Why does a bike need so many speeds? Or how to keep the knees of a novice cyclist
Many novice cyclists, choosing a bike, do not know why they need a lot of speeds. Sometimes, when buying a bike, beginners are guided by the principle: “the more speeds. the better!”.
However, this is not always the case, and for a beginner bike biker, a large number of speeds is not always justified. When riding a bicycle, it is important to be able to use the speeds correctly, to be able to switch them in time so as not to break the switching mechanisms and not damage the chain. In addition, you need to know how to pedal correctly to keep your knees and legs safe and sound.!
The number of bike speeds determines the type of bike and the way it is ridden. At the moment, there are many different types of bicycles with different numbers of speeds. Each has its own purpose for driving on different tracks and road surfaces.
In modern bicycles, there can be from 6 to 33 speeds. The number of gears depends on the number of leading and driven stars on it.
It is very easy to find out the number of speeds of a bicycle. it is enough to multiply the number of chainrings by the number of rear ones, and we get the desired value. So, for example, if there are 3 stars in front and 8 stars in the back, then the bike has only 24 speeds. Typically, advanced sportbikes are fitted with cassettes with a minimum number of 10 stars. Newbie bikes are usually equipped with 3 stars at the front and 7-9 stars at the rear.
How to properly switch speeds (gears)
Gears & Shifting 101: 3 Speed vs. 7 Speed
To prevent the chain and gearshift system from becoming unusable ahead of time, it is important for a beginner to learn how to change gears correctly.
While riding a bicycle, I often see a picture: a beginner cyclist climbs a mountain, desperately trying to pedal in high gear, or vice versa rolls down a descent in a low gear, barely having time to rotate them. This type of riding not only leads to early wear of the corresponding body kit, but can also cause injuries and “killing” the knees.
To learn how to switch gears correctly, first of all, you need to know the simple technical rules of driving:
- the small star in front is for climbing, the steeper the climb, the lower the gear should be. First, it’s much easier to pedal this way and your legs don’t get so tired. Secondly, the likelihood of rapid wear and tear of the transmission decreases significantly;
- a large sprocket is needed for driving at high speeds and driving at a uniform speed on descents;
- the middle sprocket (if any) is usually used for leisurely cycling trips without significant acceleration.
Having dealt with the stars, you should remember how to work with the switches:
- the chain must not be skewed when driving. This means that it is necessary to monitor the chain tension evenly. The chainring and chainring combination must be in a straight line. Thus, a large chainring works in tandem with large diameter rear stars, and a small chainring with small ones. The same goes for the middle star;
- gears should be shifted only when the pedals are rotating, and you should not press hard on them so that the chain tension at the moment of shifting is not critical;
- you can not switch or click the speeds when idle, i.e. when the bike is stationary. This can lead to damage to the mechanism;
- simultaneous switching of speeds with the right and left derailleur is also undesirable, this can cause the chain to jam;
- it is important to regularly lubricate the chain and make sure that there is no dirt in its mechanism and small objects do not get stuck;
- gears should be shifted smoothly and evenly, alternately shifting from low gears to high gears.
How to protect your knees on bike rides. Cadence
Please note that derailleur and chain life and safe cycling depend not only on how well the bike rider uses the mechanism, but also on cadence.
Cadence is a value that characterizes the number of pedal revolutions per unit of time (based on the minute).
How to use the gears on your bike properly / How to use your bicycle
- the weight of the bike and bike;
- type of pedals;
- driving style;
- pavement quality and slope;
A cadence of 80 to 100 rpm is considered normal for the average bike rider. However, it can be difficult for beginners to fit into this norm, so beginners can keep their cadence at 60-70 rpm.
As a general rule, there are three types of cadence:
- Low. when the cadence is low, but a lot of pedaling pressure is needed for normal speed. This type of rotation is unbalanced. The cyclist gets tired quickly and runs the risk of chronic diseases of the joints (knees). In addition, such driving increases the load on the heart.
