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How many speeds does a person really need?

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How many speeds does a person really need?

Old 02-21-20, 10:57 AM
  #26  
JTSpeedDemon
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It also depends on what the town is like. Here in my town in North Texas, sidewalks are a luxury, and what little there is, is riddled with curbs and driveways. And riding on the road isn't an option on my BMX, not to mention the drivers here are absolutely NUTS!

So yeah, for me, a multi speed bike will do much better than a single speed.

Anyways, I've put in my 2 cents, I don't really care if this thread gets closed now.
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Old 02-21-20, 11:01 AM
  #27  
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...more. Everyone needs more.
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Old 02-21-20, 12:44 PM
  #28  
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"The Cannibal"

Eddie Merckx, the greatest bike RACER that ever stuck his butt on a saddle, had only 10 and probably didn't even 'need' all of them to do his business. I on the other hand, have 27 on our tandem and sometimes wish for more. I'm sure some of my gear combinations are near duplicates, but I never sat down with a calculator to figure out which is which. I used to figure that having all these gears was kind of like a guy that uses drill bits. When you're just starting out, a half dozen standard drill bits of different sizes gets you through most of your home projects. Now I have a shop and use drill bits 'professionally.' I've got Forstner bits and Brad Point and bits for plastic and fractional sizes and letter sizes and number sizes and some metric sizes. And now that I know how to use them, sometimes I wish I had more - just like gears.
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Old 02-21-20, 01:06 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
When this zombie thread started, 9 speed cassettes were almost new. Put this one back into its grave
My kids, who are sophomores in high school, were in utero when this thread started. (FWIW, my son rides a FG to school everyday, so he would probably say one.)
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Old 02-21-20, 01:09 PM
  #30  
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The bike industry needs more cassette cogs, roughly one additional cog every 7 years. Despite us being past diminishing returns at 9 cogs, it does create sales buzz among gullible early adopters, and the dream demographic for the industry: trend followers with high discretionary incomes.

But the most important aspect of the N+1 cog thing is that it allows the industry to render "useless and obsolete" previous generations of equipment, and allow shops to be able to say straight up to customers: "9-speed is like 20 years old; we cannot get parts for this anymore". So if you cannot source a 9-speed chainring, then a new bike is recommended.

When we got to 11-speeds, even the most gullible new bike buyer was skeptical about the need for a proliferation of very thin cogs in the rear. And having to pay $150 for a cassette and $50 for a chain. So the industry had hit a wall with respect to the N+1 strategy. The workaround for the industry was 1X systems, i.e., eliminating all but one chainring. Eliminating 11 useful gear ratios now provided the impetus for further proliferation of cogs, as a makeup. So unimpeded, we can further march on to 12, 13, 14 etc. speed drivetrains.

And as we all know, using a front shifter is SO HARD.

Adding more cogs in the rear will necessitate new frame standards, such as widening the stays on road bikes beyond 130mm to 135, 142mm and beyond. This will have the future benefit of truly rendering previous generations of frames: "useless and obsolete".
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Old 02-21-20, 02:13 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
When this zombie thread started, 9 speed cassettes were almost new. Put this one back into its grave
Naw, I kind of like it. I got to read something that I had posted 15 years ago and that I'm still happy with today.
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Old 02-21-20, 05:42 PM
  #32  
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I feel like I've been benefiting. Lately I've picked up a few very nice 10-speed rim brake wheelsets for a song.
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Old 02-21-20, 05:52 PM
  #33  
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3 X 8 = 24 I'm 78 and don't want to give up any of my gears. I see the bike companies are promoting a double or single up front. I'm sure this led to nice discounts but I want to keep my tripple.
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Old 02-21-20, 06:24 PM
  #34  
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One or two. I use a 39x16 on a 27" wheel fixie conversion. Works out to about 66 gear inches. Have an 18t freewheel for the ride home on long rides, about 59g.i.

Last edited by ups; 02-21-20 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 02-21-20, 06:28 PM
  #35  
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5 or 6
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Old 02-21-20, 08:43 PM
  #36  
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I liked my 9-speed rear cassette because I set it up as if it was a 7-speed one but with an extra 2 lower bailout gears.

Cheers
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Old 02-21-20, 09:36 PM
  #37  
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Thread was 16 years asleep before being abruptly awakened yesterday.
Mr.DNA, who asked the question, has not been active on BF since 2011.
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Old 02-22-20, 06:28 AM
  #38  
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The main reason for ever increasing number of cogs in the rear is------------------------marketing!!!!!!!!!!
At this time you can get a triple in front and 12 in the rear. The simple fact is, no one needs that many gears. It is just unneeded complication. But the mfgs will snag all the cyclist that "need" to have the latest thing for bragging rights!!!!

Another point is with the ever increasing rear cluster width, what does it to to rear wheel strength in regards to wheel dish????

Last edited by rydabent; 02-22-20 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 02-22-20, 07:37 AM
  #39  
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It depends on rider, terrain, and (basically) where you "spin" out and where you must get off the bike and push.

The 800 Sport "Frankentrek" came into my possession as a 7 speed triple. I was a 250 lb, out of shape carni-sugar-vore who began riding in the foothills of NE metro Atlanta. At that time, a hill I would sprint up today, needed more than the original granny and first could produce. At the same time, Big and 7 resulted in occasional coasting....

Ignorance and necessity led to replacement rims with a 9 speed cassette. Health benefits began to kick in, though best practices were still a mystery. So, 8/9 rarely used, but hills seemingly easier. Fast forward from mid 2010's to last year, and another opportunistic replacement... this time, a lower toothed triple.

