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Thread: Geared bikes

  1. #1
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    Geared bikes

    Ok, this is the thread for the frustration of geared bikes. It's somewhat over the top and just a way to vent. It is not meant to be too serious.

    I got started with the gateway drug that is a geared bike but did not find true happiness on a bike until I tried single speed.

    Thinking back to my old geared bike I only remember the bad. I recall always putting on new stuff at the start of the season and then watching how quick it fell apart. I always ran close to top of the line parts but it really only worked well for the first few weeks then quickly started to degrade to missed shifts and noise. On the other hand my single speed is always in just about perfect condition with almost no maintenance.

    Today, I am working on a geared bike for someone else. I "know" what I am doing with a wrench but can't stand even working on a geared bike. I may even have to ride the thing tomorrow to check the adjustments but even thinking about that makes me somewhat sick.

    The experience gets me thinking about the huge list of things I don't like about gears. Come to think about it; I actually am an angry single speeder . I don't currently own a geared bike. I want to add a few more bikes to my personal collection but none of them will be geared.

    So here's my short list:
    1. The stuff is NEVER perfectly adjusted
    2. NEVER happy in big/big or small/small
    3. Everything is so metrosexual, fragile, and delicate
    4. So many moving parts
    5. Cables are ugly
    6. Parts wear out quick
    7. Chainslap, jumping, skipping, catching, etc.
    8. Feeling like you are in the wrong gear
    9. Buying yet another replacement part
    10. Getting dropped by a short old bald dude on a single speed


    How about you guys, what do you like and not like about geared bikes? Do you only ride single speed or do you sometimes ride geared bikes?
    Last edited by febikes; 09-14-2013 at 08:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    Ok. Well, my first post so don't get to excited if I make mistakes.

    I now ride 1x10. My friend, a dedicated 29er ss rider until 2 months ago, just switched to 1x10.

    We both agree that 1x10 is better than ss because we ride faster, its less maintenance than 2 or 3 x, easier on our bodies, and really easy to use (mentally when you are cranking the watts and tired--it just works simply and well).

    In answer to your short list:
    1. 98% perfect. 2% adjusted at home when I'm drinking beer.
    2. ALWAYS happy in 32T ring up front.
    3. Rear derailleur can be fragile, bent hangers, etc. But overall, no different than working with a EBB. What a PITA that is with squeaks, chainline, cogs, etc.
    4. True, rear derailleurs move
    5. Cables are ugly...use cables that match your frame. Get I-spec shifters / brake levers or whatnot. Clean it up and it looks ALMOST as good as a ss with brake lines.
    6. ........not so far......knock on wood......
    7. Get an XT or XTR derailleur with clutch. Run it without a guide. No more skipping, catching, jumping, and minimum slapping. I've dropped the chain twice in the last 300 miles. Not bad.
    8. I beg to differ. SS forces you to ride differently, makes you strong, and is generally very fun. But it wears your body out faster and is slower because you CAN'T find the right gear. 1x10, you get the right gear to match your effort every time. I want to ride in one gear, no problem I do it. I get tired, and want to spin, no problem I do it. I use an XTR shifter and hammer down two gears after spinning up a hill and can keep the pressure on. Its really very, very beautiful and simplistic.
    9. It does cost a bit for derailleur, and rear shifter. But not much more than an good EBB, and cog. Replacement can be expensive though....
    10. Haven't been dropped by a ss yet.....

    Those are my responses. While you have some great points, for now I don't think I'll go back to ss because 1x10 or 1x11 just feel so right. I can ride 5-7k ascents faster, stronger, and with less fatigue. Its simple to use, looks great, and ultimately makes me faster without the chainslap, front derailleur nightmare, or cluttered cockpit. I'm sold...........

  3. #3
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    I use my SS frequently during my training doubled with road biking as well. I've seen guys race SS's but I wouldn't want to race one. It definitely makes you a stronger rider physically and armed with better situational awareness that makes you develop a different riding style.

    I used to ride a 3x10 geared bike for racing but now I'm using a 2x10 setup on a new race bike. Having a multitude of gears during a race is an advantage especially on the long flat straights and even when climbing. I can race my SS but it would entail me pre-riding the course, often which I do not get the time to do so, to determine the best gear combination.

    As what copylatte suggested, use an XT or XTR rear derailleur with a clutch. I use those on my XC race and my all mountain bike and they work especially on a course like Downieville, which I raced last month.

