Bit silly, what gear?

Bwgan
Bwgan Posts: 389
edited January 2013 in Road beginners
Hi guys, been MTB-ing for a few years and decided to get a road bike to try and get a bit fitter, but am be pulled more this way at the moment! I have a mate who I go off and on road with and he is the fittest guy I know. He swears by big ring up front and big ring at the back and a ver high cadence. Anyone else do this? Is this the best way to increase your fitness?
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Comments

  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I presume you mean small chainring, big sprocket and high cadence? Running big ring, big sprocket means you're running the chain at an angle and therefore less efficient and will wear quicker too?

    High cadence work will certainly get the heartrate going but you can't develop the same level of power seated as you can standing for climbs. Depends on whether you're using cycling purely for fitness or you want to build strength and power too?
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Bwgan
    Bwgan Posts: 389
    No, it's daddy ring and big ring on the back so the chain is crossed. I asked him the other day about wear and he said he replaces the chain once a year!?

    Ideally I want to build strength and power too
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Bwgan wrote:
    No, it's daddy ring and big ring on the back so the chain is crossed. I asked him the other day about wear and he said he replaces the chain once a year!

    Your friend doesn't understand bike gearing so you probably want to follow his advice with caution! And how often he replaces his chain is meaningless without a lot more info.

    Big front, big back accomplishes nothing that can't be managed with a better chainline - eg small front, medium back will give a similar overall gear and be kinder to the equipment.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • smidsy
    smidsy Posts: 5,273
    Cylcle up hills lots and you will get stronger.

    Intervals can be used to good effect too to help build power.

    Pushing really big gears will put more stress on your knees etc.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • elderone
    elderone Posts: 1,410
    Im a beginner aswel and even I know that doesn,t sound right,I think Rolf is bang on,and personally I think a higher cadence lower gear approach is the best way to build base fitness,though I may be wrong.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    One gear cant be the best for all circumstances. Tail winds, headwinds, uphill, downhill - you change gear to keep within your sensible cadence.

    Your friend doesn't seem to understand gearing so I'd not copy him.

    Personally I use whatever gear it is that keeps my cadence up. I probably spin at 80-90 rpm but it will slow when climbing.
  • I've got into the habit of going up the first two rear gears when pulling away then shifting into the big (front) one after that to pick up the speed asap. I then move up and down the rear gears as is necessary after that. This is for my mostly flatish london commute btw.

    Just feels right doing it that way, else I have to faff about for ages using the rear gears before moving into the large one and so on.

    Basically its easier for me to get going quickly even if not recommended :)
  • ♠ChumBucket♠
    ♠ChumBucket♠ Posts: 388
    edited January 2013
    I ride an MTB with slicks on (I know, I know) :( My favorite gear is biggest front & next to biggest rear! I can go onto the biggest at rear but it doesn't sound good! :) One shift down though is no bother & a superb climbing gear. I know in theory I could move onto the middle front ring + different rear & achieve the same or very similar ratio but........ I don't know if it's a mental thing or what but the biggest ring at the front just seems to flow & feel so much better?
    B'TWIN Triban 5A
    Ridgeback MX6
  • I ride an MTB with slicks on (I know, I know) :( My favorite gear is biggest front & next to biggest rear! I can go onto the biggest at rear but it doesn't sound good! :) One shift down though is no bother & a superb climbing gear. I know in theory I could move onto the middle front ring + different rear & achieve the same or very similar ration but........ I don't know if it's a mental thing or what but the biggest ring at the front just seems to flow & feel so much better?

    yeah I agree with that!
  • ShutUpLegs
    ShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    ...
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    edited January 2013
    I've got into the habit of going up the first two rear gears when pulling away then shifting into the big (front) one after that to pick up the speed asap. I then move up and down the rear gears as is necessary after that. This is for my mostly flatish london commute btw.

    Just feels right doing it that way, else I have to faff about for ages using the rear gears before moving into the large one and so on.
    Que? Change gear one at a time, front or rear. Front gives you a bigger change equivalent to two or three gears on the cassette, but it all works nicely using the front & rear as & when to stay in the right cadence zone. I'm up & down mine like nothing else most of the time; there's no right gear to be in all the time; it's about keeping the cadence in the zone.

