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6 vs 7 speed why people upgrade?

Old 05-24-21, 12:06 PM
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PimpMan
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6 vs 7 speed why people upgrade?

In the past i had cheap and heavy MTB with 21 speed, but really all i used is largest gear in the front and only switch between 7 speeds in the back, that's before i went to single speed for another three years.

Currently i run single 52T sprocket in the front and 16T in the back no problem at all when i go up big hill i simply stand up on the bike like elliptical machine and keep pedaling.

Only want to upgrade to speeds because i started to go off-road more than less and could benefit from lower gear, deciding between 6 speed and 7 speed, i was looking towards 6 speed since parts are bit cheaper and my frame originally was 5 speed, not much space in the rear fork.

Online i read that many people like to upgrade 6 speed to 7 speeds, wonder whats the great advantage you get from one extra gear?

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Old 05-24-21, 12:25 PM
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With the upgrade to 7 speed, you have a better chance of getting a hub with a freehub rather than a freewheel. That's a stronger hub, with fewer axle failures. (There are some old 6 speed freehubs and some new 7 speed freewheels, so number of speeds is not a guarantee.)

There are more choices for 7 speed shifters.

Presumably your old bike has a steel frame and takes 26" wheels, so cold-setting the frame should be doable. Be sure to check drop out alignment and frame straightness if you do it yourself. Shop tools help but are not crucial.
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Old 05-24-21, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
With the upgrade to 7 speed, you have a better chance of getting a hub with a freehub rather than a freewheel. That's a stronger hub, with fewer axle failures.
And the advantage would be?

I believe its a marketing thing, like new standard for high end bikes nothing more.
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Old 05-24-21, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
my frame originally was 5 speed, not much space in the rear fork.
Measure the distance between the dropouts to see how much space you have. Older mountain bikes tended to have 130mm spacing.
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Old 05-24-21, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
And the advantage would be?

I believe its a marketing thing, like new standard for high end bikes nothing more.
I'll repeat: It's a stronger hub, with fewer axle failures.
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Old 05-24-21, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
Online i read that many people like to upgrade 6 speed to 7 speeds, wonder whats the great advantage you get from one extra gear?
Interesting. I was not aware of this trend.
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Old 05-24-21, 02:10 PM
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It is pretty simple. If your rear dropouts measure 120mm you’ll need a 5 speed freewheel, or spread the dropouts to 126mm.

If your rear dropouts are 126mm wide you can go with a 6 or 7 speed freewheel. The choice is up to you.

I think the trend from 6 to 7 speed happened in 1987 or 1988.

if your single speed was originally a derailleur bike, you shouldn’t have a problem converting it.

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Old 05-24-21, 02:15 PM
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the less speeds the better for a mountain bike, because when you throw mud into the equation, you want as much distance between the cogs as possible, this makes it harder to clog up the cogs and easier for the chain to remove the mud, and shifting does not have to be as precise. this has been my experience and is not written law.
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Old 05-24-21, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I think the trend from 6 to 7 speed happened in 1987 or 1988.
That explains it. I was probably aware of it at the time but CRS anymore. Why are we discussing it now over 30 years later.
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Old 05-24-21, 02:28 PM
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the advantage is gear range depending on much low or high you want or need. equally, though, the finer steps in gearing between cogs and smoother shifting with the advent of indexing. a brief history of half step gearing would explain the advantages easily
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Old 05-24-21, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
That explains it. I was probably aware of it at the time but CRS anymore. Why are we discussing it now over 30 years later.
It was pre-internet so some news doesn’t travel as fast as other news.

I just found out some brake levers are designed to not have cables coming out of the hoods. For a long time I just stayed away from people with those bikes because I figured they couldn’t stop. Plus, those people have gears but no way to shift them. I see cables running to the derailleurs but no levers.

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Old 05-24-21, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
And the advantage would be?

I believe its a marketing thing, like new standard for high end bikes nothing more.
It's a physics, statics, & dynamics thing, believe what you want.
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Old 05-24-21, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
And the advantage would be?

