Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Drivetrain

Reply

Old 06-04-13, 09:09 PM
  #1  
Frankfast
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Frankfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New York and San Juan
Posts: 481

Bikes: Kestrel Talon SL, Surly Steamroller, Equipe SS/FG Beater

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Drivetrain

Silly question - Why is the drivetrain on a bicycle always on the right side of the bike? Has anyone seen one on the left side? Is it because most of us are right handed? Come to think of it, motorcycles are the same way. Would it be just as efficient if the bikes were powered on the left side? Is the power stroke of the right leg stronger than the left? Just curious.
Frankfast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-13, 10:23 PM
  #2  
cranky old dude
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 4,259
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
They had to put it on the right side of the bike because that's where the chain guards used to be...
cranky old dude is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-13, 10:53 PM
  #3  
Frankfast
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Frankfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New York and San Juan
Posts: 481

Bikes: Kestrel Talon SL, Surly Steamroller, Equipe SS/FG Beater

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
They had to put it on the right side of the bike because that's where the chain guards used to be...
Oh, I see.
Frankfast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-13, 11:39 PM
  #4  
stapfam
Time for a change.
 
stapfam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Posts: 19,914

Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
There is no reason but I blame it on the French. They invented derailleurs and if we had stayed with a single fixed cog on the wheel- then it could have been either side.
__________________
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


Spike Milligan
stapfam is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 05:29 AM
  #5  
Frankfast
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Frankfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New York and San Juan
Posts: 481

Bikes: Kestrel Talon SL, Surly Steamroller, Equipe SS/FG Beater

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
There is no reason but I blame it on the French. They invented derailleurs and if we had stayed with a single fixed cog on the wheel- then it could have been either side.
I should have known it was the French. I suppose if they were inventive enough, they could have made a derailleur for the left side. I've always suspected them of being on the right.
Frankfast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 07:54 AM
  #6  
berner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bristol, R. I.
Posts: 3,246

Bikes: Specialized Secteur, old Peugeot

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 251 Post(s)
A bike should be mounted just like a horse - from the left side. Consequently, the drive train should be on the opposite side - unless you ride a tandem, in which case the drive train is on both sides.
berner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 08:16 AM
  #7  
volosong
Senior Member
 
volosong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 2,754

Bikes: n + 1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Frankfast
...Come to think of it, motorcycles are the same way...
My Vespa GTS 300 Super and Piaggio MP3 have their "driveline" on the left side.

Originally Posted by berner
A bike should be mounted just like a horse - from the left side. Consequently, the drive train should be on the opposite side...
Don't know if it is because of my left handedness, but I mount my bike from the right side. Don't think I could from the left without falling over. I've heard various statistics that the percentage of the world's population that are left-handed is between 4% and 10%. We've had to adapt to a right-handed world. (I get on a horse from the left side; when I played baseball/softball, I had more bat control from the right side but more power from the left side; and have always kicked balls with the right foot/leg, but swing a tennis racket from the left side.)
volosong is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 08:23 AM
  #8  
Frankfast
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Frankfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New York and San Juan
Posts: 481

Bikes: Kestrel Talon SL, Surly Steamroller, Equipe SS/FG Beater

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Originally Posted by berner View Post
A bike should be mounted just like a horse - from the left side. Consequently, the drive train should be on the opposite side
"Why" said the little boy.
Frankfast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:06 AM
  #9  
sreten
Banned.
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Brighton UK
Posts: 1,662

Bikes: 20" Folder, Road Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi,

There is some logic to it in that most people are right footed
and will set off on the right. The force goes directly to the chain
wheel. I set off on the left (I'm a lefty) and this puts a lot more
strain on both crank attachments to transfer the force to the
chain wheel. It does make sense on the right, more reliable.

(I've had left crank issues on both my bikes being a lefty.)

It is not a silly question, drive would be on the left if there
was good reason for that, but there isn't, the right is better.

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 06-05-13 at 10:11 AM.
sreten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:17 AM
  #10  
NOS88
Senior Member
 
NOS88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,489
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Based on the assumption that the drive side bearing cups are more likely to be adjusted by the rider than the non-drive fixed bearing cup, it makes sense to have them on the right side. This keeps a clockwise tightening pattern in order, which is what most people are used to. (Of course I'm just making all of this up.)
__________________
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831
NOS88 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:41 AM
  #11  
ksisler
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,718
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Frankfast View Post
Silly question - Why is the drivetrain on a bicycle always on the right side of the bike? Has anyone seen one on the left side? Is it because most of us are right handed? Come to think of it, motorcycles are the same way. Would it be just as efficient if the bikes were powered on the left side? Is the power stroke of the right leg stronger than the left? Just curious.
Makes no difference at all. So why worry about it?
ksisler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:45 AM
  #12  
qcpmsame 
Semper Fi
 
qcpmsame's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Barrineau Park, Florida
Posts: 12,253

Bikes: '80 Medici Pro Strada, '86 Tommasini Prestige, '12 CAAD 10 Ultegra

Mentioned: 77 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 916 Post(s)
Seen several left side set up bikes over the years, I believe they were all custom or garage builds. The C&V Forum had some pics from a bike show a while back that had a bespoke built left side drive SS/FG. Either way will work just fine, the threading on the BB would hold up with left or right since it already does. The rear hub's freewheel/cassette or cog needs to be side specific though and none of the derailleur are off the shelf for LHD.

