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Do I need more high gears?

Old 04-08-16, 05:25 PM
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claudia52
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Do I need more high gears?

I ride a 3 speed Nexus igh and when I'm going pretty fast, my pedaling has no effect unless I slow way down. Can one pedal so fast/or the bike roll so fast that the highest gear on a bike isn't high enough? I am worried about not having control over my bike going at a high speed. Thank you.
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Old 04-08-16, 05:41 PM
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Welcome to BF. I don't think that you need more gears as I think that you need the right bike. Apparently, your current bike is not meant to handle the speeds you claim to be capable of, so get a bike that is. What that bike is will require several trips to local bike shops, a few test rides and handing over your credit card.
Once that is done, shift up and break the speed limit!
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Old 04-08-16, 06:00 PM
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"the speeds I claim to be capable of"? Are you trying to insult me?
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Old 04-08-16, 06:07 PM
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lolz..
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Old 04-08-16, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by claudia52 View Post
I ride a 3 speed Nexus igh and when I'm going pretty fast, my pedaling has no effect unless I slow way down. Can one pedal so fast/or the bike roll so fast that the highest gear on a bike isn't high enough? I am worried about not having control over my bike going at a high speed. Thank you.
You might. You have a max RPM that you can sustain comfortably. For most riders that's roughly 90-100rpm, though they can go to as much as 150rpm for a short while. But what others can do has nothing to do with you.

You're describing a situation where the bike is outrunning you, probably when going downhill. A higher gear would address that, at the cost of a higher low gear, which may or may not matter to you depending on where you ride.

If you won't mind losing some at the low end, then a higher gear via using a smaller rear sprocket might make sense. Or you might do what many experienced riders do, is give up and coast when the bike is outrunning you.

One thing that might help others advise if changing gearing makes sense would be knowing your wheel size and the number of teeth on both the chainring and rear sprocket, so we can calculate your high gear, and advise if it's reasonably high, and you will soon develop the rpm to use it at higher speeds.
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Old 04-08-16, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by claudia52 View Post
"the speeds I claim to be capable of"? Are you trying to insult me?
Not at all, sharing a thought that it is time to step up your ride. Seems like you are ready for the next level and I think you should treat yourself to a more fitting ride
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Old 04-08-16, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by claudia52 View Post
I ride a 3 speed Nexus igh and when I'm going pretty fast, my pedaling has no effect unless I slow way down. Can one pedal so fast/or the bike roll so fast that the highest gear on a bike isn't high enough? I am worried about not having control over my bike going at a high speed. Thank you.
As mentioned, a smaller rear sprocket and/or larger front chainring will make all 3 gears a bit bigger (harder).
Or replace your rear wheel and shifter with something like 7 internal gears with a wider range.

Cheapest option is to coast when you get to the point of pedaling too fast.
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Old 04-08-16, 08:35 PM
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Three speed bikes don't have a lot of gear range. The question is, is it enough range to suit the times you're pedaling to achieve your speed? Everyone can go faster than their gearing if the hill is big enough. That's why we have brakes.
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Old 04-09-16, 11:59 AM
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If you want to be able to pedal at higher speeds, the answer is yes, you do need higher gearing. You don't really provide enough information to give an intelligent answer as to what you should do. What bike do you own? That will give us enough information to see if modifying it makes economic sense. If it is an entry level bike, the answer is probably no, too costly. How to achieve that is still an open question. You can sometimes substitute a smaller sprocket on your internal hub which will raise both the lowest gear and the highest gear by the same ratio. If you need the current lowest gear as well, that obviously is not the solution. You have 3 gears with the ratios 0.73 1.00 and 1.364. That's not a lot of choices. NYMXer wasn't being a smart ass when he suggested a different bike, preferably one with standard gearing so that you get a lot more choices for setting a cadence. What I ride has 30 speeds and a road bike gear range. I don't often use the lowest or highest range (small front chainring or large front chainring) but they are there if I need them. Modifying your current bike is most likely not cost effective. If you want to still have only an internal hub, you could switch out the 3-speed for an 8 speed Nexus which gives you a 8 speeds and a wider gear range but it is still no match for standard external gearing. That would mean rebuilding the rear wheel plus the cost of the hub and the gear changing mechanism. Think $$$, maybe more than you paid for the bike.
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Old 04-09-16, 12:04 PM
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Shimano nexus uses a standard 3 lobe cog of Sturmey Archer, the smallest is 13t,
changing that one piece shifts all 3 gears upward in drive ratios.
as FB described ..

You could also replace the 3 speed with another Hub Gear offering more gears : 5, 8 , 11, 14?
I am worried about not having control over my bike going at a high speed.
When I run down a hill over my highest gear, I coast, (^^& Brake, for safety^^) since I earned it going up the other side .