Now, at 175-180 lbs, having ridden 6+ years, and in great shape for 58, I find myself using all the gears regularly, with mathmatical overlapping of some combos. With where I am at, physically, need-wise and geographically, I would say my triple-9 is meeting my needs! At the same time, by math and by feel, a double would be doable. But, for all the above, cassette 9 is fine
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Old 02-22-20, 07:59 AM
  #40  
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I have bikes with more but until now i was able to get anywhere i wanted with 3 speeds.

Last edited by Kovkov; 02-22-20 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 02-22-20, 08:08 AM
  #41  
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Often you need "more gears" because you cant get a cassette with the gear combination you need. For instance all my cassettes have a 11t that is never used. Might as well ride a a 9s 13-34 or a 8s 13-30 vs a 10s 11-34.
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Old 02-22-20, 11:49 AM
  #42  
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I remember a long ride with lots of steep hills on an MTB many many years ago. That bike had 15 gears and the jumps between gears was bad = I'd shift to the next lower gear and then I'd spin-out until the bike slowed to match the too low gear. I really like it when 7-speed cassettes became popular. The high and the low gears were the same but the jumps between the gears was a fair bit less. With my 9-speed rear cluster I'm able to set it up as a fairly close spaced wither 7 of the cogs and then two larger cogs as bailout gears. I love it.

I'm not interested in 10-cogs or more in the rear because of the cost of replacements. I also don't need the 11 teeth, 12 teeth or event he 13 teeth cogs. I remember when a 52 x 14 setup was standard on most 10 speed or 12 speed bicycles and as I age the 14 x 52 combination is plenty high enough for my needs or wants. YMMV

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Old 02-22-20, 12:34 PM
  #43  
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When I started MTB five rear gears, a triple front and 125 mm rear spacing were the norm; for me, that would still be fine even though there's a 10 speed e-MTB in the quiver. Interesting (to me) thread; surprised by the early demise.

Last edited by 2old; 02-22-20 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 02-22-20, 10:03 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
Often you need "more gears" because you cant get a cassette with the gear combination you need. For instance all my cassettes have a 11t that is never used. Might as well ride a a 9s 13-34 or a 8s 13-30 vs a 10s 11-34.
+1 A 9-speed 13x27 was just as useful to me as a 10-speed 12x27 is now or an 11-speed 11x27 would be if I had to get one. I need the low gears and like the straight block from 13 to 17 but the 12 I have is very rarely used and the 11T would be a waste of space. However, you could never buy a 13x27 (I made them by combining a 12x27 and a 13x25 9-speed), the 12x27 is out of production and very hard to find and 11xXX is about all you can buy. To keep the gearing gaps acceptable we are forced into more cogs.
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Old 02-23-20, 09:21 AM
  #45  
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Fewer speeds is fine if I can adjust my speed to the conditions. Where I like more speeds is when riding with other people, and especially, keeping up with someone who's in shape.
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Old 02-23-20, 09:43 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Mr. DNA View Post
Can anyone tell me what the advantage is to having a 9, or even an 8 speed bike is? Likewise with a triple chainring in the front? I'm assuming I'm missing out on something really basic about gearing, but I don't quite understand the need for so many cogs, or especially for 3 chain rings.
Thanks for the feedback
Wider range and/or closer spacing which feels better.

The professional peloton opted for closer spacing between gears over more range until 9 speed 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23. With 10 cogs some extended the range, and a few added an 18.

We can assume recreational riders are no more tolerant of lower cadence climbing or big jumps between gears.

The average pro has 6W/kg of functional threshold power.

It takes about 200W to average 20 MPH on flat terrain which is faster than most recreational riders over an hour. The average US male weighs 90 kg which is 2.2W/kg.

Extrapolating, the average rider should have a 64T large cog. Maintaining the same spacing that is a
12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-28-31-34-37-41-45-50-55-61-66 20 cogs.

In the 9 speed era, the pros used 53-39 doubles. We could keep the cog count more reasonable with 50-34-24 triples; which would reduce the large cog requirement to 40 teeth cutting our gearing needs to 3x15.

I find cassettes with a two tooth jump before the 19 cog inappropriate for road riding, and have opted for a larger starting cog (13, with 52x13 ample for Eddy Merckx to dominate the pro peloton) or triple crank to make that work. 30x21 yields a low gear like 42x28, and allowed 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21 in the 8 speed era.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 02-23-20 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 02-23-20, 09:30 PM
  #47  
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I like good old 7 speed cog sets. They'll fit on 126mm & 130mm dropouts (with a spacer). and, they're cheap as dirt. Shimano and Microshift still make brand new shifters for them. And, If all else fails you can just connect friction shifters to them. What's not to love?
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Old 02-24-20, 08:53 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I feel like I've been benefiting. Lately I've picked up a few very nice 10-speed rim brake wheelsets for a song.
Any particular song?

"It had to be you."

"Moi, je ne regretted rien."

"Fly me to the moon: in other words"
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Old 02-24-20, 10:12 AM
  #49  
caloso
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Thunder Road
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Old 02-24-20, 10:37 AM
  #50  
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When I take a bike to ride in Central America it''s with 8 speed max.. Ariund there 9 speed drivetrains are nonexistent except in the largest cities with affluent weekend warriors. And not just chains but Presta valves and even tires other than 26" MTB aren't common. But there are millions of cheap Chinese bikes with 7 speed free wheels hammering out the dusty roads. They don't seem to even need any chain lube.
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