Author Topic: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?  (Read 3197 times)

nereo

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cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« on: May 08, 2016, 10:28:14 AM »
When cycling home the other day I realized I have no idea what the appropriate way is to tell someone else what gear I am in. I'm so pretty unclear on sequential order of the gears.

Let me explain:
My commuter bike is 21 speeds - three chainrings up front and 7 cogs in back.  I spend 95% of my time on the middle chain-ring and shift between the 2nd, 3rd and 4th smallest cog in bag.  Suppose I am using the middle chainring and the 2nd-smallest cog and someone asks "hey, what gear are you in?"  ... what's the answer?  If I said 2 by 2 (or would it be 2 by 6?) ... the person still doesn't know whether I have two or three chainrings.  Is the smallest cog/chainring #1, or is #1 the largest?  Or do I actually have to know and remember the # of teeth/diameter of each?

I've also never precisely figured out which gear is the 'next-up'/'next-down' in terms of mechanical advantage.  For example, I know that being on my largest chain-ring and largest cog doesn't give me nearly as much speed as being on my middle chainring and smallest cog.  Is there a standard way of knowing which gear is the next one "up" or "down"? 



ender

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2016, 10:48:13 AM »
https://youtu.be/_05Eic7KgcA?t=1m6s

Watch that, for some of your questions.

nereo

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2016, 10:58:13 AM »
https://youtu.be/_05Eic7KgcA?t=1m6s

Watch that, for some of your questions.

Ok - that helps.  I should shift the main chainrings when I am in the middle gear(s) of the cog, and usually go to a bigger cog when i go to a bigger chainring, and vice-versa.

Still have question: how to a refer to whatever gear combo I'm currently in? 
The only things I've been able to find go into gear-ratios - but there has to be something easier than doing division when telling someone "hey, my chain keeps sticking every time I try to get out of ___ gear".

MDM

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2016, 11:10:26 AM »
If you calculate your 21 gear ratios, you are likely to find some duplication.  Thus you really do need to specify both front and back to be unambiguous.

bobechs

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2016, 11:14:44 AM »

Still have question: how to a refer to whatever gear combo I'm currently in? 
The only things I've been able to find go into gear-ratios - but there has to be something easier than doing division when telling someone "hey, my chain keeps sticking every time I try to get out of ___ gear".

Just pick something cute, like fruits or doggie breeds, and assign names based on serially ascending or descending size.  Example; kumquat, lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit, pommelo  Or chihuahua, beagle, terrier, chessie, wolfhound.

Of course no one will know what you are babbling about, but does that really matter in the scenario you project?  Some people are all into the numbers that are marked on the shifter indexes they already have but you clearly want to go another way... altogether.                                                       

nereo

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2016, 11:52:54 AM »


Just pick something cute, like fruits or doggie breeds, and assign names based on serially ascending or descending size.  Example; kumquat, lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit, pommelo  Or chihuahua, beagle, terrier, chessie, wolfhound.

Of course no one will know what you are babbling about, but does that really matter in the scenario you project?  Some people are all into the numbers that are marked on the shifter indexes they already have but you clearly want to go another way... altogether.                                                       
I'm not sure why you think I clearly want to go another way... altogether.  I want the exact opposite - to know what other people would call them.  That's the question behind this thread.
For the record, I don't have shifter indexes on either of my bikes.  So I don't know whether I should be calling the smallest cog "#1" or "#7" and whether hte largest chainring is 3 or 1.


MDM

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2016, 12:25:50 PM »
I'm not sure why you think I clearly want to go another way... altogether.  I want ... to know what other people would call them.
There may be a "standard" convention, but if you say "middle on front and 3rd smallest on back" that should suffice.

You could still calculate your gear ratios just for fun....

plog

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2016, 03:04:03 PM »
Here's a good simple  rule--aim for a constant pedal rate. 

When it gets harder to maintain your rate (up a hill), make the gears easier.  When it gets easier to pedal at that rate (down hill), make the gears harder.

Like others have said before, you might have 21 gear permutations, but practically you have way less gear options than that because they duplicate each other.  My advice is pick 5 gear positions (honestly, that's all you need to use) and learn where they are--forget the other 16.

Find a super easy one, a medium easy one, a medium one,  a moderately hard one and a super hard one.  Memorize their positions and when you need to make it harder/easier to pedal move your shifters to the appropriate position.  Usually, those 5 gears can be found without shifting the front cog--so that means you just need to focus on shifting the back cog. 
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 03:06:13 PM by plog »

sol

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2016, 03:25:11 PM »
They don't have sequential number names, sorry.

You might call [smallest front and largest back] "first gear" because it is the slowest, by analogy with a car's gears.  And by extension [largest front and smallest back] could be your "twenty first gear" because it is the fastest for a given pedal rate. 

But in between? You might consider all seven rear cogs paired to the smallest front cog as gears 1 through 7, but I can almost guarantee you that the gear ratio on 2-1 is going to be lower than the ratio on 1-7, so if you wanted gears one through twenty one to get progressively harder then you'd have to do some pretty funky shifting patterns to cycle through them in order.

In reality, you shouldn't torque your chain too far from side to side, which means you avoid innermost front cog with outermost rear cog, and vice versa.  So there are at least a couple of your 21 possible cog combinations that you should never be in.  In practice, this means that if you're in your lowest and slowest gear topping out a hill, and you want to upshift into a faster gear, you usually move your rear derailler up four or five cogs as you speed up, and then move your front derailer to the middle cog as you shift the rear one back to larger (slower) cogs.  On the middle front cog you can (usually) use all seven of your rear cogs, but then as you speed up more you generally skip directly from middle to largest front cog before you end up on the smallest rear cog.

Ocelot

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2016, 05:32:21 PM »
In the industry (at least in the shops etc I've worked in), the convention is to number the cogs from the inside of the bike out, and refer to front then back. For example, "It's skipping in 2 and 1" on a traditional mountainbike would mean you had an issue while in the middle cog at the front, easiest cog at the back.

tardis

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Re: cycling: what gear am I in? what's the next gear to use?
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2016, 07:46:12 PM »
I've always heard it refereed to as ranges (front set of gears) and gears (back set).  So you would say high/top range, middle, or bottom/low and say gear 1,2,3 etc.  So top range, 3rd gear for example.  Which may give you the same result in regards to effort required as middle range, 5th gear.

Here's a good simple  rule--aim for a constant pedal rate. 

When it gets harder to maintain your rate (up a hill), make the gears easier.  When it gets easier to pedal at that rate (down hill), make the gears harder.

+1