39 votes
Accepted

Can riding without a chain damage a bike?

What harm could it possibly do? The cranks are held firmly in place by the bottom bracket; the back wheel is held firmly in place in the drop-outs. The chain is completely non-structural: all it does ...
user avatar
34 votes
Accepted

Parafin wax vs wet lube for bike chain lubrication?

I have been using paraffin wax this year on my "fast" road bike as a bit of an experiment. This was using the hot wax approach, where paraffin wax was melted (in a slow cooker) and a clean ...
user avatar
  • 29.8k
27 votes

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

In theory - none because the motor has a freewheeling clutch that is completely disconnected when it is not providing assistance. That is when you're travelling over 25 km/h (location-dependent) or ...
user avatar
  • 99.1k
24 votes
Accepted

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

Tourers benefit from triples, and if you're going to run a triple, 3x10 doesn't offer much on top of 3x9. There are two technical reasons to prefer triples. The first is gear range: A typical 1x11 ...
user avatar
  • 46.2k
23 votes
Accepted

belt vs chain for what matters performance only

First things first: A belt is probably slightly less efficient than a properly installed clean chain. The test you link already indicates that. Probably with the tension Gates requires you'll loose a ...
user avatar
20 votes

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

In my experience - breakage is not directly correlated to wear. I've had bikes with unknown mileage on them, and have chosen to ride the transmission into the ground. Generally the performance slowly ...
user avatar
  • 99.1k
19 votes
Accepted

Any experience with shaft driven bikes?

I own & ride an XDS COM10 2014 bike. This is fitted with a Sussex (Taiwan) shaft drive transmission & Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub gear. I have used it regularly for over a year & travelled ...
user avatar
  • 206
18 votes
Accepted

Whatever happened to the 4 x n derailleur drivetrains?

I had a MTB that had a quad chainring. The bike was a Raleigh Delmara and it was equipped with a friction shifter. Photo is dated 2017, but it was ancient at that time, probably late 90's steel MTB ...
user avatar
  • 99.1k
17 votes
Accepted

What are the ridges seen on sprockets and chainrings for?

They are there to help facilitate shifting. Basically, the ramps you see help when going from a smaller to larger sprocket by catching the side plates of the chain to help the chain be pulled up onto ...
user avatar
  • 45.5k
17 votes

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

You can normally use chains from other legitimate vendors, be it SRAM or KMC or something else. You do not need to use Shimano™® chains only. But no-one can tell you whether your chain is of ...
user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

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

Despite the "hell will freeze over" warnings (it doesn't) it is worth considering why you ride a bike, and why you ride an 11- or 12-speed bike when a 9 speed will do the job just fine ...
user avatar
  • 40k
14 votes

Why should one clean a chain?

A lot of people are now out of the habit of doing chain cleaning beyond wipe down level. The reason to clean thoroughly is a marginal improvement in wear life and performance. But the key word is ...
user avatar
14 votes

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

Gear ratio range. If you decrease the chainring sizes you decrease the highest ratios available. It's not possible to make the gap between the chainrings much bigger and get decent front shifting so ...
user avatar
13 votes

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

There is a limit to the amount of tension a given chain should be put under. Smaller chainrings increase that force - the pedal arm and chainring form a lever, and the smaller the chainring (and ...
user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

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

The main problem is quality, in terms of dimensions and variance. If you think its an 11 speed chain but someone has just repackaged some 10 speed chain, then there will be issues. Likewise, if it ...
user avatar
  • 99.1k
13 votes

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

Another detail not mentioned in other answers is spare parts availability. Drivetrain parts at 9-speed and below are much more cross-compatible with each other than current middle to high tier parts, ...
user avatar
  • 19.4k
12 votes
Accepted

Derailleur On A Single Speed

The derailleur is there to act as chain tensioner. In a frame intended for derailleur the rear wheel can't be moved to tighten the chain, so a separate spring-loaded chain tensioner is needed. The ...
user avatar
  • 19.4k
12 votes
Accepted

Is it cost-effective to upgrade an old-ish Giant Escape R3 commuter bike with entry-level branded parts (wheels, drivetrain)?

Cable replacements, chain, tubes, all those are "consumables" Even spoke replacement is not an uncommon problem to have periodically. A bike isn't a cellphone to be discarded when its a bit tired - ...
user avatar
  • 99.1k
12 votes
Accepted

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

You mostly answered your own question: the racing market drives the industry, sometimes to the detriment of the availability of real-world gearing. A major compounding factor is that there are a lot ...
user avatar
11 votes

How bad is cross chaining?

The only study I know of concluded that cross chaining in relatively modern 9spd gear systems at the angles typical of bicycles had no measurable effect on the efficiency of the gearing system. Even ...
user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Difference between road & mountain drivetrain

I think this is quite a broad question, so I'll highlight a few parts of the bike: Seatposts/saddles: Probably interchangable Forks: You wouldn't want to swap them, and chances are a beefy mountain ...
user avatar
  • 45.5k
11 votes

Are older road bike parts compatible with newer standards? How do older and newer bikes match up performance wise?

Upgrading an older bike is typically not economical. Parts are typically not cheaper. Parts are not as available. That drivetrain is not compatible with a modern bike. Bikes have gotten better. ...
user avatar
  • 15.4k
11 votes

Can riding without a chain damage a bike?

If you don't have a chain and don't have a chainguard, you're almost guaranteed to slip at some point and dig your chainring into your shins or ankles. It's very painful -- both at the moment as ...
user avatar
  • 28.5k
11 votes

Switching a 11 speed cassette+wheel with a 8 speed freewheel+wheel. Any compatibility issues?

No sorry, this is not practical. Freewheels mostly stopped at 7 speed, and 8 speed was rare because of excess unsupported axle causing bent axles due to leverage. Your suggested plan would require ...
user avatar
  • 99.1k
11 votes

What if both wheels were powered by pedalling?

Many two wheel drive mountain bikes exist. Here's one article advertising a new one: There’s been no shortage of attempts to build a workable two wheel drive bicycle over the years, but this latest ...
user avatar
  • 23k
11 votes

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

The answer by Criggie excellently explains that the motor doesn't add any pedaling resistance. I find the claim true especially on by Bosch Active Line Plus system -- I have never observed any ...
user avatar
  • 12.4k
11 votes
Accepted

Shimano cassette number of teeth

That will be fine. The only difference is that you will lose ~9% from your top speed. Unless you are extremely powerful and wanting to sprint at the end of esports races you will never notice that ...
user avatar
  • 14.5k
10 votes

Any experience with shaft driven bikes?

I have a shaft drive bike. I have ridden in Australia about 7,000 kilometres (4500 miles) and so far no problems. I recently serviced Shimano 8 speed hub & inspected geartrain, all are in good ...
user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
Accepted

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

The point is efficiency. Cyclists actually have quite a narrow optimal power band. Most of us can bang away at a cadence of 50 rpm, up to about 90 rpm. Some of us pedal faster - 90 to 120 rpm. At ...
user avatar
  • 17k
10 votes

Do aluminium chainrings/cassettes contribute to chain wear?

Interesting question. Real world conditions are messy with multiple factors impacting any analysis, as such my answer will be speculative, but based on a number of sensible working assumptions. ...
user avatar
  • 29.8k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible