Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Gear ratios on a 10 speed commuter

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Gear ratios on a 10 speed commuter

Old 09-15-22, 08:33 PM
  #1  
Nervous_Jerboa
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Gear ratios on a 10 speed commuter

Hi all, about 8 months ago I replaced my car with a vintage road bike and it's been a blast. What started as about a 2 mile daily commute is now closer to 20 miles a day, mostly through Boston and Cambridge. Against the advice of several forum members I did go with a 70s Raleigh Sprite 27. It's not perfect, and I was off to a rough start getting it going, but the price was right, it looks great and most importantly it actually fits my ridiculous body.


Prior to this, I hadn't touched a bike in almost 20 years. I still have a long way to go as far as conditioning, but I feel like I could use higher gearing. The small chain ring hasn't been touched, and I rarely drop below the 3 highest gears. On straights and especially descents I feel like the bike just tops out way too early. So I went on ebay and found a 52t to replace the 49t large chain ring, as well as a Suntour Winner 13-22 freewheel. I believe the Raleigh currently has the original 14-34 freewheel installed, and 49/40 in the front. Is this too drastic a jump? Am I about to render my only means of transportation unusable? I will at the very least probably have to get my front derailleur working with this setup.


On a sort of related note, how much chain slippage would be considered normal when climbing/pedaling hard on the higher gears? I don't think I could consider myself to be a particularly strong rider, so I'm inclined to believe this is down to a combination of bad technique and the condition of the bike when I bought it, plus drivetrain damage sustained early on when I really had no clue what I was doing. The chain does seem to skip a lot, though, and I can't really put much force into the highest couple of gears unless I'm on totally flat or downhill terrain. I should probably just downshift and pedal faster, but that just feels much less natural to me.


Thanks in advance for any insights
Nervous_Jerboa is offline  
Likes For Nervous_Jerboa:
Old 09-15-22, 09:24 PM
  #2  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 16,741

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Srewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3628 Post(s)
Liked 2,574 Times in 1,613 Posts
Chain skipping in the higher effort cogs on an older bike when used by a rider who wants higher effort gearing usually means that those cogs are worn out, and the chain likely too. Replacing the OEM parts with new and higher ratios combos will likely solve the skipping issue for a while, until these new parts wear.

If you want to go faster than pedal faster. A simple solution but one that eludes so many riders. Learning to do this will result in a few benefits like easier shifting, quicker acceleration. less wear on the smaller cogs and chain. But changing how our bodies perform takes far much more than $ and willingness to go slower for a while.

As to how much chain slippage is considered acceptable- zero for this rider. Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Likes For Andrew R Stewart:
Old 09-15-22, 10:36 PM
  #3  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,458

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4606 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 472 Times in 316 Posts
As Andrew noted, the secret is peddling faster vs pushing harder.

That said, 49/14 is not a very high high. Most road bikes today top out with a 53/11 or 12, so your ideas aren't unreasonable.

You don't need to worry about the change because you'll still have gears comparable to what you have now. Just make sure you'll still have what you need at the low end.

Be sure to budget for a new chain when you make the changes.
FBinNY is offline  
Likes For FBinNY:
Old 09-15-22, 10:46 PM
  #4  
Bill Kapaun
Really Old Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 13,251

Bikes: 87 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1546 Post(s)
Liked 843 Times in 608 Posts
IS your seat set to the proper height?
Too low will reduce your cadence AND strain your knees (more).
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Old 09-15-22, 11:03 PM
  #5  
Antifriction
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 63
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked 21 Times in 15 Posts
New top gear is up 14% - basically adding one gear above what you had. So, no worries - now you'll be staying in your top 4 gears.
Antifriction is offline  
Old 09-16-22, 01:48 PM
  #6  
oldbobcat
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 3,791

Bikes: '79 Gios, '80 Masi, '06 Felt, early '60s Frejus

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 297 Post(s)
Liked 241 Times in 184 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
As Andrew noted, the secret is peddling faster vs pushing harder.

