Mountain Biking Maintenance and Repair : Choose Gears on a Mountain Bike

Mountain Biking Maintenance and Repair : Choose Gears on a Mountain Bike


For the vast majority of people that are somewhere,
just in the middle of the mountain bike spectrum, the stock gearing that they sell is great.
For people who are looking to do really specific things, or are really fit racers, or real
extreme riders, they have some other options to pursue. For people who race cross country
real competitively, who are really fit, a two ring setup with just a middle and outer
chain ring works really well. I find that for most people, if they use a 12-32, which
is a standard mountain bike cassette in the back — 12 being the smallest, 32 being the
largest, and their being nine gears in the middle, something like a 44-30, 44-32, works
really well. If there aren’t that many long, sustained downhill?s where you race, you can
go to a smaller, big chain ring. Down from a 44 to say a 42, or even like a 38 to get
a wider range of gearing in the ranges where you’re riding the most. You want to optimize
the power band of your body to your terrain and stuff like that. You can do similar things
by changing out the gears that you have in the back. You can go from a really tight,
small gear cluster in the back, like this one, which is really — optimally, people
designed this as a road cassette, for riding little skinny tire road bikes on the road.
It goes from 11 to I believe 23, so your average mountain bike, let’s say it goes from 12 to
32 or 34. So a 32-tooth chain ring is like — the cog is that big, so it’s a really
and it?s bigger steps all between. If you’re staying on flat terrain or you’re riding downhill
where you don’t have a ton of terrain changes, having more tightly spaced gearing allows
you to change your cadence how quickly you’re pedaling, really precisely to match the terrain
that you’re on. Which is why sometimes I’m a fan of using a smaller large chain ring
even for the XC use. For downhill use, or gated racing use, or just real extreme use,
having a chain retention system allows you to have the utmost security and confidence
that when you go to pedal, your chain is still going to be there, and when you finish that
big long gnarly downhill, you’re going to be able to ride out of it.