Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB beginners

Accelerating from a standing start (on road)

bungle73bungle73 Posts: 748
edited March 2016 in MTB beginners
This question is about a mountain bike, so technically I guess it belongs here, but it's about road riding...although I guess it could apply to any good of good surface riding. Also, I'm not a "beginner" (I've been riding for quite a few years now), but this is a kind of beginner's question.

What I want to know is, which method is the best for accelerating away from a standing start, if you know you'll eventually be going fast enough to use the big ring:

a) After pushing off immediately shifting up onto the big ring and pushing the gears for a few seconds.

or

b) Staying in the middle ring, shifting through the cassette, until you reach a high enough speed, then quickly shifting down the cassette, and up onto the big ring

Up until now I've been doing "a", but "b" seems more efficient? But more hassle though.

Thoughts?

Posts

  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Being in the right gear is always going to be quicker than being in the wrong gear.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • If you're a leisure rider surely this question has little significance?

    If this is a genuine question then you already know the answer... Do whatever suits you / your bike to get up to the fastest speed in the shortest time whilst expending the least ammont of energy.

    The answer lies in your gearing, ground conditions, the bike, terrain, gradient... and more importantly the size / type / capacity of YOUR leg muscles.

    Personally I'll drop through most of the cassette before hitting the big ring.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    On the road on the flat I start in the big ring, usually third or fourth gear, it's a low enough gear to pull away comfortably and tall enough not to have to change up to soon. Of course if it's hilly and I'll be using the middle ring then I use that and about 5th or 6th at the rear.

    My commuter only has a 46t ring and I use third for pulling away which is a 24t.
  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    I'm a tripple ring luddite, I generally set off on road from a standstill on the middle ring, one or two rear sprockets up from smallest, I generally drop into this gear before I stop.

    By the time I'm approaching the smallest cog on the rear I've had time to think about shifting onto the big front ring.

    One of the benefits of a tripple for the occasional Road user I guess.. More versatile and less of a ratio shift on the front.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    mattyfez wrote:
    I'm a tripple ring luddite, I generally set off on road from a standstill on the middle ring, one or two rear sprockets up from smallest, I generally drop into this gear before I stop.

    By the time I'm approaching the smallest cog on the rear I've had time to think about shifting onto the big front ring.

    One of the benefits of a tripple for the occasional Road user I guess.. More versatile and less of a ratio shift on the front.
    But the same gear ratio is available on the big ring without then having to change.....so that's an inferior way of doing it!
  • bungle73bungle73 Posts: 748
    cooldad wrote:
    Being in the right gear is always going to be quicker than being in the wrong gear.
    Yeah but the "proper" way is more faff. Nevertheless I shall give it a go.

    Thanks for your answers.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Road? Triple rings? Do people still do these things on mountain bikes?
    As an ex downhill racer acceleration from a standing start was critical for a fast race run. Being in the right gear and having the correct pedal & crank position makes a big difference. Even with a close ratio road cassette one gear either way makes quite a difference. Starting from a track stand helps a lot as well.
  • Big ring and 4th or 3rd on the back gets me away okay. Not a lightning fast get away depending on your power, but momentum builds up quick enough.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Even an unfit old fart like me can lift the front wheel intermittently when accelerating away in big/3rd when seated.

    RM, some people only have one bike and have to use it for everything! As many bikes are still 8 speed you really need at least 2 chainrings for a decent ratio spread.
  • bungle73bungle73 Posts: 748
    Road? Triple rings? Do people still do these things on mountain bikes?
    As an ex downhill racer acceleration from a standing start was critical for a fast race run. Being in the right gear and having the correct pedal & crank position makes a big difference. Even with a close ratio road cassette one gear either way makes quite a difference. Starting from a track stand helps a lot as well.
    It's an old hard tail (1999), and the only bike I have (unless you count the £99 special I bought a few years before it). But I have had my eye on some kind of road bike recently (I think I've got another thread here about it).

    I'm still not convinced about the superiority of having fewer chain rings though; particularity if one wishes to ride on-road too.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    What matters is gear spread, on a 3x8 each chainring only adds about 2 new gears, the rest are overlaps with what was available on the next size chainring, so a 3x8 only really has 12 gears, the other 12 are duplicates, on that basis a 2x9 with the right size of chainrings (14t separation rather than the 10t of a 3x) will give the same gear spread and the same 12 gears with less chainline variation and less weight, and a wide ratio 1x10 or 1x11 saves even more weight although for on road the ratio gaps can be an issue - superiority explained.
  • bungle73bungle73 Posts: 748
    What I meant is...well take this as an example: the other day I was out and running along, but the gear I was in felt a bit too high, but when I changed down it was too low. It seems to me that is a problem that would exacerbated by having fewer gears.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    That has to do with the gap between gears, not the total number.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • bungle73bungle73 Posts: 748
    cooldad wrote:
    That has to do with the gap between gears, not the total number.
    My point was that if you have fewer gears then you obviously have larger gaps.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Nope. A road block could be 11/25 (10 speed) so a gap of a single tooth or thereabouts. Less range than a mountain bike cassette, but smaller gaps.

    My road bike has, I think 14/25 - 7 speed so about the same.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Road? Triple rings? Do people still do these things on mountain bikes?
    As an ex downhill racer acceleration from a standing start was critical for a fast race run. Being in the right gear and having the correct pedal & crank position makes a big difference. Even with a close ratio road cassette one gear either way makes quite a difference. Starting from a track stand helps a lot as well.

    This is exactly it. The correct starting gear depends on the rider and the terrain. To low and you waste power, too high and you are going nowhere. Also knowing the best progression of gears as you accelerate, jumping gears can be a help or a hindrance.
Sign In or Register to comment.