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staceysue
09-02-2009, 07:43 AM
I've been holding off on asking this question because it's going to make me look SOOOO dumb.

I don't know how many speeds the bike I'm getting has. There aren't any numbers on the shifters, so I couldn't tell when I was test driving it, and I've only ridden my 3-speed in the past. I really don't know how speeds/gears/shifters work and I thought my new bike was just a 9 speed. My husband was looking at the description and says he thinks it's got 27.

Can you tell by looking at the description? http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?Year=2006&Brand=LeMond&Model=Reno+Women%27s&Type=bike

I remember somebody telling me once that you can mess up while you're shifting if you cross your chain, or something like that - no clue what they meant.

I don't see a blushing smiley. Sorry for being so dumb! :D

java
09-02-2009, 07:57 AM
All questions are good.

There are 9 cogs in the rear, and a triple crank up front, so you have 27 combinations, although using the smallest cog in the rear while on the largest crank in the front and vice versa (cross chaining), is not practical and can actually result in some unnecessary wear and tear to your cogs and chain.

Generally, the idea is to keep the angle of the chain in as straight a line is practical between the front cranks and rear cogs. As you become more familiar with your bike, you'll see that there may be some gear combinations you will seldom use, but if you find you need them, they'll come in handy!

Hope that helps

staceysue
09-02-2009, 08:29 AM
Awesome! Thanks, Java. That's a relief.

I think I need to find a beginner diagram of a bike - find out what cranks and cogs are and how they work.

tulip
09-02-2009, 08:47 AM
You could check out the books on bicycles in your local library or bookstore. There are several out there with good, basic information.

jusdooit
09-02-2009, 08:57 AM
Go to www.coachlevi.com/cycling/complete-beginner-guide-to-bicycle-gears. Good lesson on shifting. Also, www.terrybicycles.com/videos is a good resource. Hope these help. Don't be afraid to experiment. It will become second nature, I promise. BTW nice bike!

Cindy

Possegal
09-02-2009, 08:58 AM
although using the smallest cog in the rear while on the largest crank in the front and vice versa (cross chaining)

I thought cross-chaining was smallest in front and smallest in back, or largest in front and largest in back. That is what throws the chain out of a straight line, not small/large or large/small. Or have I been wrong all this time? Which is always a very real possibility. :)

SadieKate
09-02-2009, 08:59 AM
I thought cross-chaining was smallest in front and smallest in back, or largest in front and largest in back. That is what throws the chain out of a straight line, not small/large or large/small. Or have I been wrong all this time? Which is always a very real possibility. :)Nope, you is right. :p

Possegal
09-02-2009, 09:00 AM
Well there is a first time for everything I suppose. :)

SadieKate
09-02-2009, 09:05 AM
Should you record this moment in history? :D

maillotpois
09-02-2009, 09:07 AM
I think you guys just did. :rolleyes:

Possegal
09-02-2009, 09:18 AM
Print screen, frame, post on wall........... done. :)

java
09-02-2009, 01:58 PM
I thought cross-chaining was smallest in front and smallest in back, or largest in front and largest in back. That is what throws the chain out of a straight line, not small/large or large/small. Or have I been wrong all this time? Which is always a very real possibility.

Now, that's really embarrassing :eek::eek:

You're right, of course!

Yelsel
09-02-2009, 04:34 PM
Really easy cheat sheet --

Stay on the middle ring (where the pedals turn) most of the time. You can shift through all 9 cogs at the back.

If you are going uphill: drop down to the smallest ring. Use the largest 3-4 cogs.

If you are going downhill, or really fast: go up to the biggest chain ring. Use the smallest 3-4 cogs.

You don't really get 27 unique speeds: there is a large overlap in gears between the different chainring / cog combinations. You only get the unique gears at the "fast" end (large chainring, smallest few cogs) and the "slow" end (small chainring, largest few cogs). There is no reason to cross-chain, because you have those gears on your middle chainring, and should not be shifting all the way through the large or small chainring.

GreatPaws
09-02-2009, 05:29 PM
Don't worry, OP, I can top any dumb question.

You experienced guys talk about rings. I only see "numbers on the handlebar".

How am I supposed to figure out which "ring" I'm in while shifting and not run into a tree or something while I"m twisted around trying to see what I'm shifting into?

I see "1,2,3" on the left and "1,2,3,4,5,6,7" on the right.

