Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shimano 11-34T Freewheel Review: Installation $30 @ Nomad Cycles

I was waiting a few days for this and quite eager about how this low gear would feel like. This freewheel may be my only hope making it through the hills of the ALC. Going into the shop to pick up my trike, I was a bit afraid that the low gear wouldn't be noticeable enough, but even with the same 7 gear configuration, I felt like I was getting a better low end gear and a better high end gear.

The best way to review the new freewheel will be to compare it to the old wheel. I can definitely feel the jump. 1st gear really is like getting a third extra low gear!

Although it easily could have been the new asphalt that I'm not used to riding on that made me fast, I found myself flying by at just under the average speed of cars along the road going 20-23mph. It felt great! While I previously topped out at gear 7 with lots more energy to spin, I feel like I now have an extra top gear!

With the old freewheel, I found myself using gear's 1 and 2 on steep inclines and 6 and 7 for flats. Gear 2 and 3 gets me started from a standstill. What does this mean? I barely use gear 4 and 5! These middle gears really have no use for me other than to give me a smooth transition to the other gears on the high and low ends.

With the new Shimano, I can start from a standstill on gear 4 and tend to use gear 5 most frequently. It will be interesting to compare the two freewheels to see why my use of gears has changed.

28-24-21-19-17-15-13 (OEM KMX supplied freewheel)
34-24-21-18-15-13-11 (Shimano MegaRange)

Interesting! Gears 2 and 3 are exactly the same between the two freewheels. I can start from a standstill on either and still do! I was worried that I was getting a 34t gear at the expense of losing the 24t and 21t, but it looks like those remain unchanged.

The reason I'm using gear 5 so often now is b/c it was my old gear 6. I only popped it into seven after I reached a really fast speed and wanted another bump up. Now I have two more gears to bring my speed up after I get some momentum in 5th gear. All in all, it was a good purchase. No regrets.


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