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Questions tagged [drivetrain]

Questions about a bicycle's drivetrain system, including the chain, gears, chainrings, derailleurs, etcetera.

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61 votes
6 answers
111k views

What are the pros and cons of internal gears?

I've had my hybrid 24-speed for a bit over 3 years now, and just last weekend, when looking for a bike for my wife, discovered internal gears. Suffice to say it blew my mind when I saw 7-speed ...
drfrogsplat's user avatar
53 votes
4 answers
29k views

Why do bikes have their drivetrains on the right?

Every bicycle I have seen in my life has its gears and chain on the right side? Why is this? The only thing I could find regarding this question is this forum topic, which speculates about things such ...
Elias Zamaria's user avatar
38 votes
5 answers
12k views

Perfectly setting up gears - how?

Every time I have my bike serviced, the bike shop sets up the gears on a stand in their workshop. The gears change perfectly on the stand, but when the bike is on the road, the rear derailleur doesn't ...
PeterB's user avatar
  • 481
37 votes
13 answers
24k views

Is there such thing as an automatic transmission for bikes?

Has anyone ever designed or manufactured an automatic transmission (or automatic shifter?) for cycling? I imagine such a device would automatically change the gearing to allow the rider to maintain ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 1,311
37 votes
7 answers
33k views

Any experience with shaft driven bikes?

I've ridden a shaft driven bike once, when biking in deserted mines in Limburg.‡ They used shaft driven bikes because the mines are damp, and a shaft can be enclosed completely, protecting it ...
SQB's user avatar
  • 1,071
33 votes
2 answers
18k views

Why does pedalling backwards not move my bike backwards?

On the Mountain bike I have, pedalling backwards moves the chain but doesn't drive the wheels of the bike backwards like you would expect it to. Why is this?
Ambo100's user avatar
  • 2,564
24 votes
8 answers
40k views

Parafin wax vs wet lube for bike chain lubrication?

So im thinking of waxing my chain (with parafin wax) what would the advantages of this be over wet lube (i use muck off). Anybody have any experience with waxed chains? Thanks.
Ben Poulter's user avatar
  • 1,116
23 votes
2 answers
7k views

How bad is cross chaining?

Accepted wisdom is that cross chaining is bad and that we should never do it. However, most of us set up our bikes so that we can run any gear combination. Invariably, I'll occasionally look down and ...
Darth Egregious's user avatar
20 votes
10 answers
4k views

What would happen if I don’t replace worn drivetrain components?

What would happen if I took a entirely new drivetrain and just never replaced anything? Of course, I’d keep it clean and lubricated. With 11 and 12 speed chains being as expensive as they are, the old ...
MaplePanda's user avatar
  • 15.6k
20 votes
4 answers
2k views

Minimal effort chain cleaning

One of the main reasons I eventually give up my bicycle commute in winter is that keeping my bike -mainly the drivetrain- clean despite all the rain/dirt/salt/hail/snow becomes too much of a time suck....
jilles de wit's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is there a practical gain from elliptical/oval chainrings?

I have seen competitive (amateur) cyclists with oval chainrings (front). What is the deal? Are they just for showing off, or is there a practical gain from it (different force transfer).
Papuass's user avatar
  • 3,279
19 votes
4 answers
14k views

Why do people use bigger cassettes for lower gearing when they could instead use smaller chainrings?

I want lower (sub 1:1) gearing on my next drivetrain but also a decent range, reasonable spacing between gears and still be reasonably light. While looking at different combinations of components, I ...
Ryan Witt's user avatar
  • 193
19 votes
5 answers
5k views

Why should one clean a chain?

I do understand that this may sound like a troll question but please bear with me. I've always been a maniac about drive train cleanliness until I got a 11 speed bike and realized I didn't want to ...
user3671607's user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why are long haul touring bikes sold with 9-speed drivetrains?

Following up on this question, I had a look on the specifications of 'long haul touring bikes', such as the Trek 520, Salsa Marrakesh, and Surly Disc Trucker. One thing that surprised me was that they ...
Rеnаud's user avatar
  • 20.6k
18 votes
7 answers
6k views

What if both wheels were powered by pedalling?

Only the rear wheel of a bike is connected to the drivetrain in order to propel the bike forward. I assume the choice of rear wheel instead of the front wheel is for stability (e.g. avoiding '...
ThymeTravel's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
8k views

Can riding without a chain damage a bike?

I've been really struggling learning to ride fakie (backwards) on my BMX. Tonight, an idea occurred to me. If I remove the chain from my bike, it'll be a "free coaster," and I won't have to pedal ...
James G.'s user avatar
  • 305
17 votes
2 answers
41k views

I'm changing from 8-speed to 10-speed will I need to replace my rear Hub?

