sprints. By the time the third one is done you've gone from 15-20 riders to about 4 because anybody who contested the sprints and missed is laying on the apron trying to breathe. I could roll through and pick up 4th or 5th.

If it was a big, fit field, a bigger gear was fine (where for me "big" was a 94" or 95") - the race would start fast, stay fast, and only get faster in the sprints. You don't even notice the extra gearing. A smaller field of mixed fitness and a big gear is ok if you're going to roll of the front, but if you're going to be in the pack as it speeds up and slows down, smaller is easier on your legs and easier to manage in close quarters. We'd sometimes mess with people who were overgeared by floating at odd times so they'd ride up on you too fast, have to slow down, then have a gap to close. With a big group and them just a little behind the front you can use them to stack up the field with everybody wishing they had brakes. I'd also go smaller outdoors if it was windy because you end up changing speed a lot.

Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Just like ceramic bearings are technically more efficient...but they only demonstrate performance gains over high quality steel bearings at several thousand RPMs as when used in machinery.
Ceramic are really best for dirty conditions. My GF skated (ice and inline) when she was lived in Montreal, and much of the year it was hard to do a long skate without getting your bearings wet and maybe full of dirt. Steel bearings would bind up unless you were very thorough about cleaning and lubing them all the time. Ceramic bearings would just crush the dirt and keep rolling, and if you didn't soak them right after the skate they'd still turn the next day. I think some people would try to save money by just putting in one ceramic ball per bearing to crush the grit. On the track where everything is pretty clean it's going to make less difference.

Originally Posted by Godsight View Post
Elimination and tempo are just suicide with big gears but I could see myself running big gear in a scratch or a points race if I know the average speed will be high (and that i can hold/lead the pack at that speed)
Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
I've found the opposite. In big races, I've had much better luck with big gears for the elim and the tempo. Those races aren't about surges, they're about constant high speed and keeping your cool. Big gears help.
I mostly agree with queerpunk here, with a little caveat on elimination races - it depends on who's there and how you plan to ride it. If you're going to be the devil, it's easier to make the accelerations if you're geared a little lower than everybody else, if you're going to ride it like a tempo until it turns into a series of sprints where everybody fits across the track, bigger is better, though it can make the last few eliminations harder to stay in unless you managed to stay out of the wind for most of the early race.
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