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

Old 03-06-23, 04:13 PM
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Do more gears help? 2 x 8 vs 2 x 10

Building up a modified road bike for my older self. It has a Ultegra 2 x 10 speed group set. Was planning on making use of the group set with existing 8 speed shifters and cassette I already have that will fit the alt handlebar set up that works for me. Please note that drop bars make my hands go numb after about an hour now a days and have tried all the solutions on here and the rest of the internet. Keeping the drop bars and brifters is not possible.

OK as previously mentioned. Was going to just use the group set along with a new 10 speed chain along with the 2 x 8 flat bar road shifters and 8 speed cassette to replicate another bike this has already been done to. Yes it works. I can do 16miles an hour for 42 miles on this set up with out arm/wrist/hand numbness. Was wondering if there was enough advantage to justify spending about another $120.00(not rich) to get new shifters and cassette to go 2 x 10. Dose having the same range but with closer steps between gears help us as we lose watts(muscle/power) as we age?
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Old 03-06-23, 04:21 PM
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Having more gear choices allow you to maintain your pedaling cadence at rate you are comfortable with, through a broader range of speeds and conditions. If you finding it difficult to stay in a comfortable cadence range, having more gears may be helpful.
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Old 03-06-23, 08:16 PM
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CFLBIKE I'm 61 and have been bike commuting for 30 years. Currently I have a wide ratio 1x7, a wide ratio 2x6, a wide ratio 2x9 and extremely wide ratio 3x7 and a close-ratio 2x10. Here in hilly Colorado Springs the wide ratios work better for me. I used to be a low-cadence "masher", but the older I get, the more I spin up hills. I don't ride competitively, or for extreme speed.

The highest and lowest gear ratios of the 2x6 and 2x9 are similar, and on the 2x6, I've never thought I need an intermediate gear.

My only bike I feel has a gap in the gearing is the 1x7 The upper 6 gears are spaced just right for cruising. But there is a big drop to the very low "granny gear". First gear is perfect for very steep hills. It's the moderate hills where I either have to spin very fast in 1st, or muscle the bike up in a slightly too-high gear. I picked up the bike (a 20" folder) a couple of years ago and needed higher and lower gearing and for the budget I set for the bike, this was the best solution.

On the 2x10 I would like some lower gearing, and I think a smaller small chainring up front would do it.

I will also mention that with all the hills I feel that shifting through 10 gears to get from low to high is a bit much.

If I don't feel any difference between the 2x6 and 2x9, I doubt the difference between a 2x8 and a 2x10 with a similar top and bottom will make a big difference, unless you ride in the flat lands and can hold the same gear for long periods. Then the "fine-tuning" may be more important.

(I just had to correct myself. I thought my 2x9 was a 2x8 and I just rode it to work and back today. After a certain point I loose track.)
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Old 03-07-23, 07:24 AM
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Strongly agree with JohnDThompson and would add location is important for cadence control. We are snow birds and my 2x8s do fine in our retirement community or airbnbing at our daughters places in Portland and Tempe but at our cabins in the foothills with long inclines/declines a 2x10 or 2x11 is much better.
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Old 03-07-23, 07:35 AM
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Depends on your terrain. A 1x setup is fine for places without steep climbs. When I lived in South Florida I never used the granny gear on my road bike, here in Japan it’s the opposite.
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Old 03-07-23, 07:39 AM
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Trying the 2 x 8 set up seems like a no brainer if you have the parts in hand. If you don't like the set up, you can always invest in more parts to go 2 x 10. Also 2 x 8 should work just fine if you like the high and the low. You will have plenty of in between gears.
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Old 03-07-23, 07:52 AM
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If you have to ask, two more cogs in the back won't make you faster. Long term, after most of a season or three of conditioning, that might change. But as @bikemig notes, the high and the low gears are similar, so you'll climb at similar speeds on both in the low gears, and you'll probably find you can't push as fast as the high gears allow. In between, you might find you accelerate quicker by downshifting a gear (like revving a car engine when you start to pass), but it takes a while to be able to turn the cranks much faster than you do at an easy pace.
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Old 03-07-23, 08:33 AM
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I'm surprised you were able to get an 8 speed cassette setup to work with a 10 speed chain. If you look at the information on Park Tool about chain compatibility, Park does not recommend it because the width between the plates is 1 mm narrower on a 10 speed chain vs an 8 speed chain. https://www.parktool.com/en-us/blog/...-compatibility That certainly would make correctly adjusting the position of the RD more difficult and the chain more likely to ride on top of the gears when you change gears with the RD.
You can use one of the gear calculators (Mike Sherman or Sheldon Brown's websites) to see exactly what gears you have an how many overlap. I have 30 choices on my Catrike 700 recumbent trike and there are at least a couple of choices in the 30 that are close to each other. While I ride mostly in the middle chainring, it is nice to have more choices on either end of the range when needed.
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Old 03-07-23, 12:58 PM
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The number of gears is less important than the high-to-low gear range.

