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Running out of gear

Old 04-04-09, 09:06 PM
  #1  
Big_D_WV
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Running out of gear

Hey folks,
I've finally got back into 'taking care of me' after my moms bout with cancer. I seriously watch what and how much I eat, and I exercise religiously either on the treadmill or my bike. Well, I'm now in better shape than I have been for years and have dropped right at 30 pounds since January.

Here is my problem. I am running out of gear on my Giant Sedona ST. On flat ground in high gear, I have more 'power' than the bike can use and I just end up spinning my guts out riding ~17 to 18mph. I know the bike is not built for speed, but it fits me well and is only a year old so I don't want to get rid of it.

What can I change to to remedy this? Shorter crank arms? Change gears(is this possible)?

Thank you for your time.
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Old 04-04-09, 09:24 PM
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well, if possible you can change the cassette or change the chainrings or both for different gearing
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Old 04-04-09, 09:29 PM
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Time for your first road bike.
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Old 04-04-09, 09:47 PM
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+1 on what cohophysh posted. Changing the gearing on a bike that fits you and you are comfortable on is a good and affordable option. If you decide to get a different bike down the road, you will still have a good run-a-bout.
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Old 04-04-09, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Time for your first road bike.
Yep, I did the same thing last year. My old Sedona was running out of gear and when I was at high speed downhill, I did not feel safe. Granted, it's not as cheap as just putting gears on your present bike, but you will sure have fun with a road bike. I still get out the Sedona in rotten weather or when riding with my daughter, so it still has a place in my stable.
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Old 04-04-09, 10:09 PM
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Shorter cranks will make the problem worse. solutions from most expensive to cheapest. (most have been suggested already)

1 new bike
2 new crank set
3 new cassete
4 new chainrings instead of cranckset (if you find them)
5 spin faster (this one is actually free. and the most beneficial I feel)

you should be hitting 23.6MPH at 90 rpm with the big chainring on the small sprocket, or 31.5MPH @ 120RPM. Not17-18 MPH. if you are only hitting 17-18MPH on the highest gear you are only doing 65RPMs.

If the above is correct. I strongly recommend you increase your cadence before making upgrades. Its easyer on your legs, it lets you go faster, and it burns more calories because you can go on longer. In short its healthyer and makes cycling more enjoyable. Its the most sensible thing to do, in my opinion.

I had to go look up your tire size, wheel size, cranck size, chainring size, and sprocket size. So I am not making this stuff up.
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Old 04-04-09, 10:09 PM
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I have a Sedona also. It has been great, it got me to ride and ride often. But I too found myself outgrowing it. I had it up to 29.5 mph last month, I can't wait to see what it feels like to go all out of my first road bike when I get it off layaway. I decided on a Specialized Elite. I'm itching to ride it so so bad.

As far as gearing on the Sedona, does yours have 7 or 8 speed on the rear? I thought I was running out of gear early on until I started focusing on my cadence. I soon realized the benefits to spinning at a faster cadence and my top speed and avgs all went up. If your smallest tooth gear is 12 or 13 on the back you might find some advantage to going to a cassette with an 11 tooth ring. On mine the front rings have a 48 tooth largest ring, if yours is the same you could see about stepping up to a 50 or 52. Best of luck.
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Old 04-04-09, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Big_D_WV View Post
What can I change to to remedy this? Shorter crank arms? Change gears(is this possible)?
Crank arms won't change your required cadence. According to the Giant website, the Sedona ST has 28/38/48 chain rings and 14-34 cassette. That's a rather low top gear, but still, it's only a cadence of 80 for about 21 mph. That's not horribly fast. If you switched to a cassette with at top gear of 11 teeth, you'd get a speed of about 20 mph at a cadence of 60.
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Old 04-04-09, 11:29 PM
  #9  
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I have a similar problem on my Dahon Curve - It runs out of gear at around 20mph. Fortunately, I use it for short trips with lots of lights and stop signs, so it's not a problem. I'd replace it if I had a commute with a lot of long straight bits on my route.

