Down to an 8-Speed

So, I finally made the move that I had been contemplating for a while, now I’m riding an 8-speed.

Frankly, gear shifts have bothered me for a while. Unless they’ve just been serviced (I have never learned to do much servicing myself), they are noisy, cause friction, don’t actually quite work (slipping on hills, chain rubbing against chain guide, etc.), and why I would need the 24 gears that my bike came with is completely beyond me, even when I do ride up the 8th ave bike route some times.

So, when my smallest sprocket lost one of its bolt a year ago or so, I was happy to ditch it, going from the original 24-speed to a 16-speed set-up.

When my bike was in with West Point Cycles some months ago they warned me that the teeth on my sprockets was wearing out and that I’d need a renewal sooner rather than later. Well, about three weeks ago, my front derailleur got so gunked up by the 16th Ave grit that it would no longer move. I took this as the perfect opportunity to leave the chain on the middle sprocket (smaller of the two remaining) to test my plan to go down to one sprocket. Seemed to work just fine.

Then, last week, the chain started slipping. Of course, this usually happens on a climb so that your leg goes flying and painfully connects with the handlebars. Obviously a sign to take action.

The folks at West Point Cycles didn’t think my plan strange at all, so I picked up my bike today and it rode like new. Of course, much of that is the tune-up that it enjoyed with nicely tightened brake cables, new break pads, the new chain and all.

What configuration am I riding now? Well, single sprocket in the front with the derailleur functioning as a stationary chain guide for a 46-teeth sprocket. New cassette in the back ranging from 11-28 teeth. The next days will tell.

My first impression is that gear 1 is too small, and gear 8 not quite big enough, suggesting a further adjustment. That would mean a 50-teeth set-up in front and 11-32 teeth (I think) in the back up. I’ll try to go up and down some hills in the coming days and test things out.

In the meantime, only the bell remains on the left half of my handlebars making me think that I should install something there. Compass? Hands-free-BB10 set-up? Third light?


3 thoughts on “Down to an 8-Speed

    • Yes, definitely on my wish list for the next bike.

      Are you riding on hub gears?

      I used to wish for a Rohloff, but can’t stand grip-shifts.

      Alfine now up to 11 gears. I’ve heard about the 8 gears that the top gears aren’t quite hard enough… One of the reasons I took note of the exact gears I got now was to be able to compare ratios when I’m shopping for hub gears.

  1. Pingback: Going Bamboo | 604 Bicycle Commuter

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