That said, 49/14 is not a very high high. Most road bikes today top out with a 53/11 or 12, so your ideas aren't unreasonable.

.
Most road cyclists don't shift into a 53/11 or 53/12 until they're going at least 33 mph.

Chain skipping is not normal, period. It indicates bad rear derailleur adjustment or alignment, a worn chain, a worn rear cluster, a worn chainring, a chain that's too long, or any combination of the preceeding. I suggest you do some research on what needs fixing before fiddling around with your gear ratios.
oldbobcat is offline  
Old 09-16-22, 01:51 PM
  #7  
Iride01 
Plz hurry Dec 22!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,879

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4855 Post(s)
Liked 3,382 Times in 2,344 Posts
Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
Most road cyclists don't shift into a 53/11 or 53/12 until they're going at least 33 mph.
Really?

I guess I'm doing it wrong. I'm in the 53/11 well before that. Or I use to be, I only have a 52/36 on the front right now, but have been considering going back to a 53/39 on the front.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 09-16-22, 02:55 PM
  #8  
oldbobcat
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 3,791

Bikes: '79 Gios, '80 Masi, '06 Felt, early '60s Frejus

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 297 Post(s)
Liked 241 Times in 184 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Really?

I guess I'm doing it wrong. I'm in the 53/11 well before that. Or I use to be, I only have a 52/36 on the front right now, but have been considering going back to a 53/39 on the front.
Yes, really. Your legs will be much happier with less gearing and more cadence giving you less wear and tear on the knee and hip joints and less deoxygenated blood pooling in the capillaries, which leads to less cramping and less bulky, more supple leg muscles. Your pants will fit better. And it will give you the torque to needed overcome changes in incline or wind velocity without stalling out your cadence or downshifting all the time.

My main bike tops out with a 50/11, which is about the same as 53/12. It never gets used unless I intend to go faster than 32. I'm old now, which means i spin that out at around 45-46 mph. But if I'm spent at 32, I stay on the 12. Pros use 53/11s and 54/11s now, for sprint trains, downhill downwind pacelines, and accelerating out of corners on alpine passes. Eddy Merckx never used anything larger than a 53/13 unless he was behind a motor. That was before sprint trains, and his maximum cadence was clocked at something like 180 rpm. But even if you're mortal and peak out at 140, you should find a cruising cadence in the 80-100 rpm range.
oldbobcat is offline  
Old 09-16-22, 02:58 PM
  #9  
Iride01 
Plz hurry Dec 22!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,879

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4855 Post(s)
Liked 3,382 Times in 2,344 Posts
No, but you don't have to be accelerating to enjoy having the 53/11 gear. Once one has gotten to the speed you want to maintain then one can push the 53/11 at a comfortable resting cadance (for me) of 70 RPM and about 25 or 26 MPH. And since many of the places I'm doing that are ever so slight negative inclines the effects of slight grade changes along the way. Same for going down hill on any grade, I prefer to pedal over coasting and the higher ratio gives me some resistance to my legs to feel whether I'm actually helping my speed or not. If I only had a 50/11 I'd probably coast more.

If I wanted to accelerate then I wouldn't be in the 53/11 till I got over about 37 mph when on the flatter parts of a ride.


However the 53 or even a 52 might be too much for the OP's current physical condition and current terrain needs. We really should wait for more info instead of arguing what works best for ourselves.

Last edited by Iride01; 09-16-22 at 03:05 PM.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 09-16-22, 03:22 PM
  #10  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,458

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4606 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 472 Times in 316 Posts
To the OP -

There is a lot of legitimate debate about optimal gearing and cadence, but while there's plenty to learn, DO NOT let that dissuade you from doing what you want or need now.

As you gain be strength and experience, things will change and you'll adjust accordingly.

