Bike gears

From MTB to road....

18 messages
25/04/2007 at 16:47
Have recently bought a road bike to get into tri from adventure racing and fell running.
I have found it a totally different experience.
I find I'm out of the saddle or in the easiest of gears even on the slightest of hills! I'm not unfit but this surely can't be right??
I live in the Lake District and its not overly flat and I am used to the hills on a MTB.
The bike has 18 gears and I have enquired about adding more but would be well over £100 and I don't have that to spare.

Any comments/ideas?
cougie    pirate
25/04/2007 at 16:52
Heather - the gears on a road bike are only a little bit higher than in an MTB. There shouldnt be that much difference in the way you climb - maybe you'd go down a sprocket or two but thats no real problem. I take it its a double chainring and 9 speed ?

You can just change the block on the back - thats prob about £20 if you are really overgeared, or maybe get a smaller chainring. Do you know how many teeth they all have ?

Tyres are hard I take it ?
25/04/2007 at 17:04
hm - maybe you're trying TOO hard?? coming off the MTB the road bike feels so much lighter and I think some people try to ride it as hard as they would need to ride a MTB to get anywhere..........but the 2 are different riding styles

25/04/2007 at 17:04
hey cougie, tyres are hard and yes its double and 9.
I will look into changing the block on the back. I took it into evens cycles and they said it would be fairly expensive to add more gears due to this that and the other.

I guess i'm used to rather a lot more gears!! I thought i was just riding like a numpty when i came to hills, i feel a lot less confident on this bike which will take some getting used to.

25/04/2007 at 17:06
hi fat buddha, you have a good point it just a case of ride and get used to it?

25/04/2007 at 17:12
could be hm - I find after a while of doing one type of riding it can take a little time to re-adjust to the other but after a while you adapt to both easily enough as you know what to expect....

cougie    pirate
25/04/2007 at 17:19
Theres nothing wrong with using easy gears. You want to work at a cadence of 80rpm or so. (everyones different though)

As FB says maybe give it a bit longer and see how you get on.
25/04/2007 at 19:23
Heather, if you've got a 9 speed cassette then you can certainly go as low as a 26 if you buy an SRAM PG950 cassette. I think you can even get a 27 but I've just had a quick look on-line and couldn't find one.

What's the biggest cog you've got at the moment?
25/04/2007 at 20:25
Count the teeth on the big sprocket at the back - if it's already 25 or more there's not much to be gained by fitting a 26 (campag) or 27 (shimano) which are the official maximums you can go to with your normal rear mech (although you could probably get away with more). In that case you would be looking at a compact front chainset at about £50 or so to make much difference. 39*25 should be sufficient for anyone reasonably fit though so I think it's just a case of getting used to it.
25/04/2007 at 22:20
thanks mister w and popsider,

ok, teeth on the big at the back = 22 so i guess i could improve on that. I was told i would need to buy new shifters that correct.

Front big is 53 and little 42.

Group set is shimano 105 front and shimano 600 rear. Shifters are 105...

I'm not at all technically minded when it comes to bikes as you can prob guess!!
25/04/2007 at 22:30
You only need new shifters, generally, if you increase the number of rings. a new block, assuming you replace a 9 ring with a 9 ring at a different set of ratios, you dont need new shifters.

Road biking is funny though, tonight for example i did a 10 mile ride, first 5 mile cadence 80-100, real struggle, average speed 10-12 mph, next 5 miles, ignored cadence, picked an easy ish gear and rode fast, average speed 15-20 mph for less effort.

You probably are throwing money away trying to change the gear set up, i might just be your riding style
25/04/2007 at 23:03
I'd go for a different cassette, which is the cheapest way to get some lower gears. As flateric says, you won't need new shifters. You can just change the cassette. Then go and ride hills until you have legs like Lance Armstrong.
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
26/04/2007 at 00:46
That seems and unusual geat ratio, most doubles come with a 39/53 on the front and a 12-24 or 12-25 on the back.

With your lowest gear being a 22 (back) 42 (front) its no wonder your finding hills a little challenging.

It can be cheap to change things, depends on your overall set-up though.

My best advise is take your bike to a specialist bike shop (not Evans), in my experience and from comments ive heard, some branches of Evans dont really have staff with enough technical experience and expertise.

As said you can (set-up permitting) get a 12-27 cassette on the back - cost about £25, you could also get swap to a standard (39/53) or compact (34/50) chainset on the front - cost about £70
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
26/04/2007 at 00:49
Oh with Shimano 105 shifters you should be able to change the cassette or front chainring without any shifting problems, ive done both changes on my bike.

First swapped from a 12-24 to a 12-27, then a few weeks ago I had a compact (34/50) chainset put on the front.
26/04/2007 at 09:12
thanks very much everyone. I now have something to do to fill my time after an operation on sat! Will go to a different shop and get it sorted asap then i can start enjoying my riding. I can at least now start to sound like i know what i'm talking about! :-)
26/04/2007 at 10:23
Hmm, I was always happy riding round Snowdonia and the Peak District with 42 x 21 as my lowest and usually used 42 x 19.
A new chainring will cost about the same as a new set of sprokets I think.
42 always used to be the "standard" size for the small ring in my day!
Good luck Heather.
26/04/2007 at 10:41
Yes 53/42 is quite old school - I started out with a 42*19 as my lowest gear too (and it never did me any 'arm) so gears have got easier in recent years. The 22 on the cassette seems unusual - normally it's a 21 or 23 as the biggest sprocket.

For hilly terrain as others say a 12-27 is probably your best bet but try not to use it all the time - get used to pressing on the pedals - the danger of lower gears is the people use them as an easy way out and never improve - it's like walking whenever you come to a hill when out for a run.
26/04/2007 at 16:28
Cool...just been booked in at my local bike shop to have the work done....cheers guys.
Happy biking x

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