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Do more gears help? 2 x 8 vs 2 x 10

Old 03-10-23, 09:19 PM
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looking forward to switch from 50-34 to 46-34 on one Shimano 6800 bike

planned to switch from 48-31 to 46-31 on one GRX 810 bike - but the Shimano GRX 600 46 t big ring not a direct match / sits on the crank in a slightly different manner
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Old 03-10-23, 09:25 PM
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I don’t know what “alt” bars the op has on hand but there are alt bars that will fit your Brifters. Maybe just get some new handlebars and stay withteneeds.
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Old 03-11-23, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Okay .... sorry, Cyccommute ... to each his, her, its, or their own (don;'t you love what PC did to grammar? ) but I prefer more gears and I don;'t have nay problem doing multi-shifts ... which I learned back in the 'late '80s when I owned a couple bikes with Deore, a 6-speed and an 8-speed. Particularly off-road, I found it useful (if I knew the path) to pick the right chain ring for the upcoming terrain because with indexed rear shifting (I kept the front friction for the precision and trimming) rear shifts were quick but front shifts were works of art--not something best attempted when struggling to clear some sandy, rutted hill. I just kept the habit ... everyone is different but after riding a while I get a feel for where the crossovers are ... and if I miss it is just one click up or down int he back, which with today's gear can be done at full load pretty much (not that I do it if I can avoid it.)
Most of my issue with the wide range doubles around has to do with how the shifting works on those unfamiliar trails and roads. If I come around a corner and need to downshift because the trail or road suddenly tilts skyward, the last thing I want to do is hunt and peck for the right gear. With a wide range double, you have several things happening all at once that make riding more difficult. First, you shift to the lower range and find that the bike feels like you have dropped the chain. You can allow bike to slow down to let your cadence catch up but you lose momentum doing so, making the hill even harder. You can upshift three or four gears but upshifts aren’t all that easy under power for the same reason that front downshifts are difficult…you are relying on the spring to do so. Plus you have to climb the hill.

A narrow range triple (or double, for that matter) have the advantage of a single front shift and you are pretty close to the gear that you need without all the fiddling.

By the way, I, too, prefer more gears. I just like them arrange in a more useful pattern. With a triple and a 10 speed cassette, I have far more gears and, more importantly, far easier shift pattern than a wide range double.

To get just a little off track, front derailer shifting is a problem. However that is because they have the wrong design. They rely on a spring to downshift but the spring is too weak for the task. If the derailer used the cable to pull the chain off the chainring, shifts under load would be much easier and would result in fewer chain drops. The spring is perfectly capable of moving the chain to higher gears like the rear derailer does. If someone at Shimano would have recognized this when they did Rapidrise and did it to the front derailer instead of the rear, they would have had a truly revolutionary system.

Every system has compromises. I might not Need 50x11 but at least when I was stronger I used it .... and I don't Need 34x32 but on the days when the hills are winning don't mind having it.
I agree but the wide double has more compromises than a standard triple for my tastes. Wide doubles use triple and quadruple shifts because they have to. Narrower range triples use single shifts because that’s all that is needed.
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Old 03-11-23, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
To get just a little off track, front derailer shifting is a problem. However that is because they have the wrong design. They rely on a spring to downshift but the spring is too weak for the task. If the derailer used the cable to pull the chain off the chainring, shifts under load would be much easier and would result in fewer chain drops. The spring is perfectly capable of moving the chain to higher gears like the rear derailer does. If someone at Shimano would have recognized this when they did Rapidrise and did it to the front derailer instead of the rear, they would have had a truly revolutionary system.
I had some experience in my parents' shop with front derailleurs that used reverse tension. I think they were made by Suntour. It was awful. Getting it to shift up to the big ring required large amounts of patience. Shifting up under load -- forget it.
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Old 03-11-23, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute

A narrow range triple (or double, for that matter) have the advantage of a single front shift and you are pretty close to the gear that you need without all the fiddling.

By the way, I, too, prefer more gears. I just like them arrange in a more useful pattern. With a triple and a 10 speed cassette, I have far more gears and, more importantly, far easier shift pattern than a wide range double.

I agree but the wide double has more compromises than a standard triple for my tastes. Wide doubles use triple and quadruple shifts because they have to. Narrower range triples use single shifts because that’s all that is needed.

agree - prefer the triple in many cases - especially for my casual / rec riding

often do the same rides on two different bikes - one bike with a 50/34 double and the other bike with a 22/32/44 triple

rarely use the 22 small ring - but prefer the 32/44 and 44/32 shifts on the triple compared to the 34/50 and 50/34 shifts on the double

no issues with the shifting itself on the 50/34 double - shifts fairly quick / smooth and never drop the chain - but it sometimes also requires accompanying shifts on the RD to keep a similar cadence

switch from 50t big ring to 46t should help the double

(and need to find a better 46t or even 44t ring for another bike with a 48/31 double)
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Old 03-11-23, 03:51 PM
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@t2p---it seems the issue with your bikes is gearing overall, not the number of gears ... after all you hardly ever use the lowest ring. I would say, based on what you say, 50-34 is just too high for your personal preference ... in fact that seems to be exactly what you say later on.