If the 2x8 setup gives you an adequate low gear for the riding you do, and the top end is high enough to keep you from spinning out, then you're fine.

The "more gears are better" crowd will tell you that having just that right gear combination for the current condition is important, but that's a Goldilocks argument. Humans are not that delicate.
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Old 03-07-23, 02:01 PM
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Maybe consider a new chainring (or rings) up front? If you need more speed then a larger 'big' ring might help. IF you need to go lower for climbing hills then a smaller 'small' chainring would be the answer. Just adjust the FD either up or down as needed. And I'm thinking it would be cheaper and quicker than redoing the whole rear set-up and shifters. Just my 2 cents worth for your consideration.
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Old 03-07-23, 04:01 PM
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JohnDThompson nailed the answer IMO.

The benefit of having more gears is more apparent if you ride in a group of people where you absolutely have to find the most comfortable cadence because speed is dictated by the group and not you. Riding by yourself you might not notice as much since you have both the choice of speed and cadence.
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Old 03-07-23, 04:24 PM
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I ride alone most of the time. So finding an exact match of speed for the rest of the group is not necessary. So will most likely just transfer the 8 speed shifters and use the rear wheel as is with the 8 speed cassette.

Would love for the rear cassette to start at 12 tooth or even 13 tooth. But as the price of NOS cassettes starting a 12 is high and I believe only Campy started at 13 tooth the rear will be 11 to 28 and the front 53 and 39. If I remeber correctly 10 speeds have thinner plates on the sides to make them skinnier but the same internal width. I could be wrong.
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Old 03-07-23, 09:27 PM
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Most of my bikes are set up with 7 speeds on the freewheel / cassette. Nearly all of these have two-tooth differences over much of the freewheel or cassette, which allows good fine-tuning of power & cadence. Two-tooth jumps are a bit less suitable at higher speeds, where it means a bigger change in speed or cadence. Some of them go to 3-tooth differences in the larger cogs, but this is simply to keep the percentage difference similar (an ideal cassette or freewheel would have a logarithmic progression of cog sizes). I use 2 or 3 chainrings on these bikes (typically a 46/36/24 or 40/24) to achieve a wider overall range.

In this situation, the advantage of a 8 / 9 / 10 speed setup would be to extend this relatively small cog difference over a wider range. But an nx10 drivetrain may not have much of an advantage over a nx8 or nx9 if the added rear cogs aren't ones you use (or need) often.

BobbyG above describes a 7 speed with a huge jump between the largest & next-largest cog. Shimano markets this as "Megarange", with 6 decent jumps and then the ermagherddropdowntocrawlspeed "bailout" gear. I actually don't mind this on a bike used mostly on flatland & gentle grades, but might occasionally see a steep hill.

If moving to fewer in the rear, what I would recommend avoiding is situations where you end up with a 3-tooth jump early in the sequence such as the unfortunate 15-18 jump on several Shimano cassettes. That can leave you grinding or spinning when you'd rather be somewhere in between. Again, having more rear cogs can help with this, but verify, especially on wide-range cassettes.

Selection of chainring size can affect how happy one is with the rear gears. It used to be there were many options, but unfortunately most current systems lock you into a very few choices.

On my recumbent, I still have a 14-32 6-speed freewheel. But I use half-step gearing with a 3-tooth difference between the outer and middle chainrings so I can fine-tune my power & speed.

One one of my bikes, I'm running a 1x9 with a 11-36 in the rear for minimal weight and simplicity. I'm actually satisfied with most of the jumps, except sometimes the 11-13-15 is a little too much of a jump in between and I'm thinking that a 12 or a 14 might be useful. But not to the point where I'm giving up on the idea.
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Old 03-08-23, 04:52 PM
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If you already have the 8 speed stuff then it's reasonable to move it to another frame if that's your intention. However I would not invest in any other components less than 11 speed. I think you'll find that 11 speed and up will have a better range of gear ratios for 2x or less. Which if you are getting up there in years, you might need a lower ratio to help you up the hills. If you are 3x then you got most 2x beat for range of gears from high to low regardless of how many cogs you have on the rear.
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Old 03-10-23, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
The number of gears is less important than the high-to-low gear range.

