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#3441980 - 07/31/14 04:51 PM How many speeds are enough?
cjcride Offline


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 1459
Loc: Ontario Canada
The rage seems to be 9, 10, 11 speed bikes. Most the true roadies I see look like they could devour a hill with a Fixie!
This is masterful marketing, is it not?
Getting next to impossible to get quality alloy 6&7 speed chainrings derailleurs etc. to keep my old faithful fleet in top condition.

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#3441996 - 07/31/14 05:02 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
grantsburg Offline


Registered: 09/24/11
Posts: 42
Loc: MN
When I was a kid all bikes were one speed and my ride to school was uphill both ways. frown

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#3442004 - 07/31/14 05:10 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
boundarylayer Offline


Registered: 06/29/14
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Yeah, we had to ride our bikes in 3-foot snow to school with only a half a gear. .... Wait.... Hey, get off my lawn! .... OK I'm back.

Seems the low to top ratio spread is the most important thing, not the number of gears.

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#3442008 - 07/31/14 05:13 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
dkryan Offline


Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 1924
Loc: Cincinnati
Originally Posted By: cjcride
The rage seems to be 9, 10, 11 speed bikes. Most the true roadies I see look like they could devour a hill with a Fixie!
This is masterful marketing, is it not?
Getting next to impossible to get quality alloy 6&7 speed chainrings derailleurs etc. to keep my old faithful fleet in top condition.


"9, 10, 11 speed......"???????

I could swear my Specialized has 21 speeds.

Then again.................................
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#3442018 - 07/31/14 05:22 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 38258
Loc: New Jersey
I think he means on the back cassette.

I suppose it is a personal question... what is the dynamic range for your level of fitness, power and use?

Its no different then engineering a drivetrain for a car or truck - what is the engine's power band, what is the application, what is the bias in terms of performance and economy.

Just like you can get a 3.23 or a 4.10 rear end on a truck, its kind of the same.

But I suspect that the real question is, what are the best highest and lowest ratios for the rear cassette for a bike to do _______?

I think that fewer intermediate gears are better, less need for close tolerances and less to go wrong. My shifters double shift if operated a certain way, and I most often use the double shift when I can to skip because otherwise there are too many cogs to go through that I dont need.

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#3442037 - 07/31/14 05:37 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
MolaKule Offline


Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 17324
Loc: Iowegia - USA
I think that if you are mountain biking, 21 speeds might be necessary.

When I was looking for my bike, I tried everything from 3-speed to 21 speed bikes.

Quote:
I suppose it is a personal question... what is the dynamic range for your level of fitness, power and use?


Which is the reason I settled on a 7-speed bike. My biking is rolling hills (about 30%) and flat terrain the other 70%.

Biking IMV is a great exercise if you can no longer run.
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#3442052 - 07/31/14 05:51 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
Dave Sherman Offline


Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 885
Loc: Ohio
I thought 21 speeds have been around for a while. My hybrid bike is a 2006 model and has that many. There is a bit in the owner's manual that says 7th gear and 15th gear are not recommended because it's too much of a bend for the chain, so it's really more like 19 speeds.
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#3442083 - 07/31/14 06:33 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
KD0AXS Online   content


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 2086
Loc: Nowthen, MN
My Specialized has 24 speeds. I don't know exactly what year it is, but I bought it from a pawn shop 10 years ago.
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#3442084 - 07/31/14 06:33 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
SilverC6 Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 2780
Loc: Southeast
I always thought 12 speeds were ideal on a road bike.

With the six cog stack on the wheel, the derailleur has an easier time indexing the desired gear.

If you're off road, it's a totally different situation.
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#3442085 - 07/31/14 06:35 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
DBMaster Offline


Registered: 09/18/12
Posts: 3932
Loc: Greg Abbott Land
Calculate the "gear inches." Most bikes have far fewer gear ratios than the number of speeds indicate. Eventually, you learn which "gears" work for you. Having more just means you have a better chance of finding the handful that work for you. When I was really into cycling I had a "12 speed" road bike (Miyata 310). I used about five of the combinations regularly. No matter how well adjusted the gears are the chain will rub in certain combinations. I never used those.

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#3442086 - 07/31/14 06:36 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
nitehawk55 Offline


Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1078
Loc: Ontario , Canada
I think 7-9 speeds should be lots . I never could understand the need for 21 in fact I think there were some with more gears than that . Must be a thing to brag about ??

Less is better IMO .
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#3442132 - 07/31/14 07:18 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
Tegger Offline


Registered: 03/20/06
Posts: 2043
Loc: Canada
If some is good, more is better. And too-much is just enough.
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#3442200 - 07/31/14 08:31 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: Tegger]
Vern_in_IL Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 1107
Loc: IL
Originally Posted By: Tegger
If some is good, more is better. And too-much is just enough.


..and the LOWER the gearing the better!


Edited by Vern_in_IL (07/31/14 08:44 PM)
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#3442201 - 07/31/14 08:31 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
mrsilv04 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 7780
Loc: Illinois
I have 18 choices on my Specialized Allez Elite... and I use 4 (maybe 5) of them.
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#3442212 - 07/31/14 08:40 PM Re: How many speeds are enough? [Re: cjcride]
Clevy Offline


Registered: 11/11/10
Posts: 9782
Loc: Saskatoon canada
I lived in Canmore Alberta for a few years many moons ago. I lived on 3 sisters mountain and used my bike to get around since finding parking is usually a nightmare.
I have a specialized rock hopper with a 9 speed rear,27 total gears and I basically rode everywhere on the small front sprocket unless I was climbing the hill home.
That many gears will have some overlap.
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