Question about gears - dont be too technical with me

nuggiebok
nuggiebok Posts: 63
edited March 2014 in Road beginners
I've just posted about how to sit on a bike. I'm fairly new to this and like to analyse everything it would appear. Having just read this post before submitting it I realise I sound quite dumb. It's 2am and I'm up with a poorly baby so please forgive me, my brain isn't working properly!

Anyway after a few months of getting out there and riding, I've noticed that I spend a lot of time in a certain range of gears. If I am honest I am still learning what way to click the levers and i have been trying to watch what happens to the chain when i change gears but still cant grasp it!

i have heard it is bad to ride at the extremes of the gear range due to chain stretching, but i often find that I spend most of my time with the front gear on the largest cog (outside) and the rear on the largest three or four (inside) ( so the chain is stretched?). When I get tired I drop down to the smallest gear at the front but then find I am using the smallest three or four cogs at the back. And I don't stay in this gear for long...I've been trying to think of my chain and use the gears better but can't maintain cadence in any other gear but the ones I am using.

I ride a giant avail 2 (2013), I know you more knowledgable people will convert that into ratios and be able to advise me?

Comments

  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    When using the extreme gears, (small-small, big-big), the chain isn't stretched as such but more angled. The greater this angle the more friction is experienced in the chain. In big-big there is a chance the rear mech can break if the chain is too short. In small-small the chain may catch on the teeth of the outer ring, or just be too loose to be safe, especially going over a bump.

    Try to keep the chain line as straight as possible if you can. Coming close to the extremes is ok for short periods.

    As you get stronger you will be able to cope better, but for now when in small front ring, try not to use the last 3 small cogs on the back. On the big front chainring, try not to use the largest 3 cogs on the back.

    On my 10 speed cassette I try to use only the largest 5 when in small front ring, and the smallest 5 atback when on the big outer chainring. There is always some overlap but if you keep this in mind you can't go far wrong.

    If you find you are still struggling you may need a new cassette on the back with some easier gears. If this is still a problem, then look at the front chainrings.

    If this doesn't suite then maybe a triple crank would be better, but that would involve a new crankset and shifters/brake levers.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Or just do what I do and ride the ride. 11,000 miles a year and don't worry about if you're cross chaining. Just replace the chain every 5,000 miles. Yes don't cross chain for extended periods but the rear mech is'nt 'going to break' if you run big big :D
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Cross chaining isn't as drastic as some make it sound. Yes you will put additional stresses on the chain at the extreme angles, but it isn't going to wreck it in record time. The range of the cassette is there for a reason so use it.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    DavidJB wrote:
    Or just do what I do and ride the ride. 11,000 miles a year and don't worry about if you're cross chaining. Just replace the chain every 5,000 miles. Yes don't cross chain for extended periods but the rear mech is'nt 'going to break' if you run big big :D

    I've seen several rear mech explode due to running big-big (this is on mtb's). It will depend on chain length and as we don't know the op's setup, it is a bit foolish telling him it will be fine. It may well be fine, but we don't know that for sure.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • lesfirth
    lesfirth Posts: 1,382
    DavidJB wrote:
    Or just do what I do and ride the ride. 11,000 miles a year and don't worry about if you're cross chaining. Just replace the chain every 5,000 miles. Yes don't cross chain for extended periods but the rear mech is'nt 'going to break' if you run big big :D

    I've seen several rear mech explode due to running big-big (this is on mtb's). It will depend on chain length and as we don't know the op's setup, it is a bit foolish telling him it will be fine. It may well be fine, but we don't know that for sure.
    If the rear mech. does not break the first time you use big to big its OK. You only have to do it once. The OP has so there is no need to raise the subject.
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    So fatigue and wear won't come into the equation? Or forgetting that your chain broke and you shortened it? Or your mech hanger is slightly bent?

    Why take the risk?
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • pst88
    pst88 Posts: 621
    edited March 2014
    I don't understand why people say don't use big-big. The angle of the chain is too great? Following that reasoning I shouldn't use big-small either, the angle is the same on my bike! The big ring lines up pretty much exactly with the middle of the cassette allowing me to use the full range. I'd still avoid small-small though.

