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Out of shape or bad gearing?

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Old 03-14-19, 12:50 PM
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Dschmale
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Out of shape or bad gearing?

I took my new rig out for it's inaugural 21 miles after not much activity - cycling included - for many months. I know that I'm out of shape but a friend of mine, who is certainly in worse shape, was smoking me on our ride. I felt like I always needed to be in a gear between my two front cogs. Granted, I rode 9 miles to meet him so he was fresh but to keep up at about a 15 mph cruise, I really felt like I was having to exert myself and was searching for a gear that wasn't totally crossing my chains. New bike. Not terribly happy with the gearing though I may just really be in that bad shape.
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Old 03-14-19, 12:58 PM
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"Inaugural ride." Your motor probably isn't broken in yet. It'll get better.
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Old 03-14-19, 01:43 PM
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"Gearing issue" sounds like perfect reason to acquire a new bike.
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Old 03-14-19, 02:21 PM
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chicagogal
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Originally Posted by Dschmale View Post
I took my new rig out for it's inaugural 21 miles after not much activity - cycling included - for many months. I know that I'm out of shape but a friend of mine, who is certainly in worse shape, was smoking me on our ride. I felt like I always needed to be in a gear between my two front cogs. Granted, I rode 9 miles to meet him so he was fresh but to keep up at about a 15 mph cruise, I really felt like I was having to exert myself and was searching for a gear that wasn't totally crossing my chains. New bike. Not terribly happy with the gearing though I may just really be in that bad shape.
Not bad gearing. Almost definitely a fitness issue. That is to be expected after a layoff lasting many months. However, since it is a brand new bike, it is a worth a look to make sure wheels, pedals, chain are turning smoothly. If you have a brake rubbing or a tire touching the inside of the fork, that will make for a slow and unpleasant ride. Once you are confident that the bike is set up right, then just take it out for a spin every chance you get. Your fitness should come back pretty quickly.
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Old 03-14-19, 02:32 PM
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15 MPH isn't a bad pace. It can be a number of things slowing you down including bad tires.

A lot depends on your terrain and gearing.

I like a fairly tight rear cassette with quite a few single steps between sprockets.

Others like tightly spaced chainrings on the crankset, and more space between individual rear sprockets.
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Old 03-14-19, 03:30 PM
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Nuvinci CVR internal gear hub is Continuously Variable with in its range.. so you just turn the gripshift handle till it feels ok..
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Old 03-14-19, 04:29 PM
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Unless you have some unorthodox home brewed creation, big big and small small are the only combinations that should remotely give you any issues from cross-chaining. Even then the biggest issue is usually just the embarrassing noise. To a much less extent, there is the issue of wear.

However if those are the gears you find you have to ride in for most of your ride, then you probably need to think about changing front or back gearing. If you are only in those gears for a small part of the ride, no big deal.

But yeah, it does take time to get the buildup and crud out of the motor when it's not been run at high speeds in a while .
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Old 03-14-19, 04:43 PM
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Perhaps the friend was secretly keeping his cardio up when you were slacking, but also consumed tons of extra calories to keep up the fatty facade of a slacker?
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Old 03-14-19, 04:43 PM
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Even after you're in shape you'll still find some rides when no gear combo feels quite right. Mostly a matter of conditions -- terrain, wind -- and conditioning.

A couple of times over the decades I've swapped freewheels or cassettes, or cogs in a freewheel or cassette, to suit the conditions I most often encountered so I could stay in my preferred cadence and effort. That was mostly for commutes when I didn't want every ride to be a workout and just preferred the smooth sensation of being in the perfect gear for a given scenario.
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Old 03-14-19, 04:49 PM
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Yep. I start out in the 14-15 mph range every spring. With hard work I always expect to be averaging 19-21 mph by the middle of June. Don't give up; chasing your buddy is actually a good workout!
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Old 03-14-19, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dschmale View Post
I took my new rig out for it's inaugural 21 miles after not much activity - cycling included - for many months. I know that I'm out of shape but a friend of mine, who is certainly in worse shape, was smoking me on our ride. I felt like I always needed to be in a gear between my two front cogs. Granted, I rode 9 miles to meet him so he was fresh but to keep up at about a 15 mph cruise, I really felt like I was having to exert myself and was searching for a gear that wasn't totally crossing my chains. New bike. Not terribly happy with the gearing though I may just really be in that bad shape.
How is the drive train set-up on this bike and what aspect of it was nor working well for you?
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Old 03-14-19, 07:37 PM
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Cadence too low, mashing?