I've dug an old road bike out of the garage for the winter and need to upgrade the drive-train, I'm happy about most of what I need but but I'm not sure about the rear hub (an old Shimano Ultegra).. ....
Dog Ears's user avatar
  • 609
16 votes
3 answers
4k views

How many watts are lost when pedalling on Bosch e-bike without a motor/electricity?

When pedalling a Bosch e-bike when its motor/electricity is off, how many watts are lost compared to non-ebike drivetrain? If it differs, let's assume a Bosch Performance CX and 250 watts input power ...
HoursFrom.World's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
10k views

What's the point of removing the excess oil after lubing the chain?

There is a very strong point in bike-mechanics culture, which I've seen in very competent answers here, too, to apply one drop of lube in every single roller of a clean chain, and then (!very ...
heltonbiker's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why are cassettes replaced more often than front chainrings and derailleur jockey wheels?

On a bike there are three kinds sprockets that the chain comes into contact with: the chainrings, cassette, and derailleur jockey wheels. It seems that the standard practice is to replace the cassette ...
Aqualone's user avatar
  • 261
15 votes
6 answers
79k views

Bike is shifting on its own

Ever since I got my bike (Surly Long Haul Trucker), it has been prone to shifting on its own. This is almost guaranteed to happen when I stand up on the pedals, and happens regularly when sitting as ...
mcgyver5's user avatar
  • 900
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are the ridges seen on sprockets and chainrings for?

I've always wondered what these ridges below the teeth on sprockets are for. Can anyone enlighten me?
davidwilby's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is there a downside to spoke protectors?

A few weeks ago, the derailer on my touring bike caught on the chain and ripped itself off the frame. (See the link below for more info on the incident.) The spoke protector was cracked in half by ...
Goodbye Stack Exchange's user avatar
14 votes
7 answers
34k views

Mysterious case: chain falling off large chainring, how to fix?

On my commuter bike I decided to rid myself of the small inner chain ring (which is almost never used) and front dérailleur (now redundant). However, I have come across an unusual problem. Whilst ...
user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Whatever happened to the 4 x n derailleur drivetrains?

Around the mid-1990s I am positive I remember seeing bikes with 4 x n drive trains e.g. 28-speed (4 x 7 gears). There is nowadays a trend towards just 2 or even 1 front sprocket e.g. 1 x 12. More than ...
Alex Barber's user avatar
13 votes
12 answers
107k views

While pedaling standing up, bike crank gives in as if shifting, what is causing this?

While standing up and pedaling, the cranks give in as if shifting. It seams like I am shifting down, but my hands are off the shifter, almost like the chain is skipping a link. I took it to a bike ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 131
13 votes
7 answers
12k views

Does gear ratio affect Power?

Let me preface by saying that this may not be the right SE. I considered asking on the Physics SE, but I thought I might try here first. If it is wrong, I am not against it being migrated. From basic ...
BBischof's user avatar
  • 231
12 votes
3 answers
3k views

Can I update a decade-old mountain bike to modern standards?

About ten years ago, I built myself a new bike, for general utility riding and some light trips through the countryside (tens of miles on towpaths etc). I was most familiar with the classic (hardtail) ...
Tom Anderson's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
5k views

How to avoid wearing out gears?

I have a Specialized Tricross which I bought new last year. In that time (approximately 1K miles), I wore out my chain and gears. At least two of my gears are still slipping, even with a new chain. ...
Brian Genisio's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Gates CDN - frequent belt failures

update at the bottom I ride a belt drive bike fitted with a Gates CDN front sprocket (on the crank), a CDN belt and a CDX rear sprocket. Around the 2200km/1400mi mark, the CDN belt failed and teeth ...
user4520's user avatar
  • 563
10 votes
4 answers
5k views

Can a counterfeit Shimano chain be used on an authentic Shimano drivetrain?

I unwittingly purchased a fake CNHG901 HG-X11 chain for my Shimano 2x11 M700 groupset because my original chain already had 0.75 wear. I was naïve to think that I'd actually get a legitimate chain ...
SEBASZCHAN's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
25k views

How much distance can I put on drivetrain components?

I figure the jockey wheels on my derailer will last nearly forever, but what about the rest: cassette, chainrings, and chain? How many miles, kilometers, or furlongs do they normally last? I know ...
Drew Stephens's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
5k views

Independent drivetrains on tandem bicycle

On a standard tandem frame, is it possible to build a tandem bicycle with independent drivetrains for the two riders? Is there a custom frame builder that would build a tandem like this? I'm aware of ...
happyraul's user avatar
  • 103
10 votes
1 answer
11k views

belt vs chain for what matters performance only

Let's set apart all pros/cons of chains vs belts, like: ease of maintenance, need of a custom frame, cost, spare part availability, all of that: nope. This question is very focusing only on ...
Dakatine's user avatar
  • 443
9 votes
3 answers
3k views

Has a bike been made with a rear derailleur above the chainstays?