    I agree with all the maintenance requirements of a geared drivetrain. I just deal with it.

  4. #4
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    So here's my take on the short list:

    The stuff is NEVER perfectly adjusted
    It starts out adjusted but when my BFM (Big F****** Minions) kick up NM/AZ dust, it never stays adjusted
    NEVER happy in big/big or small/small
    Agreed. Then I went 1 X 9 and 1 X 10. Now I'm 1 X 1 on both
    Everything is so metrosexual, fragile, and delicate
    Not Saint.
    So many moving parts
    Agreed.
    Cables are ugly
    Agreed. No matter what color they are.
    Chainslap, jumping, skipping, catching, etc.
    I actually still get that with a Trialtech tensioner; might have to bump tension up or decrease chain length
    Feeling like you are in the wrong gear
    I used to worry about what gear I was in for climbs and such. Not anymore. Downhills: pedal/coast. Flats: pedal/coast. Uphills: pedal. Steep uphills: pedal harder. Simple.
    Buying yet another replacement part
    I like cheap 8 speed chains.
    I am a short, bald dude. If by short, you mean tall. Any by bald you mean has flowing locks of beautiful, yet totally manly, wavy hair.
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  5. #5
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    I agree with most of that stuff about gears, but all of the maintenance stuff doesn't apply to my Rohloff....what I can't get my head around now is the weight. After zipping around on 10kg I'll have to put on 2.5 kg for the rohloff bike with sus fork. Luckily my wrists are aching after 5hrs on the rigid this Saturday so I may be looking fondly at the old bike again. Got to share the love.

  6. #6
    dvn
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    I have a SS 29er, a FS 29er and a Fat Bike. I ride whichever one is most appropriate for the given trail or group that I am riding with. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and I enjoy riding them ALL!
    "Either way it doesn't really matter, I just got back from a bike ride."
    > dbhammercycle

  7. #7
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    Geared bikes

    Very frustrated with SS and gears currently.

    Dropped chain on SS (Ti frame w/ sliders) a few times recently, even with dead straight chainline, good chain tension, tight QR skewer. Very frustrating. Scratching my head on this as I've put 3k SS miles on this bike.

    Equally frustrating was having a stick DEMOLISH my hanger and XT rear derailleur (only 4 rides on it) in my last race of the season while in a good position in Elite/Open. Would have finished in probably the same place SS-ing.

  8. #8
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    I had a recent fling with a hot ss and like any new love it was pretty awesome, but ultimately I found it limiting and began to miss the "flow" that a geared bike provides. Now hooked up with 1x10 and though I still use that 32/20 gear quite a bit I'm glad its not my only one anymore.

    If I was plagued with maintenance issues like a lot of you seem to be I might think differently, but the amount of extra attention my bike needs because of gears is miniscule. I probably don't huck the gnar as severely as some of you boys do though.

  9. #9
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    This is like trying to argue whether the hammer or the screwdriver is a superior tool. It all depends on which one is more appropriate for the situation. Why not just own both?
    Calmer'n you are.

  10. #10
    AZ
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    I ride bikes, all kinds, singlespeed and geared. They all have their place.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtskibum View Post
    Very frustrated with SS and gears currently.

    Dropped chain on SS (Ti frame w/ sliders) a few times recently, even with dead straight chainline, good chain tension, tight QR skewer. Very frustrating. Scratching my head on this as I've put 3k SS miles on this bike.

    Equally frustrating was having a stick DEMOLISH my hanger and XT rear derailleur (only 4 rides on it) in my last race of the season while in a good position in Elite/Open. Would have finished in probably the same place SS-ing.
    What kind of frame have you got? I have 2 ti slider frames never had an issue...

  12. #12
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    On the other hand my single speed is always in perfect tune and the chain never drops.

    I road the geared bike today, everything worked great but it felt strange. I can see the appeal of gears but they are just not for me. The SRAM X9/X0/Rival stuff shifts fine but it is brand new and given the tight tolerances I don't see how it can stand up to a lot of long term abuse. After two years of mostly single speed riding being on a bike with gears felt weird. The shifts were spot on but I often found myself in the wrong gear when a climb or after a stop light. I did not think ahead and downshift because my brain is in single speed mode.

    Gears are great for some but I don't see them in my future.
    Last edited by febikes; 09-15-2013 at 06:27 PM.