So if I"m staying the the left- 2 gear, that's the middle ring? And some of those overlap with left 1 and 3- is that what you're saying Yelsel?

ccbloom
09-02-2009, 05:59 PM
Really easy cheat sheet --

Stay on the middle ring (where the pedals turn) most of the time. You can shift through all 9 cogs at the back.

If you are going uphill: drop down to the smallest ring. Use the largest 3-4 cogs.

If you are going downhill, or really fast: go up to the biggest chain ring. Use the smallest 3-4 cogs.

You don't really get 27 unique speeds: there is a large overlap in gears between the different chainring / cog combinations. You only get the unique gears at the "fast" end (large chainring, smallest few cogs) and the "slow" end (small chainring, largest few cogs). There is no reason to cross-chain, because you have those gears on your middle chainring, and should not be shifting all the way through the large or small chainring.


This is great info! I read this somewhere else the other day and I've been using it ever since. It's a great little tidbit of info for a newbie!


You experienced guys talk about rings. I only see "numbers on the handlebar".

My shifters don't even have numbers :cool: Talk about confusing! If I'm on the middle chainring, I find that it's getting easier for me to tell which gear I'm in. Kind of like, I know I have two more smaller back rings to go, or something like that before I max out this front ring. If I know a hill is approaching, I shift to larger rings two or three times, and then switch to my smaller ring. If I feel the pedaling is too easy on level ground, I know I'm already on the smallest in the back and can switch to my largest front ring without a problem. It's easy to look just between your legs and see which front ring you're on.

GLC1968
09-02-2009, 06:11 PM
So if I"m staying the the left- 2 gear, that's the middle ring? And some of those overlap with left 1 and 3- is that what you're saying Yelsel?

Yes - 2 on your left would be your middle ring. When you have a 2 on the left, you should be able to safely use all 7 gears on the right.


Also worth noting for the OP or anyone else shopping for a bike - when a new bike listing says a bike is a '9-speed' or '10-speed' it refers to the number of cogs on the back wheel. So if you see '30/42/52 9-speed', it means that you have three rings up front (small one with 30 teeth, middle one with 42 teeth and large one with 52 teeth) and 9 'rings' (or cogs) in the back giving you the total of 27 theoretical combinations.

tulip
09-02-2009, 06:17 PM
Practice, practice, practice.

SadieKate
09-02-2009, 08:30 PM
You experienced guys talk about rings. I only see "numbers on the handlebar".

How am I supposed to figure out which "ring" I'm in while shifting and not run into a tree or something while I"m twisted around trying to see what I'm shifting into?How about standing in your driveway and pushing on the shifters to see which way the dérailleur moves and how the number indicator changes? Isn't that the best way to remember?

VeloVT
09-02-2009, 09:47 PM
maybe put some electrical tape over the gear indicators for now so you get used to shifting based on feel and looking at the actual drivetrain, so you know more intimately what 2/5 means both in terms of your bike's mechanics and in terms of what that gear combination feels like.

I also found that getting a computer with cadence was a really helpful cue for shifting when I was starting out.

my major challenge was not so much learning what to shift when (oddly that seemed pretty intuitive to me), but wrapping my head around talking about it. it took me a good year to be able to talk about shifting down without getting confused, because downshifting in the rear cogs is actually accomplished by moving up the cogs, not down them, and vice versa. maybe I'm a bit of a freak though :).

Miranda
09-03-2009, 12:17 AM
Don't worry, OP, I can top any dumb question.

You experienced guys talk about rings. I only see "numbers on the handlebar".

How am I supposed to figure out which "ring" I'm in while shifting and not run into a tree or something while I"m twisted around trying to see what I'm shifting into?
I see "1,2,3" on the left and "1,2,3,4,5,6,7" on the right.

So if I"m staying the the left- 2 gear, that's the middle ring? And some of those overlap with left 1 and 3- is that what you're saying Yelsel?

On my first roadie I had a Shimano Flight Deck cycle computer. It has a gear indicator once programed. The display on the pc shows a tiny pic of the rings based on size (large rings up front in the crank set w/pedals & small rings clustered together in the back on the cassette)... in oval shaped icons. When you shift, the gear indicator shows that--thus you don't need to look backwards or down at the crankset / cassette rings to see. Not sure which component group your bici has. But, FWIW.

Oh... and btw, when I first started riding, reading this forum was so helpful:cool:... but sometimes made my head feel like it was going to explode:eek: (w/all the info to process) ...and sometimes it still does.:D

Yelsel
09-03-2009, 09:46 AM
Don't worry, OP, I can top any dumb question.