Originally Posted by Big_D_WV View Post
I know the bike is not built for speed, but it fits me well and is only a year old so I don't want to get rid of it.
Who says you have to replace it? Pick up a faster bike and turn this one into a grocery-getter, or throw on some cruiser handlebars and a wicker basket and use it to ride around town. Or both.
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Old 04-05-09, 12:01 AM
  #10  
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Well, let's see. I can hold 14-15 mph with my Worksman okay with 42:21 gearing. 15 mph with a 26" tire works out to 97 rpm on the pedals. At 48:14, you're geared 1.6 times higher than I am. So in terms of spinning speed, you should be able to hit 24 mph at the same cadence I hit 15.
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Old 04-05-09, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
Well, let's see. I can hold 14-15 mph with my Worksman okay with 42:21 gearing. 15 mph with a 26" tire works out to 97 rpm on the pedals. At 48:14, you're geared 1.6 times higher than I am. So in terms of spinning speed, you should be able to hit 24 mph at the same cadence I hit 15.

Now I see how you manage to do centuries on the workman. Great bike by the way.
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Old 04-05-09, 08:25 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Big_D_WV View Post
Hey folks,
I've finally got back into 'taking care of me' after my moms bout with cancer. I seriously watch what and how much I eat, and I exercise religiously either on the treadmill or my bike. Well, I'm now in better shape than I have been for years and have dropped right at 30 pounds since January.

Here is my problem. I am running out of gear on my Giant Sedona ST. On flat ground in high gear, I have more 'power' than the bike can use and I just end up spinning my guts out riding ~17 to 18mph. I know the bike is not built for speed, but it fits me well and is only a year old so I don't want to get rid of it.

What can I change to to remedy this? Shorter crank arms? Change gears(is this possible)?

Thank you for your time.
You sure about that, according to the Giant specs the Sedona has a high gear of 48 x 11 teeth, with a 26" tire that is about 113 gear inches, at a cadence of 80 - 90, you should be between 26 and 30 MPH. You need to check that your actually in your high gear. The chain needs to be on the largest ring, and the smallest member of the cassette. If it isn't you need to adjust the dérailleurs.
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Old 04-05-09, 09:12 AM
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I have to agree with some of the others, its time for a new bike

It sounds like you are in it for the long haul, getting in shape and staying that way. Having a nice comfortable road or even touring bike will make a big difference in ride quality and give you that extra speed that you are looking for.

True its a big investment, but for me it keeps me on the bike, because every time I have a hard time finding the motivation to get out there and ride I remind myself that I just sunk a bunch of cash into a bike and I need to use it.
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Old 04-05-09, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
You sure about that, according to the Giant specs the Sedona has a high gear of 48 x 11 teeth, with a 26" tire that is about 113 gear inches, at a cadence of 80 - 90, you should be between 26 and 30 MPH. You need to check that your actually in your high gear. The chain needs to be on the largest ring, and the smallest member of the cassette. If it isn't you need to adjust the dérailleurs.
The Giant website for the Sedona ST: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...le/2304/32215/

cassette Shimano TZ37 14/34, 7-speed
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Old 04-05-09, 10:43 AM
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Congratulations. You are a strong rider. I agree with the others. Time for a new bike. Use the Sedona as a commuter bike, a bike for riding with your family, or a bike to use when the other one has a flat tire.
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Old 04-05-09, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by deraltekluge View Post
The Giant website for the Sedona ST: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...le/2304/32215/

cassette Shimano TZ37 14/34, 7-speed
Okay, didn't realise that the ST and the one that normally comes up is different, so a different cassette might help a little, although that specification still comes up with a cadence of 65 for 17MPH, which is hardly spinning out.
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Old 04-07-09, 05:30 PM
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Like others here, I had this same problem with the same bike. I'd have to agree though, you should crank up the cadence before getting too carried away. I use my Sedona as my indoor trainer bike and beer runner.
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Old 04-07-09, 08:19 PM
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Big D,

