If you are a cyclist you have experienced the need for all those gear ratios. There is a sweet spot for pedaling cadence (the revolutions per minute of your pedaling (60 - 100 rpm)) that gives the human the most efficient ride. This cadence strikes a balance between the demand on your muscular system and your cardiovascular system.

Going from 10-speed bicycles to 10-speed vehicles

Ron Nutini is a Trail licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC

As a youngster the bicycle was my chosen mode of transportation. I loved to ride bikes. Any kind of bike. My personal bike never had more than one gear. A ride from the Gulch to Warfield was a challenge. I dreamed of owning a ten speed bike. My dream eventually came true. A brand new BRC ten speed.

Ten gears. Who could want any more? The Gulch to Warfield was no longer a chore. Rossland was even now a relatively easy pursuit. Syringa Creek a day trip. Aren’t gears marvelous?

Yes; mechanical advantage. Climb mountains with limited power. I used all ten of those gears religiously.

At the time of ten speed bikes automobiles of the day had no more than 4 manually operated gears. The automatic transmission had 3 gears. Why would you need any more?

Extra gears just meant extra complexity. More things to break. Big powerful gas guzzling engines can overcome a lack of gears with pure horsepower. Did I ever dream of owning a ten speed car? Not likely.

Fast forward to 2017. The Ford F150 has a ten speed automatic transmission! Chevy and Honda are using ten speeds in various cars as well with many more models cued up.

If you are a cyclist you have experienced the need for all those gear ratios. There is a sweet spot for pedaling cadence (the revolutions per minute of your pedaling (60 – 100 rpm)) that gives the human the most efficient ride. This cadence strikes a balance between the demand on your muscular system and your cardiovascular system.

An automobile powertrain has a sweet spot as well. That sweet spot is also a revolution per minute cadence of your vehicle’s engine. One rpm value produces the most power (think higher rpm) and another rpm value produces the highest fuel economy (think lower rpm). Those ten ratios allow your vehicle to run in its sweet spot at all speeds.

The drive for higher fuel economy has forced engineers to push transmission technology. The automatic transmission is winning the battle much to the chagrin of those of us who still love our manual transmissions. A ten speed automatic takes up no more space than a five or six speed. Automatics now shift the fastest and smoothest while providing the best fuel economy and to top it all off the quickest acceleration.

I recently experienced a passenger seat perspective of the F150 ten speed on a trip to the BC coast. The shifting was nearly imperceptible. The fuel mileage, for a full size 375 horsepower pickup was very impressive. On a few occasions the wrong gear was chosen, nothing the software engineer couldn’t take care of with a little update.

Fixing ten speeds now has a whole new meaning. Bike mechanic turned auto mechanic.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail: nutechauto@telus.net

Just Posted

River rising in Trail

For up-to-date reservoir elevation and river flow information, visit BC Hydro’s website bchydro.com

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

Snowed In Comedy Tour returns to B.C.

Show comes to Trail on Jan. 30

Minor hockey roots preserved in Trail mural

The Trail Minor Hockey Association founded Minor Hockey Week in 1957

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Have you been the target of petty theft in Trail?

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Most Read