Sunday, April 27, 2008

The higher gear myth

With Around the Bay in a Day coming up everyone wants to know how to make their road bike perform better. Retailers are regularly approached by (often young male) customers who want to put “higher gears on their bike so that it will go faster”. They claim that even in top gear they are spinning their pedals so fast that they could speed up if only they could change to a higher gear. This is just plain untrue. Any rider who can spin the pedals at maximum revs in top gear on the flat for more than a few seconds at a time should be in Europe training for next year’s Tour de France.

How fast you travel is determined by the balance between how much power your body can generate and how much wind and rolling resistance you have to work against. More power or less wind resistance: you go faster. The power your legs generate has nothing to do with the gearing of the bike. It makes no difference whether you are pushing hard pedalling at 50 revolutions per minute (very slowly) or spinning the pedals at 110rpm (very fast), the power output will depend on how old you are, how fit and strong you are and how well you chose your parents. Unfortunately the only one of these which you can control is your fitness and strength, so increase your training, not your gearing.

A quick hint: An easy way to reduce the rolling resistance of your bike is to pump up your tyres. To make sure you waste as little as possible of the power of your legs lubricate your chain.

Source : Facts & Fictions- Bicycle Victoria

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