First Gear

Just some of the things you can do with First Gear...

Choose the right size bike

Choosing the correct frame size is just about the most important aspect of buying a new bike. This means more than just making sure you can straddle the top bar. The wrong frame size will be uncomfortable to ride particularly for longer distances, possibly resulting in back, neck, shoulder or arm pain. Quite simply, after the choice of bike style (mountain, road, track etc.), the frame size is the next most important consideration.

First Gear calculates a good starting point for the right size bike based on measurements of your body. It will get you in the right ballpark within seconds! Check out an excert from the built-in help or even better download it and try it out.

Calculate bike frame sizes from photos

When buying a bike, online auctions can be great places to find a bargain. The level of detail given by sellers in the description however, varies tremedously. Many sellers do not even give the frame size. As already mentioned frame size is critical. First Gear lets you calculate frame size, or any measurement on the bicycle for that matter, based solely on a photo of the bike. Given certain commonly known details, it is possible to work out measurements that will tell you if the bike is right for you. >>try it out


Cycling enthusiasts interested in tweaking the gearing on their bike for a competitive edge can choose new gear ratios and see how this might affect the performance of the bike. An example would be a rider who knows what range of speeds they ride at, and wishes to customise their chain-ring and/or sprocket selection to provide the most usable ratios for the conditions. >>try it out


Working hand in hand with the gearing calculation, First Gear enables you to actually visualise your gear selection while running the bike at varying road speeds. This provides effective and immediate feedback on gear suitability. Being able to visualise the gear change points is an advantage for anyone interested in competition or simply interested in always having a suitable gear at hand. >>try it out

Single-speed & Fixed gear

Single speed and fixed gear enthusiasts now have a straight forward way to select chain-rings and sprockets for their bikes. Often, frames people wish to use for building a single speed or fixed gear are designed for use with a derailleur, and will have rear dropouts that are very short or even vertical. This gives very little room for adjusting the chain tension. First Gear makes the selection easy by letting the enthusiast simulate both the gearing and suitability for the frame in question. Optimise so you have a gear that's usable (not too high or low), that fits the frame, and that will allow adjustment as the chain wears!

I have a frame with reasonably long horizontal dropouts, yet a popular road single-speed combination of a 42 tooth chain-ring with a 16 tooth sprocket (the combination known as 42x16) will not fit at all. Using First Gear I know that if I had gone for 44x17 instead it would have resulted in an almost identical gear ratio, but it would fit the frame and have plenty of room for adjustment as the chain wears. >>try it out

First Gear is copyright 2006, 2007
Martin van den Nieuwelaar
Last updated 16 Mar 2009

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