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Is there a conventional wisdom to what gear a bike should be left in, when used infrequently?

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    For a given bike or given set of storage circumstances there may be a difference based on how likely the gears are to jam as you manipulate it in the storage area. But you'd learn this from experience. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 3 '15 at 20:50
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Unlike @Batman and @Daniel, I think it does matter.

The bike should be stored with the gears set to the highest gear (the chain on the smallest cog), so that the spring in the derailleur is under the least pressure, and the cable is also under the last tension. So the cable will stretch less and the gears will stay in adjustment longer.

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  • I do this by the same logic, don't know if it makes much of a difference... – gaurwraith Jul 4 '15 at 11:39
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    I have my doubts whether this is at all a significant issue. Far more stress is put on the cable when shifting, and "stretch" is more due to wear/flex on the cable than tension. And standard wire springs will last for centuries under pressure -- corrosion and flexing is what gets them. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 4 '15 at 12:24
  • It makes no difference. The tension from a derailleur spring isn't nearly strong enough to cause shift cables to compress and thus go out of adjustment. We used to store team bikes all winter, pull them out in the Spring and the gears were exactly as we left them. Also cables don't actually stretch, they compress. – ChrisL Jul 6 '15 at 22:31
  • I am with everyone in that I'm not sure how much of a difference this makes. Also, when I originally asked this question I was thinking more of the longevity of the springs in the derailleurs than the cables, which I change far more often. – C.E.Sally Jan 6 '19 at 19:54
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It doesn't matter for any perspective aside from convenience -- usually the most convenient gear to store it in is the gear you're going to use first when you start riding again.

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