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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Been back to cycling now over 6 months and loving it - seems like I'm learning every time I go out but gears are a bit of a puzzle.
As a teenager (many moons ago ;)) I had a racer with 10 gears - 2 front, 5 rear sprockets.
I would have learnt that 1st is for power to get up hills and 10 was for speed - downhills or flat.

With my latest venture into the sport my present-day machine has 2 x 8 gears and I've learnt that there's a huge overlap in the sets. I've also learnt not to have a cross in the chain - smallest sprocket on cassette with smallest front chainring, apparently it bends and strains the chain and causes it to rub on the front derailleur.

To get to my question...when climbing I always drop to the smaller front chainring and progressively drop down through 4-3-2-1 as required to summit but I have found that if I stand up to pedal out odf the saddle, just to give the knees a break, I seem to be able to pedal effortlessly but rather like a mad thing, so as not to lose speed/momentum. I tire and fade!
I have tried dropping a gear (say 3rd to 4th) before coming off the saddle to reduce this effect but it doesn't seem to do the trick...It's like I have too much power for the lower set of gears when I stand and I soon tire and have to sit again.
Today whilst approaching a hill with the chain on the 4th rear sprocket but on the bigger front crainring...call it 12th gear, I found myself flying up the hill out of the saddle but at a cadence that I felt I could sustain all day. Result I thought, I know what to do the next time on a hill - just leave the bike in 3rd or 4th gear on the rear set and just jump from smaller to bigger front chainring when riding in or out of saddle. Is this a good idea/normal practice???

What's puzzling me is when a bike mechanic looked at my bike originally after I bought it he said that I shouldn't have got a bigger front chainring 'That' size and not to use it too much as it would wreck my legs. However, I believe that I've always had strong legs from my childhood of cycling - we lived up a hill!

Would like to hear anyone's thoughts or comments...Cheers Gang :tup:
 

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Changing up a gear or three when out of the saddle is normal. Switching from the small chainring to the big one may not be that unusual depending upon the amount of overlap between the gearing on the big and small ring. Any idea of the number of teeth on the front chainrings? 52/39 ?


I do occasionally sprint up hills on the big ring, just for fun, and while I do fly along, it's not something I could sustain for more than 30 seconds.
 

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Nobody can tell you that a certain gear will wreck your legs, it might wreck your mechanics legs but his legs and your legs are different legs!!!
Standing uses a lot more energy quicker but on a long climb can be good to alternate between sitting and standing just to give different muscles a few seconds rest, try not to change gear whilst under load as that can have severe consequences.
Like you say there is a lot of over lap so if changing the front ring works then do it, personally on my bike/for my legs dropping a couple or 3 on the rear works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Lads,
I make the big ring 50 teeth, small one looks like 33....maybe quite a big difference?
I would have thought that changing front rings on a hill would be a bit of a shock to the chain but I gather that it's OK as long as I'm not doing it under load.

More experimentation methinks!
 

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50/34 is normally described as compact, which is very common. Sounds like your bike mechanic is an idiot.

My road bike has the bigger "standard" chainring 53/39, and I haven't trashed my legs yet.

You can use a gear calculator to see what the overlap is between small ring/big ring, which is quite interesting.

http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

At the end of the day, you have to ride how it's best for you to ride :) No one's the same, and no two hills are the same.
 

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I wouldn't worry about wear to the chain in this case. Even out of the saddle going uphill, a shift on the front chainrings shouldn't stress things much, and the gears are there to be used after all :)

I second Gruff's suggestion to put the numbers into the gear calculator - it's interesting to see the overlap and where the equivalent gears on the big and small ring are. (Well, I think it's interesting. I tried to explain it to my girlfriend and she seemed less keen :d )
 

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I'm thinking more about his junk in the case of a mishift or chain coming of whilst shifting under load.
 

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I tend to stay on the biggest ring and switch up and down gears. I only used 4 different gears last time I went out on it a few weeks ago, mebbe I need more practice :)
 

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Been back to cycling now over 6 months and loving it - seems like I'm learning every time I go out but gears are a bit of a puzzle.
As a teenager (many moons ago ;)) I had a racer with 10 gears - 2 front, 5 rear sprockets.
I would have learnt that 1st is for power to get up hills and 10 was for speed - downhills or flat.

With my latest venture into the sport my present-day machine has 2 x 8 gears and I've learnt that there's a huge overlap in the sets. I've also learnt not to have a cross in the chain - smallest sprocket on cassette with smallest front chainring, apparently it bends and strains the chain and causes it to rub on the front derailleur.

To get to my question...when climbing I always drop to the smaller front chainring and progressively drop down through 4-3-2-1 as required to summit but I have found that if I stand up to pedal out odf the saddle, just to give the knees a break, I seem to be able to pedal effortlessly but rather like a mad thing, so as not to lose speed/momentum. I tire and fade!
I have tried dropping a gear (say 3rd to 4th) before coming off the saddle to reduce this effect but it doesn't seem to do the trick...It's like I have too much power for the lower set of gears when I stand and I soon tire and have to sit again.
Today whilst approaching a hill with the chain on the 4th rear sprocket but on the bigger front crainring...call it 12th gear, I found myself flying up the hill out of the saddle but at a cadence that I felt I could sustain all day. Result I thought, I know what to do the next time on a hill - just leave the bike in 3rd or 4th gear on the rear set and just jump from smaller to bigger front chainring when riding in or out of saddle. Is this a good idea/normal practice???

What's puzzling me is when a bike mechanic looked at my bike originally after I bought it he said that I shouldn't have got a bigger front chainring 'That' size and not to use it too much as it would wreck my legs. However, I believe that I've always had strong legs from my childhood of cycling - we lived up a hill!

Would like to hear anyone's thoughts or comments...Cheers Gang :tup:

I would approach the hill win the smallest front cog. Then change as needed.

Ideally maintain 90-95rpm and stay seated.

A bigger front ring would lower your cadence in general I would imagine. you probably don't want to do that.

lower cadence favours strong legs. higher cadence favours strong heart. you need both obviously but err towards the latter.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
All good advice guys - Thanks for the time.
I've looked at the gear calculator and it makes a lot of sense - Cheers!

@ Dave/Wino - 4 gears on a spin out :wacko:

@the5Krunner - I always did use the smaller chainring on approaches which is what I learnt in my childhood was the right thing to do but what prompted my initial post was the fact that I found this causes my cadence to increase when I stand up, resulting in my soon tiring and returning to the seated position.

I still think the fewer gear-changes you need to make on a hill are better for the chain, gears, mechs and of course your legs too but I would still worry about changing front rings under any load!

(As a by the way - I've heard of many who've seriously damaged their family jewels by a chain slipping whilst riding out of the saddle on hills :'()
 
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