1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Shifting Technique

    I did a search but no luck

    Trying to figure out how to shift. On paper (figuring out ratios) it seems that you do not use all the rear sprockets on one chainring than go to the next chainring use all and than third chainring. It seems like to go in a linear progression from lowest to highest gear requires you to change chainrings back and forth. Am I making sense.

    New to this so Im a bit lost. Also forgive my lack of knowledge but with three chainrings (27 speeds with 9 in the rear) isnt this a bit much?

    I would think that for trail or all mountain 2 in the front and say 6 or 7 in the rear (12- 14 speeds)would be more than enough? Am I missing something? Can a rider really differentiate between lowest and next lowest on a 27 speed bike?

    Thanks for the education

    J

  2. #2
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    You are correct that if you shifted through all of the gears (9 speed cassette and 3 speed chain rings) it would not be a liner progression. Personally, I think of it as shifting into different gear "ranges".

    A large percentage of people leave their gearing in the middle chain ring. This gives them a "middle" gear range if you will. Enough small cassette cog to get going on the flats and enough large cog to climb up inclines.

    If the area you're riding is very flat, you might want to change to the largest chain ring and use the gear range with most amount of torque. Conversely, if you were in a really hilly area with a lot of long climbs you might switch to the smallest chain ring (aka 'granny gear') to use the gear range with the smallest amount of torque.

    If you do hang out in the largest or smallest chain ring gear range, be mindful of cross chaining (largest chain ring to largest cog and smallest chain ring to smallest cog). It can put a lot of stress on the chain and cause it to fail.

    All of the above being said, you will find quite a few riders on here that have removed the large and small chain ring (including me) and front derailleur/shifter. I really don't need the speed a large chain ring provides and I'm able to get up all the climbs I need without the smallest chain ring.

    Nice thing is you can always put the parts back on if you decide to try 1x9.
    Contact information: http://about.me/marpilli

  3. #3
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    So much arithmetic!

    +1 for middle ring most of the time. On a climb, I'm usually in my small ring, although I tend to just get out of the saddle and hammer a bit if it's just a terrain roller and not something more extended, or too steep to let me carry any speed. I don't use my big ring much, but if I do, it's on a descent or the road. It's been losing bits of teeth since I bought it, and I recently took another look at the ratios - if/when I start getting skipping, I'll replace it with a bash guard.

    27 speeds would be a lot. My bike (3x9 drivetrain) probably has fourteen or fifteen unique ratios - several of the low ratios in the small ring are unique, and the top two ratios in the large ring are. I also don't think of the ratios individually. I shift my rear derailleur up or down to keep my cadence in my preferred range.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    I've been reading a lot about this as well because I'm new to it all...and the explanation that makes the most sense to me is when someone pointed out that each cog on the rear is 2-3 teeth larger, and each chain-ring up front is 10. That means you don't shift a bike like a car where you're in 3rd gear or 4th gear or 27th gear...you just ride where you're not working too hard or spinning too fast, which on trails seems to usually be middle chain ring & somewhere around the middle of the rear cassette, then up or down one by one as needed to hit the gear you need. Instead of thinking 1, 2, 3...think +1, -1, +1. And then, if you see a hill coming where +1 or +2 just ain't gunna cut it, switching the front to your small chain ring is like hitting +3 and gives you a whole new range to be playing +1 -1 in.

    Of course, you don't want to use the smallest chain ring and the smallest rear cog together because that stretches the chain sideways & puts unnecessary stress on things. Whenever you use the big or little chain ring, shift back to the middle once your rear gets past the middle of the cassette & work in that range of gears instead.

    The way I ride (and people who know more about this than me PLEASE tell me if I'm screwing anything up like this) is to spend most of my time in the middle chain ring and middle of the cassette, going all the way up in the rear for fast sections & all the way down for hills. If it's a long hill or crazy steep that I can't push through, I'll use the small chain ring with the 4 biggest rear gears. If it's road or downhill for a long time I'll use the big ring & 4 smallest rear gears. So really, my bike which has "24 speeds" sees about 16 gear combos used, and I bet if I sit down & do the math I'd find that at least 1 or 2 of those high range & low range gears I use are the same as the high & low end of the middle range, or dang close to it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by drjay9051 View Post
    I did a search but no luck

    Trying to figure out how to shift. On paper (figuring out ratios) it seems that you do not use all the rear sprockets on one chainring than go to the next chainring use all and than third chainring. It seems like to go in a linear progression from lowest to highest gear requires you to change chainrings back and forth. Am I making sense.

    New to this so Im a bit lost. Also forgive my lack of knowledge but with three chainrings (27 speeds with 9 in the rear) isnt this a bit much?

    I would think that for trail or all mountain 2 in the front and say 6 or 7 in the rear (12- 14 speeds)would be more than enough? Am I missing something? Can a rider really differentiate between lowest and next lowest on a 27 speed bike?

    Thanks for the education

    J
    Think of the front as ranges low middle and high If you have some flats ahead or downhill think big ring...if you have some uphill think middle ring...if it you need a break on a steep climb think little ring...

    If you are on a long steady portion of a ride....and one gear on the rear seems to high, the next too low...shift to the other front ring and shift the RD too match and the middle gear will be there for you.

  6. #6
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    I use all my gears like a bastard. I don't like to get out of the seat and pump so I use all the gears I can do keep from doing that,sometimes you have no choice to get out of the seat though.

    When you seem to be "free wheeling" your legs around and not putting power to the rear tire, gear it up and mash the pedals. When it feels like your shins are going to explode from pressure, gear it down and mash the pedals to get up that hill.

    Right now I am working on cadence/rythm and keeping up momentum where it's an advantage. Those to deals are a biggie in MT biking I see,

  7. #7
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    Another thing....don't keep looking at the gear number on the shifters....just thumb through the gears until it feels good to you and keeps yo uin a power on, smooth rythm type thing.

    Most of al..just ride....gear selection is a experience learned thing...no one can "tell you" imo... Just ride and you'll get it.

  8. #8
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    I pretty much only run the middle gear, I have never even thought of removing the derailleur. Not a bad idea, maybe I will hold out for a bit on that first,

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganymede_Illusion View Post
    I use all my gears like a bastard. I don't like to get out of the seat and pump so I use all the gears I can do keep from doing that,sometimes you have no choice to get out of the seat though.

    When you seem to be "free wheeling" your legs around and not putting power to the rear tire, gear it up and mash the pedals. When it feels like your shins are going to explode from pressure, gear it down and mash the pedals to get up that hill.

    Right now I am working on cadence/rythm and keeping up momentum where it's an advantage. Those to deals are a biggie in MT biking I see,
    Im the opposite. I keep on the second ring 99% of the time and normally adjust my rear gears somewhat rarely as well. I spend most of my ride off the saddle. Im either powering up some hills, coasting through downhill sections, or sprinting straightaways. Most of that doesn't require too much shifting for me and it feels far more fun the sitting the whole ride to me.

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