Learn to spin.
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Old 03-14-19, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Yep. I start out in the 14-15 mph range every spring. With hard work I always expect to be averaging 19-21 mph by the middle of June. Don't give up; chasing your buddy is actually a good workout!
Agreed. There's always gonna be someone faster than you. Would you rather have had to sit up over and over again to let him catch up? You don't get any better riding with someone like that.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:01 AM
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So you donít exercise for many months, then ride 9 miles before riding with someone totally fresh and you have trouble keeping up.

I hate to break it to you, but your gearing is not the issue. I think you already know what the problem really is.

You need a lighter wheelset.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:14 AM
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HTFU makes a good set, their price is cheap (just a little pain) and you even can keep your existing wheels.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:18 AM
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out of shape, need more tits
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Old 03-15-19, 07:20 AM
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My thinking the whole time was "where is that easy gear!?" though it's pretty clearly a conditioning issue. Trying the commute a few days next week, which should go a ways towards freshening up the legs. But yeah, it felt like I was mashing the whole time and anything lower was spinning too much. I miss the 55 gear-inches of my old bmx. That's where I'm most comfortable, though I'm not sustaining 15 mph on flats with that gear.

Thank you for your input. I often ask questions I already know the answer to. Time to ride some more and clean the crud out of the motor.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:39 AM
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Do some fixed gear rides if you can, to work on your spin. Also, get your position nailed down before putting in any serious miles.

For example, I had gotten lazy and was using my rounded lower back to pedal with instead of my glutes, which caused me some back problems. I have to constantly remind myself to keep my back flat and pedal with my butt muscles and not my lower back. And also stretch to remain flexible. YMMV.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Dschmale View Post
My thinking the whole time was "where is that easy gear!?" though it's pretty clearly a conditioning issue. Trying the commute a few days next week, which should go a ways towards freshening up the legs. But yeah, it felt like I was mashing the whole time and anything lower was spinning too much. I miss the 55 gear-inches of my old bmx. That's where I'm most comfortable, though I'm not sustaining 15 mph on flats with that gear.

Thank you for your input. I often ask questions I already know the answer to. Time to ride some more and clean the crud out of the motor.

I know this is a religious issue for some people, but I firmly believe that some of us are natural mashers. I ride frequent solo centuries in high gears, and I find high cadence/low gear spinning incredibly inefficient for me. Don't be afraid to play around with different gear combos/cadences, I think there's way too much one-size-fits-all thinking on this issue.

I will now prepare to duck and weave.
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Old 03-15-19, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I know this is a religious issue for some people, but I firmly believe that some of us are natural mashers. I ride frequent solo centuries in high gears, and I find high cadence/low gear spinning incredibly inefficient for me. Don't be afraid to play around with different gear combos/cadences, I think there's way too much one-size-fits-all thinking on this issue.

I will now prepare to duck and weave.
Back in my racing days, people new to racing would often begin by mashing but would quickly convert to spinning (or would give up on racing).

If you're not racing, though, mashing gears works fine.
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Old 03-15-19, 08:43 AM
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A couple of years ago, I specifically targeted high cadence riding. It paid off in a big way. On group rides I would sit and spin past people standing on the pedals and often beat them to the top of climbs. It was odd but effective for me. It does feel good to stand sometimes.

For the OP... Motor. Only one way to fix that.
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Old 03-15-19, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Dschmale View Post
but a friend of mine, who is certainly in worse shape, was smoking me on our ride.
Anyone else see the flaw in ^^this^^?
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Old 03-15-19, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I know this is a religious issue for some people, but I firmly believe that some of us are natural mashers.
Some guy named Greg something or other (his last name escapes me at the moment, road monster gears on his way to winning some long race somewhere in Europe (Finland maybe?). IIRC, he won it three times.
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Old 03-15-19, 09:14 AM
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Both
Solution;
ride more with a new bike
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Old 03-15-19, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Back in my racing days, people new to racing would often begin by mashing but would quickly convert to spinning (or would give up on racing).

If you're not racing, though, mashing gears works fine.
I'm definitely not a racer. I can, however, ride for hours in the range of 20-24 mph in high gear Given that I'm 58 and my knees both seem to be working, I'd say it works well for me.

I'm much slower spinning. It also doesn't come naturally to me, so I have to focus on doing it, and I find that incredibly tedious and boring.

Mind you, I'll spin like a madman on hills. The high gear is my normal cruising method
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