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How many gears is too many?

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How many gears is too many?

Old 11-13-21, 08:57 AM
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9 speeds for me

I prefer my 2x9 to all others I've tried, but that's just a personal preference. My 2x10 seems a little "busy" to me, meaning too much shifting. Never had a 3x9, but for an all purpose bike it sounds good. FD is not necessarily something to be eliminated. My 2x10 Tiagra FD shifts as quickly, smoothly, quietly, flawlessly as does the 9 speed Sora RD on my 2x9. We're all familiar with products that get worse as time goes on due to marketing demands for new features. Bicycles are not immune to this phenomenon. I passed on a new bike I otherwise liked because it had a 2x12 105 drivetrain. Too much shifting for this "old school" guy.
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Old 11-13-21, 09:05 AM
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The number of cassette cogs is basically about filling in the gaps. As wider and wider range cassettes are produced, those additional low cogs have to come from somewhere.

Bit there is a point at which a ratio is so low and the bike travels at a speed too slow to be able to keep it upright. I think around 3mph is that speed. Once the lowest speed is attained and the gaps are filled, you’re finished.

The other piece is electric assist being prevalent in the future for most recreational and fitness riders. Being able to set a total combined rider and assist wattage output can smooth out some gaps where that the rider is unable to overcome them and continue at optimal performance.

John
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Old 11-13-21, 09:21 AM
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I get by just fine with 6 at the rear and chainrings appropriate for the terrain to be ridden.


Shift less, get out of the saddle more.




Free hubs are stronger than freewheels, so 8 speed cassettes would be my choice in a perfect World. Long live triples. A cassette bigger than a dinner plate is not my thing, even after downsizing my dinner plates.
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Old 11-13-21, 09:49 AM
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I can envision some type of cassette/multi speed hub combo, similar to the dual-range manual transmissions some vehicle manufacturers used. Imagine a current 11 speed 11-25 cassette with a hub selectable as 1:1 or 1.4:1 ratio. In the 1.4:1 ratio, your cassette would be the equivalent of a 15.4 to 35 setup. Close ratio for the flats, multiple gears capable of those hard climbs. A simple planetary gear set in the hub would work.
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Old 11-13-21, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
Don't know where people live that they need such extreme gear ranges
Colorado.
Originally Posted by Russ Roth
..but if you really need more gearing than an 11-48 or 52 provides with a single chainring then get a second chainring.
Agreed.
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Old 11-13-21, 10:07 AM
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I’m old school and kinda wish we could go back to traditional “10 speeds”…that is 2x5. However, I think the answer to the OP’s question really depends on where you ride (the terrain), and he type of riding you do. For example…if you ride in Florida (on the road), there isn’t really a need for so many gears. For a recreational cyclist, just the right combination of a 5-gear cluster/cassette is probably sufficient. If you’re racing…you might need more. Or, if you ride in an area with more elevation changes, or mountainous…you might need a “granny gear” setup.

Dan
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Old 11-13-21, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
I can envision some type of cassette/multi speed hub combo, similar to the dual-range manual transmissions some vehicle manufacturers used. Imagine a current 11 speed 11-25 cassette with a hub selectable as 1:1 or 1.4:1 ratio. In the 1.4:1 ratio, your cassette would be the equivalent of a 15.4 to 35 setup. Close ratio for the flats, multiple gears capable of those hard climbs. A simple planetary gear set in the hub would work.
An old 3 spd with a cassette installed on it. hehe
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Old 11-13-21, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
Bit there is a point at which a ratio is so low and the bike travels at a speed too slow to be able to keep it upright. I think around 3mph is that speed. Once the lowest speed is attained and the gaps are filled, you’re finished.
John
Seriously? Sounds more like someone's riding skills could use a little improvement, no offense intended.
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Old 11-13-21, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
Now the mfg have dropped clear back to the 1x 11 or 12. Gotta keep stirring up the pot so people will buy the "latest" thing.

