Author Topic: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup  (Read 6339 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Nyimbo

Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« on: July 15, 2015, 11:08:12 pm »
Ok, I'm confused and have been for the past month of being introduced to the touring side of bicycling.  I'm guessing that the longtime tourers understand the reasons but I still don't understand.

In reading the articles, blogs, discussion groups it seems there is a consensus for most people in what are a good gearing ratios for touring bikes.  -- small chain ring at 24 or 22 and --largest cassette at 34-36.

But in my reading and learning about touring bike being sold, i.e. LHT, 520, Kona, Randonee, Fuji, and so on, (I did not look at high end or custom bikes) I have not seen one bike that comes with such gearing as standard. 

My question is --what is the reasoning behind the difference between what people seem to be using and what bike manufacturers are offering.  If seems like it would be a big selling point to offer tour ready bikes?? 

Cheers, Keith

Offline RonK

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2015, 11:43:40 pm »

My question is --what is the reasoning behind the difference between what people seem to be using and what bike manufacturers are offering.  If seems like it would be a big selling point to offer tour ready bikes??
Quite simply, bike manufacturers only offer components which are rated as compatible and warranted by the component manufacturer.
Except for flat bar bikes which are able to use a full MTB group set, achieving these low gears usually requires some compromises which manufacturers are unable to support.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline staehpj1

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2015, 08:30:44 am »
Ok, I'm confused and have been for the past month of being introduced to the touring side of bicycling.  I'm guessing that the longtime tourers understand the reasons but I still don't understand.

In reading the articles, blogs, discussion groups it seems there is a consensus for most people in what are a good gearing ratios for touring bikes.  -- small chain ring at 24 or 22 and --largest cassette at 34-36.

But in my reading and learning about touring bike being sold, i.e. LHT, 520, Kona, Randonee, Fuji, and so on, (I did not look at high end or custom bikes) I have not seen one bike that comes with such gearing as standard. 

My question is --what is the reasoning behind the difference between what people seem to be using and what bike manufacturers are offering.  If seems like it would be a big selling point to offer tour ready bikes?? 

Cheers, Keith

A few things come to mind.

First not everyone agrees that gearing quite that low is necessary.  Many are fine with a 26-30 T granny ring and a 28-32 largest cog even for mountain touring.  Also not everyone who tours rides in the mountains.

Second, a lot of "touring bikes" never actually tour.  They get used for general riding around town, commuting, or whatever.

Third, as was said already they get what the component manufacturer sells as a group or at least recommends to be used together.

And fourth, I suspect that like so many gear choices what folks talk about on these and other online groups isn't necessarily what you will find everyone using on tour.

Offline DaveB

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2015, 11:11:25 am »
Keep in mind that touring bikes are a very small part of the overall bike market and, as noted, not all of them are used for actual touring.  If you know what you need it is very possible to customize an over-the-counter "touring bike" to be exactly what you require.  Yes, it costs a bit but it's quite possible.  My pet-peeve is the prevalence of 11T smallest cogs that are  spec'ed on a huge range of inappropriate bikes, not just tourers.

Offline jsieberMT

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2015, 05:25:27 pm »
There was an article in the April edition of Adventure Cyclist discussing this. You can read it here: http://www.adventurecycling.org/default/assets/resources/20150401_DrivetrainDilemma_DAmbrosio.pdf

Offline Nyimbo

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2015, 07:00:52 pm »
Thanks admin, that helps a lot


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


Offline zerodish

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2015, 09:36:48 pm »
I have been reading bicycling magazine since 1976 and also back to 1969 in the libraries. This is not a good resource never the less they did get some things right. In the 70's professional racers used a 52 front and 14 rear. It was widely reported that pushing higher gears at a lower cadence would damage the knees. No entry level bicycle needs a gearing higher than this. Generally they come with a  12 13 on the road bikes and 11 13 on the hybrid bikes. You are insane to pedal down hills on one of these entry level bikes. If you read the fine print on the warranties they do not cover racing which means what ever their lawyers say it means. Interstates are graded at 6 percent. This means 42 mph coasting on my rig and this is something I do on a daily basis. Save your strength for the uphills. Frank Berto tested every type of gearing system. He used a 20 inch low on all his personal bikes. This was a big man who did not tour. The industry ignored this professional engineer and listened to the marketers instead. 

Offline John Nelson

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2015, 12:36:59 am »
I have 52/11 and very often wish I had a higher gear, and I have never raced.

Offline DaveB

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2015, 07:47:07 am »
I have 52/11 and very often wish I had a higher gear, and I have never raced.
Really?  A 52/11 is 127 gear-inch and gives 38 mph at 100 rpm.  Can you really ride that fast except on a big downhill where you would go as fast or faster by just tucking in and coasting?  My problem with the excessive use of 11T cogs is that you give up a far more useful interior cog to get it. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2015, 09:35:20 am »
I have 52/11 and very often wish I had a higher gear, and I have never raced.
Really?  A 52/11 is 127 gear-inch and gives 38 mph at 100 rpm.  Can you really ride that fast except on a big downhill where you would go as fast or faster by just tucking in and coasting?  My problem with the excessive use of 11T cogs is that you give up a far more useful interior cog to get it.
Seems pretty extreme to me, but I can kind of understand.  I used to want a big gear, in part so I could pedal lightly against a little resistance on long down hills to keep my legs moving.

I have since gotten used to not having a big ring at all on some of my bikes.  I went with a big gear of 39/12 on the ST with an ultra compact double (39-26) made by taking the big ring off of a triple) and found that I really didn't miss the big gear.  It took a bit of a mental adjustment but wasn't really a handicap even though I was riding with a fast young rider.  I had no trouble staying with him on the flats, down hills, and rolling hills.  I did have trouble keeping up on the uphills for the first part of the tour, but that is an entirely different problem having more to do with inadequate training :)

Offline John Nelson

Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2015, 12:04:59 pm »
I have 52/11 and very often wish I had a higher gear, and I have never raced.
Really?  A 52/11 is 127 gear-inch and gives 38 mph at 100 rpm.  Can you really ride that fast except on a big downhill where you would go as fast or faster by just tucking in and coasting?  My problem with the excessive use of 11T cogs is that you give up a far more useful interior cog to get it.
38 MPH is fast enough for Kansas, but not for a lot of other places. On rolling hills, I want to start that next uphill going as fast as I can manage. Besides, I'm not really a 100-RPM kind of guy. And even though I don't race, going fast is fun, and going 45 MPH is more fun than going 38. Also, it you ever hope to get going 55 MPH, you need to pedal as hard as you can at the very top of the hill. So no, of course I don't need a bigger gear, but I want one because it's more fun. It's good not only for downhills, but also for tailwinds.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 09:00:31 am »
I have 52/11 and very often wish I had a higher gear, and I have never raced.
My problem with the excessive use of 11T cogs is that you give up a far more useful interior cog to get it.

+1. I had a new road bike built this spring. DA9000. I wanted a cassette with 28t on the low end. The choice was between 11x28 and 12x28. I went with the latter for the more useful interior cog. If I get dropped on a flat road with a massive tail wind, so be it.