You should have heard gear ratio being mentioned at least once before, but what does it actually mean?
There‘s plenty of information out there on the internet. However, it might not be as easy to understand it in a snap. Here‘s the easy version of what it means:
So the partners in crime of which we will be talking today are the chain ring and the rear cog. If you looked at your crankset ( the big round, toothed thing!) you would see the writing on it, let‘s say it is 44T (T standing for teeth). The second number refers to the number of teeth on the rear cog (the smaller chain ring on the back of the wheel) let’s say it is 17 T.
Now we have the numbers: 44T/17T. Ok, good, now we are getting somewhere. It’s math time! So prepare your calculators and pencils. Messing with you, work smart not hard, just go to http://www.surplace.fr/ffgc/ .
All you need to do now is to enter your front chain ring teeth number, the rear cog teeth number and the tire you use. The calculator will show you your gear ratio, skid patches (when you brake while locking your rear wheel) the equivalent gears to yours and the cadence/speed of your setup.
Now to put it even simpler: In the 44T/17T example the gear ratio is 2.59, meaning that the rear wheel turns 2.59 times with each revolution of the crankset.
The bigger the first number and the smaller the second number, the harder it is to pedal, but the faster it also is. Since it will move more chain when you pedal it forces your wheel to turn faster which makes you go faster. And with the smaller number in the front and the higher in the back it will be easier to accelerate and maneuver the bike at slow speeds but will have a lower top speed.
So 44T/17T gearing will be easier to pedal than 48T/15T but won’t be as fast.
However, you have to take into account the terrain you ride, your skill level and your level of fitness. The best thing to do is to experiment. The calculations might end up wrong making you choose a gear that’s way too easy or hard, but if you experiment and you ride it enough you will feel what is the best gear for you.
Here‘s some proved gear ratio examples to help you choose your gear ratio:
- 42/18 ,42/19 Freestyle and trick rider
- 46/17 All-rounder gear
- 50/16, 50/15 Race gear
- 44/22 – Polo bike
- 44/16 – Commuter
- 48/17 – Nice ratio for the road with plenty of skid patches
Now go out there and find the best gear for you.