Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I've only had my bike a few weeks now and I have a newbie question.

I have a Specialized Rockhopper and it has the Shimano Shifters I believe. I have like 1-3 on my left side and 1-8 on my right side.

I don't notice too much of a difference, if any, between the 3-8 setting and the 2-8 setting. When I have it in the 2-8 the gears are silent, but when its in the 3-8 setting I hear a clicking sound. Is this normal?

Also what is the standard gear for driving on flatland, and what do people usually use when going up hills? I was hitting a very steep hill the other day in the 1-8 setting and my front tire lifted off the ground and my bike almost flipped.

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

·
crash test dummy
Joined
·
545 Posts
c0sm0nautt said:
I don't notice too much of a difference, if any, between the 3-8 setting and the 2-8 setting. When I have it in the 2-8 the gears are silent, but when its in the 3-8 setting I hear a clicking sound. Is this normal?

Also what is the standard gear for driving on flatland, and what do people usually use when going up hills? I was hitting a very steep hill the other day in the 1-8 setting and my front tire lifted off the ground and my bike almost flipped.
Well, first it is important to think more about your cadence (how fast you are pedaling) than about your gear. The goal is to try and maintain roughly the same cadence (70 - 80 RPM), changing gears when it becomes too hard / too easy to maintain it. You also have to pay attention to the trail so you can change gears BEFORE the terrain changes (goes uphill or downhill).

That said, let's talk about gears. Your left shifter controls shifting on the crank. Right shifter controls shifting in the cogs on the back wheel (the cassette). In the front, the smaller ring = easier to pedal. In the back, the bigger ring = easier to pedal.

Based on your descriptions, 1-8 = smallest ring in front, biggest ring in back. With me so far?
 

·
^ That's what I do
Joined
·
747 Posts
c0sm0nautt said:
I have a Specialized Rockhopper and it has the Shimano Shifters I believe. I have like 1-3 on my left side and 1-8 on my right side.

I was hitting a very steep hill the other day in the 1-8 setting and my front tire lifted off the ground and my bike almost flipped.
Hi there. I have a Rockhopper too, also with 3/8 gears front/back. I was going up hill yesterday in 2-6 and flipped up and backwards and landed on my back with the bike on top of me. I didn't have enough speed or weight on the front tire which is probably what happened to you. When you are climbing, It is important to balance your weight front to rear so that you have enough weight on the back tire to get good traction, but also enough weight on the front tire so that it won't lift up.

Another thing, when people here say "lower gear" that means it's easier to pedal. When we say "higher gear" that means it's harder to pedal. The lowest gear is the smallest ring up front, and the largest one out back. The highest gear is the the largest ring up front, and the smallest one out back. It's all about the gear ratios.
 

·
~Disc~Golf~
Joined
·
16,496 Posts
c0sm0nautt said:
...When I have it in the 2-8 the gears are silent, but when its in the 3-8 setting I hear a clicking sound. Is this normal?

...
Is that the big ring up front and the big cog out back?
if so, you are 'cross-chaining' which is bad for your drivetrain and will usually make some noise (so it's 'normal' in that sense)
You want to try to avoid extreme gear combos (ie. big-big; small-small) you will find a better/similar ratio around the 'middle' gears
-I hope that makes sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
195 Posts
The ticking noise you heard was probably the chain rubbing on the front derailleur.
I am not sure when you say 8 if that is the biggest or the smallest ring.
To me, 8 means a higher gear, thus harder to pedal.. so the smallest gear in the back.

However, my guess is you mean the biggest in the back.


So, if that is the case. You were in 3 up front (big) and 8 in the back (big). This is what is called the big-big combo which causes the chain to cross too much. Avoid big big.
You also want to try and avoid small-small.

(If you were referring to number 8 in the rear as the smallest gear, then you were in big-small which is fine and you should not be having any issues)


When I trail ride I very rarely get out of the middle ring. I almost never use the big ring and only use the small ring on a really steep hill or when I am really tired on a moderate hill.

Since it has been raining a lot I have been doing some road and sidewalk riding around my neighborhood. On those rides I am in the big ring about 75% of the time and drop to the middle for hills.


(I too have a 2009 Rockhopper Expert. I have 9 gears in the back)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
974 Posts
All of these post are correct and you should take them into mind with gear changing. New riders have a tendency not to change gears a lot. Shift early and often. Even if they feel the same 2-8 and 3-8 or whatever, they aren't. The smaller ring is for rougher terrain where a large powerful stroke will cause slipping, sliding, bumping, and so forth. It can also be used for steep climbs. The middle gear is were you will live most of the time. The larger for road or really flat double track.