If the 2x8 setup gives you an adequate low gear for the riding you do, and the top end is high enough to keep you from spinning out, then you're fine.

The "more gears are better" crowd will tell you that having just that right gear combination for the current condition is important, but that's a Goldilocks argument. Humans are not that delicate.
As a faithful member of "more gears are better," I note simply that I hate large ratio gaps when shifting up or down. Since I don't carry gears above 96 gear-inches (46/13 or 50/14) or below 39 (38/26) on my road bikes, I can just barely get by with 2x6 if I scrupulously avoid redundancies, and do quite nicely with 2x7 or 2x8. I do run 3x8 on the mountain bike, which simply adds 12T and 30T high and low cogs and a granny chainring to one of my normal road bike configurations.
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Old 03-10-23, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
The number of gears is less important than the high-to-low gear range.

If the 2x8 setup gives you an adequate low gear for the riding you do, and the top end is high enough to keep you from spinning out, then you're fine.

The "more gears are better" crowd will tell you that having just that right gear combination for the current condition is important, but that's a Goldilocks argument. Humans are not that delicate.
This ^^^
You only need to have close gears when you need to maintain maximum power. Keeping up with your group on on hills or closing gaps in races or things like that. For less intense riding, 20% gear changes are fine. You lose power at lower cadence, but not efficiency and not as much speed as you think. If you are not racing or riding in a competitive group you don't really need a lot of gears.
When I had a 20 mile commute, my 6s was just as fast as my 10s race bike, and my single speed was almost as fast. Wind and traffic made more difference than the number of gears. The only time the race bike was faster was when I was late and had to put in a maximum effort, but I could only do that one direction, and never on consecutive days.

em
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Old 03-10-23, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
The number of gears is less important than the high-to-low gear range.

If the 2x8 setup gives you an adequate low gear for the riding you do, and the top end is high enough to keep you from spinning out, then you're fine.

The "more gears are better" crowd will tell you that having just that right gear combination for the current condition is important, but that's a Goldilocks argument. Humans are not that delicate.
agree

more gears can be a plus and I recommend 11 spd for many that are setting up or upgrading - but for recreational use just about anything works (if you have proper gear for your riding - especially climbing)

I currently ride 2x8, 2x10, 2x11, 3x7, 3x8, 3x9 and most recently 1x11 ... sometimes I might find the gaps a little big on some - and sometimes I might find the gaps on others a tad close (and end up doing multiple upshifts or downshifts at times)
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Old 03-10-23, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
The number of gears is less important than the high-to-low gear range.

The "more gears are better" crowd will tell you that having just that right gear combination for the current condition is important, but that's a Goldilocks argument. Humans are not that delicate.
I would add to your statement that there needs to be a reasonable means of getting to those gears. The problem I have with the “more gears are better” crowd and Goldilocks…”I need micro steps between higher gears” crowd is that the shift patterns for their gearing really sucks. Granted that more modern gearing is trending towards a wider range…something we’ve had with mountain bikes and touring bikes for decades…but the trend towards wide range 2x systems makes for really goofy gearing that is about a far away from that Goldilocks argument as you can get.
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Old 03-10-23, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
the trend towards wide range 2x systems makes for really goofy gearing that is about a far away from that Goldilocks argument as you can get.
Those ultra-wide cassettes baffle me, but the Shimano road groups seem to be making small, conservative changes:

Ultegra 12-speed cassettes are now either 11-30 or 11-34 (I think those are the only choices).
Ultegra 11-speed came in 11-25, 11-28, 11-30, 12-25, 14-28, and 11-32.
Ultegra 10-speed had roughly the same ranges, except no 11-32.
Ultegra 9-speed had 11-23, 12-25, and 12-27.

I'm still using 11-28 10-speed, which is all I really need.
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Old 03-10-23, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Those ultra-wide cassettes baffle me, but the Shimano road groups seem to be making small, conservative changes:

Ultegra 12-speed cassettes are now either 11-30 or 11-34 (I think those are the only choices).
Ultegra 11-speed came in 11-25, 11-28, 11-30, 12-25, 14-28, and 11-32.
Ultegra 10-speed had roughly the same ranges, except no 11-32.
Ultegra 9-speed had 11-23, 12-25, and 12-27.

