Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Jonty

Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby Jonty » 20 May 2011, 8:47pm

When not using your bike(s) should they be keep in the highest gear to stop the cables from stretching? I've been advised to do this for a bike which has a 1965 Sturmey Archer 4 speed gear but is it also sensible to do this with modern bikes?
Thanks
jonty

eileithyia
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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby eileithyia » 20 May 2011, 8:49pm

Yes, but that is small sprocket small chain ring rather than 'highest gear'. :lol:
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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby graymee » 21 May 2011, 9:03pm

Why? To stop cable stretch? New cables, other than pre stretched ones, will stretch a little when fitted then reach a fixed length after a short while then stay that way. I leave my bike in the gear I want to set off in. I can see absolutely no benefit in leaving your bike on the smallest chainring/sprocket.
I'm not old and cynical, I'm realistic!

Chris the Sheep
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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby Chris the Sheep » 21 May 2011, 9:10pm

This is certainly what the nice policeman who did my cycling proficiency said - but that was 1975, things may have moved on....
Even if it's no longer necessary, it's something that doesn't feel right if I don't do it - like letting the ratchet click on a car handbrake.

Mind you, I now have an Alfine bike on which the cable's at its slackest in the lowest gear, not the highest, which suits me just fine.

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby boblo » 21 May 2011, 10:03pm

Another advanage of this is to 'relax' the springs in the front and rear ders. They are more likely to retain their ability to boing for longer if they don't spend the majority of their lives under tension. I always store all my bikes small ring/small sprocket for that reason.
Last edited by boblo on 21 May 2011, 10:29pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby graymee » 21 May 2011, 10:25pm

Chris the Sheep wrote:This is certainly what the nice policeman who did my cycling proficiency said - but that was 1975, things may have moved on....
Even if it's no longer necessary, it's something that doesn't feel right if I don't do it - like letting the ratchet click on a car handbrake.

Mind you, I now have an Alfine bike on which the cable's at its slackest in the lowest gear, not the highest, which suits me just fine.


A Policeman teaching Cycling Proficiency would, I hope, know about the law and be able to give advice to make cycling safer. He wouldn't necessarily know about the mechanics of bikes.

Why not let the ratchet of a handbrake click? That's what it's designed for! I've never heard of one wearing out.

There's no down side to not leaving the bike on the smallest cog so I will continue not to bother as it achieved nothing.
I'm not old and cynical, I'm realistic!

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby gilesjuk » 22 May 2011, 12:28am

Rohloff uses two cables and not a spring. So i don't need to do anything.

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby boblo » 22 May 2011, 9:49am

Are Rohloffs immune to cable stretch? :D

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Mick F
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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby Mick F » 22 May 2011, 10:04am

I always leave my bike in the highest gear - big front/small rear.

Why?
Because it looks better!
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby goatwarden » 22 May 2011, 10:21am

graymee wrote:Why not let the ratchet of a handbrake click? That's what it's designed for! I've never heard of one wearing out.


How much interest have you taken in old cars? Austin A35 ratchets are mostly worn out these days. It simply sounds bad if you let it click, otherwise electically applied handbrakes would click for authenticity.

I think worrying about which gear you leave the bike in is really too pedantic to be worth anyone's time. The for and against views expressed are mostly valid, but on an insignificant scale. I defy a pedantic owner (who religiously parks in small / small) to detect the effect of someone sneaking in every night and changing it to big / big, then swapping it back again before Mr pedant goes to work; unless of course the intruder was untidy.

With a Rohloff a true pedant could worry himself in circles, as the cables are effectively a single cable. You pull one end of the cable to change up, the other to change down. In fact they are only under (miniscule in relation to the elastic limit of the cable) tension when actually changing. Whilst pedalling they only experience any preload applied, so all Rohloff equipped pedants can sleep soundly (unless they have too much preload.)

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby boblo » 22 May 2011, 10:22am

Bingo! Mick, I've just diagnosed why you're having trouble with your shifters. You've fubared them by leaving them under tension for too long :lol:

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby alicej » 22 May 2011, 10:26am

Mick F wrote:I always leave my bike in the highest gear - big front/small rear.

Why?
Because it looks better!

:lol:

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby BigG » 22 May 2011, 10:36am

Mick F wrote:I always leave my bike in the highest gear - big front/small rear.

Why?
Because it looks better!

I do the same, but with Suntour reverse action front changers this also coincides with slack control wires. However, I think that both the control wire stretch argument and the spring tension argument are specious. The control wire only stretches once and retains a constant length after very little use. The modern derailleur springs maintain their springiness almost indefinitely and in any case are normally under considerable tension even in the most relaxed position. My Suntour rear mech retains all its jockey wheel spring tension after more than 30 years mostly left with the chain on the large ring. Leave your bike in whatever gear suits you; it simply doesn't matter.

Jonty

Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby Jonty » 22 May 2011, 10:48am

Although putting the chain on the smallest chainring and the smallest cog relaxes the chain the most, it doesn't look right to me on a derailleur as the chain is "bent" and it is not a gear combination one would engage when riding.
Also surely you would have to turn the bike upside down and engage a more sensible combination before riding? I wouldn't like to start riding engaged in a small chainring and smallest cog combination and then try and change into a more sensible gear. Could that not crunch the gears?
I got the advice to put my S/A 1965 hub 4 gear into top gear from the Moulton site when not riding. This is no problem with a hub gear as before you ride you can simply engage third or second gear before moving off.
Surprisingly it seems to work the other way on my bike with Sram dualdrive. The cables are slackest when the smallest cog is engaged combined with the dualdrive hub set at low (the hill-climbing mode), rather than high.
Perhaps I should compromise with my derailleur-geared bikes and store in the middle chainring and the smallest sprocket?
Not a big issue as my all my bikes get at least a monthly ride.
jonty

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Re: Keeping bikes in highest gear when not in use

Postby tatanab » 22 May 2011, 11:45am

Jonty wrote:Also surely you would have to turn the bike upside down and engage a more sensible combination before riding?

No. You lift the back of the bike and spin the pedals with one foot while changing gear. No need to turn a bike upside down at all.

I cannot be bothered; I leave a derailleur in my normal riding gear and some of my machines might not be used in a single year. In pre-indexing days there was no advantage because if/when the cable stretched it did not affect gear changing. Springs were also stronger in those days. In these times of indexed gearing, decent cables are pre-stretched so again there is no advantage in relaxing the cable. Modern springs are weaker, so perhaps you are helping the spring by leaving it in its most relaxed state - note that the spring is not fully relaxed unless you remove it. On hub geared machines I leave them with the cable relaxed simply because it is so easy to do.

If the springs weakening or taking a set is perceived to be a problem, then I ask - "do you disconnect the springs in your brakes when storing your machine?" :twisted: I've reformed many a brake spring over the years, but never a derailleur one.