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threadend 08-04-02 05:46 PM

Earning the Big Ring
Is it a right or a privledge to ride in the big ring?

Are there qualifications, that once met, give you big ring credentials? How about a secret handshake or greeting that bonifide big ring riders get to use?

Once you move up to the big ring can you ever go back? Say in strong headwinds, on steep climbs or when you bonk? Is the move from the small chainring irreversable, or can you be sent back down like a baseball player who didn't make the cut in the majors?

I think my small ring is very close to being used up, I'm able to cruise in the mid 20's on the flats, but I'm not sure how to make the switch. I know all I need to do is push my left brake lever toward the center of the bike, but I certainly don't want to commit a faux pas and be banished forever from the big ring.

Certainly would appreciate any input you can offer. :confused: :D

mechBgon 08-04-02 06:09 PM

Some experts recommend avoiding the stigma of a failed "graduation" to the big ring by using a triple. In this way, even if the rider does drop back out of the big-ring commitment, they can still say "well, but at least I'm not using The Granny Gear! See... not a trace of chain oil on it at all!" :eek:


Scooby Snax 08-04-02 06:09 PM

Threadend, Ive given serious thought to removing the big ring all together...

And may I ask, why should I unclench my toes? :D

fore 08-04-02 06:52 PM

even the pros use the little ring now and then

that said, i'm in the big ring unless i cant keep a good cadence going. and i've got nothing against going back to the little ring. if it'll get me up and over the hill, why not?

Dutchy 08-04-02 08:18 PM

Don't talk to me about the Big ring!

I have a MTB with slicks that is used for bitumen riding only, after 3 years it has rarely been on the two smaller rings. During a bout of flu in January I decided if I can't ride I would do some work on my bike. I thought it would be a good idea to remove the two small rings and have an 8speed bike instead of a 24. After removing the front derailleur and the smallest ring, I discovered that the middle ring had to stay to keep the big ring attached. I also removed the front gears gripshift, and cables. I then went back to bed to sleep off the flu.

Once better, I rode the bike and needless to say without a front derailleur the chain kept falling off the big ring when I changed gears on the back. Time to put things back as they were. I tried to put the gripshift back together but it was too hard. I put the front derailleur back on but have to use a 1 inch screw to keep it aligned as there is no cable to create tension. It all works very good now minus 16 gears.

The reason for doing it was so I could get used to staying in big gears up hills so when I went back to my road bike, the gears wouldn't feel to heavy.

The moral to the story: When home from work with the flu, leave the bike alone and stay in bed.



Maelstrom 08-04-02 08:27 PM

I don't have a big ring. I have a bash gaurd. If I did pure xc I would use one but I do too much technical to bother.

Oh and when I did pure xc I used only the big and medium rings. I didn't know what a small ring was until I started riding in the mountains.

WoodyUpstate 08-04-02 10:24 PM

Sorry, the big ring holds no mystique for me. I look at cadence and HR, then find the gear that meets the need.

Guillermo 08-04-02 10:38 PM

I spend more time in the big ring, and the other day found myself wondering - what's the norm? I assume differences in acceleration would be negligible, or are they...?


Tarantula 08-04-02 10:39 PM

Push the big ring.
Push it often.
Push it hard.
Sweat in the big ring.
Strain in the big ring.
Bonk in the big ring.
The big ring doesn't kill you.
The big ring makes you stronger.
Push the big ring.

mechBgon 08-04-02 10:55 PM

Folks, I think this was meant as a tongue-in-cheek thread... ;)

MichaelW 08-05-02 04:59 AM

I know one elderly lady cyclist who uses a double with a 28/38 combo. She gets into the big ring quite often.

RiPHRaPH 08-05-02 06:40 AM

in the first few years of riding i never used the big ring and wondered how anyone could possibly ride in that gearing.
now in the first month or so of the season i use the small one almost exclusively to 'earn' the larger ring. i only use the small ring when first starting out and warming up for rides and when i am completely cashed and just need to get back home. ..i even force myself out of the saddle and stomp over hills just to stay in the big ring.

fubar5 08-05-02 06:46 AM

Live life in the big ring!! It's all about the big ring, nothing else!

SipperPhoto 08-05-02 02:37 PM

Oh yeah Baby !!

I'm doin' it... oh yeah... tonite it is ALL about the big Ring !! I'm pumped now !! Damn... 4 more hours here at work... THE BIG RING...MUST USE THE BIG RING !!!

threadend 08-06-02 10:44 AM


Originally posted by Scooby Snax
Threadend, Ive given serious thought to removing the big ring all together...

And may I ask, why should I unclench my toes? :D

The toe clenching thing is a reminder to myself, some people stiffen their arms, others tense at the shoulders or have a death grip on the bar.

Me, for some reason I always catch myself wasting energy by trying to grip my pedals with my toes until my toe knuckles hurt :confused:


Originally posted by WoodyUpstate
...I look at cadence and HR, then find the gear that meets the need...
That's my MO, amazingly the small ring is falling short of meeting the requirements for some of my workout objectives. I'm thinking this is a very good thing :D

sscyco 08-06-02 10:55 AM

I can honestly say that on the bike I have ridden the most miles this year i have not once used anthing but the big ring. I've done several mountain passes, towing a trailer, and much commuting. All in the big ring. Or is it? I guess I could say it was all done in the small ring as well, or even the middle. Or I could just call it "the ring". I feel so lost - with no level of ring to call my own. Somtimes life is so difficult on a single speed.

jmlee 08-07-02 04:47 AM

Ohhh, the irony...

I get into the big ring,
I spin out.
52-14, 60kmh, cadence 130 and rising.
I concede the point and, gasp,
begin to coast.
I compensate for my shame:
my nose to the bars,
my knees tight together.
Seventy, Eighty, kilometers-per-hour.
I'm in the big ring, but my cadence is Zero.
I'm in the big ring, but to no worthy end.

The descent flattens out,
a few moments of pure bliss,
in the big ring, cadence healthy.

Ach, alas... The next climb approaches.


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