    Maybe on a triple you should avoid big-big because the angle is bigger but on a double/compact I wouldn't worry.
    Bianchi Via Nirone Veloce/Centaur 2010
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    Put your bike in that combination and look at the angle of the rear mech, if the chain is too long it will hang near vertical. If the chain is near proper length the rear mech will be getting near 45deg, if the chain is just about too short the mech will be horizontal. If the chain is really too short you won't get it onto the big cog, or may even have problems getting off big cog.

    This is without the issue of poor chainline.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • mercia_man
    mercia_man Posts: 1,431
    andrewjoseph gives good advice. It's perfectly possible on almost all bikes to use big-big or small-small without a rear mech breaking but there is a risk, depending on your set-up and adjustment. Using extreme chainlines shows a lack of mechanical sympathy, puts more strain on your chain, cassette and chainrings and wears them out more quickly. It's also more noisy.

    I also agree with andrew's suggestion of using the largest five cassette cogs with small front ring and five smallest cogs with big ring. Shifting from big to middle rings when you are near the middle of the cassette means you can then adjust your gears up or down on the cassette. If you are in big-big and need a lower gear all you can do is shift from big to small at front - straight into bottom gear which will invariably be much too low.
  • lesfirth
    lesfirth Posts: 1,382
    So fatigue and wear won't come into the equation? Or forgetting that your chain broke and you shortened it? Or your mech hanger is slightly bent?

    Why take the risk?

    I just cant stop laughing at this.
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Mercia Man wrote:
    andrewjoseph gives good advice. It's perfectly possible on almost all bikes to use big-big or small-small without a rear mech breaking but there is a risk, depending on your set-up and adjustment. Using extreme chainlines shows a lack of mechanical sympathy, puts more strain on your chain, cassette and chainrings and wears them out more quickly. It's also more noisy.

    I also agree with andrew's suggestion of using the largest five cassette cogs with small front ring and five smallest cogs with big ring. Shifting from big to middle rings when you are near the middle of the cassette means you can then adjust your gears up or down on the cassette. If you are in big-big and need a lower gear all you can do is shift from big to small at front - straight into bottom gear which will invariably be much too low.

    Not true at all. SRAM in fact design their systems to run noiselessly cross chained even with the old 10 speed group sets. If a rear mech is going to break because you've cross chained, then it is crap and not fit for purpose. Using only the top 5 sprockets for the big ring and bottom 5 for the small ring is plain daft. The jump in ratios from small and say 17 to big and 16 is not a fluid transition.

    Nobody is suggesting you should ride all day long cross chained. Clearly the stresses placed on the chain riding with it cross chained all day would shorten the life of it. But there are often times during a ride when it is more practical to use the extremes of chain angle than to change rings on the front. If the range of a cassette wasn't designed to be used, the manufacturers would have come up with an alternative system of gear use by now.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • jibberjim
    jibberjim Posts: 2,810
    You presumably have a compact chainset, and that is essentially the problem, your unwillingness to shift the front ring is there because there's too big a jump. As you get stronger you'll find yourself further down the gears when in the big ring cruising along, and the inner ring of a compact will be more used for hills.

    However it may be that if you live in a very non-hilly area that you should just change your rings anyway. At the moment it sounds like a 46-36 or something would be a lot more appropriate than your current gearing, but things do change rapidly as you get fitter so it may not be worth switching yet. Don't worry about where your chain is, just shift to find the right ratio for you. The change in lifetime on the components is miniscule.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Why not look at a gear ratio calculator for your cog sizes (Sheldon Brown has one, Google has too probably) and identify where the same ratios occur for different ring / cassette combos? That way you can be more aware of how the same gear sizes exist in various gears, and you can work from there. Changing the front mech is as easy as changing on the rear so it's not as if there's a good reason to hang onto any specific ring longer than necessary.
  • nuggiebok
    nuggiebok Posts: 63
    jibberjim wrote:
    your unwillingness to shift the front ring is there because there's too big a jump.

    I ride on mainly in the harder gear range (gear indicator to far left) is this not the larger front ring?, shifting to the smallest front ring on a hill to keep cadence up as I slow down.