I believe its a marketing thing, like new standard for high end bikes nothing more.
Is he reading bicycling magazines from the late 80s, thinking they're current?
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Old 05-24-21, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cjenrick View Post
the less speeds the better for a mountain bike, because when you throw mud into the equation, you want as much distance between the cogs as possible, this makes it harder to clog up the cogs and easier for the chain to remove the mud, and shifting does not have to be as precise. this has been my experience and is not written law.
The steady progression from 5 to 6 to...................10, 11 and now 12-speed MTB drivetrains doesn't seem to have hurt shifting. Both the pros and serious off-road riders use 11 and 12-speed drivetrains and somehow manage to shift when they need to.
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Old 05-24-21, 03:47 PM
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I think the BIGGER question is why upgrade from 11 to 12 speed?
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Old 05-24-21, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
I think the BIGGER question is why upgrade from 11 to 12 speed?
seems much of it's part of the 1x trend to try and gain yet another lower or higher gear. of course it's whatever anyone fancies, but to me, a 2x8 or 9 is about as much as one needs and is still practical and affordable. easy enough to get 100 down to 20 gear inches and fits most riding conditions. however, i can see keeping all the shifting in the back making things simple. and, besides, there's all the plus size tires. 1x's make the bottom bracket and q factor thing easier to contend with, i suppose
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Old 05-24-21, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
seems much of it's part of the 1x trend to try and gain yet another lower or higher gear. of course it's whatever anyone fancies, but to me, a 2x8 or 9 is about as much as one needs and is still practical and affordable. easy enough to get 100 down to 20 gear inches and fits most riding conditions. however, i can see keeping all the shifting in the back making things simple. and, besides, there's all the plus size tires. 1x's make the bottom bracket and q factor thing easier to contend with, i suppose
All valid points and 2x8 or 9 is fine. I can appreciate the 1x12 MTN drivetrain but still prefer my older 3x10 setup. I like being able to quickly change down to a lower gear using front derailleur rather than a 1x.
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Old 05-24-21, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
I think the BIGGER question is why upgrade from 11 to 12 speed?
Well, I wouldn't mind a 12t cog between the 11 and 13 in my 11-34.
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Old 05-24-21, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
And the advantage would be?
Besides the stated advantage of the stronger "freehub" design, less likely to bend or break axles, more sprockets means closer gear ratio spacing and/or wider gear range. This allows the rider to remain in their optimum cadence range for best efficiency.

I believe its a marketing thing, like new standard for high end bikes nothing more.
It is to some extent, but the advantages are real for those who are competitive riders. That said, my bikes all have five and six sprocket freewheels (not freehubs). For the type of riding I enjoy, there is little disadvantage. I'm light enough that bent or broken axles have never been an issue for me, and fixed gear riding has broadened the cadence range in which I am comfortable.
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Old 05-24-21, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Well, I wouldn't mind a 12t cog between the 11 and 13 in my 11-34.
yeah...lol! i've never liked the jump there, either. 18% sucks. i have an 11-32 8 speed and actually half stepped it at one point for that very reason. i had 42/39/24. didn't use the half step very often, but it was there when i needed it
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Old 05-24-21, 07:11 PM
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If you get a freewheel with less gears, it is probably cheaper. The sprockets are probably thicker, and should last longer before they need replacing. So what is more important, having more gears, or spending less.
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Old 05-24-21, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
If you get a freewheel with less gears, it is probably cheaper. The sprockets are probably thicker, and should last longer before they need replacing. So what is more important, having more gears, or spending less.
Will they, though? Fewer cogs means more time on each cog per unit distance.
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Old 05-24-21, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Will they, though? Fewer cogs means more time on each cog per unit distance.
They probably will last longer, as most people tend to use a few gears a lot more than others. The ones that are used the most, wear out first.
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Old 05-24-21, 07:48 PM
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7 speed hasn't been high end since the late 80s early 90s. If you think that is a significant upgrade you are missing a lot of time. The reason one would upgrade is to get smoother more reliable shifting, a more reliable hub using a freehub vs a less optimal freewheel and in many cases better components overall. Yes you can grind away on a big gear or you can get a set of gears that make sense for your riding and also learn how to shift and ride a bike. I will admit it took me time to learn gears but once I did it was awesome, get up down and around hills more easily was fantastic.

I get it new technology can be scary sometimes but I can assure you 9, 10, 11 and 12 speed are quite nice and have improved things over the years it is not just marketing it is people actually advancing things forward. You wouldn't be able to post on a forum on a website without the advancement forward with technology and your computer is marketing hype along with the internet you use but in the end it really isn't.

I will say though when my Dura Ace 7400 works it works quite well and it is 6 speed but at the time was the pinnacle of technology now is quite old and showing it's age, tiny freewheels and massive front chainrings are just not what I call useful.
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Old 05-24-21, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
If you get a freewheel with less gears, it is probably cheaper. The sprockets are probably thicker, and should last longer before they need replacing. So what is more important, having more gears, or spending less.
i'd have to refer to sheldon brown on the specs, but a 5 or 6 six speed sprocket is only marginally thicker than a 7.

over on mtbr.com, there's at least one thread...i've only read one, anyway....that talks about utilizing only a 1x6 (or less) set up on a (eg. hope) single speed freehub. the idea being zero offset to the wheel and having six choices of "singlespeed" gearing. the former reasoning was more prominent for justification, but apparently six gears is all some people want or need. i also seem to recall jeff jones having some part in the idea. that reading was quite a while back, though
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