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 ...
David Richerby's user avatar
38 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 ...
Rider_X's user avatar
  • 30.6k
30 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 ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 58.3k
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 ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
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 ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
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 ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
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 ...
Batman's user avatar
  • 46.2k
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 ...
Vladimir F Героям слава's 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 ...
mattnz's user avatar
  • 49.8k
15 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, ...
ojs's user avatar
  • 22k
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 ...
Nathan Knutson's 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 ...
Argenti Apparatus's user avatar
14 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 ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
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 ...
Adam Davis's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Does effort require to pedal depend on the gear ratio or the gear inches?

Gear inches. Gear inches are, for better or worse, the most commonly recognized way of making the kind of comparison you're trying to make here, which one is harder to pedal. Gear inches are simply ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
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 ...
ojs's user avatar
  • 22k
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 - ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
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 ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
11 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 ...
Tissa's user avatar
  • 111
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 ...
RoboKaren's user avatar
  • 29.3k
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 ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
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 ...
Móż's user avatar
  • 23.5k
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 ...
juhist's user avatar
  • 18.5k
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 ...
Andy P's user avatar
  • 18.3k
10 votes
Accepted

How do I properly torque a track cog lockring?

A torque specification is not just a torque-spanner setting but a physical property. That is, there are many ways to apply the correct torque. In this case it means more or less: pull it as tight as ...
gschenk's user avatar
  • 9,650
10 votes

Is sanitizer an effective degreaser?

This might work, but probably not as well as using dish soap and water. Because greases are made up of nonpolar chemicals, they are best dissolved by either nonpolar solvents or detergents. Nonpolar ...
llama's user avatar
  • 203
10 votes

Whatever happened to the 4 x n derailleur drivetrains?

Here's a review of a 4× adapter (which apparently you can still buy). I also know that there's a specialty tandem drivetrain, Davinci, that uses an interesting 4× setup. I've never heard of any of the ...
Adam Rice's user avatar
  • 29.8k
10 votes

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

The answer is a little slippery because while it's not the case now, there was a period of time where the Microshift Shimano mountain 10 bar-ends didn't exist yet and so the spec options became very ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
10 votes

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

A large 11-speed cassette with 26" rear wheel is tricky. The derailleur arm is very long in comparison to the wheel and the ground clearance is quite poor. But a good news is that usual hubs are ...
Vladimir F Героям слава's user avatar
10 votes

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

Despite the massive moves and designed obsolesce, with marketing and social media driving all the hype over the latest and greatest next best thing, the parts to maintain the bike are readily ...
mattnz's user avatar
  • 49.8k

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