Last edited by FBinNY; 09-18-22 at 02:30 PM.
FBinNY is offline  
Likes For FBinNY:
Old 09-17-22, 05:45 AM
  #11  
alexk_il
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 161
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 105 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by Nervous_Jerboa View Post
Hi all, about 8 months ago I replaced my car with a vintage road bike and it's been a blast. What started as about a 2 mile daily commute is now closer to 20 miles a day, mostly through Boston and Cambridge. Against the advice of several forum members I did go with a 70s Raleigh Sprite 27. It's not perfect, and I was off to a rough start getting it going, but the price was right, it looks great and most importantly it actually fits my ridiculous body.


Prior to this, I hadn't touched a bike in almost 20 years. I still have a long way to go as far as conditioning, but I feel like I could use higher gearing. The small chain ring hasn't been touched, and I rarely drop below the 3 highest gears. On straights and especially descents I feel like the bike just tops out way too early. So I went on ebay and found a 52t to replace the 49t large chain ring, as well as a Suntour Winner 13-22 freewheel. I believe the Raleigh currently has the original 14-34 freewheel installed, and 49/40 in the front. Is this too drastic a jump? Am I about to render my only means of transportation unusable? I will at the very least probably have to get my front derailleur working with this setup.


On a sort of related note, how much chain slippage would be considered normal when climbing/pedaling hard on the higher gears? I don't think I could consider myself to be a particularly strong rider, so I'm inclined to believe this is down to a combination of bad technique and the condition of the bike when I bought it, plus drivetrain damage sustained early on when I really had no clue what I was doing. The chain does seem to skip a lot, though, and I can't really put much force into the highest couple of gears unless I'm on totally flat or downhill terrain. I should probably just downshift and pedal faster, but that just feels much less natural to me.


Thanks in advance for any insights
Not sure what your budgets are and if your bike allows it, upgraded my gears to 11-42t on the back and 40/24t on the front. All works smooth, even the scariest hills are easy now.
alexk_il is offline  
Old 09-17-22, 10:49 AM
  #12  
KerryIrons
Full Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 459
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 220 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 231 Times in 140 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
That said, 49/14 is not a very high high.
It's 27 mph at 100 rpm. Do you think this rider is EVER hitting that? He just needs to learn how to pedal faster, and after making sure he knows how to correctly line up the rear derailleur to be sure it isn't just poor shifting technique, to replace the chain and freewheel.
KerryIrons is offline  
Old 09-17-22, 11:19 AM
  #13  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 5,401

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1794 Post(s)
Liked 1,917 Times in 1,182 Posts
The skipping has been addressed by others. I would think the new freewheel will address that, along with a new chain.

As for the gearing, I’m pretty sure the OP has a true 10 speed bike, as in a 5 speed freewheel.

I believe that a 13t is the smallest you can get, I know that there were a few 12t freewheels, but I thought they came along later in the 80’s.

I don’t see an issue with going to a 52t (52/40) and the 13-22 freewheel. Clean the housings and use new cables, adjust the FD and you should be set.

John

Edit added: If you are getting a 30+ year old NOS 5 speed Suntour freewheel, you should probably lube it first. It has been too many years but I used to periodically remove the cogs, soak the freewheel body, let it dry and drip oil through it.

I would guess that someone familiar with your winter weather can expand on this.

Last edited by 70sSanO; 09-17-22 at 11:31 AM.
70sSanO is offline  
Old 09-17-22, 11:34 AM
  #14  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,458

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4606 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 472 Times in 316 Posts
Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
It's 27 mph at 100 rpm. Do you think this rider is EVER hitting that? He just needs to learn how to pedal faster, and after making sure he knows how to correctly line up the rear derailleur to be sure it isn't just poor shifting technique, to replace the chain and freewheel.
This isn't an argument, simply a difference in worldview. FWIW- some 50 years ago I set up my old 10s (2x5) with a 51/15 high gear. It was more than adequate 99% of the time, and the few times I ran out of RPM it was in conditions where I might as well be coasting. So we're not in disagreement on gearing philosophy.

