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How many of you often use your highest gear?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How many of you often use your highest gear?

Old 06-15-10, 10:56 PM
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How many of you often use your highest gear?

I'm still quite new to road cycling and was just curious if more experienced riders often use there highest gear on flats.
Myself personally have used my highest gear once on a decent effectively. As far as for flats, I have tried it a few times and can get a pretty good speed...but only maintain for 10 to 20 secs before my legs give out.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:04 PM
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Depends on the gear ratios on your bike. But, generally speaking, the highest gear will only be used when descending.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:04 PM
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Highest gear on flats --would be spinning and going no-where at such a slow speed.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by NathanC
Highest gear on flats --would be spinning and going no-where at such a slow speed.
wouldnt that be lowest gear?
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Old 06-15-10, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by nathanc
highest gear on flats --would be spinning and going no-where at such a slow speed.
fail
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Old 06-15-10, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rallison
Depends on the gear ratios on your bike. But, generally speaking, the highest gear will only be used when descending.
my bike has 39/52 front and 11/25 back, so I guess my highest would be 52/11, is it that much of a difference on other bikes?
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Old 06-15-10, 11:10 PM
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I've never used my highest gear on flats. Even while practicing sprints on a slight downhill, I'm still in my 13. The only time I use my 11 is on my Thursday group ride where there's a long downhill after a big climb.

I really want a 12-25 to not have such bigs jumps. This is compared to my 11-28.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:16 PM
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I constantly run out of gears with my 53/39 and 11-23.
Just the slightest dip or decently strong tail wind will get me in 53x11 easily.

then again, it does have 20x1.75 wheels, so it's no wonder.


on my road bike I only get to use 50x11 or 50x12 when going down hills.
for my CX bike, 26-36-46 with 12-26 gives me all the gears I need for rolling hills and steep valleys in Toronto. I get to use 46x12 when sprinting and can't really feel myself needing more gear.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:30 PM
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I pretty much never used my 50x12 when I had one, and I now have a 42x12 which I do use now and then (when I have a tailwind). I don't really needed anything more at my fitness level, since I don't mind just spinning a bit faster on rare occasions.
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Old 06-15-10, 11:31 PM
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Generally, spinning your pedals about 90-110 rpm is the most efficient on flats and rolling terrain. So use whatever gear lets you spin at that rate.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:06 AM
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Even though I'm not much of a spinner, though... more of a masher, I almost never go to my 11 unless I'm heading down hill.
In group rides, I might get into a 53x14 depending on wind and such. Solo, if I'm feeling really good, maybe a 53x15/17
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Old 06-16-10, 12:17 AM
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This kind of an exception, but only on flats that were preceded by a descent , in which I crank it out and hold it for as long as it is efficient.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by SkinnyLegs
fail
Obvious mistake in the high-low reading department.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:41 AM
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Flat land = 53F/15R.
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Old 06-16-10, 02:27 AM
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Every time I ride I use it.
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Old 06-16-10, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by deanp
Every time I ride I use it.
Singlespeed doesn't count.
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Old 06-16-10, 04:59 AM
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i use all my gears. on our group ride yesterday, i needed an eleven (and didn't have one)
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Old 06-16-10, 05:02 AM
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While on the flats, quite often.. I might be wanting to speed up to catch up with my group.. My experience on the flats , when I take my gearing up to the higher gears , I gain speed. While just cruising along on the flats, I usually find my favorite setting to be in the middle chain ring in the front and close to the smallest in the back.
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Old 06-16-10, 06:00 AM
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Funny - I was looking at my (11-25) cassette the other day, and I was a little embarrassed at how clean the two smallest cogs were. In my defense, I guess, I don't see many downhills and flats, such as they are in the city, are never long enough for me to work up a head of steam.
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Old 06-16-10, 06:06 AM
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Probably depends on your terrain as well. Here in south eastern RI we have a lot of short rolling hills so there's rarely a decent long enough to pick up that much speed. I'll get into my top gear here and there, but usually only for a brief moment, and this is a compact crank.
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Old 06-16-10, 07:04 AM
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52/12 here, almost never used, maybe with a very strong tailwind.
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Old 06-16-10, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot
While on the flats, quite often.. I might be wanting to speed up to catch up with my group.. My experience on the flats , when I take my gearing up to the higher gears , I gain speed. While just cruising along on the flats, I usually find my favorite setting to be in the middle chain ring in the front and close to the smallest in the back.
Either your bike is geared low, your friends are extremely fast, or you ride a very low cadence.

53/12 at 90rpm is 32mph.
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Old 06-16-10, 07:37 AM
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I rarely if ever use the 53/11. Saturday's sprint topped out at 39.6mph. I'm pretty sure I was in either 53/13 or 53/14 at the end of that.
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Old 06-16-10, 08:03 AM
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I always use the 52/12 on steep descents with decent runouts. Lately I've been trying to keep my coasting to a minimum. Planning to switch to a 23/11 cassette for a little more range on the top end.
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Old 06-16-10, 08:18 AM
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Enough to make me glad I have it
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