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CharleyGnarlyP290

Racers From BITD: Sprocket/ Chainring Switching

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While reading the chain topic, this popped into mind.

When I was racing in the early to mid '80s, when BMX tracks could vary widely from place to place, I used to change out my chain ring according to the track. I used a 42, 43, or 44 depending on the track.

Short straights, tight turns... 42. Longer straights bigger turns... 44. Long track with more tight turns... maybe a 43. I kept different length chains with me to minimize wheelbase fluctuation.

Did any of you make this a common practice, or did you just go with the same thing all of the time?

I also used 175mm cranks my whole career. I never could use the 180s. I am 6'1", and was back then, but the 180s felt too long to me.

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Tried the "Spin to win" thing, and it just made me tired. It sounded neat, but you had to pedal farther and keep up the rpms.

 

I did better with harder gears, most often with one tooth up the rest of the gate. It was easier to grunt out of the gate, then get winded later. Also, it offered an advantage as when the pedals went down you covered more inches at the critical start. Never did have different chains. Liked 44/45 think 43 was the lowest.

 

Didn't always work though. Jon Anderson went down to 41/16 or 39/16 to beat me to the world's shortest first straight at Atwater. :Frustration:

 

Jon is 1, I am 3, David Lueck is 10, R. Serafin 26, and Danny Ruby is right behind in a black Meno, 619 can't remember?

jon Anderson Andy Atwater.jpg

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When I started racing seriously I kept a note book with what gearing I used for each track and how I did. It was a great way to keep notes. There were always factors of what the track conditions were. For example indoor dirt tracks were always different because of the type of dirt that was brought in. I remember in one of the tracks the front straight away was so soft that racers were having trouble with their 44/16 gearing. I went to a 39/16 and holeshotted three or more bike lengths infront of everyone. In the final turns when everyone caught up to me I stuck my elbows and leg out so no one will pass me. My theory BITD was "I maybe slow but I am ahead of you!"

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I did the same thing, but, relied a bit more on the back gear, and it also included the street riding vs. track riding.

 

I still have to this day my 43 and 44T Sugino fronts, and 14, 16 and 17T rears (Shimano MX/quick change rear). Depending on the location, street or race, gears would get swapped regularly. Winter time, we had pretty short indoor track, so, we'd gear down to 44/17 I think a lot then. Summer racing was longer tracks, so 16T in the rear the norm. Rec riding 10+ miles to the go-cart track 44/14 was the normal setup for the flats. Going jumping and hill climbing in the fields, 43/17 was probably the pick.

 

On the other end Pueblo was a monster downhill. I'd expect similar to Corona from what I can tell. We ran 43 or 44/14 due to the downhill.

 

So all over the place with gears, however, just the one chain that ran them all (DID). I have a chain break, so, maybe a link add/remove was needed, but, I don't recall having to do that.

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Great topuc! Back in the day, on my 20, I would change out both the front chainring and the freewheel depending on the track.

 

For indoors on concrete, I would typically run a 44-17. For short outside tracks with lots of turns, I ran 45-17, or 43-16. On longer tracks, I ran 44-16, or my favourite (that I ran the most outside) 46-17.

 

On my cruiser, I kept a 18T freewheel, and switched between 40, 41 and 42 on the front. Riding 42-18 nowadays, I wonder how the hell I spun so much.. LOL.

 

Another little trick I used to do, if I was at a race and a competitor was trying to find out what gear combo I was running, was to practice with my race gearing, and then between practice and racing (when my bike was in the pits), put on a bigger or smaller front chainring. Then switch it back just before racing. Haha, it was fun, because they either had slow starts or spun out during the first motos. I only did this for nosey competitors, and that was mostly on my cruiser. :)

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On my cruiser, I kept a 18T freewheel, and switched between 40, 41 and 42 on the front. Riding 42-18 nowadays, I wonder how the hell I spun so much.. LOL.

 

LMAO... spun so much??? The first national I won on a 24" cruiser was a very fast downhill at Ashville, North Carolina. I ran a 39/18 with 175 mm Redline Flites... crazy fast spin. As I got older, my gearing slowly got harder and harder as I lost my spin. I run a 42/18 or 43/18 now and cannot imagine how I spun that low a gear back then.

 

Richard Vogt

bmxmountainbiker

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I ran 44-16 when I first started racing when I was 9 and started running 180's when I was 12. I got back ingto racing when was 14 and I quickly started running harder gears as I grew in size. 45-16 turned into 46-16 and then faster tracks I was running 47-16. I tried 185mm's while I was racing for Kastan in 91 but I found them too big for me and went back to 180's. I found training on hills with huge gears made running the hard gears much easier. I still have monster sized calves even though my knees are shot.

 

Stephen

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