That said, the OP's current high gear is roughly 25% lower than what's been standard OEM for 30 years or so. The OP came here stating that he is only using the top three gears for his 2 to 20 mile commute, and asking for technical (mechanical) advice about going to higher gearing. Given that he now only has a 3-speed (effectively) it's not an unreasonable question.

Yes, in the long term the OP can, should, and might increase his cadence to where his current setup id fine, but that's not today or even next month. Nor is it it necessary for casual riders, to ever develop high cadence for the amount of riding they actually do. I suspect that a cadence ranging from 60-80 would put the OP in a high percentile among riders at his level.

So, (here's the worldview issue) when riders come to the bicycle mechanics forum looking for practical, mechanically sound methods of getting their bicycles working, or adapted to their (perceived) needs, we should try to provide that info, rather than lectures about how they NEED to improve their cycling technique. Doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't suggest the related stuff, just that we need to respect them at their current level, and answer the question asked.

It's been my experience that newer riders get stronger before they get faster. That means they'll be pushing relatively higher gears for a while as they progress and mature in cycling skills. If their bicycles don't suit them at their current level, it's a tossup whether they'll put in the effort to improve or simply quit altogether. If we don't help them to enjoy cycling now (however they do it) they won't stay around to improve in the future.

Last edited by FBinNY; 09-17-22 at 12:26 PM.
FBinNY is offline  
Likes For FBinNY:
Old 09-17-22, 02:14 PM
  #15  
Nervous_Jerboa
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I've just had another look at my current setup and it doesn't look like there's too much wear on the cogs themselves. I think the chain itself may be pretty rough. It was constantly slipping off and getting wedged in the frame for the first several weeks I had the bike. In the process of adjusting the rear derailleur, I probably messed up the B-screw setting. It's a Suntour Vista 4532. Maybe the main issue with skipping is that it's just too far from the freewheel?

I'm still waiting on the last of the drivetrain components to start swapping everything over
Nervous_Jerboa is offline  
Old 09-18-22, 12:45 PM
  #16  
alcjphil
Senior Member
 
alcjphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 5,300
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1530 Post(s)
Liked 1,205 Times in 716 Posts
Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I believe that a 13t is the smallest you can get, I know that there were a few 12t freewheels, but I thought they came along later in the 80’s.

.
This is true, but very rare for a 5 speed freewheel. I have a Limongi that currently has a 12-26 Sachs Aris 7 speed freewheel and have owned numerous 6 speed freewheels with 13 tooth small cogs. 14 teeth is the most common size for the small cog on 5 speed freewheels
alcjphil is offline  
Likes For alcjphil:
Old 09-18-22, 12:58 PM
  #17  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,458

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4606 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 472 Times in 316 Posts
Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
This is true, but very rare for a 5 speed freewheel.....
Yes. Very rare indeed, almost like hen's teeth. 5s freewheels are limited by the diameter of the body, so 13t is the limit.

With the advent of 6s the last sprocket was hung from it's neighbor, making 12t possible.

Reaching back to the farthest, darkest parts of my memory, Regina made 5s freewheels with more compact bodies, hanging the last 5s position, but I don't believe they ever made a 12t for it.
FBinNY is offline  
Likes For FBinNY:
Old 09-18-22, 01:03 PM
  #18  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 5,401

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1794 Post(s)
Liked 1,917 Times in 1,182 Posts
Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
This is true, but very rare for a 5 speed freewheel. I have a Limongi that currently has a 12-26 Sachs Aris 7 speed freewheel and have owned numerous 6 speed freewheels with 13 tooth small cogs. 14 teeth is the most common size for the small cog on 5 speed freewheels
I agree that a 12t 5 speed freewheel would be rare, or even non-existent.

