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Gearing on a dedicated trainer bike

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Gearing on a dedicated trainer bike

Old 07-16-19, 08:34 AM
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Mr_Crankypants
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Gearing on a dedicated trainer bike

I'm considering picking up an inexpensive bike to leave on the trainer. I currently have an 11-speed cassette on the trainer because my TCR currently does double duty as an indoor and outdoor bike.

What I'm wondering is whether it would be worth it to upgrade the cheap bike drivetrain to 11-speed or just deal with 8- or 9-speed, depending on whether I get a bike with Claris or Sora. For those of you who have dedicated trainer bikes: is the gearing the same as your outdoor bike(s)? If not, how much does it bother you on the trainer to have bigger gaps between sprockets than what you're used to outdoors?
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Old 07-16-19, 11:40 AM
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What is there to deal with? I've never gone through my entire cassette range on the trainer (nor do I hardly ever do that outdoors, either).

Makes no difference if I'm on 8 or 11 speed inside. Get a tighter spaced cassette if there are issues with gaps in gears. It's a trainer, after all. Not like you're going to run out of gears and fall over.
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Old 07-16-19, 01:53 PM
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I take spin class. Is that what you mean?
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Old 07-16-19, 02:01 PM
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I just do 20 min intervals on a KK trainer so only ever use 2 to 3 gears, a couple for the interval on the big ring and the little ring for recovery.

If you have a smart trainer and do swift you might need a few more gears but 8 seems like plenty.

Last edited by gregf83; 07-18-19 at 09:16 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-16-19, 02:11 PM
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I doubt I use more than 3 or 4 cogs of the cassette when I'm on the trainer. In fact, I had to get a cheap cassette because I was wearing out the middle cogs.
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Old 07-16-19, 02:35 PM
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no
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Old 07-16-19, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr_Crankypants View Post
how much does it bother you on the trainer to have bigger gaps between sprockets than what you're used to outdoors?
Sounds like a good problem to have while "training."
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Old 07-16-19, 06:36 PM
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I primarily use my 9 speed on my smart rollers and ZWIFT. My other bike is an 11 speed. It doesnít affect me at all because I am focused on my effort and power. I have been out of gears a few times on some long climbs but that is a good thing because it forced me to suck it up and continue to push...it was either that or tip over.
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Old 07-17-19, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
I primarily use my 9 speed on my smart rollers and ZWIFT. My other bike is an 11 speed. It doesn’t affect me at all because I am focused on my effort and power. I have been out of gears a few times on some long climbs but that is a good thing because it forced me to suck it up and continue to push...it was either that or tip over.
Bold/Red is why "Gaps between gears" is a problem which is often overstated.

When a wide(er) range cassette was installed on my gravel bike I hunted for the correct gear but after a couple of weeks I got used to it. Over the next few months I got stronger, was able to push through on the gear I had and it wasn't a big deal.


-Tim-
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Old 07-17-19, 08:38 AM
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On a trainer bike, I would select the tightest ratio cassette I could find. The idea is being able to dial in a desired cadence at whatever powerlevel/speed I see fit.

Wide range cassettes would make that more the cadence jumps larger & thus less desirable. IMO

I'm sure others may suggest something different under an alternate rationale. And that is ok too.
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Old 07-17-19, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
On a trainer bike, I would select the tightest ratio cassette I could find. The idea is being able to dial in a desired cadence at whatever powerlevel/speed I see fit.

Wide range cassettes would make that more the cadence jumps larger & thus less desirable. IMO

I'm sure others may suggest something different under an alternate rationale. And that is ok too.
In spite of my post, I can see the point in this on a trainer.


-Tim-
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Old 07-17-19, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Bold/Red is why "Gaps between gears" is a problem which is often overstated.

When a wide(er) range cassette was installed on my gravel bike I hunted for the correct gear but after a couple of weeks I got used to it. Over the next few months I got stronger, was able to push through on the gear I had and it wasn't a big deal.


-Tim-
Yep itís a non issue for me now. When an indoor session is harder than outdoors, I see it as a good thing.
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Old 07-17-19, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Bold/Red is why "Gaps between gears" is a problem which is often overstated.

When a wide(er) range cassette was installed on my gravel bike I hunted for the correct gear but after a couple of weeks I got used to it. Over the next few months I got stronger, was able to push through on the gear I had and it wasn't a big deal.


-Tim-
I feel like riding a FG/SS takes that to an extreme. Every gear on a derailleur bike feels super-wide after I've been on my FG.
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Old 07-17-19, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I feel like riding a FG/SS takes that to an extreme. Every gear on a derailleur bike feels super-wide after I've been on my FG.
Preaching to the choir...



Resistance rollers with this setup is a killer workout.


-Tim-
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Old 07-18-19, 08:47 AM
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Whoa, fixed gear on rollers - now that is hard core. Much more hard core than I am.

I'm feeling like a bit of a weenie now for finding my lowest trainer gear (34-26 - I have an 11-26 cassette on the trainer right now) pretty brutal on some Zwift climbs. Hmm. I'm still keeping my eye out for the right used bike within my "dedicated trainer bike budget" to pop up on craigslist/ebay/nextdoor, etc etc. Most of what I've seen in my price range has had Claris or Sora, but we'll see - maybe I'll get lucky and someone will sell a Tiagra or even 105 bike for a good price.
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Old 07-18-19, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Preaching to the choir...



Resistance rollers with this setup is a killer workout.


-Tim-
You storing the rollers there or riding there? Need to get it away from that wall for added motivation when you start to get really tired
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Old 07-18-19, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
You storing the rollers there or riding there? Need to get it away from that wall for added motivation when you start to get really tired
The wall was a crutch until I got proficient.

48x15 (84.5 GI) by the way.

When using the Sportcrafter inertia (free spinning) drum, intensity of the workout is limited by my ability to pedal at high cadence.

Wen using the Sportcrafter resistance drum, intensity is no problem. The rear sprocket sometimes has to be changed from 15 tooth to 16 tooth just to be able to maintain high enough cadence over a 1/2 hour or 1 hour session.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 07-18-19 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 07-18-19, 07:43 PM
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I use my "good bike" on my rollers, same road bike I use for my main outdoor single. Main thing is to have the fit and saddle exactly the same. Rollers solves that right now. I like a wide range of gears on my resistance rollers, though not so wide that I have to use the granny ring on my triple. I use big/small and middle/big and everything in between. Different intervals need different gears since my rollers don't have a resistance control.
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Old 07-22-19, 09:13 AM
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Spend the money on a smart trainer instead. A smart trainer used religiously with a good app like TrainerRoad will boost your FTP like nothing other.

You only need one gear on a smart trainer.

You also want to make sure your training body position is nearly identical to your actual riding position, as aggressive as you can get away with. Best way to do this is to use the same bike. I made the mistake of making my trainer bike too comfortable (upright) during my first year of indoor training, and was unable to deliver the same power on the road in a more aero position.
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