What I find with triples is that I rarely use the little ring except when very loaded.
@cyccommute .... excellent analysis.

If I road off-road, where terrain changed a lot more quickly .... I would be riding my MTB with a 3x8. I don't find with road riding that I get caught out by sudden steep hills .... a t least out where I ride. But I can dump gears really quickly .... and i tend not to lose the chain--that has not been an issue. If I really did ride roads where suddenly there were a lot of huge, steep hills or even just really steep ramps, I might seek different gearing ... but i don't see why, since I don't have an issue with finding the right ratio nowadays.

Also, I find modern derailleurs to be amazing ... i don't tend to shift the front under load, but I can and have, through surprise or bad planning, been forced to shift the rear while climbing and it has never been a problem---a little noisier, but never any failure or even delay.

I am not disputing your methods and preferences. We just ride different terrain and in different ways.

I was all excited to build a 3x10 road triple .... or even 3x11, why not? I could use a 4700 triple front brifter with a 105 or Ultegra rear if needed .... but when bike parts started getting really expensive and my health, and mileage, started slipping I had to re-evaluate my priorities.

If I ever move to mountainous or even hilly places, I might pull out all the old gear and find a frame somewhere .... It would be interesting to play with.

By the way ... what gearing are you using on your 3x10?
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Old 03-11-23, 08:10 PM
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Maelochs

agree - the gearing is prob not ideal on many of my bikes - including the two hybrids I mentioned above / previously

one bike is set up (primarily) with XT 3x9 : 44-32-22 M770 crank w / M970 11-32 cassette ... use this as an ‘off road hybrid’ ...

the other bike is set up (primarily) with Ultegra 2x11 : 50-34 6800 crank w / R9100 11-30 cassette ... use this as a ‘road hybrid’ ...
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Old 03-12-23, 05:31 AM
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You seem to have good taste in machinery, whether the gearing is currently optimal or not. Those two make my past commuter self almost drool on my keyboard.

I use an 11-28 on my Ultegra 6800 bike but as I age, I might avail myself of the 11-34 from the new range

That leaves me the option of a 48-32 crank if I am still riding a few years later.
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Old 03-12-23, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I had some experience in my parents' shop with front derailleurs that used reverse tension. I think they were made by Suntour. It was awful. Getting it to shift up to the big ring required large amounts of patience. Shifting up under load -- forget it.
I had several of them. Never had any shifting problems. Upshifts are seldom done “under load”. A high normal rear derailer depends on the spring to move the chain and seldom has any kind of problem shifting under load. A low normal rear derailer, on the other hand, suffers from the same downshift hesitancy that front derailers have under load. They were ideal for mountain biking because downshifts as Maelochs said “works of art” and not science. Using the cable to pull the chain to the lower chainring works far better than waiting for the pressure on the chain to get low enough for the spring to knock the chain off to the inner ring. Back in the day, we usually set our lower limit screw a little outside of optimal to kind of force that shift. It resulted in a lot of hit and miss when it came to completely knocking off the chain.

The main problem I had with the Suntour AR was that they used an aluminum outer plate which wasn’t up to the job. They tended to break off.
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Old 03-15-23, 12:50 PM
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I use 3-4 gears on flats or moderate hills. I use the top gear on downhill sections and on very long grades my lowest or second lowest gears. A bike that I bought that has 11-speeds and only one chainring came with a 11-46 cassette that provide too much range and larger gaps than I like or need. I replaced it with a 11-34 cassette and would have liked to use a 11-28 or 11-30 cassette but they were not available last year.

A two chainring 5 cog freewheel is all I have ever really needed to bike anywhere. In the mountains I would replace the largest cog with a somewhat larger cog to have a "granny" gear for very long grades when touring. I have never raced to it only mattered that I could make it up the grades regardless of how steep or how long.

When I bought a bike with brifters I found myself making many more gear shifts but no need to have a wider range of gears, actually quite the contrary as with easier shifting I could make small changes to my advantage and not lose slow my pace.

Cadence monitors help new riders who might otherwise use too high a gear and put extra stress on their knees. I do not believe that for the recreational or touring rider that maintaining a cadence of 90 is all that important.

I have had neck pain over the years and it has been the result of two factors. The primary one was a helmet that came down to far and required me to crane my neck to watch the road. In the past I would trim away parts of the helmet and the foam liner to have better visibility with my head lower. Newer road helmets do not present this problem.

