Author Topic: Lower gearing  (Read 6076 times)

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Offline JustABiker

Lower gearing
« on: June 22, 2012, 05:20:29 pm »
Before my wife and I venture out along the Lewis and Clark route from the coast to Great falls MT, I would love to get her to a lower gear, 18" if possible or at least into the low 20's is OK. Currently have a Vaya 2 with a low gear of 30.4" from a SRAM Apex 36/48T compact double crankset and a SRAM Apex 11-32 cassette. Considering switching to a triple crank thinking that she will then also need to change her front SRAM Apex braker/shifter to a bar end shifter OR is there another reasonable option? Any thoughts or advise?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lower gearing
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 06:07:09 pm »
How high of a high gear does she need?  One possibility is to use a triple crank with only two rings (leave the outer one off).  This makes kind of an ultra compact double.  I used 39 and 26T rings for my recent San Diego to Sarasota tour and it worked out fine.  I like the set up pretty well.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Lower gearing
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 08:05:07 pm »
This suggestion is the easiest to implement.  Least big change of bike parts.  Your SRAM Apex compact crankset has 110mm bcd.  It will take a 33 tooth inner ring.  TA and Stronglight both make 33 tooth 110mm bcd chainrings.  Get one and replace the 36 ring you now have.  48-33 chainrings will shift just fine.  You currently have a 11-32 10 speed cassette.  SRAM and Shimano both make 10 speed cassettes with 32, 34, or 36 tooth big cogs.  Might have a hard time with the 36 big cog.  So get a 11-34 10 speed cassette.  Your current 36x32 low gear is 30 gear inches.  The new low gear of 33x34 is 26 gear inches.  She will notice that change.  $40-50 for the 33 chainring.  $80 for the 11-34 cassette.  $30 new chain since the big cog is now bigger but the outer ring is the same size.  So big x big is bigger and needs an extra link or two.  So new longer chain just to be super safe.

These changes do not get the low 20 gear inches you want.  But 26 gear inches should be plenty low enough for Rockies and Sierras mountains.  These changes are simple and easy to make.  Not terribly costly.  Putting a triple crankset onto the bike requires getting a new shifter for the front derailleur.  And the crankset and new front derailleur.  The ease of just putting on a new inner chainring and new cassette might override everything else.

The idea suggested by staehpj1 is also very good.  Shimano and maybe SRAM too make mountain bike cranksets with two chainrings.  So you can buy an off the shelf solution.  Not cheap.  $206.  26 teeth appears to be the smallest inner chainring from the factory.  But the inner is a 64mm bcd.  So a 22 tooth inner ring will fit.  Extra $16.  See links below.

Current low of 36x32 is 30 gear inches.  My new 33 ring and 11-34 casssette gets you low of 33x34 and 26 gear inches.  Cost of $130.  New 2x10 Shimano crankset and new inner 22 ring gets you low of 22x32 and 18 gear inches.  Cost of $230.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lower gearing
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2012, 10:13:46 am »
Shimano and maybe SRAM too make mountain bike cranksets with two chainrings.  So you can buy an off the shelf solution.  Not cheap.  $206.
I didn't know that they made those.  I had a couple road triples laying around that came on touring bikes, but were yanked to get lower gearing.  They worked out well as ultracompact doubles and you could find something similar for cheap.  I think this is the same one I have:
at under $70 it is a pretty cheap way to go.  Pitch the 52 and 30 and put a 24 on the inner position and you would be ready to go.  I found the chain line to be fine without changing bottom brackets, so the whole deal would be about $80 plus shipping.  Cost would be a bit higher if you want to swap the middle ring to a 39.

I did have to make some little spacers to take up the thickness on the attachment bolts.  You could just buy new hardware if the existing doesn't work without the outer ring