I need a bigger gear to go faster! (Probably not)
A higher/bigger gear will not make you go faster
Going fast is n’t quite that simple … I recently spent a fair amount of time on the phone with person convinced the only direction he ‘s going to go faster on his motorcycle is with a bigger cog. He ‘s presently got a 50 tooth up front, 11 tooth in the back. ( Before going any further, the basics of gearing are that the larger the movement chainring, the higher the gear. For the rise, the smaller it is, the higher. ) To put that in position, he ‘s already got a higher gear than the fabled Eddy Merckx had, probably the best bicycle racer who ever lived. And he was very, very fast ! A “ normal ” bicycle comes with a senior high school gear that ‘s probably a 50 tooth chainring up front, combined with a 12 tooth sprocket in bet on. With a 700 by 25c tire ( normal for a road bicycle ), you would be going 26.2 miles per hour at a easy cadence ( phone number of times your crank is going around each minute ) of 80rpm. A bare mortal can not sustain that high a rush, regardless of gearing. A highly-trained professional cyclist can maintain 30 miles per hour on a bicycle designed specifically for time trials ( for about an hour, racing against the clock, without early people around ), but for the perch of us, 22-24 miles per hour is the best we can hope for over a distance of greater than a mile or so. badly. 24 miles per hour ( with that 50/12 combination ) is lone 73 rotations of the pedals per infinitesimal, well within the range attainable by virtually anybody, careless of physical lastingness ( 73 rotations of the crackpot per infinitesimal that is ; 24 miles per hour is another thing wholly ). tied at 60 rotations per moment, you ‘re distillery doing 20 miles per hour, and of the many thousands of my customers, a relatively small number can probably maintain that rush for any distance.
Will you go faster if you replace the stock chainring on your bicycle, like the 50t one shown here, with a larger chainring, like the 56t behind it ? 99 % of the time the answer is no, you will likely go slower. That example is for a 50 tooth front, 12 tooth rear sprocket. The valet in doubt already had an 11 tooth rear, so at 60 revolutions per minute he ‘s going 21.5 miles per hour. To get to 30 miles per hour, he ‘s alone pedaling at 83 revolutions per minute. But the laws of physics wo n’t allow him to get to 30 miles per hour, unless he has a potent tailwind or is descending. And if descend, he ‘s going to go even faster if he tucks in a moment and gets a piece aerodynamic ; pedaling will actually slow him down, due to turbulence. But why not have that ultra-high-gear anyways ? What ‘s the harm ? The human body is simply not made to produce optimum power at identical humble pedaling rotation speeds ( revolutions per minute ). You need more horsepower than you have to push a actually high gear at low RPMs. A bicycle-built-for-two, where you have the horsepower of two people pedaling, can frequently make function of higher gears. A normal person, tied an abnormally-strong person, can not.
Read more: False Flats
Let ‘s talk first-person here. Me. I ‘m known to be a high-gear screen of guy. People make fun of me because I use higher gears than most others that I ride with. How senior high school ? My flat-land cadence is typically around 80 RPMs ( it should be closer to 90 ). If I ‘m feeling good, I can do 21 miles per hour using a 50 tooth chainring up presence, with a 15 tooth raise. If I shift to a higher gear, I will not go faster ! I will merely pedal more slowly and my accelerate will gradually drop as my leg become dull from trying to push excessively hard on the pedals. What about descending Skyline from Kings Mtn to Sky L’onda, where you can get to 40 miles per hour ? My highest gear, a 50-tooth front/11-tooth buttocks, would have me pedaling at 112 RPMs to get to that accelerate. And yes, I can pedal that fast, if I want to. But I will go faster if I do n’t pedal ! Pedaling creates choppy breeze that slows you down. The merely exception to this is if you ‘re drafting ( following close behind ) a bombastic truck, but even then you ‘ll probably get sucked along behind it without having to pedal. So how eminent a high gear do you need ? For most, a 50 tooth front, 13 tooth buttocks would manage everything needed. There might be a very rare meter something tall would be utilitarian, but not excessively frequently. At 90 RPMs, you ‘d be going 27.2 miles per hour. closely every road bicycle ( and most hybrids ) have a higher gear than that though, typically with a 12-tooth in the back. That would give closely 30 miles per hour at 90 RPMs. You might never have occasion to use a higher gear.
And if you ‘ve already got an 11-tooth in second ( as many bikes come with livestock ), do n’t expect a centripetal audience at your local bicycle shop class as you ‘re trying to explain your need for a bigger gear so you can go faster. Do n’t take my password for it. Read what Kevin Metcalfe, a top racer ( if 10,000 people read this post, there might, possibly, be a single person faster than him ), has to say about gearing. And a discussion in a triathlon group on the like subject. Thanks for listening- Mike Jacoubowsky, former racer, contemporary bicycle retailer, long-time cyclist and frequently harbor people who think they need higher gears.