Tag Archives: Racing

Gearing Explained – A Ribble Guide

GEARING EXPLAINED

One of the most common questions we get asked is;  ‘I see the chainset and cassette options but what do these mean / refer to?’ We can well understand the confusion! It’s easy for even experienced cyclists to feel quite overwhelmed. Especially when faced with the choice of what handlebar width, stem length and cassette ratio to specify, to name but a few.

Here then is our beginners guide to gearing explained and how to choose the right fit for you.

So, when we say gearing what specifically are we talking about?

We are referring to the size of the chainrings (how many teeth does it have) at the front and the cassette cluster (also known as cogs or sprockets just to confuse matters further) at the rear. Basically, the parts that the chain revolves around.

Now for the nitty gritty, how does selecting one option over another affect how the bike performs?

Chainrings

To put it as simply as possible the smaller these are then the easier it will be to spin the pedals.

Normally on most bikes there are 2 chainrings, an inner and outer. The inner is always traditionally by virtue of its small number of teeth the climbing ring. And the outer chainring is the best suited for flatter terrain and descending. They are offered in the following standard ratios;

34/50

Known as ‘compact’, both the inner and outer chainrings are quite small so this is best suited to hilly terrain and is especially popular with newer cyclists.

36/52

Known as ‘semi-compact’ this was introduced because some riders felt that the 34/50 chainring combination was a little too low. By this we mean that on the flat and particularly when descending riders tend to spin out or run out of gears. So, Shimano opted for this ratio which with the 36 inner chainring still offered assistance on the climbs. But, also in having a larger outer ring of 52t would perform better on flatter terrain or when descending.

39/53

Back in the 90’s and 2000’s before the advent of compact this was the traditional chainring combination. With both the inner and outer chainring being of a large size this only makes this suitable for amateur racers, time-triallists or someone who avoids hills like the plague!

Single Chainring 

The new kid on the block is the single ring chainset which is derived from mountain bikes . On these bikes a  lack of a front derailleur is considered an advantage so it does not collect mud and debris and jam up as a result.  It has seen something of a surge in popularity in road bike circles thanks to the advent of the gravel / adventure bikes. These are equipped to perform as well off-road as on they do on tarmac surfaces. Therefore, the lack of front derailleurs again can be seen as an advantage if the bike is to be used mainly off-road. These are normally offered in sizes between 38 and 42 teeth.

Cassettes

Contrary to the chainrings the larger the sprocket size in terms of how many teeth it has the easier it is to pedal. So, a larger biggest sprocket at the top is more advantageous for climbing. Depending upon what groupset is purchased there will normally be a collection of sprockets ranging from 8-11 in number. Cheaper / lower end groupsets will have 8 sprockets and those at the higher end will typically  have 11 or 12.

You therefore need to select an appropriate cassette for the terrain you will riding over on a regular basis. Wider ranged cassettes such as 11/32 or 11/34 are the best choice for climbing.

Slightly closer ratio cassettes such as 11/25, 11/28 or 11/30 are better for riders with a good level of fitness or who prefer flatter terrain.

Combinations / Recommendations

Climbers gearing

Chainrings 34/50 and cassette 11/32 or 11/34

What we here at Ribble refer to as a climbers ratio and one we recommend to customers who regularly ride over hillier terrain or are new to cycling. (note the small chainrings, large sprockets and longer length rear derailleur in the image above).

General Purpose

Chainrings 36/52 and cassette between 11/25 and 11/34

For riders that have a high level of fitness or if the terrain is not generally hilly. It is therefore worth opting for slightly less extreme gearing than when compared to the climbers option. This offers the following benefits;

  • The gap between gears is not as high, ideally you would keep the number of sprockets as close as possible. The reason for this is to avoid loss of pedaling rhythm when changing gear. As well as the loss of power generated through the pedals due to this loss of rhythm. Therefore, opting for smaller spaced cassettes like an 11/25 or 11/28 avoids this jump in gear change. This also has the added benefit of making the pedaling action smoother.
  • When descending the gears do not spin out as fast, by this we mean that you can pedal for longer before the chain loses any traction . You then have to freewheel until you slow sufficiently enough to start pedaling once more.
  • Specifying larger chainrings and / or closer cassette ratios also make the bike faster on the flat.

Single Chainrings

The size of chainring that is selected will also affect what size cassette is required. If maximum off-road capability was selected it would no doubt be a 38t chainring on the front and 11/42 on the rear. Single chainring set ups are now very popular with MTB’s, CX bikes and Gravel bikes due to their low gear ratios.

For any road bike a larger chainring and / or a more closely spaced cassette is more beneficial.

We hope this guide helps you to gain an understanding of what to choose when buying a new bike. If, however you still need assistance then please contact one of our highly experienced customer service team. They are always available at the end a phone on 01772 963400 or by email at [email protected]


The Ribble 2019 bike range 


 

Ribble Pro Cycling: Off to a flying start!

