One down five up or one up five down. What pattern suits you the best?

One down five up or one up five down. What pattern suits you the best?

For amateurs – please don’t go on wondering about what I have written here, because it’s no rocket science, but two simple types of gear pattern which I thought could be used and applied to ride comfortably on track, than on road.

Hypothesis: A conventional road bike which comes straight out of a factory with a one down, five up gear pattern, which incidentally happened to be the pattern of the bike I rode for the first time on the track (Yes, you can have it in the reverse order as well).

While riding on track, I noticed that this ‘road pattern’ was quite inconvenient. It made me think of what the pattern lacks, so let’s look at the quick difference whether the track oriented pattern gained more points than the conventional one and how.

The Difference

To start with, as we all know, the conventional one clicks one down for first and goes all the way up to sixth as you upshift, opposite to how the first clicks. The simple method then, which I’d like to refer here as the ‘road pattern’.

However, what I noticed is, having the gear pattern reversed would make life much easier on track. That can be done by simply flipping the sleeve round by 180 degrees, the one that sits on the end of the shift spindle. And that, reverses the ‘road pattern’ to what I’d like to call as the ‘track pattern’. While the shift spindle remains at the same position, the lever which has been flipped by 180 degrees lets you click down to upshift conveniently.

The benefits

Rejoice corner carvers. The juice of this ‘track pattern’ comes right out on corners, specifically on exits when one is hanging off the bike and needs to upshift and the bike is still leaned over during a left corner. No need to manipulate your foot under the lever to click up to another gear, that too when your toe is scraping the tarmac.

On right hand bends, all you have to do is find the gear lever with the underside of your boot, click down and you are good to go! I am sure majority of you will agree with me here when I say that it is difficult to upshift when you’re hanging right off on the inside of the bike on a right hander.

The Risks

I would expect that one might find it difficult to adopt it as soon as the pattern is reversed and used on track. While on track, the thought of changing gear is meagre, it happens more on auto-pilot mode and following the old pattern of shifting increases the chances of you slipping into the wrong mode out on track. Riding different bikes can also give rise to getting disarrayed on track as not all bikes’ gear pattern can be reversed. Last of all, downshifting might get a little difficult, especially when you’ve got to blip the throttle, flick up the gears and tip in the bike.

So then which pattern is better?

I’d say it’s a personal choice, as one is not better than the other, but both are different from each other. It’s all about going in for the benefits of upshifting conveniently while coming out of a corner or making easy downshifts before entering a corner. It is more of a preference.

I’d personally stick to the ‘track pattern’ than the convenience of downshifting. There are just about two corners, to be precise; that I feel would benefit from the aforementioned and that applies to the track I’ve ridden on and during my weekend ride as well. Hence, I am ready to sacrifice on the ease of downshifting in normal and track conditions.

Lastly, don’t take my word for either of the patterns. By all means, if you find it worth the time and effort, go ahead and try both the patterns and opt for one that suits your individual style of riding and comfort. Don’t go for a ‘track pattern’ just because majority of them or I prefer it. After all it is you who is going to ride using either of the patterns that come along with their own pros and cons. But if it’s something you’ve thought about doing, why not give it a try?

P.S.: The sleeve requires a bit of a room to be flipped, hence, for some bikes you might need a trip to a local garage while others may need customised rear-sets.

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