Simple Math: your chainring tooth count ratio is the 2nd gear 1st 3/4 of that, 3rd 4/3 of that
(X the wheel diameter for Gear Inch data.)

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-10-16 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 04-09-16, 01:07 PM
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Hi Claudia,

The condition you are describing is certainly possible on any bike. As mentioned, steep downhills are the most common scenario. It can also happen on low geared bikes. I have a modestly geared road bike and have occasionally had a decent where I was in the largest gear and was pedaling at my highest sustainable cadence and still was not contributing significantly to forward momentum. I also have a MTB geared for hills and soft stuff. It isn't all that hard to max out the crank rpm even on a moderate downgrade on a solid road.

Spinning out in your highest gear shouldn't affect your ability to control your bike, though exceeding the speed your frame/steering geometry and components were designed for might. As mentioned, most riders just level their pedals, go aero and enjoy the wind as they coast. If this happens frequently, you may indeed need different gearing or a different bike entirely.

Can you post some more details about the bike, the riding conditions, the speeds at which this happens, and your physical condition/abilities? Specific recommendations are difficult unless we understand what you are trying to achieve.
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Old 04-09-16, 04:40 PM
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I've got the same problem. Two of my bikes are equipped with old Sturmey Archer 3-speed hubs. They're geared 40:18 and 42:18, respectively. There's one stretch of my daily commute, where I spin out in high gear every day. So far, I simply treat it as a chance to coast for a minute. For my normal daily riding, I'd actually prefer lower gears, and may consider a slightly bigger cog on my commuter.

Just a note: The cogs that are available come in 1/8 and 3/32 widths. I find it useful to look up the actual Sturmey Archer part number. SJS Cycles in the UK seems to have a comprehensive selection, and their shipping rates are not exorbitant. Parts also show up on eBay. You might need to change the chain length, and so you could always wait until you need a new chain anyway.

As @VegasTriker points out, an additional issue with the 3-speed hubs is the wide spacing between the gears. My highest gear is not a useful gear except under rare conditions, and I have nothing between it and middle gear. This, and a couple of other issues, actually have me shopping for a new bike right now.

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Old 04-10-16, 04:59 AM
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I spinout on my 8 speed hub gear, on a downhill. It isnt a problem. I would rather have enough low gear range for climbing.
You can shift the range of gears up and down by switching cogs, but you can't extend the range of your 3 speed.
3 speed are meant for easy riding around town.
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Old 04-10-16, 07:45 AM
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Is this the same bicycle that you had trouble going UP hills on and that you posted on 02-25-16, 06:46 PM

IGH gear ratio question
"Hello fellow bike lovers, I have a Trek Pure Deluxe Low Step with Shimano Internal 3 speed coaster gears. I love the IGH and the bike. But, I can't do hills very well. I have tried and failed to determine the minimum gear inches on my bike.
Can some kind soul please help this old gal with the calculation? I have 26" tires, 38T crankset, 18T cassette.
If I get another IGH with more gears, will the minimum gear ratio be the same?
I'm thinking that a bike with 700c tires and an IGH with more gears might help with the hills here in Northern California.
Thanks very much."

Cheers
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Old 04-10-16, 10:08 AM
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If so, then the general answer is that an IGH with more gears might help. But now, depending on how analytical you want to be, you can find out how to compute the gear inches on your existing bike, to make sure the new setup is actually an improvement at both ends of the range. I happen to be an extremely analytical person -- maybe pathologically so -- and wouldn't proceed without knowing the numbers.

On the other hand, I'm in exactly the same boat right now, and it has me shopping for a derailleur bike. I will continue to use the 3-speed IGH for easy riding around town, exactly what I built it up for.
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Old 04-10-16, 10:16 AM
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Just read some of these comments and had a thought that didn't come across clearly in my original post, where I recommended that you get yourself a new bike.
The reason I said that was because you stated you are maxing out your cadence with the current gearing (but didn't really say under what conditions). While you could build a wheel set with higher gearing, I am concerned that your bike frame and geometry might not be so stable at higher speeds (again, you provided very little specific information for us) and may be unsafe at higher speeds.
A good hybrid bike with multiple gear rings up front and 8-11 speeds in the rear will give you a very wide range of gear selections on a bike designed to handle those speeds.
Safety is key here as is spending your money wisely. I hope that clears things up as to why I suggested a new bike, or used....
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Old 04-11-16, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by claudia52 View Post
I ride a 3 speed Nexus igh and when I'm going pretty fast, my pedaling has no effect unless I slow way down. Can one pedal so fast/or the bike roll so fast that the highest gear on a bike isn't high enough? I am worried about not having control over my bike going at a high speed. Thank you.
We geared your bike down to get you UP more hills.
We told you that what you traded off was the high gear.

Nothing at all wrong with coasting at higher speeds than you can pedal.
If you WANT to be able to pedal faster you need a bike with more gear range.

