Downhill Mountain Bike Gears
Gears make for happier cyclists. While some hardcore downhill mountain bikers choose to remain in one gear at all times - staying in one, lower, gear helps to ensure a fast rate of pedal pick-up at all speeds - others demand the choice to decide whether or not to remain in pain or to utilize complex mechanics to ease the ride.
The goal of any gear system, whether it be 18 gears or 27, is to allow the pedals to crank at a constant, steady rate despite the incline, or decline, faced by the cyclist. By maintaining a constant ratio of pedal speed and wheel revolutions, gears enable a cyclist to climb a steep hill faster and easier, or descend a moutnain bike trail with more control. The lower the gear, the faster pedal cadence a mountain biker will be able to maintain when traveling uphill. The higher the gear, the more resistance will be exerted upon the mountain biker as they pedal, making lower gears ideal for maintaining control when descending.
The amount of gears you decide on as necessary for your bike depends on teh type of downhill mountain biking you will be doing. If you like a challenge and plan on ascending hundreds of hills, then a downhill mountain bike with a higher number of gears - 24 or 27 - would be a better option for you as you would have more gear ratios to choose from. If you are more apt to follow a cross country biking trail than a downhill single track, though, it would be perhaps better to opt for a mountain bike with fewer gear ratios, 15 or 18.