You experienced guys talk about rings. I only see "numbers on the handlebar".

How am I supposed to figure out which "ring" I'm in while shifting and not run into a tree or something while I"m twisted around trying to see what I'm shifting into?

I see "1,2,3" on the left and "1,2,3,4,5,6,7" on the right.

So if I"m staying the the left- 2 gear, that's the middle ring? And some of those overlap with left 1 and 3- is that what you're saying Yelsel?

I wrote a post for this, I guess it disappeared?

The numbers make it easy to remember. "1x1" is the easiest gear, which you use to climb the steepest hills; "3x7" is the hardest gear / used for downhills. So lower numbers = easier to pedal.

You can stay in the 2 (middle) chainring, and use all 1-7 cogs. Then you probably have about 3 unique higher gears, 3x5, 3x6, and 3x7. This is big chainring / small cog. And you will use the ~3 unique gears on the low end, 1x3, 1x2, 1x1; the small chainring / large cogs.

With a double, you overlap about one-third to nearly half the gears between the two chainrings, depending on setup. So you need to decide whether to shift between rings near the middle of the cogset, or whether to stay in one chainring, use all the cogs, then jump halfway up the large cog to continue in higher gears (or halfway down the smaller cog to continue in lower gears).

You need to be turning the pedals to shift gears; but the lighter you pedal, the less wear you put on the chains and cogs. This means shifting down before you absolutely need to on a hill... and trying to "soft pedal" a stroke without much pressure while shifting. This is in theory, I'm not suave enough to do a soft pedal yet!

********

The first bicycles had the crankshaft on the front tire. Every revolution of the pedals moved the bike one (front) tire diameter. This is why the "highboys" were developed -- the bikes with the huge front wheel and tiny back wheel -- you needed a front wheel with a huge diameter if you wanted to move fast. Needless to say, these were generally only used by racontuering young men for racing, and were not generally appreciated by the rest of the traveling public.

The invention of the safety (modern) bicycle with chainrings and cogs changed that. With one pedal revolution, the bike moves forward the ratio of the diameter of the front chainwheel divided by the back cog. So a small chainwheel divided by a large cog means you move forward a little bit for one pedal revolution -- good for climbing uphill. And a large chainwheel divided by a small cog means that the bike moves forward a lot with one pedal revolution -- good for going fast on the flats and for going downhill.

The invention of the safety bicycle made traveling long distances easily available to the urban public. In particular it gave women access to more freedom... traveling farther, the invention of bloomers, and part of the spark for the suffragette and women's vote movements. Not to mention, the start of the US highway system, which was started for bike travel (commerce was primarily through trains).

Anyway, you can play with the chainring / cog ratios on Sheldon Brown's site. The gear inches are a direct division of the chainring diameter by the cog diameter. The gain ratio scales this by the length of the cranks -- otherwise you need to take into account the diameter of the pedal revolution given by the crank radius. You can also use different cadences to figure out the speed you will attain on flat ground using different gears. If you don't have a cadence meter, you can aim for a particular speed in a gear on the flats, and know you are reaching the cadence you are aiming for.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/
You should be able to look up your bike specs online and put in your current chainset and cog setup.

I am a real dork -- I *love* playing with the gearing thing. I'm trying to figure out whether I want lower gears on my 1x9 commuter -- right now 11/26 cogs -- and this is so fun to play with. I might just put a 12/30 on just because it would be fun to figure out how to change out the derailleur.

Aquila
09-03-2009, 06:31 PM
Congrats on your lovely new bike, too!

staceysue
09-03-2009, 10:20 PM
Wow - you all are awesome. I can't believe how helpful you are - and the lack of flaming is amazing.

So let me get this straight . . . the shifter on the left is the rings and the shifter on the right is cogs? If I'm on the middle ring and the lowest cog, and it's still too hard to pedal uphill, I can go ahead and shift down to the lowest ring . . . no, wait, that would have me on low cog and low ring and that's a no-no . . . .

So if I'm going uphill on the middle ring and lowest cog and it's still too hard to pedal, what do I do?

Wouldn't think this would be rocket science, but holy cow :rolleyes:

staceysue
09-03-2009, 10:31 PM
OH! I think I get it! I just read the link by jusdooit - it's very helpful and simple for a noob like me.

