A Conversation for Bicycle Gearing
Steve K. Started conversation Aug 17, 2001
Good article. A few questions:
1. In the "Common Mistakes" section, the sentence about "smallest front ... smallest back" sprocket - is that correct? Seems like the angle would be higher with one smallest and one largest.
2. In the "Why So Many Gears" section, I understand why more than one, but 10 - 21 seems high. As a kid, I owned a single speed Schwinn, then a 3-speed which was a big improvement - low gear to get started, 2nd to get up to speed, then high to maintain speed. I've still got one car with three forward gears, seems adequate. I guess with only three gears, the Tour de France guys would have to go outside the 80-90 rpm range? But not by much ... ?
3. Where does the term "penny-farthing bicycle" come from? To American ears, it sounds like two coins - the wheel sizes, maybe?
Ausnahmsweise, wie üblich (Consistently inconsistent) Posted Aug 17, 2001
1) I was referring to the angle, viewed from the top. The front chain ring combination (being only two or three) isn't very wide. The rear "cassette", with up to seven is quite wide. If you use the smallest (innernost) at the front and the smallest (outermost) at the rear, the chain starts to rub on the sides of the teeth. With the opposite (outermost front / innermost rear) the chain can drop off onto the inner front chain ring.
2) I had a bike with the Sturmey-Archer hub gears. Just three. Different riders have different styles and different muscles (slow twitch/fast twitch and all of that) Some can "push" a high gear. Others "twiddle" lower gears. I suppose, even so, the comfortable range is still from say 60 to 100 rpm (I'm guessing). A car can go from 1000 to 8000 or even higher. I have one old bike that only has ten gears. I often find that the gear I'd really like is between 9th and 10th. I shift down to ease my burning legs, but I also slow down too much. I shift up and can't push at the cadence I need to to keep up with the pack. More modern bikes have 14 very close ratios.I race against people (Time Trials) whose highest gear is lower than mine, but they are still faster. It seems to be very personal. But still - the comfortable range is quite narrow. You should read Lance Armstrong's book and his training regime. He's riding at higher cadences now than before.
3) The "Penny-Farthing" gets its name from exactly that - the big old British penny in juxtaposition with the 1/4 penny (farthing). I actually saw some being ridden through Ontario the other week. Do you know what they are called in North America? It's Hochrad in German.
Gyrregrubmah Posted Aug 17, 2001
In Danish a pennyfarthing is called "væltepeter" = tumble-Peter, a corruption of "velocipede".
Steve K. Posted Aug 18, 2001
1. Ahhh ... from the top, now I understand My memories of the chain mostly involve grabbing my pants leg - especially when the metal chain guard was removed (for some reason ...)
2. Having never raced, its hard for me to grasp the fine division of a dozen or more speeds. But I agree on the cars, my five forward speed model seems much more ... uhh, adaptable? ... than the three speed, and gets much better gas mileage.
3. Probably velocipede is closest, although I doubt most USA folks would recognize the term (some kind of insect?). Besides penny-farthing, my book lists synonyms as hobby horse and bone shaker - the first is something else, and I don't know what a bone shaker is (in this context ... my '76 Chevy Nova could be called that, the shocks went out two decades ago).
Actually the penny-farthing is the racing model with the exceptionally large wheel. Most of the things you would call penny-farthings are actually "ordinary" bicycles - the things we ride with chains and so on are "safety bicycles." So now you know!
26199 Posted Aug 19, 2001
Ausnahmsweise, wie üblich (Consistently inconsistent) Posted Aug 19, 2001
How big do you think the racing "penny-farthing's" wheel would be? About chest height, or 50 or 60 inches? I suppose, with no chain and no gearing - just direct drive - they were getting 60 gear inches. That's about the middle of the range of a modern bike. So I suppose it was a compromise. Anything smaller would have been too low geared - anything larger, too high.
I think a hobby horse was a precursor to the modern bike. The rider just straddled it but had his feet on the ground.
Steve K. Posted Aug 19, 2001
I always thought of a "hobby horse" as a child's toy horse with no wheels at all. The child would simply gallop around on its own feet with the HH between its legs. But apparently this is connected to early cylces ... the rider would run along with the ... whatever ... between his/her legs. I guess the advantage (vs. just running) would be "coasting" on the downhill parts. I got thru college like that.
The early bike was known as a hobby horse after the child's toy. The advantage over walking was mostly that your weight was carried by the machines, and you could build up momentum.
Steve K. Posted Aug 19, 2001
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Steve K. (Aug 17, 2001)
- 2: Ausnahmsweise, wie üblich (Consistently inconsistent) (Aug 17, 2001)
- 3: Gyrregrubmah (Aug 17, 2001)
- 4: Steve K. (Aug 18, 2001)
- 5: Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence (Aug 18, 2001)
- 6: 26199 (Aug 19, 2001)
- 7: Ausnahmsweise, wie üblich (Consistently inconsistent) (Aug 19, 2001)
- 8: Steve K. (Aug 19, 2001)
- 9: Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence (Aug 19, 2001)
- 10: Steve K. (Aug 19, 2001)