Been wondering what benefits and advantages do people get when changing cogs.

Does increasing or decreasing the gear tooth affect or increase your speed? TYIA For the answers. How would this affect my mtb? And which number of teeth is optimal for me? (I use my mtb as commuter)

  • Depends on the rider and the conditions. Sep 28, 2020 at 12:38
  • Does more teeth mean more speed? Sep 28, 2020 at 12:50
  • More teeth is more teeth. How could less be more?
    – ojs
    Sep 28, 2020 at 12:52
  • More teeth on the rear cog means less speed, for a given front cog and pedaling rate. Sep 28, 2020 at 17:24
  • What's the steepest grade you might ride up on your commute? And do you run out of low gears when riding up that grade ? IE do you keep wanting to change to a lower/easier gear but there just isn't one ?
    – Criggie
    Sep 28, 2020 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


The larger tooth count sprockets will provide lower gear ratios. Bigger sprocket in the rear: lower ratio. A lower ratio mean the bike goes slower for a given pedalling cadence, but you get more torque at the rear wheel.

A larger largest sprocket also means the ratio gaps between gears get bigger - the intermediate sprockets all get proportionately larger too.

You need to optimize you gear ratio spread for the type of riding you do and on what terrain. If you are commuting on road without big hills you probably would benefit from a narrower range cassette without very low gear ratios. If you are looking for higher gear ratios to allow you to go faster without having to pedal too fast you need larger chainrings on the crank, but beware, it's often impossible to install bigger chainrings on an MTB due to crank compatibility or chainstay clearance problems.

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