Let's see if I have this right - I could just leave the cogs in the middle range and shift between the rings all I wanted. That would make big changes and be kind of like it is now when I switch between the 3 gears I have on my 3-speed beach cruiser. If I was down in the lowest ring and it was still too hard to pedal up a hill, then I could start going down on my cogs. Or, if I was up in the highest ring and still spinning out going downhill, I could go head and start moving up on my cogs. What I don't want to do is get all the way down to the lowest cog before I switch down to a lower ring, or up all the way to the highest cog before I switch to a higher ring because then that would make the chain crooked and the bike wouldn't ride smoothly.

The cogs are for subtle changes and the rings are for big changes.

Right?

SadieKate
09-04-2009, 08:48 AM
Just think of it this way - the closer the chain is to you and the bike, the easier it will be to climb a hill. The farther away, the harder.

SadieKate
09-04-2009, 08:48 AM
The cogs are for subtle changes and the rings are for big changes.

Right?Yes.

maillotpois
09-04-2009, 08:52 AM
Just think of it this way - the closer the chain is to you and the bike, the easier it will be to climb a hill. The farther away, the harder.

This is inexplicable but I now have Barry Manilow's "Close to You" running through my head. I should go over to that other thread. :rolleyes:


Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

SadieKate
09-04-2009, 08:56 AM
This is inexplicable but I now have Barry Manilow's "Close to You" running through my head. I should go over to that other thread. :rolleyes:[/COLOR][/SIZE]Oompa loompa . . .

There. All better?

Kalidurga
09-04-2009, 09:04 AM
Wow - you all are awesome. I can't believe how helpful you are - and the lack of flaming is amazing.

Honestly (and I'm sure this will offend some folks here, so I apologize to everyone in advance), I think questions of this nature are very sensible compared to all the threads about things like "does my bar tape need to match my saddle?" and such. There are a lot of knowledgeable riders here who are very generous with sharing info. They probably didn't know anymore than you do now when they began riding, and likely learned by asking similar questions.

SadieKate
09-04-2009, 09:12 AM
Honestly (and I'm sure this will offend some folks here, so I apologize to everyone in advance), I think questions of this nature are very sensible compared to all the threads about things like "does my bar tape need to match my saddle?" and such. :D

Are my socks too short? Do they make my butt look fat?*

*You have to know Bubba, my DH, who can outwhine aka_kim, the Chief Whiner.

GreatPaws
09-04-2009, 10:24 AM
Ok I looked at the sheldon's site.. it's over my head. I don't even know what to enter in the gear calculator. stock cassette? Isn't that what I used to use to play tapes on before there were CD players?

So I found one with pictures and NOW I get it!

http://www.singletracks.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=3497

All of your answers have helped SO much! My brain really hurts though.. but I will keep reading!

Packing up Alantis (what I named my Giant Cypress, xs small. Ironic= song title from Alantis Morrisette) and heading to Nags Head!

BleeckerSt_Girl
09-07-2009, 11:08 AM
Packing up Alantis (what I named my Giant Cypress, xs small. Ironic= song title from Alantis Morrisette) and heading to Nags Head!

Isn't the singer named Alanis?

lph
09-07-2009, 12:27 PM
If it's any consolation, I've been riding for years and I frequently forget how many gears I have, and I never know which one I'm in unless it's the lowest or the highest. Ok, I can remember (pretty easy to see) how many I have in front, but out back I just see a mess of cogs. One, two, many. On my Trek I had.. 7, on my Kona I have 8, on my road bike I have 9, on my new Nakamura I forget. I just count when it's time to buy a new cassette :p

mwilson84
09-07-2009, 01:25 PM
Just think of it this way - the closer the chain is to you and the bike, the easier it will be to climb a hill. The farther away, the harder.

I read most of the posts and I would say, by far this is the easiest for me to comprehend. And most helpful!:D

OakLeaf
09-07-2009, 01:25 PM
If it's any consolation, I've been riding for years and I frequently forget how many gears I have, and I never know which one I'm in unless it's the lowest or the highest.

Knowing it's the lowest or highest is doing better than I am.

My cables would probably last a lot longer if I quit trying to shift into 11th, or 0th.

It only takes a quick glance to look and see. I believe Shimano has some kind of computer that tells you what gear you're in, but I've never had one of those.

spacecandy2001
09-08-2009, 08:53 AM
I want to thank you for this question and now I understand what,how and when to shift. My DH understands all this but I just couldn't get it to click in my head. :o Now it does. :D

SadieKate
09-08-2009, 09:37 AM
I read most of the posts and I would say, by far this is the easiest for me to comprehend. And most helpful!:DYou're welcome - though I can't take credit for the idea!