Yes, you can change the gears. You currently have a 14-34 tooth cassette (7 speed). Changing to a 11-28 or 12-28 tooth cassette would make a significant difference in your top speed. The cassette can be purchased for $20-30, but unless you have a chain whip and cassette lockring tool, you would need to have the cassette swapped by your LBS.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-07-09, 10:11 PM
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on my old cannondale MTB that i converted for road use, i would reach the top of the gearing at about 16-17 mph. if i spin my brains out i would get 20 mph. since i didnt have the money for my first real road bike yet i did the next best thing. i bought a road triple for cheap, and a wider BB so the gears would fit. with the inefficiency of the bike and the wide road tires its rare i am in top gear. plenty of speed now. i use it now for my midnight runs to the store. i think i spent 60 dollars installed using new parts.

then when the need for more speed sets in, we will then welcome you into the world of N+1. enjoy.
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Old 04-08-09, 08:16 AM
  #20  
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I would say find a road bike that fits you. Remember, you do not have to buy new. There is always Craiglist and places such as that. Most importantly, get out there and enjoy riding.
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Old 04-08-09, 11:14 AM
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get a road bike

I went the new cassette and crank route and ended up with a slightly faster hybrid. Sucked it up and got a road bike and am absolutely in love. (Don't tell the wife) Speed, power transfer, comfort. It just doesn't any better than that. By the way,

I kept the hybrid as my commuter. It's still good, but not GREAT!
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Old 04-08-09, 12:24 PM
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Spinning out means you are hitting at least 120-130rpm constantly on leisure rides. Otherwise you should continue to use the bike. Eventually you will feel just fine at 90-100rpm.
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Old 04-09-09, 08:30 PM
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Was thinking about this as I rode this evening...mind drifting, you know.

First thing was already pointed out above, but that's make sure you are in high gear. If you're familiar with how it all works, that's a stupid suggestion, but if not, could be exactly the problem. You want the big sprocket on the crank, the little sprocket on the wheel. And look to see the chain actually goes there. If stuff gets out of adjustment, the shifter may say you're in high gear when you're not.

Another thing somewhat less pertinent on "spinning out" when you still have power left. Most of the pedaling advice you see either assumes that you're not out of gears, or that you're riding a fixed gear bike. For me, riding a single-speed with coaster, things work a bit differently. Specifically, there's no law that says you have to pedal all the time. So if it's easy riding, and if I'm at the high end of my pedalling speed range, I'll give it a kick or two or three and then coast about the same length of time or longer, then another quick spin and coast. On a normal multigeared bike, this is pointless; you just upshift and pedal slowly. But if you hit the high end of your gears, or only have one, this extends your range considerably. With a good tailwind, I can hold 18 or 19 mph, but only be pedalling 10% of the time. You do get into a rhythm doing this, but it's not a constant rhythm. And of course, all the roadies are slapping their foreheads and thinking "this is why you should ride a fixed gear bike to learn to keep a smooth rhythm", etc. But, it works for me.
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Old 04-25-09, 08:06 AM
  #24  
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Thanks for the replies and your time.
I did look for the obvious before I posted this thread. I am dropping into high gear, I was hoping that was the problem before I asked anything.
As far as increasing cadence... I don't know. As it stands, it feels like I am killing myself with what I am doing now. It just feels I can benefit from taller gearing- or ride the hills

I stopped in and looked at a couple road bikes yesterday. I looked at a Trek 1.2 and a Gary Fisher(forgot the model) both were entry level bikes. The tires/wheels were a bit scary looking(I guess my mind is set on stouter wheels and bigger tires) on these, but I was told either one would be sufficient for my weight.

I looked around the shop and fell in love with a couple mountain bikes- a Trek 4 series and a Gary Fisher hard tail of some sort. I then realized I am defeating my purpose of stopping at the bike shop.

I am at 243 now, when I get down to 225 I am sooooo getting a new bike
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Old 04-25-09, 08:28 AM
  #25  
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When I learned to spin, it helped my cycling immensely. I hold a cadence of 90-100 wherever possible, and my average speed is way up and perceived effort way down. When you pedal low cadence in big gears, you're actually putting quite a bit of strain on your knees. The cardiopulmonary benefits of a faster spin are incredible as well.

You do have to train into it, though, and it's very counterintuitive.
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