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What Sort of Gearing Works Best for your Needs?

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What Sort of Gearing Works Best for your Needs?

Old 11-25-20, 06:29 PM
  #76  
Maelochs
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Hopefully @Moisture will not take offense at @base2 since base2 has a lot of gym experience ... but seriously .... they guy bounces when he spins his Mismatched cranks ....

Base2 took the time to explain in greater detail what the rest of us have been saying. I hope you won't ignore it, Moisture ... but after a while people cease to care when other people cease to listen.

Check @tomato coupe's post #69. probably not the way you intended to be perceived, eh?

I know you aren't being a troll here, but you seem to have too sensitive an ego for internet conversation. As I keep saying ... don't take it all so seriously.

Also ... people are not here to agree with you, but almost everyone here is eager to help you. We all love cycling and like to help other cyclists develop to greater levels of cycling enjoyment. No one is trying to belittle you ... but a lot of us started where you started and learned stuff.

If you already know everything, please excuse me, because I do not. But you did come here asking questions.
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Old 11-25-20, 07:25 PM
  #77  
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A few Summers ago, I kept track of the gear ratios I used the most.
Found I most often rode in gearing combinations that were approximately 36, 48 and 64 gear inch.
So a 32 mm 622 tire, 39 T chain ring and a 9 speed 12x36 cassette - was the most pragmatic set up.
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Old 11-25-20, 08:24 PM
  #78  
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Road bike- 50/34, 11/40
Yes, 11/40 cassette on a road bike. I live in Thailand.
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Old 11-26-20, 06:53 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Although not a body builder, I too have spent a lot of time in the gym. Lots (& lots) of barbell squats, clean & jerks, farmers carry, pull up shrugs, & of course the always popular incline/decline/military presses, seated rows, etc... Lifting the stack on hamstring curls was always fun just for show

So, I know a thing or two, too.

Your crank arms are 3% different, (170 vs 175 mm) but your body is moreorless symmetrical. This is like adding an extra 3 to 6 pounds to only one side of your barbell in a bench press. It's no wonder you feel like you are bouncing off the seat at anything other than a grind. Your left & right sides are doing different work.

Not to poo-poo mis-matched crank arms it is often erronously recommended to people with leg length disparities to level out the hips in a static state as in a photograph or linear motion, or whatever. But the proper fix for that is in shims in the shoes & blocks at the pedal so each leg does the same amount of work (force x distance) in the same a dynamic circular motion. Same work, (force x distance around circle) same x & y planes, one foot 5mm higher in z axis.

Ok, having solved that & getting you the same length crank arms...& 175 is probably closer to the right length than not for your nearly 35 inch inseam, there is a whole host of different physiological adaptions that occure in cycling that are different that that of body building. Not the least of which is the favored use of slow-twitch muscle fibers.

Weight lifting tends to favor lactate producing & generally wasteful fast-twitch muscle fibers. Their specialty is explosive power for short durations & then the body is left with ample time to process the metabolites of energy production before the next bout. That is why that guy sits on the bench press bench for 10 minutes between sets. He's tired & recovering while his body looks for a way to deal with waste. Simply put: Fast-twitch are the less efficient muscle fiber.

Cycling on the other hand favors slow-twitch muscle fibers. Slow twitch fibers are your high efficiency, endurance muscle cells. They produce much less lactate & have much greater mitochondrial development to reduce & reuse the metabolites of energy production and as such will not deplete as readily & will recover more quickly than the explosive power variety that is fast-twitch.

Cycling also creates longer times at higher sustained lactate levels than could ever be achieved in a gym. This causes mitochondrial adaption. Mitochondrial adaption means a greater ability to reprocess waste metabolites back into useable fuel for energy production. In short, you'll be able to ride your bike longer at higher output with less cramping.

What does this mean? It means a new way to get strong. That is all.

A low cadence grind is a body builder/speed skater/untrained cyclist method.

Sorting out the crank arms will at least get you to square one. Then from there, you can focus on training the slow twitch & forcing mitochondrial adaption with situational appropriate cadences.

I'm sorry people on the forum jumped on you. As a former gym-rat myself, it was quite humbling to realize 45 pound plates & large dumbells didn't necessarily equal strength & I wasn't nearly as fit or as strong as I thought. I could lift heavy things, but the bike resulted in doing a lot more work.
Thank you for writing out this detailed post. You've made some incredibly useful points with regards to type 1 vs type 2 muscle fibres as well as lactic acid buildup, which tends to result in quite a brutal burn when doing hard leg training.

I noticed I was actually bouncing around quite a lot on the saddle when riding my old GT mountain bike. It had equal 170mm crank arms on each side.

I will replace my 175 arm with a 170 this weekend. The difference is marginal, and I would have never noticed at all if I didn't look at the lengths stamped on the inside of the crank arms. I think, that more than 5mm difference would be much more unreasonable, even as a temporary solution.

