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21 over 18 gears

sparrowlegs78sparrowlegs78 Posts: 2,583
edited February 2008 in MTB general
How much difference would having 21 gears instead of 18 years make to climbing hills?
I ask coz the Hubbys bike only has 18 gears and a bike we are going to look at for him has 21 gears, is it worth our while going to see the bike if having the extra gears don't make much difference?
Cheers peeps ,Caz (a rather thick newbie) x lol


  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Caz, it does depend on where the gears are. Most bike now have a cassette at the rear with 8 or 9 cogs. now you have me thinking that the bike is either old or very low spec. Which will have more of an effet on climbing ability than the gears (unless you have made a typo).

    Or are you looking at a Freeride bike that has 9 at the back and 2 at the front and a bash?

    Sorry more info is really needed.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Its triple ringed on the front so it'll have 7 cogs on the casette i guess.
    Its an older rigid bike we are going to look at as we are kind of broke and one of those types of bikes has got to be stronger than the Halfords Shockwave he's riding now, he's getting quite disheartened at the moment with the bike he's got now.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Ok, so the current bike is 3 on the front and 6 on the rear and the new one 3 and 7. it will give him a better spread of gears and should make it easier to find the right gear.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • WoodywmbWoodywmb Posts: 888
    Halfords Shockwave? You couldn't find a heavier or harder-to-ride bike if you tried! It's the bottom of the bunch in every regard. You will have great fun on any new bike you buy after sampling the Shockwave, which has been on sale at anything from £239.95 to £79.95, depending on when you buy and where this fits in within Halfords trading cycle. Buy something second hand, preferably hardtail and made of an alloy. Go for eight or nine gears at the back: models with narrower cassettes tend to be lighter. The more you pay, the lighter the bike will be - but you are in the fortunate position that any bike will constitute an improvement. Your purchase should renew your faith in getting uphills. Best of luck.
  • Thanks for the replies,
    I upgraded from a shockwave to a Merlin Malt 2 but the hubby can't afford an expensive bike till the summer, so we are on the look out for another bike, but it has to be cheap as chips.
    I might even trawl round some second hand shops to see if there's any hidden gems about tomorrow. Blackburn isn't a place big on cycling ,so bikes at places like that are cheap :D .
    Caz xx
  • WoodywmbWoodywmb Posts: 888 ... dZViewItem

    This bike costs £140 to £160 new, depending on where you buy. It shouldn't go above £70.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Spend 200 on a new bike and it will be money well spent. They are significantly better than even 150 quid bikes - lighter, sealed bearings, alloy comonents, 8spd, decent forks. This is a budget bike guide I put together a while ago, and shows why it is worth the extra:

    One of the most common questions from beginners on a budget is 'how much shall I spend' or 'what is the minimum I should be looking at'? The componentry levels on bikes are often confusing to many, where certain parts can look very similar from one to another but yet can have a big impact on performance and longevity. The most important factor is fit and comfort which is where testing comes in, but this does not always give a full picture of the bike and how it may last.

    I think for general mountain biking, the following features should be considered: (aimed at buyers spending less than 250 quid)

    - Alloy hardtail frame. Full suspension at the lower end of the market (sub 300 and even upto 500 quid) is heavily compromised. Its very heavy, undamped, poor bearings and pulls down the spec elsewhere. Steel frames at this level are often mild steel and are 2 or 3 pounds heavier than an alloy frame.

    - Suspension fork with alloy crown and one piece lowers. Cheap pressed steel lowers and crowns flex badly. Preload adjusters are a good feature to help set sag and ride height for differing weights.

    - Compact crankset (42/32/22). Many entry level bikes have larger chainrings (48/38/2 from cheaper groupsets. This doesn't allow a very low gear and is often over geared for the terrain a MTB will be used on. Replacable chainrings are a bonus.

    - 8 speed freehub. 8 gears from a cassette and freehub gives a better spread than some 7spd screw on freewheels, often 11-32 teeth rather than 14-28. Also this allows the bearings to be spaced further in the hub, allowing a stronger rear wheel/axle. Shimano make the best budget 8 speed set ups.

    - Cartridge bottom bracket. Old adjustable cup and cone bottom brackets are poorly sealed and are prone to coming loose.

    - 32 or 36 spoked wheels. Lots of beginners MTBs are coming with fancy 'paired' spokes, or 24 bladed ones, purely for looks. They use heavy rims, are poorly constructed and are not worth it compared to standard wheels. Look for stainless spokes if possible, and sealed alloy hubs with quick release axles.

    - Alloy components. If possible, ask about the seatpost and bars. Alloy units save some weight, and are more comfortable.

    - Brakes and levers. Make sure the levers aren't plastic as they flex badly. Cable disc brakes stop better in the wet but usually add cost. Don't go for discs over other essential features.

    - Aheadset or threadless headset. Much better bearings and more reliable than the older quill stem and threaded headset.

    Many bikes for 200 pounds now have all these features! Don't be afraid to ask for a saddle swap if they are uncomfortable, and enquire about the quality of the tyres..

    Deacthlon Rockrider 5.2, Giant Boulder, and Carrera Vulcan V cn be had for around 200.
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