Handcycles are basically upside down bicycles. On a bicycle, the chain rings are near the foot pedals. So for a handcycle, the chain rings are mounted on the top near the hand pedals.
There are three chain rings: the middle chain ring is used for flats or level terrain, the large chain ring is used for going down hills or when you have a strong tail wind and the small chain ring is used for climbing or fighting a headwind.
The standard 48-39-24 chain ring set up will allow you to tackle almost any terrain. The numbers correspond to the number of teeth on each chain ring. The large chain ring has 48 teeth, the middle one has 39 and the small one has 24 teeth.
The optional 53-39-28 chain ring set up is primarily used by elite athletes who want to push more gears. On a downhill, the 53 tooth chain ring will ensure that you don't run out of gears but going uphill will require more muscle because of the 28 tooth chain ring. Bottom line is that you lose some of your climbing gears.
A Compact 110 with chain ring of 48-34-22 is recommended for athletes who need more climbing gears or are not strong enough to push the standard chain ring set-up. You will notice that the middle and small chain rings have less teeth than the standard chain rings and this helps keep the efficient 80-100 rpm (rotations per minute) at the optimum.
Shifting the chain from one chain ring to another requires a derailleur. Our cable driven upper derailleur is easy, efficient and smooth. There is a short cable connecting a thumb "click" shifter to the derailleur. A manual shifting system is also available for those who don't want cables of any kind.