The other factor was too much tension in my shoulder and neck muscles that would pinch nerves. I had to learn to consciously relax these muscles as I rode. It helped to stand up out of the saddle to stretch my neck and shoulder muscles if needed. Exercises to strengthen my trapezious muscles has also been helpful and using light dumbells and focusing on repetitions.
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Old 03-15-23, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
A two chainring 5 cog freewheel is all I have ever really needed to bike anywhere. In the mountains I would replace the largest cog with a somewhat larger cog to have a "granny" gear for very long grades when touring. I have never raced to it only mattered that I could make it up the grades regardless of how steep or how long.
Wonderful for you but ....

Originally Posted by Calsun
When I bought a bike with brifters I found myself making many more gear shifts but no need to have a wider range of gears, actually quite the contrary as with easier shifting I could make small changes to my advantage and not lose slow my pace.
.... sort of contradicts it.

What you say with that second paragraph is exactly why people like more cogs---not for a wider range, but for finer adjustments. Brifters make it possible to switch more easily between gears, and lo! people find that they can ride more efficiently and enjoy riding more with a better drive train ("better" in this case meaning both "easier to use" in terms of shifting and "easier to use" in terms of matching mechanical advantage to preferred physical output in given conditions.)

Sure, five cogs is "enough," but so is single-speed, or even walking .... but even you have to admit, 11 cogs, and brifters are a really enjoyable way to go. Not the only way ... but .....
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Old 03-16-23, 06:46 AM
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I did not read all the replies, and I have no science to back anything up. All I can say is when I went from an 8 speed hybrid bike to a 10 speed road bike, I really appreciated the difference.

Both my bikes had similar top and bottom gears on the cassettes (11-34 on the hybrid, and 11-32 on the road bike), and the 8 speed hybrid had some noticeable, difficult gear changes in about 2-3 places. The 10 speed road bike still has one that's a bit of a jump, so my next bike will be 11 speeds (or more) for the same 11-32 casette. I also found the 10 speed Tiagara to just be so much more precise than the 8 speed Alivio, and the Alivio needed more frequent re-adjustment. Not sure if there are higher end rear derailleurs for flat bar bikes but if so, I recommend going up.
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Old 03-17-23, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute

To get just a little off track, front derailer shifting is a problem. However that is because they have the wrong design. They rely on a spring to downshift but the spring is too weak for the task. If the derailer used the cable to pull the chain off the chainring, shifts under load would be much easier and would result in fewer chain drops. The spring is perfectly capable of moving the chain to higher gears like the rear derailer does. If someone at Shimano would have recognized this when they did Rapidrise and did it to the front derailer instead of the rear, they would have had a truly revolutionary system.

Shimano don't know what they're doing. They need you to design their front mechs. Probably.
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Old 03-17-23, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Shimano don't know what they're doing. They need you to design their front mechs. Probably.
Shimano can be incredibly stupid. They generally design equipment for bikes that are pampered and for mostly limited use. When you take those parts out into the real world and use them for years, you find lots of warts.
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Old 03-17-23, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Shimano can be incredibly stupid. They generally design equipment for bikes that are pampered and for mostly limited use. When you take those parts out into the real world and use them for years, you find lots of warts.
They need you to show them how to do it properly. Probably.
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Old 03-17-23, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
They need you to show them how to do it properly. Probably.
/s
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Old 03-17-23, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
They need you to show them how to do it properly. Probably.
So you must be perfectly happy with every single component they make or have ever made? Really? Every single one? Still rockin’ U-brakes? Using RapidRise derailers? Using a Uniglide hub? Biopace? Dynadrive pedals? SPD-R pedals? Dual control MTB brake/shift levers?

RapidFire derailers were made so that the levers on both shifters went the same way because people get confused by the opposite acting left and right levers. I understand their point but they just picked the wrong derailer to mess with. You are an engineer so you should be able to figure out that in a vehicle without a clutch, it should be easier to drag the chain off a chainwheel under tension than to rely on a spring to do the job…especially a spring that has been designed to have a light action so that the rider doesn’t have to push on the lever so hard to upshift. I don’t know if you mountain bike but I’ve spent lots of time fight to get the front derailer to drop the chain in situations where I don’t have the latitude to fight it.

They make mistakes. They aren’t perfect. Sometimes they make good stuff and other times they make big mistakes.
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Old 03-17-23, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
So you must be perfectly happy with every single component they make or have ever made? Really? Every single one? Still rockin’ U-brakes? Using RapidRise derailers? Using a Uniglide hub? Biopace? Dynadrive pedals? SPD-R pedals? Dual control MTB brake/shift levers?