    Oh I'm also a lady very new to this and am now scared I'm gonna break it!
  • nuggiebok
    nuggiebok Posts: 63
    My bike is fitted with ( copied from the spec) cassette: Shimano Tiagra 12-30, 10s

    Don't even know what that means!
  • dj58
    dj58 Posts: 2,217
    Hi nuggiebok,

    Your Giant Avail has 50/34 compact chain rings, Tiagra 12-30 10 speed cassette, STI shifters and derailleurs.
    As you are aware you have two shifters per side to control the front chain ring shifts and two to control the rear cassette up and down shifts. Shimano refer to these as lever A (a) and B (b), A being the larger lever that also operates the brake calipers, B being the smaller paddle that sits behind lever A. (See tech doc. link below)

    When shifting from the large chain ring (50T) to the small (34T) you operate the lefthand lever (b) by pushing inwards towards the handle bar stem. To shift up from (34T) to (50T) use the brake lever (a), pushing inwards towards the handle bar stem.

    For the rear cassette gear shifts you operate the righthand lever B to shift into a higher sprocket gear e.g. if in your 30T sprocket, push lever B inwards towards the handle bar stem one click to shift down to the 27T sprocket and so on until you reach the 12T sprocket. To shift up the cassette into a lower sprocket gear use the brake lever A, pushing inwards towards the handle bar stem e.g. if in the 12T sprocket push lever A inwards towards the handle bar stem one click to shift up to the 13T sprocket and so on until you reach the 30T sprocket, or any sprocket between.

    That is the principle of operation, the more you ride and practice your gear changing the better you will become at it. It will become second nature and you will not need to look down to check which gear combination you are in, you will feel it through you legs and known instinctively when to change up or down. As you develop your leg strength and endurance you will be able to use more of you mid-high gears, be patient it will come.

    Have a look at this Shimano tech doc. you may find it helpful, ignore the part on fitting cables. Hope this helps.
    http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/techd ... 746362.pdf
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    She knows how to operate it, but has just had conflicting advice re using the range of gears available on the cassette i.e. cross chaining.

    The ratios between your cassette will not be as close towards the bigger gears of the cassette. As you gain more experience riding, you'll learn that trying to continue riding up a hill for as long as you can in the big ring and only changing down as you lose speed is a waste of energy and potentially puts extra load on the front derailleur and the risk of the chain coming off while you're going up a hill. If there is a hill that you know is going to require you to use the inner ring on the front, better to switch to it when not under load, use the smaller gears on the cassette to maintain your speed with a higher cadence and change down on the cassette as you begin to lose momentum. This is much smoother than trying to change the front ring and the sprocket on the cassette to keep you going.

    Plenty of experienced riders use the inner ring so don't think you have to get into the big ring all the time to prove your prowess. You can pedal along at 20mph+ using the inner ring and the smaller gears of the cassette if your cadence is in the range of 90-100rpm.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • mercia_man
    mercia_man Posts: 1,431
    philthy3 wrote:
    Mercia Man wrote:
    andrewjoseph gives good advice. It's perfectly possible on almost all bikes to use big-big or small-small without a rear mech breaking but there is a risk, depending on your set-up and adjustment. Using extreme chainlines shows a lack of mechanical sympathy, puts more strain on your chain, cassette and chainrings and wears them out more quickly. It's also more noisy.

    I also agree with andrew's suggestion of using the largest five cassette cogs with small front ring and five smallest cogs with big ring. Shifting from big to middle rings when you are near the middle of the cassette means you can then adjust your gears up or down on the cassette. If you are in big-big and need a lower gear all you can do is shift from big to small at front - straight into bottom gear which will invariably be much too low.

    Not true at all. SRAM in fact design their systems to run noiselessly cross chained even with the old 10 speed group sets. If a rear mech is going to break because you've cross chained, then it is crap and not fit for purpose. Using only the top 5 sprockets for the big ring and bottom 5 for the small ring is plain daft. The jump in ratios from small and say 17 to big and 16 is not a fluid transition.

