As you look at hybrid bikes when considering a purchase, you may know that more gears are better, but you may not understand why. Maybe you are new to bicycling, maybe you have only ridden single-speed bikes in the past, or maybe no one bothered to explain the gears before. If any of these possibilities apply, don’t feel bad. A lot of cyclists don’t understand gears at first, but the following guide should give you a better understanding.
What Do the Gears Do?
The number of gears that a bike has is usually expressed in terms of speed, e.g., single-speed bikes or 10-speed hybrid bikes for women. This is somewhat misleading, however, as multiple gears do not make the bike itself go faster. Rather, multiple gears allow you to navigate areas ranging from flat to hilly while pushing the pedals at the same speed. That’s where the “speed” comes from in the name. Gears accomplish this by making pedaling easier on a steep climb and then adding more resistance when the terrain levels out or your start going downhill.
How Do the Gears Work?
A multi-speed bike has typically has multiple chainrings at the front, connected to the pedals. It always has multiple sprockets connected to the back wheel. The chainrings and the sprockets look like little spiky wheels. The chain has gaps into which the spikes fit. The motion of the pedals causes the chainring to rotate forward, which causes the chain to advance, which causes the sprockets in back to move, which causes the back wheel to turn, which causes the bike to move forward.
When the chain goes around the largest rear sprocket and the smallest front chainring, you are in low gear. This is helpful for pedaling up steep inclines. The bike is in high gear when the chain is around the largest front chainring and the smallest rear sprocket. Both traditional bikes and electric bikes Newport Beach can have multiple gears.
How Do You Change Gears?
The controls to change the gears are typically on the handlebars. The control on the right side moves the chain among the sprockets in back, and the control on the left side moves it among the chainrings in front. You can remember this with the mnemonic that right equals rear. You’ll do most of your shifting on the rear gears, which means using your right shifter. In fact, you may only have a shifter on the right side if you have a one-by, i.e., a bicycle with multiple gears in back but only one chainring in front.
You should be careful never to use the smallest cogs on the back and front together or the largest cogs on the front and back together. This causes stretching and deformity of the chain by pulling it at an angle between the two extremes.
How Many Gears Do You Need?
The number of gears you need for your bicycle depends on factors such as the frequency of your rides, the terrain you have to cover, and how much maintenance you are willing to do. People who don’t want to do a lot of maintenance and who commute over relatively flat terrain may prefer a single-speed bike. Whatever your preference, there is a wide variety of traditional and electric bicycles available for sale online.