Track gearing vs road gearing

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  • Did my first vets session last night and loved it! New bike was a champ, position was bang on (set up same as road bike but about 10mm further forward and slightly downward tilted saddle).
    On the road I always ride a 48x19 fixed. Regularly ride 70 to 100 miles, usually quite hilly as I live in the south west. I’m quite a narrow build so more a spinner than a grinder.
    I usually average between 90 and 95 rpm. Nearer 100 on zwift.
    For the track I used a 49x15 as it’s what I had lying around. I felt like it was too big and my legs were way more shagged than I would have expected after the session.
    Would you recommend gearing down a bit or just stick with it? Which option is most likely to yield improvement?

  • 49x15

    Is about 88 which is what lots of folks ride.

    You could gear down as far as 82 even (not saying you should, but it's just swapping your 15 to 16) and you'll find the gear lighter but you might rev out once the pace of the group picks up. I'm 6ft2 / 70kg and found that a nice social gear on track for regular rider sessions.

    A happy medium of 48 or 47 x 15 (appx 86 or 84) might work as a starting point. Your decision might be based on what's in your spares box / affordable.

    I'd suggest including some work on 88 still from time to time as your legs should adapt to it, that's what I was last riding at mcr before it shut for refurb.

  • Hey thanks; that’s really useful info. You’re right about the fear of spinning out. On 28 second laps I felt like I was really trudging but on 23’s it started to feel a lot smoother.
    As it’s only weekly I think I’ll stick with it for now and see if I can adapt. I guess it’s a bit more like a heavy weight session compared to an audax! Also legs were fine for the commute this morning so no lasting fatigue.

  • 28's is "recovery pace" on the blue line, ot should feel pedestrian but ideally not sketchy. The slower cadence at bigger gear can make it feel sketchy though especially if tense/choppy pedalling. (Edit: I'm not saying you are either of these).

    With your legs not being wrecked it defo sounds like 88 is worth sticking with for now.

  • I tended to edge up through the season as fitness increased, 88-92”.

  • This is the question that @youramericanlover has been waiting for!

  • I use 50 x 15 (90) which is a good outdoor gear for pretty much any track. Go up slightly indoor. I wouldn't go below 88 personally. If you're used to spinning I think you may find it getting easier as you build strength. It's always a compromise of acceleration, keeping a steady RPM during the race and not spinning out come the sprint.

  • Track gearing Aussie style…

    1 Attachment

    • 3A0C7CFC-BAFB-499D-9C3B-9DB1BF80D810.jpeg
  • The 67T chainrings look less well machined than the others

  • Little update: Switched out to 48x15 for about 4 or 5 sessions. Although I felt a bit slow compared to the other riders, I felt like I was pedalling smoother. After a few sessions I felt like I was spinning out and went back to the 49x15. Again, after just a couple of weeks I got the same 'under geared' feeling and went for a 50x15. Expected it to be tough but last night, my first session with this ratio was a breeze! Still nice and smooth and the fastest I've been yet on the track.
    I've no numbers to back it up but I like to think that this suggests a positive adaptation!

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Track gearing vs road gearing

Posted by Avatar for aniki @aniki