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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-16-09, 06:25 PM   #1
mkwdrs
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How to get easier pedalling GRANNY gear?

Just bought a 2009 Specialized Sirrus. I am going to do a charity ride in the next month. Due to the hills of the ride, I need to make the bike have an easier pedalling granny gear.

What is my best method to achieve this?

Bike came stock with . . .

CASSETTE Shimano Sora, 8-Speed 12-25t
CRANKSET Sugino Triple
CHAINRINGS 48 x 38 x 28t
FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Nexave
REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano Sora, long cage
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Old 08-16-09, 06:29 PM   #2
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28/25 is already very low, but you could put a larger cassette on. Since it has a long cage rear der it should take a mountain-sized cassette, but I'm not personally familiar with how much chain wrap it can handle.
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Old 08-16-09, 07:10 PM   #3
mkwdrs
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I am overweight and slow. I prefer gearing more towards a touring bike or mtn bike versus the stock setup.

Ignorant of these types of changes, what would a mtn type of cassette cost? What is a guestimate of what a bike shop would charge to swap it out?

Thanks for the help
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Old 08-16-09, 07:13 PM   #4
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I just bought a new 8 speed SRAM 11-30T cassette for my mountain bike, it was $25 bucks at my LBS. I installed it myself, so I don't know what they would charge. My guess is that if you took them the wheel, they would do it for very cheap, with the right tools it's very easy to swap out, it will literally only take them a minute or two.
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Old 08-16-09, 07:18 PM   #5
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play with this gearing calcualtor to get an idea of how low you'll need to go...
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

you can always goto a wider cassette... in 8spd you can get a 11-28, 11-32 or a 11-34 (megarange YUCK)... you can also go to smaller rings on your crank (or a 22-32-44 mtb crank)

lots of ways of doing it but it all depends on how much you want to spend and what works with what you have...

as a side note... i have an 11-28 cassette on my roadie... even with the '92 era suntour roadie rear D it ran it happily... prob could have gone wider but prefer narrower cassettes for cadance reasons... had to goto an old mtb rear D i had laying around when I went to a triple up front.

good luck and enjoy that ride of yours
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Old 08-16-09, 07:20 PM   #6
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I would go to your LBS and ask them how big of a cassette you can put on it. They would be able to tell you what will and will not work and show you some options for price ranges. If you bought the bike and the new cassette from them, they probably won't even charge you to swap it. It should only take a minute or two at most.
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Old 08-16-09, 09:09 PM   #7
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I have a 28t rear cassette on my Sora 8sp triple setup - works fine - $20 nashbar house brand model. If you need easier gears - you could try a 30t rear cassette with the Sora or get a mtb rear derailleur (8 or 9sp) and go up to 32t. Another option is to swap the 28t front chain ring for a 26t chain ring - shifting may suffer & you might need a front chain saver.

I have a 26t front chain ring & 32t rear cassette on my current (not the Sora setup) commuter bike - at 225lb & lots of hills in Seattle area - it is nice to have a easier gear when tired or packing some commuting gear.

good luck.
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Old 08-16-09, 09:17 PM   #8
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Shimano mega range

Get a smaller front chainring.
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Old 08-17-09, 06:33 AM   #9
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This would be something I would take to the bike shop. Also you might need to have your rear derailleur re-tuned.

My bike came stock with an 11-34 9 speed and to be honest with you i don't think it climbs all that might better than my road bike that had a 12-25 on it. Sure it's easier to pedal but it weighs a ton, suffers from chain slap like no other, and frankly the granny gear is so easy to pedal...well if you went much slower you'd be going backwards. I got a price quote of $55 installed for an identical cassette from my LBS, I'm in the process of building up a new wheel set and I liked the idea of hot swappable wheels. 700 x 32 for commuting, off road, and touring, light rims and 700 x 25's for 'go fast(er)' mode.

Personally I would work on the motor before tossing money into a perceived problem. Train up as best as you can then go give it hell. You'll likely be just fine without a wacky gear combo.
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Old 08-17-09, 06:51 AM   #10
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28x25 is already very low. Are you sure that you are putting it in the lowest gear? That would be the smallest ring in the front and the biggest cog in the rear.
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Old 08-17-09, 07:01 AM   #11
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If you need a lower gear, go to a mountain cassette in the back. I have a friend who has bad knees, so he can't push the pedals very hard. He runs a triple and a mountain cassette with a 35T big gear. He has an XTR derailleur on the back. It works great for him. Although it's a little weird to be going up a hill and I'm pedaling at 60 rpm and I see his legs spinning like hummingbird wings...
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Old 08-17-09, 09:14 AM   #12
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so you can swap out cassettes with different ranges? You dont have to use the exact one it came with? I currently have an 8 spd cassette will i need anything more than derailleur adjustments if i went from a 12-28 to an 11-32 or 11-34?
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Old 08-17-09, 09:20 AM   #13
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It depends. Your rear derailleur may not work with the larger gears on the cassette. I think a long cage derailleur should work, but take it to a bike shop and have them check it anyways. You will probably need a new chain too.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yin_Yang View Post
so you can swap out cassettes with different ranges? You dont have to use the exact one it came with? I currently have an 8 spd cassette will i need anything more than derailleur adjustments if i went from a 12-28 to an 11-32 or 11-34?
Sure, but there are limits. Most road bike rear derailleurs are spec'd to handle a largest rear cog with 28 teeth. Often, but not always, you can get a 30T cog to work with a derailleur designed for a 28T max. If you want larger cogs on a road bike, you'd need to install a mountain bike rear derailleur. Once the new cassette is installed, you may need to re-tune the rear derailleur. In particular, you want to make sure that the derailleur doesn't hit the cassette when you shift to the largest cog. Finally, you may need to install a new chain if you make a dramatic change in the size of the largest cog.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:39 AM   #15
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once again, thanks for the info guys.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:54 AM   #16
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I have found that getting out of the saddle is overall much better in dealing with uphills. Since I started doing that, I never use the smallest front chainring any more.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:20 AM   #17
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I don't think that you will feel an appreciable difference with a new rear cassette. That 28-25 is a very low granny gear.

I'd advise that you do what I do. It is not easy, and it HURTS, but it works. I ride more hills anyway. Over time, you just get better. I ride hills that are so hard that make me think that I'm going to puke, take a rest-day and a no-low hill ride day, and repeat. If I take rest days between hill rides, I repair faster, and can REALLY tell the difference in just a couple of weeks. The hills are still hard...but I make it up them without having or wanting to stop and rest on the hill in question. I also don't work on hills for more than two weeks at-a-time. I need that recovery time, or I tend to burn out.

I also like to change my climbing riding position pretty often. I like to alternate between sitting and spinning on the easiest gear and standing. I move my hands around a lot, alternate between sitting way up and leaning forward (more hamstring power forward), pulling up more on the pedals, concentrating on spinning a perfect circle, etc. Essentially, I try to spread the trauma around, so that I don't kill my quads. It also keeps my mind occupied on something besides "damn this hurts".

The above steps will allow you to find out what combination of positions and pedaling styles work best for you. That makes riding hills much less intimidating. After you get that hill-climbing groove, and are not as intimidated by hills, find a bigger and nastier hill every month or so to attack at least 1-2 times per week.

The payoff of riding hills is nothing short of fantastic. You will ride faster and easier on the flats, enjoy your rides more in general, and get to see lots more pretty scenery from the tops of hills. I'm still not fast on hills, but riding them is no big thing anymore, and it has made riding more enjoyable than if I just stuck to flat areas. It is worth it.


Last edited by Pinyon; 08-17-09 at 11:23 AM.
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