The question title pretty much sums it up, but has a bike with an alternate drivetrain style like this been made? This would mean a derailleur mounted essentially upside down with the tension pushing ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 5,067
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

Do aluminium chainrings/cassettes contribute to chain wear?

In trying to achieve a long lasting, low maintenance drivetrain, I've read statements about aluminium oxide being the source of the black colour of chain dirt and also being highly abrasive: ...
Simon MᶜKenzie's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
33k views

Can I replace chainrings without replacing the rest of the drive train?

I now ride a 60cm SurlyLHT with chain rings at 26/36/48t. Can I replace with a smaller set at 22/32/46t (or similar combination) without having to replace the entire drive train - cassette, rear ...
SurlyLHT60's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is it possible to use road-style brifters with an internal gear hub?

I have a touring bike with road-style Shimano brifters, which I love. I'm also very intrigued by internal-gear hubs, but these hubs seem to focus on rotary or push-button shifters. Is it possible to ...
Reid's user avatar
  • 1,538
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Upgrade drivetrain to allow faster top speed

I have a bicycle with a Shimano Altus 2x9 drivetrain. It has 36 and 22 tooth chainrings and a 11-34 tooth cassette. I am hoping to upgrade this to extend its high range (i.e. 36/11) without ...
Zuzuka's user avatar
  • 155
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

How to adjust drivetrain so I don't pedal empty air?

You might know what I'm talking about: coast a bit, then start a pedal stroke, and there may be zero resistance for a part of the cycle (let's say 30 degrees) like you're pedalling empty air. Then the ...
meedstrom's user avatar
  • 273
8 votes
6 answers
14k views

Why are there almost no bikes with a single chainring?

Bikes with two or three chainrings are the norm, and then there are singlespeeds, but except for kids' bikes, you see almost no stock bikes with a single chainring in front but a cassette and ...
Joe Ganley's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

What's the point in a freewheel/cassette with incrementally sized rings?

Pictured is a freewheel with 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 tooth sprockets. What I don't understand is why such small increments are worthwhile. Surely the point of having gears is the variance that they ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 977
8 votes
5 answers
1k views

What can I do to keep my rear derailler in good condition when commuting in the snow?

In the winter, it seems that whatever I do, my rear derailleur stops functioning after few weeks of commuting in light snow. Ice always gets in there somehow, and the chain refuses to move the wheel, ...
Nicolas's user avatar
  • 443
8 votes
2 answers
516 views

Have there been designs of bikes with stepless transmission?

Today we studied about mechanical stepless drives, which appear to be used quite widely in industry machines, such as CNC lathes. The concept of varying the transmission ratio arbitrary, without ...
Vorac's user avatar
  • 13.7k
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to determine chain length on a Brompton?

How can I determine the correct chain length on a Brompton bicycle? I have a Brompton bicycle with a non-standard (aftermarket upgraded) drivetrain. My chain broke and I lost some links, so I don't ...
Michael Altfield's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
38k views

Can I fit a cassette with a larger range with my Shimano Tiagra 10-speed ( GS-4600) derailleur?

I'm currently running a 2x10 shimano tiagra 10-speed drivetrain with a 50/34 compact crankset, a 12-30 rear cassette, and a Shimano Tiagra GS-4600 derailleur (that's medium cage aka road long cage) on ...
Benzo's user avatar
  • 18.2k
8 votes
3 answers
452 views

Have multi-speed non-freewheeling bikes ever been common?

Prompted by a recent question I was pondering the idea of bikes with variable gearing (derailleur or otherwise) but without the ability to freewheel. Have such bikes ever been widely used? They would ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 59.7k
8 votes
1 answer
615 views

How far off a chain line can I go?

I'm struggling to find a replace crank set to replace the SR Suntour set that came on my bike. The chain rings were riveted together so on bending one I had to replace the set. There's very few 7 ...
DWGKNZ's user avatar
  • 8,867
8 votes
1 answer
678 views

Why did Shimano change their rear derailleur design going from a torsion spring to a tension spring inside the parallelogram?

The older Shimano rear derailleurs (pre 7700) use a torsion spring inside the parallelogram. But with the release of the 7700 group they switched to a tension spring which they continued using ever ...
user430's user avatar
  • 733
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is sanitizer an effective degreaser?

Thanks to COVID lockdowns, things are shut and I'm anyways miles away from larger market areas. What I do have is litres of sanitizer, the kind that is watery in consistency (not gel-like) and is ...
An Ant's user avatar
  • 322

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