I want to repeat and stress, NO big big or small small. It is bad and can break things. And keep your weight over the bottom bracket. So when you climb you should lean forward. That should prevent the front tire from coming up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
3-8 usually refers to the biggest chain ring and the smallest cog (both farthest from the bike frame). This is the OPer's highest gear ratio.

+1 on it probably rubbing on the front derailer. The derailer cables stretch out the first couple months and usually need to be readjusted during this timeframe. If you bought it at a local bike shop (LBS), they usually throw in the first 90 days or so of minor adjustments for free to cover this. Give them a call and see if they can fit you in.

If you want to play around with it yourself, check this out How-To from my LBS, Calmar Cycles... Maybe the front derailer high limit (3) is your problem?

http://calmarcycles.com/how_to/derailleur_adjustment.pdf

Good luck!
Consuela
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone, your post have been very insightful and cleared a lot up for me. When the rain stops I'll take it for a ride and find out if my 8th gear on the right is the big one, which would make my 3-8 a big-big combo. I dont mind riding on the middle ring so ill stay in this most of the time, and shift the the smaller ring for steep hills.
 

·
Class Clown
Joined
·
3,451 Posts
Pretty sure 8 on the rear means your smallest cog (highest gear), 3 on front being the big chainring (highest). Stay away front the higher gears on the rear when on your granny in front (smallest chainring), and your lowest gears in the rear when on the big chainring in front.

3-8 setting is your highest gears, where you can reach your max speed. Lift your rear wheel off the ground in this setting and pedal with your hands. Keep an eye on the front derailleur and see if the chain is hitting the cage.
 

·
Enthusiast
Joined
·
5,360 Posts
Aside from cross-chaining, which has already been covered, there is a good deal of overlap in gear combinations. If you count teeth and do the math, you'll find that you really don't have 3x8=24 completely different gear ratios. However, that overlap isn't necessarily a bad thing. Think about cross-chaining. Whatever ratio you get from big ring + big cog, you can probably get that same ratio -- or close to it -- from middle ring and some other cog that yields a straighter chainline.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok so I checked my bike just to verify. 8 is the smallest cog on the back. This is where I get confused... wouldn't the biggest cog in the back (1) give me the best stroke?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
195 Posts
At first I had a moment of trouble figuring this out too.

However - think of it this way....

When in the big ring up front and small in the back you end up turning the rear wheel more times per crank revolution.
To put it in numbers.
Lets say your big ring is a 44T ring and your small ring is an 11T.
This means for every one revolution of the crank (pedals) your rear wheel spins 4 times (44 divided by 11)

If you are in the big front ring and big back ring (which is a nono anyway) then you end up spinning the rear wheel less.
Again, with numbers
44T big ring. 34T rear ring.
Now for every one revolution of the crank the rear wheel only spins 1.29 times. (44 divided by 34) A LOT LESS TRAVEL!


Hope that clears it up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
974 Posts
It is all about leverage. The smaller ring in the front is easier because there is a longer lever with respect to the crankarms. The larger ring is harder due to the smaller relative lever, but it moves more chain, and therefore is faster.

On the back the flipside happens because the lever arm is actually the cog wheel. So the larger cog has a longer arm.

Since there are two systems at work it may feel like there is some overlap, but not really. Since the larger rings in front require less pedal strokes to get the same movement out of the chain, you can get stuck in technical sections in the mid stroke. So for technical sections the smaller ring can be better. For obstacles, you need more power so the middle ring is better. The larger ring is mostly for the road and flatter double track like fireroads. Most bikers don't even use it and switch is out for a bash guard.

I know some people already said a lot of this stuff.
 

·
jalopy jockey
Joined
·
551 Posts
This should explain it.

http://www.mysinglespeed.com/tools

In the highest gear your ratio (i used 44 toth big ringa nd 11 toothe small cog) this is 4 to 1. So for this ratio so for every crank rotation your wheel goes around 4 times. That would require huge power to climb, but is very beneficial on the flat open stuff. Yet on the other end of the spectrum. say a 26 tooth little ringa dn 32 tooth big cog. The gear ratio is .8 to 1. Very easy to climb. Using the same cadence (rotation of the pedals) of 80 RPM speed between these two extreemes range from 25 MPH to only 5MPH.

As to what is normal. There is no normal. Someone said most people do;t use teh big ring. I almost never use the small. Middle ring all 9 gears is enough for almost any technical riding i have in lower michigan, and we have some trails that have singletrack conencted by rolling doubletrack and I'll push the big ring for all but the steepest climbs there. My wife on teh other hand almost never uses teh big ring in the dirt, and uses both the little and middle ring on the same trails.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top