Finding the right gear

This was first posted Oct. 21, 2005.

Hello Lee

When pedaling on a DH I’m often in the false (too light or heavy) gear so I thought about how pros do it. Do they plan their shifting, e.g. “before the 5th corner I have to shift to 4th gear?” Or how do they manage to be in the right gear?

– Jonas

Hey Jonas,

Good riders plan ahead. Downshift before you enter the turn, so you’re in the right gear when it’s time to pedal. You want a gear that’s easy to get spinning, but that you can spin for a while before you have shift. Which leads me to …

They have broad powerbands. Look at it this way: If you can turn a hard gear at only 50 rpm, and you can spin that gear all the way to 150 rpm, that means you can triple your speed without having to shift. The wider your effective powerband, the more time you spend in the “right” gear.

Plan ahead. Get strong. Spin fast.

— Lee

3 replies
  1. Joe says:

    Hey lee, i bought your book mastering mountain bike skills and its amazing, and i recently bought a downhill bike (a specialized big hit), that came with a marzocchi dj2, which id like to replace. Should i go for the extra stiffness of a dual crown fork along with the extra weight, or try to spend extra on a similar single crown?


  2. Spencer says:

    I find pushing big gears hard. So hard in fact that I rarely bother. What’s the quickest way to start pushing bigger gears? My pedaling speed seemed to plateau a few years back and I don’t seem to get any faster just by riding alone. I don’t necessarily want to compete, but I’d like to be faster than my buddies:)

    p.s. I read you book a few years ago. Technically I reckon I’m a pretty strong rider these days. You can take a bit of the credit for that.

Comments are closed.