As for bouncing around in the saddle, I found that I was doing that often due to insufficient gearing on my mountain bike for pavement use which was causing me to spin faster than what I would consider to be reasonably efficient. My suspension seatpost wasn't helping. The road bike helped a lot, but what really stopped the bouncing was the addition of the biopace crankset which I am actually enjoying. These chainrings certainly did lower my average cadence by about 10 rpm per minute. On my average ride, I am for roughly 65-70 RPM regardless whether I am doing up or down a hill.

I am not saying that I am being ignorant to the superior levels of cycling knowledge which you all possess over me, and I absolutely am not letting my ego get in the way - for i would not be still participating and trying to learn if this were the case. I will try to get a friend to quickly film me cycling at my typical pace and upload it to YouTube for you guys sometime this week.

however, there is no denying that everyone has a varying degree of slow versus fast twitch muscle fibers, and while many of us tend to fall in between somewhere, more muscular examples of the latter are able to crank out a similar level of power at a subjectively lower cadence without excessively tiring out in a relatively short period of time.

Should I try to increase my pedalling cadence, use a lower gear and focus more on cardiovascular endurance based training? Definetely. But with my current crankset i am very motivated to maintain a specific cadence which doesn't work that well when you pedal higher than that.
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Old 11-26-20, 11:14 AM
  #80  
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There is a training concept called a warmup. Valid for bikes as for anything. Does anyone still do them?

Basic bike warmup would be pedaling loose and quick on flat ground for twenty or thirty minutes. That is where you will learn to pedal at a higher cadence against little resistance. In my memory every club ride everywhere began with a warmup, some clubs formally prescribed a maximum gear for the warmup. Beyond the physical benefits of a warmup, everybody doing the same thing helped establish group cohesion.

If you have decided in advance there is such a thing as “insane cadence”, to quote the OP well upthread, the conclusion has been written in advance.

The lumpy pedaling and saddle rocking has to be fixed first. Nothing will be accomplished if different length cranks sabotage everything.

When Biopace was introduced and included as OEM on large numbers of new bikes very few riders wanted to keep them. As a guess, less than 1% replaced worn-out rings with new Biopace. The newer versions of non-round seem to do better, but then everyone who uses them had to make an aftermarket decision to try them. Against that is roughly 130 years of satisfaction with round rings.
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Old 11-26-20, 12:14 PM
  #81  
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned here, but was said in the video I linked to before, is that as your power outpot grows, so will your cadence. I can attest there is truth to that; although I don' own/use a power meter, I have obseved my preferred cadence go up by 5-10 rpm after a year or two of regular riding (significantly raising the mileage), without any conscious effort to spin higher cadences. That said, I'd still qualify as a masher, my preffered cadence is around 75-80 rpm.

Crank lengths affect it too: I have switched between 175mm to 170mm and back to 175mm. The difference may seem small, but it is noticeable: with the shorter cranks the torque delivered by my legs went slightly down, and to compensate that I found myself spinning a lower gear at higher cadences (~5rpm difference), while the speed and also the endurance stayed about the same. Going back to 175mm the change was less noticeable, but that's probably because the gearing also changed along with the new crankset.
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Old 11-26-20, 12:31 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
One thing that hasn't been mentioned here, but was said in the video I linked to before, is that as your power outpot grows, so will your cadence. I can attest there is truth to that; although I don' own/use a power meter, I have obseved my preferred cadence go up by 5-10 rpm after a year or two of regular riding (significantly raising the mileage), without any conscious effort to spin higher cadences. That said, I'd still qualify as a masher, my preffered cadence is around 75-80 rpm.
I don't think your cadence increased because your power increased – they both increased because you rode more.
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Old 11-26-20, 12:35 PM
  #83  
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Right , OK, will see how the bike feels after I switch out the left crank arm.

I feel quite efficient on this bike. There really is practically no bouncing, especially compared to other bikes I have been riding.
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Old 11-26-20, 12:45 PM
  #84  
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What would be efficiency? Most distance for calories expended? Speed for calories expended?
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Old 11-26-20, 01:00 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
What would be efficiency? Most distance for calories expended? Speed for calories expended?
The only accepted definition by physiologists is work produced per energy consumed.
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Old 11-26-20, 01:50 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
What would be efficiency? Most distance for calories expended? Speed for calories expended?
Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
The only accepted definition by physiologists is work produced per energy consumed.
Yep.

It's the minimization of energy loss as the energy is transformed from one state to another. Same way that a furnace's energy rating is measured, essentially.

See The Second Law of Thermodynamics.
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Old 11-26-20, 07:45 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
How often do you go below 32/26? Towards 22/34?
Lately, more so for steeper, slow climbs instead of granny gearing it. I can only think of one extraordinairy hill that might require 22/34 out of me. On my daily 15 miler, not once below 32/26.

On the outbound trip today, I used 32/26, maintaining 7 mph, on the part where Tanner turns left onto East Ave. Google Maps

If not for being a cheap pragmatist, and wannabee tourer, a double would be fine.

Last edited by Digger Goreman; 11-27-20 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Correct information and add link.
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Old 11-26-20, 09:21 PM
  #88  
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Road: 53/39, 11-30
TT: 54 and 12-25 flat, 56 and 11-28 hills.
Gravel/cross: 40 1x, 12-32
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Old 11-29-20, 09:47 AM
  #89  
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Very few cyclists will ever use fast twitch muscle. At all. Fast twitch is sprints, explosive power. What passes for sprints in the non-racing world is just slow windups.