I did see a bike for a Wounded Warrior competitor a few years ago, he lost his right leg and had a custom machined crankset with no arm on the right side, just a spider for the rings and a left crank arm and pedal. He did not want to use a prosthetic right leg as his amputation was near the hip and he had problems with the full stroke of a knee action even with the custom modern prosthetic that are being used now. He had one incredibly strong left leg from all his riding on one leg and the PT strengthening was specialized for his riding as a recovery method. That guy was scary fast, too.

Motorcycles got all single sided (left side drive sprockets and chain) pretty much because of the US federal mandates for shifting and braking being standardized, but the Husaberg dirt bikes and a few other European makes still have left side chains/drives. I owned 2 dirt bikes with right side drive and opposite sided shifting systems in the 70's.

Bill
__________________
I Didn't Chose To Have Parkinson's Disease, I Have Chosen To Not Allow It To Define How I Live
Life Member "Hairy Eared Engineer's Society"
Semper Fi,! Its A Way Of Life.

Last edited by qcpmsame; 06-05-13 at 10:57 AM.
qcpmsame is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:47 AM
  #13  
Frankfast
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Frankfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New York and San Juan
Posts: 481

Bikes: Kestrel Talon SL, Surly Steamroller, Equipe SS/FG Beater

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

There is some logic to it in that most people are right footed
and will set off on the right. The force goes directly to the chain
wheel. I set off on the left (I'm a lefty) and this puts a lot more
strain on both crank attachments to transfer the force to the
chain wheel. It does make sense on the right, more reliable.

(I've had left crank issues on both my bikes being a lefty.)

It is not a silly question, drive would be on the left if there
was good reason for that, but there isn't, the right is better.

rgds, sreten.
So it's an arbitrary decision based on the fact that most people prefer to start off by using their right leg since most people are right handed. I've never thought of my right leg being more powerful than my left because I am right handed. On a fixed gear I wonder if anyone has switched the drive side to the left. I suppose it would mean reversing threads on the rear hub and cogs. A geared bike would be more difficult since it would mean engineering derailleurs for the left side. I'm surprised that I haven't heard about anyone doing it as an exercise.

Last edited by Frankfast; 06-05-13 at 10:49 AM. Reason: additional comment.
Frankfast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:54 AM
  #14  
Frankfast
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Frankfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New York and San Juan
Posts: 481

Bikes: Kestrel Talon SL, Surly Steamroller, Equipe SS/FG Beater

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Seen several left side set up bikes over the years, I believe they were all custom or garage builds. The C&V Forum had some pics from a bike show a while back that had a bespoke built left side drive SS/FG. Either way will work just fine, the threading on the BB would hold up with left or right since it already does. The rear hub's freewheel/cassette or cog needs to be side specific though and none of the derailleur are off the shelf for LHD.

I did see a bike for a Wounded Warrior competitor a few years ago, he lost his right leg and had a custom machined crankset with no arm on the right side, just a spider for the rings and a left crank arm and pedal. He did not want to use a prosthetic Right leg as his amputation was near the hip and he had problems with the full stroke of a knee action even with the custom modern prosthetic that are being used now. he had one incredibly strong left leg from all his riding on one leg and the PT strengthening was specialized for his riding as a recovery method. That guy was scary fast, too.

Bill
The Answer
Frankfast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:55 AM
  #15  
Frankfast
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Frankfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New York and San Juan
Posts: 481

Bikes: Kestrel Talon SL, Surly Steamroller, Equipe SS/FG Beater

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Originally Posted by ksisler View Post
Makes no difference at all. So why worry about it?
Not worried, just curious.
Frankfast is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:56 AM
  #16  
BlazingPedals
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 10,769

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, homebuilt recumbent

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 838 Post(s)
I don't know if there was a logical reason or a flip of the coin. Either way, once the chain was on the right, standardization took over and kept it there. It's bad enough that I can choose between top-pivot or bottom-pivot, top-pull or bottom-pull front derailleurs; I'm glad I don't also have to add left- or right-chain to the decision mix!
BlazingPedals is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 10:59 AM
  #17  
Shp4man
Senior Member
 
Shp4man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: San Diego
Posts: 994

Bikes: 1988 Peugeot PY-10P Frankenbike, 1994 Diamond Back Response Elite MTB. 1964 Schwinn Typhoon. 1977 Peugeot PRN10E, 2003 Performance M-201 MTB dirt rider. 1974 Bridgestone Sprinter, 2015 Scott Sub 10 Citybike.