This week signified the start of our season proper. Despite a win at Gifford in early March we viewed the UCI 2.2 Tour of Tunisie as our first real goal.

The race proved a turbulent experience for both riders and staff with strong winds, minus temperatures and frozen conditions blighting much of the race – not what was anticipated or forecasted for the North African country which borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert. The boys suffered valiantly in the conditions with Gruff narrowly missing out on a better result on Stage 1. With the race splitting in the crosswinds and the team putting four riders in the leading group of twenty, we misjudged the finish slightly and Gruff ended in a disappointing albeit solid 7th which signified the team’s intentions for the remainder of the race. In to Stage 2, in one word, epic. David Hewett the only rider to finish, one of only eleven left in the race, as sleet, high winds and freezing rain battered the race for each of the 172 km. Stage 3 the weather proved to be too much and the stage was cancelled, an excellent decision on behalf of the race organisation. This meant the Tour ended with two stages, David finishing 8th on GC, picking up his and the teams first UCI points of the season.

After a days travel and rest the team rallied for the final race of the trip, a re-organised UCI 1.2 race the 202 km GP Pharmacy. Again a day of heavy rain was forecast. The team set out with the intention of working for Gruff, who duly delivered. Attacking a break of three riders deep into the race he rode the last 12km solo to win – the best way as the only rider in the picture. A fantastic win which topped off a great trip for the team.

Closer to home the riders that remained in the UK produced some excellent performances, undoubtedly motivated by Gruff’s Tunisian success. Due to illness and injury the team was down to three riders at these events. First up was Lancaster University Spring Circuit race at Salt Ayre.

The trio attacking heavily from the outset forced both Si and Alex clear within the first 5km, the duo never looked backed establishing a 30 sec lead that never faltered crossing the line together for a 1,2, Jack narrowly missing the clean sweep in 4th. Onto Sunday the Coalville Wheelers RR the long-running National B over 130 km. A strong Vitus Pro Cycling presence added a further dimension to the race. The pace was high throughout with no group getting more than 20 seconds for the first 90 km, then finally a group of ten managed to forge out a small lead on the peloton. With Alex present for the team and four Vitus riders the break had enough collective firepower to maintain the gap through to the final lap. The final 1 km included a punchy 400m climb before a false flat finish. This turned out to be perfect for Alex as the group of ten contested the win, Alex hit the front towards the top of the climb and never looked back taking a great win. Behind Jack won the sprint from what remained of the peloton.

Also on Sunday still carrying fatigue from Tunisia, Tom and Ronnie combined well for 2nd and 4th in the final round of the Bike Inn Spring Shield in Middlesbrough.

Next up for the team is the 4-day Ras Muhan in Kerry which starts on Good Friday.


Check out the pro team bike getting built here

Been thinking about riding in a group? Check out our latest guide here

GUIDE: Britain’s best velodromes – where to ride track in the UK

Ride at the UK’s top cycling centres

British cycle racing hasn’t always been the huge success story that it is today and, like many great sporting feats, the results of London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympics came after years of preparation, dedication and investment.

Britain’s velodromes naturally have played their part in this success – both past and present – and their place within cycling’s rich folklore should never be downplayed.

But where and when did the first velodromes spring up? Are they still used today? And if so, are they the places where Britain’s gold medalists honed their craft?

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The early velodromes

One of the world’s first velodromes was built at Preston Park in Brighton, a 633 yard long track that opened in 1877. Portsmouth velodrome soon followed, featuring a single straight joined by one swooping curve.

The materials that were used in the early velodromes differed from track to track, as did each circuit’s functionality. While some were built specifically for cycling, others were built around the outside of running tracks, providing extra lanes for runners to train.

Throughout the history of the Olympics, many velodromes were used – all of which differed in size, length and technical aspects. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1990s when the length of velodromes were standardised, a factor which resulted in the reason why today’s events take place on a 250 metre track, as opposed to the various lengths that were used throughout the 20th century.

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UK’s greatest tracks

Although some of the early velodromes may have closed their doors, there are still many great velodromes here in the UK and the number of facilities continues to increase. Just take a look at some of the tracks below.

Lee Valley VeloPark – now arguably the most famous velodrome in the UK the Lee Valley VeloPark, in east London, is the track where Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott rode to victory during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Manchester Velodrome – the home of British Cycling (the sport’s governing body), Manchester Velodrome is the place where some of the nation’s finest Olympians have trained over the years. Located near the Etihad Stadium, the velodrome is also open to the public  – just make sure you book well in advance if ever you fancy a few laps!

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The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome – while the Manchester Velodrome may be home to British Cycling, the Scottish Cycling team can often be found training on Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Again, this track is open to the public, which is handy for any cyclist looking to build their fitness.

Herne Hill Velodrome – is one of the oldest tracks in the world, built in south London in 1891, and for decades was the home of the famous Good Friday Track Meeting. In 1948 it hosted the track cycling events at the London Olympics and it is still a very popular track for training and racing today.