    There was someone who used to post on here who thought the idea was to start in the lowest gear (small ring big cog) and work up through the rear cogs before changing to the big ring and starting again on the biggest cog at the back, like a car. He never realised that apart from the first 2 & last 2 cogs at the back most of the ratios overlap and the same gear is available in 2 maybe 3 combinations.

    Try Sheldon's Gear Calculator - feed your cog sizes in then copy & paste the table into Excel and sort it by gear size to see how many gears are either very close or identical, and how the pattern of big & small ring works across the whole gear set.

    Edit - here yer go. Here's a 39/53 11-28...
    39-28	2.7
    39-24	3.1
    39-21	3.5
    53-28	3.6
    39-19	3.9
    53-24	4.2
    39-17	4.4
    53-21	4.8
    39-15	5.0
    39-14	5.3
    53-19	5.3
    39-13	5.7
    53-17	5.9
    39-12	6.2
    53-15	6.7
    39-11	6.8
    53-14	7.2
    53-13	7.8
    53-12	8.4
    53-11	9.2
    
  • Mr Will
    Mr Will Posts: 216
    On the flat I'll do the same - set off in a mid-low gear on the rear and the small front, then change to the big front promptly before working my way up the cassette as speed increases. The reason for this is that I can cope with the big jump easily at low speed whereas the loss of cadence is more of an issue once my effort level has increased.

    (Just to be clear, I'm not advocating cross-chaining severely. By mid-low I mean the 3rd or 4th largest sprocket)
    2010 Cannondale CAAD9 Tiagra
  • woodywmb
    woodywmb Posts: 669
    The chain will always be under maximum pressure being fully-stretched between the big rings front and back. The teeth will wear quickly and the chain will eventually slip when you put your foot down. You'll need a new pair of ball as well as a new chain and cassette.
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    CiB wrote:
    stuff about doubles

    Trouble is, with modern compacts the gap between chainrings is so big you have to move through a lot more than three gears at the back to get the next ratio, especially with a close-ratio back block.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    DesWeller wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    stuff about doubles

    Trouble is, with modern compacts the gap between chainrings is so big you have to move through a lot more than three gears at the back to get the next ratio, especially with a close-ratio back block.

    That's an exaggeration. TBH, I generally find that if I switch the cassette by one ratio at the same time I switch the chainring I end up in the right gear. Arguably some times a double switch might be optimum but if you are in country where a compact is needed, then you probably are happy to work with a fairly wide range of cadences. Certainly I've never come close to 'a lot more than three gears' to get to the next useable ratio.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    Rolf F wrote:
    DesWeller wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    stuff about doubles

    Trouble is, with modern compacts the gap between chainrings is so big you have to move through a lot more than three gears at the back to get the next ratio, especially with a close-ratio back block.

    That's an exaggeration. TBH, I generally find that if I switch the cassette by one ratio at the same time I switch the chainring I end up in the right gear. Arguably some times a double switch might be optimum but if you are in country where a compact is needed, then you probably are happy to work with a fairly wide range of cadences. Certainly I've never come close to 'a lot more than three gears' to get to the next useable ratio.

    I tried to run mine with a 12-25, which isn't super narrow. I can't be bothered to find it, but the next adjacent ratio was something like four or five sprockets away. It got a 12-28 fitted instead to get fewer shifts (which I also needed for the hills as it turned out) but I often find it's not as comfortable as I would like.

    That bike is getting a triple this winter lol.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    DesWeller wrote:
    That bike is getting a triple this winter lol.

    Have to admit there is an unambiguity about triples I like. Big = going down, small = going up, middle = everything else!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Bwgan
    Bwgan Posts: 389
    I hear what you are all saying. Just want to say that he has been a sponsored MTB rider a few years ago (by a local shop), he is ultra fit and I mean ultra fit. He just calls it 'spinning', of which he also goes to.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Bwgan wrote:
    I hear what you are all saying. Just want to say that he has been a sponsored MTB rider a few years ago (by a local shop), he is ultra fit and I mean ultra fit. He just calls it 'spinning', of which he also goes to.