I’m not even sure about 12t 6 speed freewheel although Sachs might have made one since the 1st position cog threads onto the 2nd position cog.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Likes For 70sSanO:
Old 09-18-22, 01:28 PM
  #19  
holytrousers
hoppipola
 
holytrousers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 401

Bikes: fausto coppi

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 153 Posts
Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
Yes, really. Your legs will be much happier with less gearing and more cadence giving you less wear and tear on the knee and hip joints and less deoxygenated blood pooling in the capillaries, which leads to less cramping and less bulky, more supple leg muscles. Your pants will fit better. And it will give you the torque to needed overcome changes in incline or wind velocity without stalling out your cadence or downshifting all the time.

My main bike tops out with a 50/11, which is about the same as 53/12. It never gets used unless I intend to go faster than 32. I'm old now, which means i spin that out at around 45-46 mph. But if I'm spent at 32, I stay on the 12. Pros use 53/11s and 54/11s now, for sprint trains, downhill downwind pacelines, and accelerating out of corners on alpine passes. Eddy Merckx never used anything larger than a 53/13 unless he was behind a motor. That was before sprint trains, and his maximum cadence was clocked at something like 180 rpm. But even if you're mortal and peak out at 140, you should find a cruising cadence in the 80-100 rpm range.
I started with an average cadence of 65 rpm, now i'm comfortable at 95 rpm. Are there any benefits to increase that cadence ? I can't sustain a cadence of 115 rpm for more than a couple of minutes. Are there techniques to increase that amount besides repetition ? should i aim at increasing the upper limit and my average will follow, or should i just aim at slowly increasing my average cadence ?
holytrousers is offline  
Old 09-18-22, 02:04 PM
  #20  
Bill Kapaun
Really Old Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 13,251

Bikes: 87 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1546 Post(s)
Liked 843 Times in 608 Posts
Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
I started with an average cadence of 65 rpm, now i'm comfortable at 95 rpm. Are there any benefits to increase that cadence ? I can't sustain a cadence of 115 rpm for more than a couple of minutes. Are there techniques to increase that amount besides repetition ? should i aim at increasing the upper limit and my average will follow, or should i just aim at slowly increasing my average cadence ?
I wouldn't tell a total stranger what they should do.
Everybody is different, so using specific numbers for cadence & gearing simply may not apply.
I'm 74 and simply could never come close to cadence numbers posted even when in my "prime". My knees simply wouldn't do it.
I can't use a crank longer than 165mm. My knees tell me that. The shorter the crank (up to a point) the faster you can spin. I've tried 160mm, but that's just too short and probably only gained me 2-3 RPM.

Try the same route using different gears & cadences and see what works best.
I did find that upping my cadence "some", using a slightly lower gear increased my STAMINA noticeably vs "mashing". On "longer" rides I got from point A to B faster. Kind of a hare/tortoise scenario. My cadence is way low compared to what people claim works best. Maybe if you're a professional racer or??
You have to remember to enjoy the ride vs "not". Isn't that the point?
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Old 09-18-22, 02:21 PM
  #21  
Nervous_Jerboa
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I was about to reply that I had seen some 12t 5 speed freewheels on Ebay because I almost bought one. Then I went back and actually counted the teeth on those listings.
Nervous_Jerboa is offline  
Old 09-18-22, 02:26 PM
  #22  
alcjphil
Senior Member
 
alcjphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 5,300
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1530 Post(s)
Liked 1,205 Times in 716 Posts
Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
I started with an average cadence of 65 rpm, now i'm comfortable at 95 rpm. Are there any benefits to increase that cadence ? I can't sustain a cadence of 115 rpm for more than a couple of minutes. Are there techniques to increase that amount besides repetition ? should i aim at increasing the upper limit and my average will follow, or should i just aim at slowly increasing my average cadence ?
I am going to give an anecdote: Years ago I did an exceptional bike event, the Rideau Lakes bike tour It is a 2 day event that involved an out and back 180 km per day ride. The first day, going west we had an uncharacteristic tailwind. Great day, we had time to stop off for a beer in a Kingston tavern and greet incoming riders.
The next morning we set off with another tailwind with a strong group of riders. Along the way we overtook a guy from our cycling club we knew as "Big Jim" He hooked up with us. We were doing a continuous double pace line. I was ahead of "Big Jim" on the pace side of the line, but he was swinging in front of me on the relief side of the line. I swear to this day that when he moved if front of me that my ears popped from the reduced air pressure. To the point: we were riding very fast. "Big Jim" simply couldn't turn his pedals fast enough to keep up no matter what gear he used. Some people are simply unable to maintain high cadences
alcjphil is offline  
Likes For alcjphil:
Old 09-18-22, 11:00 PM
  #23  
oldbobcat
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 3,791

Bikes: '79 Gios, '80 Masi, '06 Felt, early '60s Frejus

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 297 Post(s)
Liked 241 Times in 184 Posts
Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
I started with an average cadence of 65 rpm, now i'm comfortable at 95 rpm. Are there any benefits to increase that cadence ? I can't sustain a cadence of 115 rpm for more than a couple of minutes. Are there techniques to increase that amount besides repetition ? should i aim at increasing the upper limit and my average will follow, or should i just aim at slowly increasing my average cadence ?
Think about your goals. When I was racing, especially early on, I tried to maintain around 100, and I'd work on holding bursts up to 150 for a couple minutes. Cadence drills are helpful and fun, such as city-line sprints in the small ring. Another drill a buddy and I used to do was "reverse paceline." Hammering along, instead of the rider in front pulling off and slowing, the guy in back would pull out and motor to the front without changing gears. That was just for the two of us. But the bulk of it was just matching cadence with a guy in front who had more experience, and periodically checking against our watches--count strokes for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. This was before bike computers. My computers still don't have cadence sensors, so I still do that.

Along the way I got longer cranks, which dropped my cadence a little, but my climbing improved. I've been a 90-95 rpm cruiser for around 40 years. I'm no longer training for anything. Just trying to stay fit and trim and save my knees. Right now I'm semi-lame and in PT because of a fly fishing accident.

I look at cadence like IQ points. They don't necessarily make you smarter/faster, but you can increase them through training, and once you have them you'll find a use for them. Think of this--you increased your theoretical top speed by 46 percent without buying a new chainring.
oldbobcat is offline  
Likes For oldbobcat:
Old 09-19-22, 12:41 PM
  #24  
oldbobcat
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 3,791

Bikes: '79 Gios, '80 Masi, '06 Felt, early '60s Frejus

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 297 Post(s)
Liked 241 Times in 184 Posts
Originally Posted by Nervous_Jerboa View Post
I was about to reply that I had seen some 12t 5 speed freewheels on Ebay because I almost bought one. Then I went back and actually counted the teeth on those listings.
I remember a 13-18 5-cog "corncob" that I used to save for race day, After that it was 6-cog SunTour New Winners, and then I extended my axles to work with 7-cogs. 13 was always the smallest cog for these, The first documented use of a 12 might have been the one Claude Criquelion machined for himself to facilitate a downwind escape. I think it was Fleche Wallone in 1985.
oldbobcat is offline  
Old 09-19-22, 12:48 PM
  #25  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,458

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4606 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 472 Times in 316 Posts
Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
I remember a 13-18 5-cog "corncob" that I used to save for race day, After that it was 6-cog SunTour New Winners, and then I extended my axles to work with 7-cogs. 13 was always the smallest cog for these, The first documented use of a 12 might have been the one Claude Criquelion machined for himself to facilitate a downwind escape. I think it was Fleche Wallone in 1985.
FWIW, both Regina and ST Winners offered 7s 12t freewheels. This was possible with a stepped 2nd position sprocket that brought the diameter down enough.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.