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Single Track - Selecting Gears


flymango
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Anybody got some tips to share for gear selection on single track, especially the use of the front blades? I sometimes find I'm in too easy a gear going down, or in too difficult a gear with sudden short climbs or uphill switch-backs. I'm not the strongest or fittest, and appreciate that anticipation is key.

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I've found that most of my gears on my middle blade gets me comforably up and down most sections of singletrack. When in doubt, select the lighter gear and move to a heavier gear if you are doing more than 90 pedalstrokes a minute (not an exact science, but after a while you'll know what a cadence of 90 feels like). More important is pre-selecting your gears for what lies ahead in the trail. This is another reason why you should look ahead of you when doing technical sections. It helps you to pick a good line and select the correct gears.

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I've found that most of my gears on my middle blade gets me comforably up and down most sections of singletrack. When in doubt, select the lighter gear and move to a heavier gear if you are doing more than 90 pedalstrokes a minute (not an exact science, but after a while you'll know what a cadence of 90 feels like). More important is pre-selecting your gears for what lies ahead in the trail. This is another reason why you should look ahead of you when doing technical sections. It helps you to pick a good line and select the correct gears.

Would it be safe to assume that you hardly ever use the big blade? And is cross chain such a sin?

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Yeah stay in the middle ring on the front and then find a gear on the rear that you are comfortable in to both climb and do some flat work in... rather be in a slightly bigger ring on the rear so that if a nasty little climb comes out of no where you can react and get over it.

 

Also, keep as much speed as you so that you hit the little climbs with momentum.

 

I am still learning the art of taking the correct line, now that I ride a dual suss I have beome a little lazy with my lines... :thumbdown:

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I find middle front is good enough for most of my riding on single track. It does also depend what traffic is like in front of you, if you are stuck behind someone less confident then it also complicates things.

 

But generally I do not like pedaling too much while descending or ascending on single track, especially if it is quite technical, what with pedaling into a rock or tree stump and all.

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One thing to keep in mind is when you are riding technical single track, rather use a lower gear. This will help you to get over most obstacles without taking a hike.

 

On flowing singletrack I find that the middel in front is perfect and on a flat stretch I normally use between 4 and 6 on the rear.

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I find middle front is good enough for most of my riding on single track. It does also depend what traffic is like in front of you, if you are stuck behind someone less confident then it also complicates things.

 

But generally I do not like pedaling too much while descending or ascending on single track, especially if it is quite technical, what with pedaling into a rock or tree stump and all.

 

How do you ascend single track without pedalling to much? :unsure:

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Go singlespeed!

 

I love my singlespeed on the singletrack. There's none of this worrying about gears and missing shifts or chain suck or bounce, and most of the time my 32/16 ratio is pretty spot on. It forces you to be smooth and consistent, staying off the brakes as much as possible so that you won't have to grind up the next incline. And when you start spinning out you have to pump the bumps and turns to get speed, which gets you in the rhythm and makes it smoother and faster than pedalling could. Singletrack is best ridden at a steady, smooth pace rather than stopping and starting all the time, which is exactly how singlespeeding forces you to ride.

 

But assuming you're not actually going to go singlespeed, my advice would be to use the middle ring and try to stick to a middlish gear at the back, focussing on keeping a smooth steady pace with as little shifting as possible. Make the trail work for you, and use your legs and upper body to pump and flow.

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Oh dear. Now you've got me dreaming about my spin in Jonkershoek yesterday. I should be working…

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With a lot of people riding in the middle ring, it begs the question... why do we need 3 chainrings?

 

 

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When riding though loose, rocky single track, stay in big blade in the front and bigger blade in the back (cross chain isn't such a big deal when going downhill). This protects the teeth of your front chain ring as because when rocks and stones flig up and hit your chain ring, the chain protects the teeth from getting bent.

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How do you ascend single track without pedalling to much? :unsure:

 

iRob has a motorised bike! The UCI are looking in the wrong place!

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