    Are you sure he isn't pulling your leg about the big-big thing?
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,479
    Bwgan wrote:
    I hear what you are all saying. Just want to say that he has been a sponsored MTB rider a few years ago (by a local shop), he is ultra fit and I mean ultra fit. He just calls it 'spinning', of which he also goes to.

    Being ultra fit doesn't necessarily mean having common sense. Use CiB's chart, you will find a small ring x mid sprocket alternative to the big x big gear that is far smoother. As for spinning, you'll be spinning even more if you go small chainring x large sprocket so that is nonsense from your mate as well.
  • Maybe the guy is using this as a kind of training aid? Like, using one (mid-range) gear will force him to spin most of the time but then force power other times, a bit like a fixy? :?:
    B'TWIN Triban 5A
    Ridgeback MX6
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Rolf F wrote:
    DesWeller wrote:
    That bike is getting a triple this winter lol.

    Have to admit there is an unambiguity about triples I like. Big = going down, small = going up, middle = everything else!

    That's the very thing I like about mine. It's sort of Fisher-Price simple, much like me.

    I did think as I got fitter I might spend more time in the big ring but no, I still use the middle 39t about 90% of the time.
  • keef66 wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    DesWeller wrote:
    That bike is getting a triple this winter lol.

    Have to admit there is an unambiguity about triples I like. Big = going down, small = going up, middle = everything else!

    That's the very thing I like about mine. It's sort of Fisher-Price simple, much like me.

    I did think as I got fitter I might spend more time in the big ring but no, I still use the middle 39t about 90% of the time.

    +1 I still miss my hybrid which had the 3 front gears...2 don't seem enough!! :)
  • If he is using a compact (50/34) with 11-25 cassette, so 50/25 gearing, this would be the same as 34/17. The 34/17 would be much better for the chain.
  • Bwgan
    Bwgan Posts: 389
    No idea if he has a compact on his bike. I really just wanted to know if that is a good form of training. His thoughts on it are because you are in daddy ring, it's more efficient than mummy ring. It definitely works for him, unless he's on EPO or something lol
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    Bwgan wrote:
    No idea if he has a compact on his bike. I really just wanted to know if that is a good form of training. His thoughts on it are because you are in daddy ring, it's more efficient than mummy ring. It definitely works for him, unless he's on EPO or something lol

    For the same gear ratio, the efficiency difference between using a 50T chainring and a 34T chainring will be too small to measure reliably.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    DesWeller wrote:
    Bwgan wrote:
    No idea if he has a compact on his bike. I really just wanted to know if that is a good form of training. His thoughts on it are because you are in daddy ring, it's more efficient than mummy ring. It definitely works for him, unless he's on EPO or something lol

    For the same gear ratio, the efficiency difference between using a 50T chainring and a 34T chainring will be too small to measure reliably.

    And probably more than offset by the increased resistance due to the uncomfortable chainline.

    The only real benefit I can think of is that you are using the gears that wear more slowly. Who kills the big sprockets and chainrings first? But that really isn't good enough.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,479
    Bwgan wrote:
    No idea if he has a compact on his bike. I really just wanted to know if that is a good form of training. His thoughts on it are because you are in daddy ring, it's more efficient than mummy ring. It definitely works for him, unless he's on EPO or something lol

    Riding in various gears at different cadence can be good training for specific traits such as strength or power (the two are not the same thing and different methods of training develop each of them) but the fact is all he is doing is using a medium gear that could be replicated in a more suitable way using the small chainring and a medium rear sprocket.
  • Bwgan
    Bwgan Posts: 389
    Pross wrote:
    Riding in various gears at different cadence can be good training for specific traits such as strength or power (the two are not the same thing and different methods of training develop each of them)

    Ok, putting aside gear ratios and my mate, what different forms of training can be done to develop strength and develop power?

    Cheers
  • smidsy
    smidsy Posts: 5,273
    Intervals and hill repeats
    Yellow is the new Black.