As someone else stated the 3x 8 or 9 is about ideal.
Ideal for YOU maybe
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Old 11-13-21, 11:08 AM
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With climate change and air conditioned year round ‘indoor cycling’ becoming mainstream, you need the right gears to KOM or Personal Best or some other e-sports cred. Check that your indoor trainer is upgradable so you are not stuck with 12cogs for those indoor sessions when the industry tells you 10 - 52 cogs are needed on their 16 speed cassette, to keep up with the virtual peloton. Or, when on actual roads, the rear cassette approaches the size of the rear wheel, pray for smooth terrain/roads and no flats. What is the rolling resistance of your cassette?
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Last edited by Wildwood; 11-13-21 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 11-13-21, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Ideal for YOU maybe
….. and others. As previously stated.
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Old 11-13-21, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by SpedFast
An old 3 spd with a cassette installed on it. hehe
Or, a modernized hub with only 2 gears vs. 3, a QR setup, and maybe a 6 speed cassette?

Shimano 3-speed Hubs (sheldonbrown.com)

Add a wi-fi servo to control the hub shift, Di2 mech for the front and rear derailleurs, and call it Di3?
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Old 11-13-21, 11:19 AM
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I took a hiatus from cycling when "cool" bikes had 3x5 drivetrains and the bike I had at that time was a 2x6. I came back and bought a bike with a 3x7. My last new bike I bought three years ago has 2x11, hydraulic disc brakes and had some newfangled thing called a free hub.

I spent the morning cleaning and lubing a 7 speed freewheel and I think I'm happy enough with that. I don't know at this point in my life I'm ready for electronic shifting and whatever else may come along to take my money.
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Old 11-13-21, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
2002 GTO with 81 Gears.
^ What I envision when I describe the typical recumbent trike. Classic.
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Old 11-13-21, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Montag311
I sometimes wonder if having more gears means that you just wind up shifting more often, which means more wear and tear on levers, derailleurs, chain, cables, etc.
I tend to disagree here , I think the more gears you have , the less you shift ,,,,,,
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Old 11-13-21, 11:42 AM
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I don't need more than 2x11 on my Road bike.
BUT, I do need a wider range.

I'm already pushing the RD-8050 spec limitations with an out of spec (& Di2 unsupported) 11-36 cassette.
I'd like to see a "Max cog" & "Capacity" increase for the Road groupsets.

Barry
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Old 11-13-21, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by SpedFast
Seriously? Sounds more like someone's riding skills could use a little improvement, no offense intended.
No problem. Webster has not invented the words that can offend me, especially from someone I don’t know on the internet.

John
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Old 11-13-21, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO

Bit there is a point at which a ratio is so low and the bike travels at a speed too slow to be able to keep it upright. I think around 3mph is that speed.
Falling over and not being able to stay upright at very low speeds is just lack of skill.....That's why I like mountain biking. It will develop skills which is not possible to develop with road riding alone.
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Old 11-13-21, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
Falling over and not being able to stay upright at very low speeds is just lack of skill.....That's why I like mountain biking. It will develop skills which is not possible to develop with road riding alone.
NO - it's a lack of balance. And there are many medical reasons to lack balance!

Have a heart

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Old 11-13-21, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Barry2
NO - it's a lack of balance. And there are many medical reasons to lack balance!

Have a heart

Barry
Putting medical issues aside....Balance is a skill which can be developed through training.
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Old 11-13-21, 12:02 PM
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I have a bike with a Pinion IGH, it has 18 unduplicated gears, with a range of about 625%. The steps between adjacent gears are also roughly a constant percentage. Addressing Armille's concerns, the chain line is straight and doesn't change, and the wheel has no dish, it is spoked like a front wheel.
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Old 11-13-21, 12:10 PM
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Well, I have not fallen over from going too slow on my road or mountain bike, not to say I haven’t gone down on my mountain bike.

What I have found, as I am fast approaching 70, is that on tough longer mtb climbs that I need to grind up, there is a speed that is close to where it is not just the peddling effort it is also balancing effort. There is no lower gear as any any more loss of momentum is pointless. And out of the saddle just loses traction.

At this point in time, there is no skill improvement curve.

John
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Old 11-13-21, 01:02 PM
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For me the 2x11 setup is more than enough. For my 1x11 bike I would sometimes wish to have another cog for climbs.
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Old 11-13-21, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by armille1
So how does this play out? Bike industry keeps adding gears until what happens?
Yes, they will keep adding gears until something happens. What will happen? In 5.5 billion years our sun will die out and become a white dwarf, and the number of gears on your bike will no longer be important.
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Old 11-13-21, 01:42 PM
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That's a, uh, interesting first post.
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