That 3*8 derailer bike you were looking at would do it,
If you want to stick with internal gears and have very low gears for uphills and high gears to pedal downhill you'd need to come up with 500$ for the alfine 11 or somewhere over 1000 for a rohloff
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Old 04-11-16, 11:18 AM
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Kzin, thanks for replying! I was wondering if not being able to engage the chain while pedaling meant my gears weren't high enough and you answered my question; thanks.
I know you told me about the lack of higher gears...but I was unaware of "the symptoms" of high gear deficiency.
Must find a shop with an 8 or 11 speed igh to try.
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Old 04-11-16, 11:20 AM
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Yes, Miele and I changed the cog to increase low gears...but apparently at the unwelcome expense that prompted this thread. Thanks for asking.
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Old 04-11-16, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by claudia52 View Post
Kzin, thanks for replying! I was wondering if not being able to engage the chain while pedaling meant my gears weren't high enough and you answered my question; thanks.
I know you told me about the lack of higher gears...but I was unaware of "the symptoms" of high gear deficiency.
Must find a shop with an 8 or 11 speed igh to try.
8 speed internals are very similar in gearing to most hybrid 8 speed rear cassettes.
It's really not enough for hilly terrain without compromising on either the uphill or downhill side.

That's why so many bikes come with 3 by 8. The 3 front rings basically add 2 gears low and two gears high.
That gives you effectively a '12 speed' (NOT 3*8=24, the other 12 are just duplicates)

I don't know of any production bike that comes with the alfine 11.
basically you'd have to give a local shop 600 or more to put it on an existing bike.

your 3 speed has approximately double gear jumps. Your 3 gears are probably something like 4th 6th and 8th of a 3*8/ '12 speed'
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Old 04-11-16, 12:30 PM
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Another option to make riding the bike at higher speed is to go to secure pedals, ie clipless pedals where your feet cannot slip off when you are pedaling fast. This will help you in tow ways. At high speed, you can pedal much faster in confidence and when going up hill, you can both stand with confidence and pull up on the pedals as they come up, generating more power. And should you decide to keep riding this hybrid, you will be able to go to a smaller cog in back and a higher gear as others have suggested and still have power to get up the hills.

I ride fix gear. No, I am not suggesting you do. But I do have decades of experience riding a much smaller selection of gears than you have. One. Yesterday I went for a ride on Portland's Skyline Blvd along the west hills. Not flat at all. And I spent some time pedaling at RPMs that would make your head spin. A key part of that is pedals where my feet cannot come out.

Going to clipless pedals (and shoes) is a big deal. There are two basic types defined by the bolt patterns on the shoe and many genres within each type. TH etwo types - 3 bolt aka LOOK and 2 bolt aka SPD. (LOOK and Shimano/SPD were the first two types years ago and those names hacve stuck although there are many very different systems built to each bolt pattern. LOOK is primarily for racing and in general makes for a shoe that is not "walkable". SPD/2-bolt make for many systems adn shoes that are fully walkable in everyday wearing.)

The various systems are very different. There have been many threads here talking of them in great detail. I won't even start that conversation here. But seriously consider going that route. Locking one's feet to the pedals was one of the great breakthroughs in bicycle design and use. Been done for 125 years. In the past 25, user friendly systems have been invented and perfected. Now there are shoes that look good off the bike and work in everyday use that allow you to benefit form that breakthrough.

Claudia, don't give up! Bicycling is too amazing a sport. Flushing out the details of a bike to make it a super bike for you is always worth the effort.

Friendly edit: Remember, the safety bicycle, what we all ride now, was the great equalizer that allowed anyone to ride, to know freedom never seen before in the history of mankind. It fostered women's liberation. Any two cyclists on the road were equals. Gender, money and class didn't matter. And those bikes, the great equalizers, were really simple. One gear. And the brightest minds on our planet were working as hard as the best scientists and NASA engineers now to make them better.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 04-11-16 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 04-11-16, 12:32 PM
  #22  
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On A Tour Starting From Anchorage AK 2 guys from Sweden were riding bikes with 8 speed IGH on them,
I Met them here on the NW corner of Oregon,
they were continuing to ride down the pacific coast , then turning east and riding across the southern tier .
then return to Home , From Florida... the limitations may be more in Your Mind than the Bike.
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Old 04-12-16, 10:41 AM
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Kzin, thanks for your thoughts on the 8 speed internals. I took them to heart and decided to go with derailers. I went to the lbs and got a KHS TC 100 bike with a 48/38/28 7 speed 14-34T set up. Bike guy said that should give me enough low gears for our area, Paradise, California, and sufficient high gears for my needs. When I drive down the ridge to the city, I'll ride my 3 speed in the park.
Thanks for all the info you've shared. xo
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