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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking at getting into biking and was wondering why some bikes have 20 gears while other, less expensive bikes have 27 gears. For example the Schwinn Fastback 27 is less expensive than the Fast back Comp, which has 20 gears. Could someone please advise? I am guessing that the 20 speeds are geared more for speed and racing but the 27 speed bikes are geared to allow easier climbing. Am I even in the ballpark with this guess? Thanks!
 

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Bikes with triple front chainrings usually have lower low gear ratios than bikes with double front chainrings, and similar high gear ratios. The lower gear ratios will make it easier to get up hills. The extra chainring and different front and rear derailleurs vs. a double don't cost much to the manufacturer.
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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Wolfie1992 said:
I have been looking at getting into biking and was wondering why some bikes have 20 gears while other, less expensive bikes have 27 gears. For example the Schwinn Fastback 27 is less expensive than the Fast back Comp, which has 20 gears. Could someone please advise? I am guessing that the 20 speeds are geared more for speed and racing but the 27 speed bikes are geared to allow easier climbing. Am I even in the ballpark with this guess? Thanks!
You either have two chainrings (gears) in front or three. The rear can have from 7 to 10 cogs (cogs together= cassette). It is the combination of these that gives the total. (Also be aware that they overlap, so that the 27 speed may only give 3 more lower gears than the 20 speed.)

The 20 speed has 2 in front and 10 in back. The 27 speed has 3 in front and 9 in the rear. The front double or triple are roughly the same price. The 10-speed rear is more expensive than the 9-speed rear.

There is probably also a difference in the level of the parts resulting in a price difference.

TF
 

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Number of gears probably shouldn't be a deciding factor

Warning: Personal opinion only--others' views may differ
For ordinary riding (not racing), the NUMBER of gears is a relatively minor factor. The RANGE of gears (distance between highest and lowest) matters more. You want low enough gears to climb any hill you encounter, but high enough gears to pedal as fast as you want to travel on the flat. I have a single-speed that can climb any hill in my area, but I'm "spun out" (pedaling as fast as I can) at 16-17mph.
Once you have the high and low you need, the gears between are useful to increase your efficiency. Close spacing (of ratios, not physical spacing of the cogs) helps racers because wringing the last few percentage points out of their bodies can make the difference between winning and losing. When you're riding for fun and fitness, though, it doesn't matter much whether you're traveling 15mph at a cadence of 85rpm or 13.5mph at a cadence of 90. People rode for decades on bikes with 10 speeds, and 12 was heralded as a breakthrough. Some of us think anything more than about 24 (triple rings in front with eight-speed cassette in back) is overkill.
The difference in price is based on the quality of the components. You can get a "27-speed" with Shimano Tiagra or Sora parts (those terms may be a couple of years out of date; I don't keep track) much cheaper than a "20-speed" with Dura Ace or Ultegra. But that doesn't necessarily make the cheap bike a better value.
 

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Man, I'm Awesome
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Wolfie1992 said:
I have been looking at getting into biking and was wondering why some bikes have 20 gears while other, less expensive bikes have 27 gears. For example the Schwinn Fastback 27 is less expensive than the Fast back Comp, which has 20 gears. Could someone please advise? I am guessing that the 20 speeds are geared more for speed and racing but the 27 speed bikes are geared to allow easier climbing. Am I even in the ballpark with this guess? Thanks!
Yes, from now on you should say, "I see that some bikes have a triple in the front while others have a double. Whats the difference?"

Like someone else said, the difference in price is more likely the level of components. You may be looking at a triple 105 group compared to a double ultegra. The ultegra is a more expensive group. Comprende?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to all you folks who responded. I just picked up a leftover double chain ring 05 Schwinn Fastback Comp from my LBS. Now, all I have to do is practice getting out of the pedals without falling over.....
Thanks again!

:thumbsup:
 
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