Author Topic: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?  (Read 8293 times)

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Offline DaveB

Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2010, 07:01:54 am »
It great that everything works well for you with the revised gears.  What you have now is pretty much box stock gearing for a mountain bike and it should work very well for loaded touring.   

I expect your next bike will have a 9-speed cassette and shifters (since 8-speed is pretty much obsolete) but you can have exactly the same gear range and just three more usable gears in the middle. 

Offline litespeed

Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2010, 04:51:35 pm »
My touring bike, a Litespeed Blue Ridge, came with Ultegra triple. Like you, the gears weren't low enough for really steep climbs. I switched everything to Deore XT at the crank. A huge improvement. I now can pull any grade fully loaded up to about 15 percent.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 04:53:14 pm by litespeed »

Offline biker_james

Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2010, 12:45:31 pm »
Our Cannondales came with 30-42-52 cranksets, and  11-32 cassettes. With full load this wasn't quite low enough. I first just changed the inside chainring to a 24. I thought that different chainrings would help, so i changed the cranks to a "touring" crank, with 28-38-48. I still changed the inner ring to a 22. I almost never use the granny ring, but I do find the 38 and 48 are a lot more usable than the original 42/52 rings. I almost never used the big ring(52), even when not carrying a load, and had to go to the granny ring more. Now the big ring is usable, and even on most hills you don't need the granny ring. But its there when you need it, whether its because the hills are too steep, too long, or you are too tired. And yes, it all shifts fine with STI shifters.

Offline DaveB

Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2010, 08:51:17 am »
Our Cannondales came with 30-42-52 cranksets, and  11-32 cassettes.
I've never understood why any touring bike would come with an 11T cog and a road triple crank.  No touring rider has any need for a 127" high gear and the 30T granny doesn't provide a low enough low gear with any reasonable big cog. 

I suppose they just use what's readily available from the component makers and let the buyer sort out the problems.   Trek seems to provide better OEM gearing on the 520 and, of course the small specialty makers (Co-Motion and similar) do provide more useful gearing but it's not as common as it should be. 

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2010, 11:25:45 pm »
I think most light touring bikes sold never see panniers.  I will bet that most end up in the hands of someone that is just looking for a more upright position. 

Not only do many light touring bikes come with gearing too high to practically tour on, they also come with frames that are not strong enough for touring.  Trying to pass of a Reynolds 520 frame for touring should be more criminal than equipping the bike with an 11-23 rear cassette and a 32-42-52 triple because the frame cannot be swapped out.
Danno

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2010, 02:19:56 pm »
Our Cannondales came with 30-42-52 cranksets, and  11-32 cassettes.
I've never understood why any touring bike would come with an 11T cog and a road triple crank.  No touring rider has any need for a 127" high gear and the 30T granny doesn't provide a low enough low gear with any reasonable big cog. 

Looking at Sheldon Brown's gear calculator the other day, I noticed that Shimano supposedly makes (has made?) a 9-speed cassette with 12-34 cogs (the ap).  Wonder why nobody apparently stocks it?  I'll occasionally touch a 12 in back, but the 11 only gets used to persuade myself that I'd be better off coasting.

Offline DaveB

Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2010, 08:16:26 pm »
Check out Harris Cyclery's web site under "9-speed cassettes".  They offer 12x32 cassettes in XT and SLX level called "The Big Dozen" and a really wide 12x36 9-speed from the SLX group.  Their prices are reasonable.   They also offer a 13x34 "Cyclotourist 13" cassette but this one is a bit pricey.

In the past I believe the 12x32 and 12x34 9-speed cassettes were only available in XTR form with the largest few cogs made of Ti and the cost was eyepopping.