RapidFire derailers were made so that the levers on both shifters went the same way because people get confused by the opposite acting left and right levers. I understand their point but they just picked the wrong derailer to mess with. You are an engineer so you should be able to figure out that in a vehicle without a clutch, it should be easier to drag the chain off a chainwheel under tension than to rely on a spring to do the job…especially a spring that has been designed to have a light action so that the rider doesn’t have to push on the lever so hard to upshift. I don’t know if you mountain bike but I’ve spent lots of time fight to get the front derailer to drop the chain in situations where I don’t have the latitude to fight it.

They make mistakes. They aren’t perfect. Sometimes they make good stuff and other times they make big mistakes.
It’s nearly a decade since I had a mountain bike with a FD and I’ve never really had any trouble with FDs on road bikes.

My only experience of Shimano is really with 105 and higher road groups back to the mid 80s and XT level mtb groups. I’ve never thought Shimano were stupid. But I think they are a bit conservative, which is why I have a slight preference for SRAM these days.
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Old 03-17-23, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute

RapidFire derailers were made so that the levers on both shifters went the same way because people get confused by the opposite acting left and right levers. I understand their point but they just picked the wrong derailer to mess with. You are an engineer so you should be able to figure out that in a vehicle without a clutch, it should be easier to drag the chain off a chainwheel under tension than to rely on a spring to do the job…especially a spring that has been designed to have a light action so that the rider doesn’t have to push on the lever so hard to upshift.
I am an engineer, and I know that it requires more force to lift a chain from a small chainring to a big chainring, than to drop a chain from a big chainring to a small chainring, both under low and high load.

Chain tension is higher when it is on a small ring, and the chain must climb over ramps and pins to get up to the big ring. Dropping a chain is nearly effortless in comparison.
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Old 03-17-23, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Brifters make it possible to switch more easily between gears, and lo! people find that they can ride more efficiently and enjoy riding more with a better drive train ("better" in this case meaning both "easier to use" in terms of shifting and "easier to use" in terms of matching mechanical advantage to preferred physical output in given conditions.)
That is completely reasonable, but since we aren’t always reasonable, it doesn’t turn out that way for everyone. I've enjoyed riding single speed more than riding geared bikes and even now that both bikes have a rear cluster at the moment, it’s more common that I don’t shift during a ride than that I do. There is a thing about state of mind that matters to some of us that is perhaps not rational but it is our experience. We replace mathematics, gears and shifting with what remains: effort, attitude and body position. Obviously, YMMV.

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Old 03-26-23, 12:47 PM
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It is about having the right gears for your level of fitness and the terrain over which you ride. Bikes come with gearing that is OK for most people but not optimum for anyone. I have changed the chainrings and the cassettes on every bike I have owned. When touring with long mountain grades I swapped out my "city" cassette with 12-24 cogs for one with a wider range of 12-28.

I prefer having a large "granny" cog for my lowest gear where I know I can go up any grade regardless of its length. I may only use it 5% of the time but it is there if I need it. I also select the cassette gearing so that the overlap in the middle range when using the smaller and larger chainrings provides a smooth transition when powering up a hill so I can maintain my momentum as much as possible.
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Old 03-26-23, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
It is about having the right gears for your level of fitness and the terrain over which you ride. Bikes come with gearing that is OK for most people but not optimum for anyone. I have changed the chainrings and the cassettes on every bike I have owned. When touring with long mountain grades I swapped out my "city" cassette with 12-24 cogs for one with a wider range of 12-28.

I prefer having a large "granny" cog for my lowest gear where I know I can go up any grade regardless of its length. I may only use it 5% of the time but it is there if I need it. I also select the cassette gearing so that the overlap in the middle range when using the smaller and larger chainrings provides a smooth transition when powering up a hill so I can maintain my momentum as much as possible.
Well heck, who knew?
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Old 03-26-23, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Well heck, who knew?
99% of the road bikes sold over the years have sub-optimal gearing for their owners which is the subject of the original post, or did you miss that?.

Most have very small front chainrings which are far from ideal for anyone who has good leg strength. 40 years ago a 45T chainring was on most road bikes but now it is usually a 36T inner chainring.
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Old 03-26-23, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
99% of the road bikes sold over the years have sub-optimal gearing for their owners .
Double down? You are still wrong IMO, but if you want to cite a source I'm open to read it.
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Old 03-26-23, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
99% of the road bikes sold over the years have sub-optimal gearing for their owners which is the subject of the original post, or did you miss that?.

Most have very small front chainrings which are far from ideal for anyone who has good leg strength. 40 years ago a 45T chainring was on most road bikes but now it is usually a 36T inner chainring.
Nonsense. Those old 45 tooth rings were horrible for climbing, especially when combined with narrow range cassettes.

WorldTeam pros often use 36 rings in mountainous races, and those guys definitely have "good leg strength".

My "very small" ring has 34 teeth, matched to an 11-28 cassette. It suits me just fine, and I'm better than average on uphills.
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