Gear ratios on the roads of Mallorca
First thing to do is check what you are currently using. A lot of cyclists will buy a bike and be unaware what their current set up is. Most chainsets and cassettes will have it marked on the chainset rings and on the teeth of the cassette.
How does it work?
The rule of thumb is to use the bigger chainset at the front for more power, speed on the flats and descends, then the bigger rings on the rear whilst in the small ring on the front to make the climbs easier. If you look at a mountain bike they are not built for high speed, so they usually have a large cassette and small chainset for steep rocky mountain paths.
Click here to read this useful write up by Road Cycling UK which explains in a bit more depth about gear ratios.
What do we recommend?
Beginners: If you are new to cycling and want a few extra gears on the steeper climbs then go for a compact, 50-34 chainset with a 11-28 or 11-32 cassette. This will give you plenty to play with and help prevent your legs from fatiguing by keeping a high but smooth cadence whilst climbing.
Intermediate/Advanced: If you are a confident rider and want a bit more on the flats whilst still having good options on the climbs I would recommend a semi-compact chainset with 52-36 and an 11-28 cassette (my personal choice). I use this combination all year round as it tackles everything for the terrain of Mallorca.
Advanced: 53-39 chainset will be for the very strong riders out there! The ratios on the cassette will very much depend on what you like and how much you like to suffer. I have known some riders to come out here with a 11-23 or an 11-25 cassette. Most of the pro peloton use this as it gives them the extra power on the flats and on the descends! However, with their extra power and fitness they can still stomp it up most climbs whatever the ratio.
What have we learnt?
For us mere mortals out there we would recommend a compact or mid compact when riding in Mallorca. If you want to change your set up whilst out here, fear not there are plenty of good bike shops just in case you want to make things a bit easier or… in some cases a little bit harder.