I'm still using 11-28 10-speed, which is all I really need.
It’s not the cassettes that are the problem in my opinion. It’s the crankset. People what the low gears of the wide range cassettes but there isn’t a reasonable way to get from the high range to the low range without a lot of fiddling. For example, the following gives the same speed (mph) and, thus, the same low gear for the two cranks but getting from one range to the other is a jarring gear change. The triple gives a much more reasonable change from high range to the middle range. If you need the low range, the change to the lowest range is still pretty good.


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Old 03-10-23, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
It’s not the cassettes that are the problem in my opinion. It’s the crankset. People what the low gears of the wide range cassettes but there isn’t a reasonable way to get from the high range to the low range without a lot of fiddling. For example, the following gives the same speed (mph) and, thus, the same low gear for the two cranks but getting from one range to the other is a jarring gear change. The triple gives a much more reasonable change from high range to the middle range. If you need the low range, the change to the lowest range is still pretty good.
I don't experience a jarring problem when changing between chainrings.

If I need to shift down from the big to little ring, it means I'm in my 50/24 combination. The next lower gear is 34/17, which is just slightly lower. So it's "click the left lever once, click the right lever 3 times".

But since the 34/17 is so close to 50/24, I usually want the next lower gear of 34/19, so it's "click the left lever once, click the right lever twice". No jarring. No drama. Click, click, click.

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Old 03-10-23, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse

If the 2x8 setup gives you an adequate low gear for the riding you do, and the top end is high enough to keep you from spinning out, then you're fine.
.
I agree. The 2 x 8 on my bike offers a crazy top gear (11T), and a decent bottom ratio. The rest are spaced 2T apart, which offers a comfortable easy change.
The bike I can't get used to is a 7 speeder with ratios I'd guess at 3T separation,which, to me, makes for a hugely unpleasant ride. I will change that cassette soon..
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Old 03-10-23, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I don't experience a jarring problem when changing between chainrings.

If I need to shift down from the big to little ring, it means I'm in my 50/24 combination. The next lower gear is 34/17, which is just slightly lower. So it's "click the left lever once, click the right lever 3 times".

But since the 34/17 is so close to 50/24, I usually want the next lower gear of 34/19, so it's "click the left lever once, click the right lever twice". No jarring. No drama. Click, click, click.
That’s for at least 3 shifts and possibly 4 to do what a single shift will do with closer range front chainrings. You also have to think about what you are doing and/or keep in mind what your rear cassette count is. Too much to keep track of.
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Old 03-10-23, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
That’s for at least 3 shifts and possibly 4 to do what a single shift will do with closer range front chainrings. You also have to think about what you are doing and/or keep in mind what your rear cassette count is. Too much to keep track of.
Too much for some, maybe. But for me, doing those shifts is second nature.
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Old 03-10-23, 06:25 PM
  #25  
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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.)

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 have a 48-38-28 triple on my Cannondale right now, with a 14-34 cassette .... it is just too low. Even if I went to 11-32, I would be spending most of my time in the top half of the top ring (except when hauling groceries and stuff.) if I lived in hillier terrain, I could see it ... )

What I usually do with an 11-speed is .... simply stay in the big ring. Unless I am trying to push against strong wind or am really tired or trying to keep up with a faster group (which no longer happens) then I essentially ride a 1x11 .... I tend to drop to the small ring for full stops, but I don't need to ... there is no complaint from the drive train when I cross chain.

The benefit is the option. On different days i can do different rides. if I am just no feeling it I might spend a whole ride ion the small ring ... why not? And if I am feeling less tired than usual, I can try to pick the perfect ratio .... it is fun, like making a perfect downshift in my car. I love coming up to a corner, braking just right, hitting the apex, and having just the right resistance when I pull away so that i really kick out of the corner (and yes, to bystanders it looks like I am in slow motion. Who cares?)

Hitting just the right gear is one of the little thrills that I have the option to try to execute or not ... like looking at scenery, or focusing on breathing, or trying to do perfectly circular pedal strokes, or pushing a little harder when I feel like it, or attacking a hill ... or cruising up a a hill and enjoying not hurting. All the little toys and games which can ornament a bike ride .....
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