    Nobody is suggesting you should ride all day long cross chained. Clearly the stresses placed on the chain riding with it cross chained all day would shorten the life of it. But there are often times during a ride when it is more practical to use the extremes of chain angle than to change rings on the front. If the range of a cassette wasn't designed to be used, the manufacturers would have come up with an alternative system of gear use by now.

    I accept what you say, philthy3, about SRAM systems which are specifically designed to run all 10 or 11 cogs on the cassette, largely due to the yaw front mech. But the OP has Shimano and both Shimano and Campag user manuals recommend that the big-big and small-small combination is not used (although it's obvious from this forum that many riders, particularly younger ones, are not aware of the old school advice that cross-chaining is bad practice).

    And, on reflection, limiting yourself to five cogs on the cassette is a bit extreme. For example, on my 10 speed road bike I use seven on each ring. On my triple equipped 9 speed tourer I use five on inner and outer rings and all on middle.

    But despite SRAM's marketing, I would still argue that bending your chain to reach extreme gears when you can get exactly the same gears by more intelligent use of your system is not a great idea.
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Mercia Man wrote:
    I accept what you say, philthy3, about SRAM systems which are specifically designed to run all 10 or 11 cogs on the cassette, largely due to the yaw front mech. But the OP has Shimano and both Shimano and Campag user manuals recommend that the big-big and small-small combination is not used (although it's obvious from this forum that many riders, particularly younger ones, are not aware of the old school advice that cross-chaining is bad practice).

    And, on reflection, limiting yourself to five cogs on the cassette is a bit extreme. For example, on my 10 speed road bike I use seven on each ring. On my triple equipped 9 speed tourer I use five on inner and outer rings and all on middle.

    But despite SRAM's marketing, I would still argue that bending your chain to reach extreme gears when you can get exactly the same gears by more intelligent use of your system is not a great idea.

    SRAM is designed to run across the whole range without interference even on older 10 speed group sets. Yaw does not make the difference. The fact that SRAM recognise that riders will go to the extreme angles of the chain and have designed their mechanisms to function as such without interference, suggests that more people than not do occasionally cross chain, otherwise why bother designing a function that riders shouldn't do? Better to have it make as much noise as possible to deter riders from doing it or with big alarm bells and flashing lights suggesting an idiot is riding this bike.

    It matters not whether you use SRAM, Campagnolo or Shimano; as long as you aren't riding all day long cross chained, you aren't misusing the gears. Suggesting that younger inexperienced riders are the ones cross chaining ignores the fact that experienced riders do the same. Just because the old 'uns thought cross chaining was bad doesn't mean they were right in their thinking. Maybe the fragility of the systems around in those days was the limiting factor, but these days things are built far sturdier with more practical attributes. If I'm nearing the top of the hill in the last but one sprocket on the cassette riding in the big ring and need to drop a gear to get to the top, why on earth would I change down to the inner ring and then have to fumble around trying to find a similar ratio on the cassette? It makes absolutely no sense. The same applies with shuffling along on flattish rolling terrain; why go through umpteen changes on the front and rear mechs if you can happily cruise along in the 12 tooth and occasionally nip into the 11 tooth and stay on the inner ring at a high cadence ready for the road going up. With a 36/50 at 20mph in the 36/13 doing a cadence of 92rpm, if I want a similar ratio using the big ring, i'd have to change to the big ring and move back down the cassette to the 19 for the same cadence and speed.

    I used to ride trying to get into the big ring as quickly as possible for the myth of it making me look like I was a good cyclist. But finding spinning in smaller gears a lot easier than grinding away at big gears for the same speed, I spend more time in the inner ring using the range of the cassette. My average times have improved, my endurance for hard efforts above FTP has improved and my climbing is a lot better as is my HR during a ride. Although this year I'm lighter than I was previously, I also believe that not pratting around with the gears has helped matters too.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • mercia_man
    mercia_man Posts: 1,431
    I'm sorry OP that all this pontificating about cross-chaining is largely off topic and we've ignored your plea not to be too technical.

    Bike gears, whether with triple or double front ring systems, are always confusing when you start. My motorcycle riding wife had trouble at first but she found the following explanation helped her.

