Proper Gearing

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Proper Gearing
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Posted: Apr 21, 2019 at 19:55 Quote
I am pretty new to mountain biking, and I am looking for a new beginner bike. I am sorry I don't know the proper terminology, but I hope I can describe what I mean well enough.

I have heard that have multiple gears on the crank is bad for a mountain bike, as they are very prone to breaking and such. Is this true? I currently have a Specialized Hardrock Disc Sport, which has 3 gears on the crank. I haven't done any real hard riding yet, but will this bike work, or is it likely to break? I also don't really know what kind of riding I want to pursue as I am pretty new to the sport.

Extra Question... If I do decide to buy a new bike, what wheel size would best suit me? I am a pretty small kid, about 5'6 and 120 pounds.


Posted: Apr 21, 2019 at 21:35 Quote
The current trend in MTB is a 1x drive train, in that there is only one chain ring up front (no front mech), this is often accompanied by a wider range cassette. The wide range cassette and single front ring can provide a similar gear range to more traditional 2x and 3x set ups.

2x or 3x (2 or 3 rings up front with a front mech) are not prone to breakage, however they can be more cumbersome, in that you need to know how shift properly and chain drop is more likely. Some people prefer a set up with a front mech and multiple rings, because it can give them better range than can be achieved with one ring.

budget oriented bikes and XC bikes, often come with multiple rings up front. This is because (even though there are more parts) a 2x or 3x set up (seem) to be cheaper from an OEM perspective. and XC bikes/riders can benefit from the gear range, and less abrupt jumps between gears.

For many, the simplicity associated with a 1x drive train, and the reduced likelihood of chain drop (combined with comparable gear ranges) make it the go to choice.... and its spec on most trail / enduro bikes these days anyway.

No matter what configuration your drive train is, you are going to be able to get out and ride and have a good time.

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 at 19:27 Quote
I agree with all this said about multi drives. The shifters and derailleurs on these entry level bikes are the weak link. A 1x drive with 11x42 cassette shall give you a simpler drivetrain operation and weigh less with a similar gearing range as a 2x drive with 11x36 cassette. You could upgrade you current bike with better components by searching for good sales. If you are ready for your next bike, consider looking for the next level of components. A next level air fork should perform better and weigh less than a low end coil fork.

Now about wheel size, it is a personal preference. Try 27.5, 27.5+, and 29 bikes in the same family if possible to see which feels better for your riding style. At 5’6” 140 lbs I prefer size Medium 29ers.

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