Newport Velodrome – The Welsh National Velodrome opened in 2003 and was used by the British track cycling team for its pre-event training camps ahead of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. It has also been crucial in developing a string of talented Welsh cyclists such as Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas.

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Remembering Leicester track

While the tracks above highlight some of the best UK velodromes today, it’s worth remembering one of of the great velodromes of the past.

The Saffron Lane Velodrome – an outdoor stadium that once played host to some of British Cycling’s most memorable moments – was a 3,100 seater velodrome located in Leicester. The Leicester track hosted the UCI World Championships in 1970 and 1982.

Unfortunately, the opening of the new Manchester Velodrome hastened the end for the once glorious Saffron Lane track which eventually closed its doors in 1999.

Take a look at the map below to see where all the UK’s velodromes are located and to find out more about which notable cyclists have trained where.

Ribble launched the new, exciting full carbon Eliminator track bike during the 2016-17 track season. Read all about it here.

 

Name Location
1 Caird Park Dundee
2 Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome Glasgow
3 Meadowbank Velodrome Edinburgh
4 Tommy Givan Track Orangefield, Belfast
5 Middlesbrough Sports Village Middlesbrough
6 Richmondshire Velodrome (Richmondshire Cricket Club Velodrome) Richmond, North Yorkshire
7 York Sport Velodrome York, North Yorkshire
8 Roundhay Park Leeds, West Yorkshire
9 Quibell Park Stadium Scunthorpe
10 Long View Leisure (Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park) Huyton Knowsley, Merseyside
11 Manchester Velodrome (The National Cycling Centre) Manchester
12 Forest Town Welfare Mansfield,Nottinghamshire
13 Lyme Valley Stadium Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire
14 Derby Arena Derby
15 Aldersley Track Aldersley,Wolverhampton
16 Halesowen Velodrome Halesowen, West Midlands
17 Carmarthen Park Carmarthen
18 Maindy Stadium (Maindy Centre) Cardiff
19 Newport Velodrome (Newport Velo) Newport
20 Palmer Park Stadium Reading
21 Gosling Sports Park Welwyn Garden City
22 Lee Valley VeloPark Leyton, East London
23 Herne Hill Velodrome London
24 Poole Park Track Poole, Dorset
25 Bournemouth Cycle Centre Bournemouth,Dorset
26 Calshot Velodrome Calshot
27 The Mountbatten Centre Portsmouth
28 Preston Park Brighton, East Sussex

 

 

 

 

Team Ribble: Tri victory and top 10 performances for our Ribble racers

Three members of the Ribble Cycles staff were in racing action last weekend – and there was one gold winning victory. Here’s how they got on…

In triathlon…

Dionne Allen from Ribble’s Customer Service team won the Monster Middle Triathlon in Ely, Cambridgeshire on Sunday and finished tenth overall in a field of 170 finishers.

She contested the longest event on the day which was over a 1.9km swim, 92.8km bike leg and a 21km run.

Team Ribble
Dionne speeds past Ely Cathedral on her way to victory. Photo: Ian Green Photography

On her Ribble Aero TT bike, Dee rode the near 100km bike leg in 2 hours 47 minutes and recorded an overall finishing time of 4 hours 43 minutes 47 seconds.

The impressive victory sets Dee up for a good race in the gruelling Helvellyn Triathlon in September which is considered to be one of the toughest races in the world. The open water swim is in Ullswater, the tough cycle leg includes Kirkstone Pass and the run is to the summit of Helvellyn and back down!

In road racing…

Graham Payne finished seventh in TLI Cycling National Road Race Championships, held last weekend at Audlem in North Staffordshire.

Graham described it as a frustrating race but has to be pleased with a top ten finish at championship level.

Team Ribble Graham

“It was stop, start, stop, start, all day long,” said Graham, “Breaks kept going away, being caught and then there was another long lull. The winning break went towards the end of the race and after missing it I was sprinting for the minor places.”

Over 200 riders competed across a number of age categories and they were the largest fields ever assembled for a TLI National Championships with spectators enjoying a great day of racing.

In time trialling…

Matt Stell was the unluckiest or luckiest Ribble rider of the weekend when he was in a spill with a vehicle during the Association’s 12-hour Time Trial.

Team Ribble Matt Stell
Matt Stell in action. Photo: Ellen Isherwood/Lancs Racing Scene

A car accidentally blocked Matt’s riding line and he could not avoid colliding with it and causing damage to his front wheel. Despite the crash Matt still finished the WCTTCA & LTTCA event and even beat his 12-hour personal best by six miles to cover an amazing 264.81 miles! Matt’s distance over the 12-hour event put him in sixth place.

Matt’s great form continues – earlier in the month he recorded a fast 20 minute 34 sec time trial over the 10 mile Levens course in Cumbria.