    The idea is to be able to spin your legs at a cadence that is comfortable for you. It's not like in a car where you start off in first and move through the gears quickly into top, only changing back down when you need to slow for a corner or to get extra acceleration for overtaking. It's more like riding a sporty motorbike with a narrow power band where you make full use of the gearbox to ensure your engine is revving within that band.

    On a bicycle you are constantly changing up and down. Start off in small ring at the front and adjust the gearing on the rear cassette as you ride with the right hand lever, going onto bigger cogs for steeper hills and smaller cogs for flatter conditions. You can see where chain is on the cassette by looking back between your legs as you ride.

    Once you are moving on the flat at a reasonable cruising speed, change onto big ring at the front. Because you have a compact set-up with a big gap between the two front rings, the jump in gears will be great - you will instantly go into a much higher gear. Sometimes you might feel it more comfortable on your legs to go onto a larger cog at the back as well as shifting to big ring at the front. This is called double shifting. It will make the jump in gears smaller when you shift front rings.

    Now you are on big ring you can move up and down the cassette using your right lever to ensure your legs are spinning comfortably rather than grinding hard on the pedals.

    Once your chain is about three quarters of the way towards the biggest cog on the cassette (on about the 7th biggest cog) you can change back down onto little ring at the front if the road starts going up. Again, you might want to double shift onto a smaller cog this time at the back to make the jump less. Now you are on little ring you have a good range of gears up or down on the cassette operated by your right hand lever. Again, I would recommend using about three quarters of the way across the cassette towards the smallest cog before shifting to big ring.

    Of course, if the road suddenly goes up or down or if you are coming to a halt, then a shift to big or small ring at the front - no matter what cog you are on at the back - will give you an instant change to a much higher or lower gear.

    Think of your bike as having two separate gearboxes. Big ring is for flat or downhill, with you using the right hand lever to make small adjustments to your leg spinning speed. Little ring is for starting off and uphill, again using the right hand lever to make small adjustments.
  • Nick_M
    Nick_M Posts: 58
    Excellent description, Mercia Man!
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Big ring is for flat or downhill, with you using the right hand lever to make small adjustments to your leg spinning speed. Little ring is for starting off and uphill, again using the right hand lever to make small adjustments.

    That might be how you ride and a generalisation, but everyone is different. There are threads on here evidencing that a lot of riders (even many of those in club chain gangs), rarely venture into the big ring when on the flat choosing to use the range of the cassette to hold their flat speed with a fast cadence. Similarly you can't state that the small ring is for going up hill. Every hill and every rider is different.

    OP
    The bigger the cog on the front, the more turns of the back wheel for every rotation of the pedals. The smaller the cog on the front, the less turns of the back wheel for every rotation of the pedals. This is why for motorcycle racing, teams will go for a small cog on the front of the chain line or add teeth to the rear cog to give faster acceleration for the same amount of revs at the expense of a reduced top speed.

