Totcycle | Family Biking

Tots on bikes, kids as cargo, family cycling, and other high-occupancy velo goodness.

Not caring how much our bikes weigh since 2008.

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Nov052009

« Eight is Enough »

"How many gears does that have?"

If you ride a bike, you probably get that question a lot. I believe people think bike gears = horsepower, or some such thing. They often seem a bit sad for me when I tell them that my bike has 8 gears. Because their Magna has 24.

I don't want more gears, especially overlapping gears. More gear range, sure. But for everyday cycling in most cities, eight gears is enough. If your burg is built on the side of a mountain, then yes, you may need mountain bike gearing. Otherwise, you don't, unless you're often carrying a heavy load up hills.

The Shimano Nexus hubs are particularly sweet. The gear range is 306%, which is not as wide as a MTB's derailleur range, but better than your old 10-speed. They shift better under pedal pressure than SRAMs or Sturmey-Archers. And the ability to downshift while the bike is stopped is very handy, especially when carrying a kid or grocery load.

They're low-maintenance, and the simplified chainline allows a sleek chainguard to be used, allowing me to ride in normal clothes without futzing with my cuffs. Plus, on the average derailleur bike not being maintained regularly, things get dirty, noisy, and there's usually a few gears that are skipping, grinding, or not reachable because the cable tension needs adjustment. Now, these aren't rocket science maintenance issues, but most of us can't or won't be bothered. The internal gear hub is lazy-proof.

So say it loud and proud. Eight gears! Eight is enough.

Bob Loblaw's Globlog is sponsored by Globe Bikes, who've furnished us with a Globe Live 2 Mixte in return for a series of posts on life with their bike.

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