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Speed Nomenclature Question

Old 04-20-16, 04:58 AM
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Speed Nomenclature Question

Just curious, why does the industry refer to the speed component as they do? Using my own bike, hybrid, as an example, the specs refer to crank set (3 numbers) and further on, the cassette (7 speed).

Why not just say 21 speed (3x7)?
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Old 04-20-16, 05:40 AM
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It's not really a 21sp since there is some overlap in gearing.
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Old 04-20-16, 05:41 AM
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Because the size of the three chainrings can be important to people. For example, the size of the chain rings and the number of teeth on each cassette cog is important to those of us who do loaded touring so we can evaluate the high and low gear ends and the steps between each gear. If you are tooling around on your hybrid on an MUP, that might not be so important.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:12 AM
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As someone pointed out even on a 3x7 set up there is some overlap. That is why on possible 3x12 it is total over kill. There must be several redundant gears.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:23 AM
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People new to bikes or who just ride bikes without geeking out on them tend to think in terms of how many "speeds" a bike has. And really, as thin_concrete points out, those "speeds" are really gear combinations that might in some cases result in identical speeds.

Enthusiasts tend more toward wanting to know the specs of each individual part on a bike. So you'll see a cassette mentioned as being an eight- or a ten-speed cassette, and crankset specs include tooth counts for the individual rings.

Enthusiasts also tend to focus on the number of cassette cogs, because that number goes to the compatibility of components. Thus we talk about nine-speed versus ten-speed bikes when really those bikes might have anywhere from nine to 30 gears depending upon the number of front rings. For example, I ride a "nine-speed bike in a one-by setup", which means that I ride a bike having nine-speed compatible cassette and shifters and crankset, and my crankset has but one gear on it.

For your hybrid, what matters to me is that it is a seven-speed drivetrain. Because that goes to parts compatibility. I would know of course that there are also three rings up front, but what matters when upgrading or repairing or tinkering is the number of gears in the back.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Just curious, why does the industry refer to the speed component as they do? Using my own bike, hybrid, as an example, the specs refer to crank set (3 numbers) and further on, the cassette (7 speed).

Why not just say 21 speed (3x7)?
People used to. Remember when road bikes used to be referred to as "ten speeds", they were 2x5. I remember as a kid my first bike with a triple and calling it an "18 speed bike", and it was marketed as such (I'll admit, this was in the UK). I think now you have the potential for a bike to be 33 speed, it just got a bit silly.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:41 AM
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Because calling a bike a 10 speed doesn't really tell you what you have. One bike that is a 10 speed is state of the art with 1X in the front and 10 rear, another bike is 30 years old with 2X and 5 rear - or 2X and 9 rear and 3X and 6 rear.

Also. the number of chain rings in the front can be easily changed (Usually reduced) and the rear cannot. Such as a 30 speed can be changed to 20 speed and 10 speed by simply removing rings. And 30 speed really sounds dumb.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:44 AM
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Thanks all, makes sense. I suspected there might be some overlap but not enough background to figure out how much and what chain ring and cog they might occur on.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
As someone pointed out even on a 3x7 set up there is some overlap. That is why on possible 3x12 it is total over kill. There must be several redundant gears.
Redundant gears are good because they limit front shifting which implies large compensating rear shifts, both of which are slower than a single cog change with the later usually requiring multiple lever actuations. For a while I rode 50-34 x 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23 because that would give me the same range and spacing as 50-40-30 x 13-21 8 cogs with two rings that were better than three. That was a big mistake because there was only one overlapping gear when I skipped the fully cross-chained combinations. Any time I sped up over 18-19 MPH in 34x14 for more than a brief small-ring spring I shifted five cogs to 50x19. Any time I slowed down below about 16 MPH in 50x21 I shifted five cogs the other way to 34x15.



Front shifts were over 10X more frequent than 50-40-30 x 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21


One tooth jumps through the 19 cog feel good on flat ground. In good shape with single digit body fat a low like 36x28 is enough to get you over mountains pushing 10% at an endurance pace so you have enough left for another 300-400km+ of riding. 12 cogs 52-36 x 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-25-28 gets you there without much front shifting . Unfortunately, 75% of American men are over-weight so that doesn't work. I picked up 65-70 pounds of middle age spread which would take a low like 34x40 and 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-25-28-32-36-40 14 cogs. OTOH, 52-36-24 x 12-28 would.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Just curious, why does the industry refer to the speed component as they do? Using my own bike, hybrid, as an example, the specs refer to crank set (3 numbers) and further on, the cassette (7 speed).

Why not just say 21 speed (3x7)?
Because it has nothing to do with speed its all about gearing options.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:57 AM
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You're talking about an industry that mixes metric and imperial measurements, where fractions and decimals are different sizes, where clipless means you have to have clips and where "alloy" means aluminum. Don't try to make logical sense out of it, it's just the way that we do it.
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Old 04-20-16, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Redundant gears are good because they limit front shifting which implies large compensating rear shifts, both of which are slower than a single cog change with the later usually requiring multiple lever actuations. For a while I rode 50-34 x 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23 because that would give me the same range and spacing as 50-40-30 x 13-21 8 cogs with two rings that were better than three. That was a big mistake because there was only one overlapping gear when I skipped the fully cross-chained combinations. Any time I sped up over 18-19 MPH in 34x14 for more than a brief small-ring spring I shifted five cogs to 50x19. Any time I slowed down below about 16 MPH in 50x21 I shifted five cogs the other way to 34x15.



Front shifts were over 10X more frequent than 50-40-30 x 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21


One tooth jumps through the 19 cog feel good on flat ground. In good shape with single digit body fat a low like 36x28 is enough to get you over mountains pushing 10% at an endurance pace so you have enough left for another 300-400km+ of riding. 12 cogs 52-36 x 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-25-28 gets you there without much front shifting . Unfortunately, 75% of American men are over-weight so that doesn't work. I picked up 65-70 pounds of middle age spread which would take a low like 34x40 and 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-25-28-32-36-40 14 cogs. OTOH, 52-36-24 x 12-28 would.
Not belittle your explanation, but my eyes just glazed over. Perhaps someday I'll have a need to better understand this. Thanks for your time though.
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Old 04-20-16, 08:12 AM
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Since the speed is variable from 0 to whatever top speed you're capable of it'd be much more accurate to refer to the number of gears as "gears" not speeds.

Cheers
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Old 04-20-16, 08:12 AM
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The overlap seems to be understated here.

the typical 3*8 hybrid or mt bike is a 12-speed

fully half of the gears are effectively duplicates
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Old 04-20-16, 09:44 AM
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It's vitesse in French, same thing.. speeds _ gear https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/vitesse#French
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Old 04-20-16, 09:51 AM
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Only if you speak of an Internal Gear Hub do you get the stated number of 'speeds'.

A Rohloff Hub is actually 3_3 speeds used twice , a same ratio 2nd in each of the 3 speeds, is eliminated
so its 7 instead of 9, actually. But the Engineers bypassed the other 2, so 14 rather than 18.

(11th is the remaining direct 1:1 drive of hubshell by sprocket driver )


Back In The Day , on derailleur bikes we Just stated the Tooth count of the gear ratio..

Like: I climbed that hill in my 42:26 ..

Actual speed is a rate of travel over a distance KM/ Hr , or Furlongs per Fortnight

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Old 04-20-16, 10:49 AM
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BITD in the era of 10s (10x2) it made sense to say 10 speed, that extended to 12s (2x6), and the triple versions 15 and 18 speed.

However as we kept adding sprockets to the rear and using narrower chains, referring to the total number of speeds became cumbersome, and more important, missed the point that it was rear sprocket spacing that counted.

So the industry segued to referring to the number of rear sprockets, ie, 7s,8s...11s, which made it easier to know things like which replacement chain was needed. So these days we speak of 9s (or whatever) double, triple, compact, etc. which provides key data about the cassette and crankset in a word thrifty way.
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Old 04-20-16, 12:37 PM
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I might interject here that my reference to and use of "speed" was only because some manufacturers refer to "X speed cassette."
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Old 04-20-16, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
You're talking about an industry that mixes metric and imperial measurements, where fractions and decimals are different sizes, where clipless means you have to have clips and where "alloy" means aluminum. Don't try to make logical sense out of it, it's just the way that we do it.
Don't forget that uprights have "saddles," not "seats" but they're mounted on "seat posts."
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Old 04-20-16, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Don't forget that uprights have "saddles," not "seats" but they're mounted on "seat posts."
Or that "stays" move along with the rest of the bike?
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Old 04-20-16, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
I might interject here that my reference to and use of "speed" was only because some manufacturers refer to "X speed cassette."
Which is why they had to go to the current nomenclature.

The maker of a Xs cassette has no way of knowing if you want it for a single, double or triple crankset.
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