- High. as you might guess. is the opposite of low, fast pedaling with little efficiency. in other words “spin fast. turtle speed.” Not as harmful as low cadence, but also unpleasant. you get tired quickly, and the effect is zero. This usually happens when the wrong gear is selected for climbing a slope or downhill.
- Optimal. Balanced, moderate rotation, in which muscle groups are correctly engaged, the risk of knee and joint damage is minimal, and the body’s energy is expended evenly. As mentioned above, a cadence of 80-100 rpm is considered optimal.
It is important to understand that the choice of the optimal pedaling speed is individual and depends primarily on the personal feelings of the cyclist. If you pedal at a certain speed and feel comfortable at the same time, for a long time there is no pain and fatigue, then this cadence is optimal for you.
Either way, feel free to experiment and try different riding styles. The main thing is not to overload your legs and knees with a low cadence, otherwise. try and you will definitely succeed!
How to use bike speeds
Many people paid attention to the number of available speeds when buying a bike, but not everyone uses them while riding. There are those who do not quite use the speeds correctly, which can lead to bike breakdown. Knowing the principles of shifting and speed combinations allows the cyclist to make the ride comfortable and efficient.
Cycling speeds (or gears) are used to provide a comfortable and efficient ride under the various factors that a cyclist encounters on a ride:
- type of road surface;
- need for acceleration.
The speed indicator is formed due to the work of the stars. rounded plates consisting of teeth on the outside, to which the chain clings. One group, larger and smaller, is located at the base of the pedals. the front ones. Another group, called rear sprockets, is on the rear wheel. The number of speeds on the bike is determined by multiplying the number of front sprockets by the rear.
By knowing how to use the speeds on the bike, the cyclist has the ability to adjust the chain tension. The force that must be applied during torsion depends on this. Less tension. less effort and more pedaling, higher tension. vice versa.
The question for the cyclist is how to use the gearshift on the bike. Directly changing speeds occurs using switches located on the steering wheel. shifters. As a rule, on the left handle there is a shifter for shifting forward gears, on the right one. for rear gears. There are two types of switches:
The first type works by rotating around its axis, the second by shifting the lever with the fingers. Rotational are considered less accurate than lever.
When shifting gears, the chain with a special hook moves to the selected sprocket, changing its tension. Usually, the forward gear consists of 1-3 stars, and the reverse gear is up to 10. The main task of changing gears is to set the most comfortable mode for movement. Making the most of your bike is the key to an efficient ride.
The gear changes on the bike are done in a specific order to keep the derailleurs working and reduce chain wear. The basic rule is that the chain should not be in a diagonal position. When changing gears, pay attention to the sounds made by the bike: if they are something that looks like a grinding, and also do not look like natural, this is a sign of improper shifting.
Bicycle sprockets are numbered from the frame: the closest sprocket to the frame is the first. The size of the front ones increases with distance from the frame, while the rear ones decrease. For the correct gear change, sprockets are used that are located opposite each other: the first with the first, the middle with the middle, the extreme with the extreme.
There are no fundamental differences in how to use the speeds on different bicycles: mountain bikes with 6, 18 speeds or 21 speeds. Below is a table that compiles data on gear shifting on a bicycle, their designation and application. The division is rather arbitrary, but the main switching principle should be observed on a bicycle with any number of speeds. the straight position of the chain.
|Forward gear||Reverse gear||Transfer type||Torsional force applied||Number of revolutions||Application|
|one||1-2||Decreased||Weak||High||Driving uphill or in strong winds|
|2||3-6||Average||Average||Average||Normal conditions, moderate driving|
|3||7-8||Increased||Strong||Low||High-speed driving on the highway|
Cycling has its own nuances, especially if it takes place in regularly changing conditions. Active use of the bike’s capabilities in the form of gear shifting will make the ride as comfortable and efficient as possible. Correct gear changes can also protect important parts from breakage and wear.