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Only a noob would ask this...well that's me...i'm a noob.

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Only a noob would ask this...well that's me...i'm a noob.

Old 08-02-09, 10:36 PM
  #1  
Jaraldo
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Only a noob would ask this...well that's me...i'm a noob.

Hey, so i'm in my 20's and you'd think that i'd know this by now...but as a bicycle novice I don't.

Like i'm sure most of you have, my bike has two shifters...one that controls the front derailer, and one that controls the rear derailer.

(I feel dumb for asking this question...)

Why are there two??? I find myself shifting gears primarily on the rear...when would I want to shift gears on the front? Why?

Just something i've always wondered...
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Old 08-02-09, 10:46 PM
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You'd want to use the chainring (in front) when you get into hilly area. I've been through Nebraska and from what I saw you could probably get away with a single speed for all the hills you've got.
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Old 08-02-09, 10:59 PM
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Small chainring and large rear sprocket for hills too difficult for the large chainring. Also the small chainring and smallest rear sprockets or the large chainring and largest sprockets should not be used together. This runs the chain at a large angle and is referred to as cross chaining. It can increase wear on the parts.

Most touring bikes and mountain bikes have 3 front chainrings to make use in steep hills easier. The innermost small chainring allows very low gears for when it gets really steep.
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Old 08-02-09, 11:14 PM
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think of it as a three speed with sub-gears.
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Old 08-02-09, 11:15 PM
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Lincoln Nebraska must be a very flat place if you have to ask a question like this.
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Old 08-02-09, 11:26 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone.

Lincoln Nebraska must be a very flat place if you have to ask a question like this.
Yes, actually most of Nebraska is very flat. We've got some hills in town, but nothing major at all. During the school year I live in Omaha, NE. My campus sits very close to the Missouri River (probably less than a mile from the Nebraska/Iowa border), and there are some very steep hills there.....i've been too intimidated to bike those....maybe when I get in better shape
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Old 08-02-09, 11:38 PM
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The front gears give you ranges. The rear gears give you settings within a range. The ranges overlap by a lot...you may have 9 gears at the rear, and switching front gears moves the range by the equivalent of only 2 or 3 rear gears. That is, 2-9 might be about the same gear as 3-7 (it depends on the specifics of your bike). You can use a gear calculator to figure things for your bike. Here's one: http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

A typical mountain bike might have front gears of 22, 32, 44 teeth, and 9 rear gears, ranging from 11 to 32 teeth. Lowest gear is 22:32 and highest is 44:11, for a total range from low to high of nearly 6 to 1 in gear ratios.
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Old 08-03-09, 01:50 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Jaraldo View Post
Thanks for the input everyone.

Yes, actually most of Nebraska is very flat. We've got some hills in town, but nothing major at all. During the school year I live in Omaha, NE. My campus sits very close to the Missouri River (probably less than a mile from the Nebraska/Iowa border), and there are some very steep hills there.....i've been too intimidated to bike those....maybe when I get in better shape
Creighton?

Yeah, the hills in Omaha suck compared to everything along the Platte floodplain. I biked them when I was eight years old on my coaster brake kid's bike, though.

bikegeekmn had a good one -- "a three speed with sub-gears." Makes plenty of sense, really.

Without getting too much into it, I'd put it this way, at least for a triple crank: middle ring for cruising, small ring for climbing, big ring for going really fast.

Other than that, all I think you need to know is to softpedal as you shift.

It'll also help to learn how to adjust the shifters yourself, so that you don't need to take it to a shop for every little click and clunk. If you're not sure where to start, check these out:
http://www.parktool.com/repair/byregion.asp?catid=53
http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-front-derailer/
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Old 08-03-09, 02:41 AM
  #9  
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Jaraldo, I was going to say in Politics and Religion you could be a born-again noob but then I realized they'd likely kick you out
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Old 08-03-09, 05:31 AM
  #10  
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I've always thought of it as being gears 1-7, 1-9 or whatever, and then the chainrings represent standard, overdrive, and underdrive.

Or, as one of the guys in my club likes to put it: "If you have two chainrings, the big one is for the first half of your ride. The smaller ring is for the second half. If you have three chainrings, you can do three halves of a ride."
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Old 08-03-09, 07:34 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
Creighton?

Yeah, the hills in Omaha suck compared to everything along the Platte floodplain. I biked them when I was eight years old on my coaster brake kid's bike, though.

bikegeekmn had a good one -- "a three speed with sub-gears." Makes plenty of sense, really.

