Questions tagged [drivetrain]

Questions about a bicycle's drivetrain system, including the chain, gears, chainring, derailers, etcetera.

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60
votes
6answers
107k 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 ...
47
votes
4answers
24k 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 ...
36
votes
5answers
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 ...
35
votes
9answers
29k 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 ...
32
votes
11answers
19k 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 ...
32
votes
2answers
16k 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?
21
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
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).
19
votes
7answers
31k 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.
19
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
18
votes
8answers
4k 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 '...
17
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
38k 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).. ....
16
votes
4answers
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....
14
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
62k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
30k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
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?
12
votes
12answers
90k 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
9k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
4k 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. ...
10
votes
1answer
10k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
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 ...
9
votes
4answers
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: ...
9
votes
2answers
294 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
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 ...
8
votes
5answers
875 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, ...
8
votes
3answers
31k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
364 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
457 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
16k views

Can you use a SRAM 10-speed Powerlock with a Shimano chain/drivetrain?

I just bought a pair of SRAM Powerlocks for 10-speed chains. The packaging says that they can only be used with SRAM chains. Will anything nasty happen if I use it with a Shimano chain and cassette?
7
votes
4answers
9k views

Will Deore M6000 SGS derailleur work with 42t cassette in 1x10 configuration?

I'm building a 26er 1x10 commuter. I have a 40t chainring and 11-42 cassette. Will an out-of-the-box (no goat link or extra-long B screw) 2017 Deore M6000 SGS Rear Derailleur work with this? Will ...
7
votes
2answers
229 views

How do mechanics test problem that are only happening under load?

My singlespeed bike emits a creaking noise(coming from somewhere in the drivetrain) while I'm riding on it, however it doesn't when pedaling on the repair stand. This question is not about this ...
7
votes
2answers
450 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

Derailleur Pulley Wheel Compatibility

I can't find replacement pulley wheels for my derailer that are explicitly made for it. Should I be safe replacing them with a set with the same number of teeth (i.e., the same diameter) and targeted ...
7
votes
4answers
34k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
983 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
531 views

How do I properly torque a track cog lockring?

I see a torque rating is stamped onto a lot of track cog lock rings: However, I cannot find a way to use a torque wrench when tightening the lock ring. All the tools I've found, like Park Tool's HCW-...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
730 views

Converting 3*7 speeds to 1*12 or 1*11

I have a 3 * 7 Shimano set. I would like to change this into either a 1 * 12 or 1 * 11. How much would the conversion approximately cost? I am new to the biking world, so forgive me if I am saying ...
6
votes
1answer
12k views

Replace a 52/36 crankset with 50/34

I'm looking at purchasing a new bike with a 52/36 crankset on a 11-32 cassette. I've grown accustomed to a 50/34 crankset on the same cassete, and for the type of riding I do in the PNW (300-400ft ...
6
votes
1answer
513 views

TdF - Mountain stages without a front derailleur?

An article on VeloNews about EPO use featured the following photo of Lance Armstrong from Stage 8 of the 2003 Tour de France: I noticed that Lance does not have a front derailleur. His left shifter ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “chain binding” mean?

I'm reading on chain tensioning, the generic idea is that if the chain is too loose it will fall off, if it's too tight it will "bind". I'm having an hard time understanding what "bind" means in this ...
6
votes
2answers
626 views

At what point does one need to replace a chain ring on a mountain bike?

The large chainring on my mountain bike is missing a number of teeth on one side (apparently the side I like to go over rocks on). Is it harmful to the drivetrain to ride without these if I'm not ...

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