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1660 Post(s)
Power transmission from the "strong" leg would be my guess. I do try to pedal even circles, but I have to make a conscious effort to do it.
Shp4man is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 11:32 AM
  #18  
sreten
Banned.
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Brighton UK
Posts: 1,662

Bikes: 20" Folder, Road Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Frankfast View Post
So it's an arbitrary decision based on the fact that most people prefer to start off by using their right leg since most people are right handed. I've never thought of my right leg being more powerful than my left because I am right handed.
Hi,

Its not really about power, more the application of body weight to start,
most righties can balance better on the right leg than the left. I would
be a bit wobbly starting on the right as I'm so used to using the left.

rgds, sreten.

FWIW it was not arbitrary at all. There were good reasons for the right.

Last edited by sreten; 06-05-13 at 11:37 AM.
sreten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 11:36 AM
  #19  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 19,195

Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 646 Post(s)
Originally Posted by berner View Post
A bike should be mounted just like a horse - from the left side. Consequently, the drive train should be on the opposite side - unless you ride a tandem, in which case the drive train is on both sides.
I remember seeing a western in which someone determined that Indians had been there, because the human footprints were to the right of the horse hoofprints. He claimed that Indians mount their horses from the right, whereas palefaces do so from the left. All I know is what I see on television ... .
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 11:38 AM
  #20  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 29,127

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1099 Post(s)
I think that it has everything to do with standardization.

Most screws and bolts have a right hand thread. If you were developing a new product you'd like to use current standardized parts wherever you could. A screw on bicycle cog or freewheel, with a right hand thread on the right side of the bike will tighten itself as you ride.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 11:40 AM
  #21  
qcpmsame 
Semper Fi
 
qcpmsame's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Barrineau Park, Florida
Posts: 12,253

Bikes: '80 Medici Pro Strada, '86 Tommasini Prestige, '12 CAAD 10 Ultegra

Mentioned: 77 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 916 Post(s)
This^, RG sums it up best.

Bill
__________________
I Didn't Chose To Have Parkinson's Disease, I Have Chosen To Not Allow It To Define How I Live
Life Member "Hairy Eared Engineer's Society"
Semper Fi,! Its A Way Of Life.
qcpmsame is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 11:41 AM
  #22  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 19,195

Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 646 Post(s)
Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
...
I did see a bike for a Wounded Warrior competitor a few years ago, he lost his right leg and had a custom machined crankset with no arm on the right side, just a spider for the rings and a left crank arm and pedal. He did not want to use a prosthetic right leg as his amputation was near the hip and he had problems with the full stroke of a knee action even with the custom modern prosthetic that are being used now. He had one incredibly strong left leg from all his riding on one leg and the PT strengthening was specialized for his riding as a recovery method. That guy was scary fast, too. ... Bill
Having walked about a centimeter in his shoe(s), I tip my helmet to this gentleman. The second time my left knee was immobilized because of a patellar dislocation, I removed the left crank from my mountain bike and did some one-legged riding in the granny chainring. Talk about a workout! I did a little better on the stationary bikes at the YMCA, but had trouble keeping my stiff leg out of range of the rotating pedal.
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 11:42 AM
  #23  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 19,195

Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 646 Post(s)
Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
This^, RG sums it up best.

Bill
Makes sense to me. ...
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 11:46 AM
  #24  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 19,195

Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 646 Post(s)
Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
Based on the assumption that the drive side bearing cups are more likely to be adjusted by the rider than the non-drive fixed bearing cup, it makes sense to have them on the right side. This keeps a clockwise tightening pattern in order, which is what most people are used to. (Of course I'm just making all of this up.)
Actually, the drive side bearing cup is generally the fixed one, and the correct threading is anticlockwise. If this seems counterintuitive, thing about the epicyclic action of the ball bearings. Empirically, clockwise-threaded right side fixed cups on Italian and old French bikes tend to self-loosen, whereas anticlockwise-threaded ISO, English (who held the patent) and Swiss fixed cups tend to self-tighten. (Been there ... done that.)
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-13, 11:50 AM
  #25  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 39,593

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 166 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6179 Post(s)
Freewheels on the left side have to be left hand threaded, most people are right handed.


My Vespa GTS 300 Super and Piaggio MP3 have their "driveline" on the left side.
my BMW Motorcycle had a drive shaft, it was on the reicht side..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-05-13 at 12:00 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service