Mark out a 200 meter course. Give yourself a flying start. When you can do 200 in 12 seconds I will believe you have found your fast twitch. Don’t have a racing bike? Fine. Give yourself 12.5. On a 90s hardtail MTB 13 seconds will do. At 14 or 15 seconds you are just cruising.

With any gearing normally found on a bicycle even a 15 second cruise will be wholly impossible if slogging along at 65rpm.

How would a complete novice have any idea what efficiency felt like? Someone who doesn’t even notice different length cranks? There are a handful of people who are just naturals, they are born with everything it takes to be efficient on a bike. Everybody else efficiency is a project that lasts a lifetime.

Last edited by 63rickert; 11-29-20 at 09:50 AM. Reason: Correct autospell
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Old 11-29-20, 10:02 AM
  #90  
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Depends on what bike I'm riding, where I'm going, and why I'm riding it.
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Old 11-29-20, 10:41 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Could anyone benefit from having an 11t cog as the final gear?
What are your opinions on 11 12 vs 14?
You're not going to find a 11 or 12 cog 5 speed freewheel, 13 is about as small as they come to fit your bike.

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Old 11-29-20, 02:48 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Very few cyclists will ever use fast twitch muscle. At all. Fast twitch is sprints, explosive power. What passes for sprints in the non-racing world is just slow windups.
All muscle fiber types are recruited at all levels of exertion. The ratio will change with intensity, force, and fatigue, but there is magic point where type II fibers go from totally inactive to suddenly being used.
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Old 11-29-20, 03:48 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
All muscle fiber types are recruited at all levels of exertion. The ratio will change with intensity, force, and fatigue, but there is magic point where type II fibers go from totally inactive to suddenly being used.
It does not take a lot of sprinting to completely deplete available supply of ATP. When the tank is empty it is obvious. Couple fibers here and there firing off, sure that happens, so what?

If if you were ever in a sprint and saw type II fibers kicking in you would sing a different tune. Most around real sprinters the first time have no idea what is happening. Oh yeah, it is sudden and it looks for all the world like magic. The two types of fiber are very different and what they do is very different. That is why we call them two types.

Last edited by 63rickert; 11-29-20 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Autospell error
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Old 11-29-20, 03:53 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
The two types of fiber are very different and what they do is very different. That is why we call them two types.
You say the two types fo fibers are very different, Well, I agree they are different, but have no idea what your threshold is for "very." On the other hand, I know what they do is not very different. In fact, what all muscle fibers do is exactly the same: they shorten.
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Old 11-29-20, 04:42 PM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
You say the two types fo fibers are very different, Well, I agree they are different, but have no idea what your threshold is for "very." On the other hand, I know what they do is not very different. In fact, what all muscle fibers do is exactly the same: they shorten.
Simple way to find out. Fast twitch works on ATP metabolism. Exhaust all ATP. Slow twitch is still working just fine. And it feels just like riding a bike. Except you can’t sprint.

’Real sprinters’ above would include ordinary club level guys who happen to be endowed with fast twitch and the temperament to make use of it. It is a different world. Most riders think that if they are working real real hard and going pretty fast they must be using fast twitch. Not at all. Maybe they are using a mix as you say and maybe they are using some significantly greater percentage. When the afterburners kick in then you see the fast twitch show. It is quite a show.
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Old 11-29-20, 04:53 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Simple way to find out. Fast twitch works on ATP metabolism. Exhaust all ATP. Slow twitch is still working just fine.
You are quite confused. Hydrolysis of ATP is just as much the energy source for type I fibers as it is for type II. If all ATP in a fiber were fully hydrolyzed, that fiber couldn't contract regardless of type.
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Old 11-29-20, 04:58 PM
  #97  
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In 1999 I rode about 6,000 miles loaded, which load included many pounds of B&W camera stuff, not to mention camping gear, etc. I was happy for my 22x34 low gear. Never walked a hill. Early during the trip the bike and gear weighed in at 90 lbs. on a truck weigh station scale.
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Old 11-29-20, 05:25 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
In 1999 I rode about 6,000 miles loaded ...
Dangerous, to say the least. Call Uber.
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Old 11-29-20, 06:04 PM
  #99  
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Right, different types of excersise will place emphasis on the two different types of muscle fibres. But both are involved.

Lately I've been focusing on a higher cadence, mainly due to wind everywhere I ride. So I'm sticking with the 40t chainring.

Im focusing on a cadence of around 75-80, which i take is still relatively low.

I'll try doing a 200m sprint and see how long it takes me just for fun 63rickert is it done on pavement? Or can I do it on a gravel 400m track?

I dont see much point in doing so, because the point of cycling is long distance endurance. But I do find myself using short bursts of energy often to keep up in traffic and what not.

Will have toget a video of me pedalling for you guys sometime soon.
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Old 11-29-20, 06:19 PM
  #100  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Dangerous, to say the least. Call Uber.
There was an alcoholic in the group who would sometimes ride drunk.
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