    Equate this to a bicycle and you have 2 cogs on the front. In your case a 34 and a 50. Forget the other gears on the cassette at the back for now and think of just the one in the centre i.e. 17 teeth. If you have a cadence (peddling speed) of 70rpm, your speed when in the 50 ring will be 16.1mph and when in the 34 ring 11mph. The higher your cadence, the higher the speed so peddling at 90rpm sees the speed rise to 20.7mph in the 50 ring and 14.1mph in the 34 ring. So if you're in the 34 ring and pedalling at 90rpm and decide to change to a bigger cog on the back i.e. the 18 teeth, your speed will drop to 13.3mph. But, the closer in size the front and rear cogs are, the less effort is required to turn the pedals. This is why it is harder to pedal when you're in the 12 tooth cog at the back and 50 tooth cog on the front and easier when in the 34 at the front and 30 at the back. The closer the sizes of the cogs on the back of the bike, the smoother the transition between gears each time you change. With a 12/30 cassette (12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30), there are going to be some big jumps between your gears made worse by changing gears on the front too. Therefore, if you're finding it smoother to stay in one ring on the front and use the range of the cassette, then continue to do so and don't worry what all the naysayers say.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    philthy3 wrote:
    Equate this to a bicycle and you have 2 cogs on the front. In your case a 34 and a 50. Forget the other gears on the cassette at the back for now and think of just the one in the centre i.e. 17 teeth. If you have a cadence (peddling speed) of 70rpm, your speed when in the 50 ring will be 16.1mph and when in the 34 ring 11mph. The higher your cadence, the higher the speed so peddling at 90rpm sees the speed rise to 20.7mph in the 50 ring and 14.1mph in the 34 ring. So if you're in the 34 ring and pedalling at 90rpm and decide to change to a bigger cog on the back i.e. the 18 teeth, your speed will drop to 13.3mph. But, the closer in size the front and rear cogs are, the less effort is required to turn the pedals. This is why it is harder to pedal when you're in the 12 tooth cog at the back and 50 tooth cog on the front and easier when in the 34 at the front and 30 at the back. The closer the sizes of the cogs on the back of the bike, the smoother the transition between gears each time you change. With a 12/30 cassette (12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30), there are going to be some big jumps between your gears made worse by changing gears on the front too. Therefore, if you're finding it smoother to stay in one ring on the front and use the range of the cassette, then continue to do so and don't worry what all the naysayers say.
    Interesting to see the speeds in different gears with different cadences, but these presumably assume the road is dead flat with absolutely no wind at all, which rarely happens when I'm out riding.
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    lesfirth wrote:
    So fatigue and wear won't come into the equation? Or forgetting that your chain broke and you shortened it? Or your mech hanger is slightly bent?

    Why take the risk?

    I just cant stop laughing at this.

    I used to have patients like that, a course of ect helped. Perhaps you should see your doctor? :D
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    For all the paragraphs & reams of gear descriptions, the easiest way is to go out on your bike and see what each gear feels like. Make an effort to ride at a comfortable and steady speed, changing through the whole range of gears paying a bit of attention to how each change affects your cadence (pedalling speed) and how pedalling becomes easier or harder. No amount of wordy verboseness on here will match going out & trying it out for yourself.

    As for cross-chaining, it's not the biggest crime against cycling but when there's rarely any real need to do it, there doesn't seem much point in doing it when the smallest bit of thinking ahead and some fluency with the changes removes any need for it.
  • nuggiebok
    nuggiebok Posts: 63
    Thanks for all of your replies!

    I realise that nothing beats getting out on the thing and riding, which is why I have left it til now to post. I'm personally finding that there are only a few gears that I can actually use. On the largest front gear, and the lighter half of the back. Or the smallest front gear and the harder ones at the back.

    I've signed up for a local breeze ride next month, thanks for that advice!
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    nuggiebok wrote:
    Thanks for all of your replies!

    I realise that nothing beats getting out on the thing and riding, which is why I have left it til now to post. I'm personally finding that there are only a few gears that I can actually use. On the largest front gear, and the lighter half of the back. Or the smallest front gear and the harder ones at the back.
    Hi there, I'm surprised that there are only a few gears you think you can use. You say on the smallest front gear you use the harder ones at the back. If you mean the smallest cogs at the back, that seems the wrong way round. Going downhill I would normally use the big ring at the front with any of 5 smallest cogs at the back - i.e. the highest gears. Going uphill I would normally be in the small ring at the front, and any of the 5 largest cogs at the back. If a steep hill I would be on the small ring at the front and the largest cog at the back, i.e. the lowest gear.

    I'm not strong rider, but I probably use about 10 or 11 different gears on a ride.
  • nuggiebok
    nuggiebok Posts: 63
    Well it's not that hilly around here. I was lucky enough to have a descent the other day (I actually didnt know it was there!) and was in the largest front and smallest back, the first time I've ever managed to get into that gear! I think endomondo clocked me at about 30mph! That was quite scary.
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    philthy3 wrote:
    That might be how you ride and a generalisation, but everyone is different. There are threads on here evidencing that a lot of riders (even many of those in club chain gangs), rarely venture into the big ring when on the flat choosing to use the range of the cassette to hold their flat speed with a fast cadence. Similarly you can't state that the small ring is for going up hill. Every hill and every rider is different.

    Indeed everyone is different. I run a compact so I'm spending most of my time in the big ring only changing down if there is a decent climb (either in length or gradient). But then my cadence is rather lower than ideal.