Without getting too much into it, I'd put it this way, at least for a triple crank: middle ring for cruising, small ring for climbing, big ring for going really fast.

Other than that, all I think you need to know is to softpedal as you shift.

It'll also help to learn how to adjust the shifters yourself, so that you don't need to take it to a shop for every little click and clunk. If you're not sure where to start, check these out:
http://www.parktool.com/repair/byregion.asp?catid=53
http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-front-derailer/

Nah, i'm at Grace University. We're pretty close to Creighton though...they're maybe just a couple miles north of us.

Thanks for the input....I like the way you put that...middle ring for cruising eh?? I'll give it a shot and play with it a little bit.
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Old 08-03-09, 07:35 AM
  #12  
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Bigger ring on front - higher gearing. Bigger ring on the back, lower gearing. Mix and match for your desired gearing.
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Old 08-03-09, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaraldo View Post
Hey, so i'm in my 20's and you'd think that i'd know this by now...but as a bicycle novice I don't.

Like i'm sure most of you have, my bike has two shifters...one that controls the front derailer, and one that controls the rear derailer.

(I feel dumb for asking this question...)

Why are there two??? I find myself shifting gears primarily on the rear...when would I want to shift gears on the front? Why?

Just something i've always wondered...

Move to Pittsburgh. Ride for one month. You will have the answer that you seek.
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Old 08-03-09, 09:52 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Ka_Jun View Post
Move to Pittsburgh. Ride for one month. You will have the answer that you seek.
Such is the stereotype of the "flyover states"...

Really, though, there are plenty of parts of Omaha where, if you're not climbing, you're descending. No, the water storage plant doesn't reside at the equivalent of Mt. Ventoux, but the terrain is like most of what's near the Missouri River, rockier than the Sandhills and carved into what are basically large, broad gullies. Across the river is Council Bluffs, and it wasn't called "Bluffs" for being flat.

Now, Oklahoma, on the other hand...

...
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Old 08-03-09, 11:21 AM
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Based on what I've seen of Nebraska, you might want to think of those as head-wind and tail-wind gears, rather than up-and-down hill.
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Old 08-03-09, 05:37 PM
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Remember, it's not the number of teeth -- it's the ratio between the front and the back that matters. So lots of teeth on the outer gear makes higher ratios possible. And small numbers of teeth on the little inner gear makes smaller ratios possible. Small ratio = lower gear, more torque. Large ratio = higher gear, more speed.
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Old 08-03-09, 06:40 PM
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Most people have a "cadence" (pedal rpm) where they feel comfortable. The gears help you to stay at a cadence. I was taught if your breath runs out before your legs get tired, spinning too fast, shift up. If your legs give out before your lungs down shift. Or is it the other way around? Oh well.

Like others have said you'd probably figure that out if you had more hills.

Bill
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Old 08-03-09, 06:54 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by LongT View Post
Most people have a "cadence" (pedal rpm) where they feel comfortable.
Now that we've mentioned cadence --

Thanks to the overlap between gears, it's pretty simple to keep the same pedal cadence when changing chainrings. Shift to a smaller front ring and flick three cogs smaller in the rear and your cadence will be close enough to what it was before the shift. Same thing when going to the big ring -- one big push of the front shift lever and one full sweep of the rear will do fine.
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Old 08-03-09, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaraldo View Post
Hey, so i'm in my 20's and you'd think that i'd know this by now...but as a bicycle novice I don't.

Like i'm sure most of you have, my bike has two shifters...one that controls the front derailer, and one that controls the rear derailer.

(I feel dumb for asking this question...)

Why are there two??? I find myself shifting gears primarily on the rear...when would I want to shift gears on the front? Why?

Just something i've always wondered...
I'm a n0ob as well.

I use the bigger chainrings + the other gears when I'm going stupid fast downhill so I can still pedal and go even faster. I have three front chainrings, the smallest one is for "granny gears."

The easier gears = for going uphill.

I'm a n0ob though, don't listen to me!
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Old 08-03-09, 08:05 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
I'm a n0ob as well.

I use the bigger chainrings + the other gears when I'm going stupid fast downhill so I can still pedal and go even faster. I have three front chainrings, the smallest one is for "granny gears."

The easier gears = for going uphill.

I'm a n0ob though, don't listen to me!
Most of the stuff that people post on my website is WAAAAY over my head...I might just as well listen to you.
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