  13. #13
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    Geared bikes

    Older Lynskey Pro29. Dropped a few times over the years, I attribute it to my otherworldly strength. Been riding it since 2010 with only a few drops here & there.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtskibum View Post
    Older Lynskey Pro29. Dropped a few times over the years, I attribute it to my otherworldly strength. Been riding it since 2010 with only a few drops here & there.
    ah was going to ask if it was a lynskey. Do you find the CS flexy at all? Probably is your strength, all of us SSers are superhuman afterall

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty $anchez View Post
    I ride bikes, all kinds, singlespeed and geared. They all have their place.
    I agree with this. And while I only have (and prefer) SS bikes, I love all types of bikes. From crazy ass 45 pound DH bikes with 10 inches of travel- to basket carrying beach cruisers with coaster brakes. Rigid, FS, hardtail, geared, SS, balance, whatever.

    Bikes are awesome.

  16. #16
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    For me it is simplicity, low maintenance, the quietness of the ride, the power in a SS drivetrain, the aesthetics of the bike without all the gear, and the fact that I spent less than $500 and have a bike I love to ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post


    1. Getting dropped by a short old bald dude on a single speed

    Hey I know that guy!!!

    I just rode with him again in Cali.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7daysaweek View Post
    Hey I know that guy!!!

    I just rode with him again in Cali.
    Ya, the SOB is a very hard man with a weakness for ribs

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtskibum View Post
    Dropped chain on SS (Ti frame w/ sliders) a few times recently, even with dead straight chainline, good chain tension, tight QR skewer. Very frustrating. Scratching my head on this as I've put 3k SS miles on this bike.
    ti can be a pretty flexy material. could the frame be flexing enough to allow a chain throw?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty $anchez View Post
    I ride bikes, all kinds, singlespeed and geared. They all have their place.
    not everyone has the budget or the space for a "stable" of bikes. I have a geared commute/road bike and a SS rigid 29er in a tiny apartment. I would love to have a BMX bike for skateparks and such, a SS road bike for zipping around town without lugging gear, and a geared FS mtn bike for shredding trails. I also like eating three meals a day, having a roof over my head, space to store things other than bikes, and having a car to get around to places I can't go on my bike. Two bikes seems to be the limit in that circumstance.

    a good strategy would be to have a versatile bike: get a rigid 29er SS bike that has a wheel capable of holding a cassette on the bike and have all the bits you need to convert it: shifter, cable, derailleur, cassette, x-long chain. I can switch my bike from SS to 1x9 in less than 30 minutes this way, and have been threatening to do so for a while now. I can't commit to actually purchasing a decent cassette (a cheap one would tear up my aluminum freehub), so it has not happened yet.

  21. #21
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    Mechanical issues isn't the reason why I have shyed away from geared bikes over the last 8 years. In fact, I think the only time I had to walk back was on a SS.

    I've never really had much trouble from my geared bikes in the past. Reliability was actually really good. And I believe with the new 1x drivetrains, reliability will be just as good as SS bikes. So, In my humble opinion, if you're on a singlespeed, because you're tired of dealing with geared bits gone awry, as they say, "you're doing it wrong."

  22. #22
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    1. Chain slap / noise
    2. Goes out a adjustment at the worst time
    3. Fails to shift at the worst time
    4. Gear overlap / gears too close to each other
    5. How many gears do we really need?
    6. Weight
    7. Bent hangers
    8. $
    9. I rode a BMX still do so gears are strange to me
    10. Slowing down to use the gear you picked for a hill
    11. Fiddling with the gears
    12. Thinking about gears rather then just riding or that tree you just about hit when you had a rough shift
    13. Less efficient drivetrain
    14. Heavy rear end changes handling and I get less pinch flats now
    15. Most trails I ride geared riders use three gears and barley shift at all.
    16. Bette r chance that root on the hill will stop you dead with the sit and spin vs stand and mash method
    17. Mud is more fun without gears
    18. You feel bad if you don't clean a hill, while a single speeder can just say they where using their third speed ;-)
    19. Weaker chains required, chain snap to OTB sucks especially on the trail
    20. Faster wearing drivetrain


    There is my list just for fun, my friends all ride geared bikes so we like to give each other a hard time.

  23. #23
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    I haven't owned a bike in more than 20 years and I bought a rigid SS about a month and a half ago and I'm having a blast with it. I can't compare to gears because I haven't been on gears in so long but I know I'm having fun and i feel good after a long ride and to me that's all that matters.

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