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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

View Poll Results: How do you gear your bikes?
factory stock, off-the-shelf 45 51.14%
my own custom combination 38 43.18%
shiftless (single-speed or fixed gear) 1 1.14%
other; explain 4 4.55%
Voters: 88. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-16-07, 09:43 PM   #1
John E
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gearing poll

Since the subject of regearing arises periodically, I thought it would be interesting to see how various folks deal with the subject.

All of my bikes have custom chainring and cog sizes which I have selected to fit my own needs.

I typically go for a low gear in the mid-40s (gear-inches), a top gear in the mid-90s, and an average ratiometric progression of about 6 or 7 percent through most of the range, sometimes with a larger jump at the very top or bottom. I live in an area with light winds but some hills.

What works very well for me:
50-42 / 14-16-18-20-23-26 for club riding, recreation, unloaded touring; superb
47-38 / 13-15-17-19-21-23 for same applications -- not nearly as nice a ratio progression
49-46 / 14-16-18-21-24-26 equipment-constrained on an old classic; a bit stiff in the low end
45-42 / 13-15-17-20-23-26 for commuting and general transportation
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Old 08-16-07, 09:57 PM   #2
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My Lemond came with a 52/42/30--13/25 which is about perfect for me in rolling NE Ohio. Most other bikes in my fleet have been modified to nearly this same set-up over the years. I've added triple cranksets to some of them to achieve this.

Hey, I'm old.

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Old 08-17-07, 05:29 AM   #3
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I've added triple cranksets to some of them to achieve this.

Hey, I'm old.
My knees worship at the alter of the triple crankset.
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Old 08-17-07, 05:56 AM   #4
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53/39 & 12-25 works just fine for me, no reason to change it
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Old 08-17-07, 06:18 AM   #5
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My Lemond came with a 52/42/30--13/25 which is about perfect for me in rolling NE Ohio. Most other bikes in my fleet have been modified to nearly this same set-up over the years. I've added triple cranksets to some of them to achieve this.

Hey, I'm old.
Both my road bikes have triples....my knees thank me for it
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Old 08-17-07, 06:22 AM   #6
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Bike 1: 52/48/34 & 12/34 - Touring & very hilly rides
Bike 2: 50/34 & 12/23 - General riding
Bike 3: 50/32 & 12/25 - General riding
Bike 4: 53/39 & 11/23 - Mashing on the flats or just rolling hills
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Old 08-17-07, 06:22 AM   #7
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I seldom get into the highest gear and I never have a granny that is low enough. My Cannondale T800 came with an appropriate range, since it is a touring bike.
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Old 08-17-07, 07:20 AM   #8
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50/34...12/26 on the road bike

48/36/26....12/26 on the MTB (no root climbing gears). This combination works extremely well on a hardtail used for general purpose Trail, MUP and around town road riding (most rides use a combination of all 3 thus precluding the use of a road bike).
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Old 08-17-07, 07:30 AM   #9
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both road bikes
53/39-12-25
53/42-12-25
46-16 s/s


no reason to change as here in Texas, mostly flat with some hills, none that are so steep to require a triple or a compact
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Old 08-17-07, 09:37 AM   #10
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Compact Triple!

48/38/26
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Old 08-17-07, 09:49 AM   #11
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Compact Triple!

48/38/26
plus 1 with a 12-34 7 speed cassette
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Old 08-17-07, 10:14 AM   #12
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I've done both, factory and custom. I like custom better but I've been too lazy to do the work to make a custom one lately.
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Old 08-17-07, 10:18 AM   #13
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Started off riding triples in my late 40's. As I've gotten stronger, I've migrated to standard doubles.

The road bike has a 53/39 up front. Came stock with 12-25, but I sometimes put on a 12-27 if there's going to be a lot of climbing (e.g., the Death Ride).

The TT bike has 53/39 up front, with 11-23 cassette.

I'm currently building up a Surly Long Haul Trucker frame for around town, errands, commuting, and possibly loaded touring. It will initially be set up with a 9 speed Ultegra triple (52-42-30, with 11-23 cassette).
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Old 08-17-07, 10:36 AM   #14
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50/34 with 12/25 rear works for me.
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Old 08-17-07, 10:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Paulie View Post
Compact Triple!

48/38/26
I'm not sure what a 'compact triple' is, but that combination used to be considered mountain bike gearing before the advent of 4-arm cranks. Why oh why didn't they just use the 110/58 BCD cranks that were already in existence before they went and invented a completely new size?

So, what do you call my combination? 30/44/56, using a standard 12-27 cassette. This is on a 26" (ISO 559) drive wheel. Gear range is 26-114 inches. If I could easily find it, I'd use an 11-25, and then only use a 12-27 cassette when I traveled out of state to hilly rides.
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Old 08-17-07, 11:01 AM   #16
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Old 08-17-07, 11:10 AM   #17
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Seemingly custom on all the bikes.

Mountain has 44/32/22 and 12/32 9 speed. Probably The standard used by most MTB's nowadays.

Tandem has 48/36/24 and 12/32 9 speed.

Giant has 52/42/30 and 11/28 8 speed.

Boreas has 50/36 and 12/27 10 speed.

The Boreas will probably go to a triple with 50/39/30 and stay with the 12/27.
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Old 08-17-07, 11:14 AM   #18
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I have an older hybrid that's a triple but I can't remember off the top of my head what the gearing is....having used the granny gear on it exactly once, I stuck with doubles on my road bikes.

My first road bike came with a 53/39 and 12/25 cassette. I had my second built to my specs but stayed with that combo since it's been working pretty well for me.
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Old 08-17-07, 11:44 AM   #19
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I have a 2002 Lemond Zurich. It came with Ultregra Triple 12-27. For a ride through Utah I switched to an XTR cassette and derailleur and now love the MTB gearing and have not taken it off - I have 12 - 34 (granny is 30 - 34). I sacrifice smoothness for really low gears and the ability to climb up anything. Priorities!!!!
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Old 08-17-07, 11:56 AM   #20
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Tpourer Rohloff Speedhub 500 on the tourer 38 chainring 16 cog

T.T bike 54/42 with 11 to 19 (straight/single cog step) 9 speed for flat courses
50/39 with 12 or 13 to ??? depends on the hills

Road Bike 52/39 double , not a clue about the sprocket, 12 to 29 9 speed.... maybe, at the moment

george
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Old 08-17-07, 11:58 AM   #21
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Since I ride in the mountains a lot, I use a 52-39-30 triple with 10 speed 12-25 on my main bike. I am often SPUN OUT in 52x12 and sometimes struggle in 30x25. Touring bike has 48-38-28 with different cogsets, 13-30 9speed last time. MTB is 42-32-22 with 13-30 8speed.
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Old 08-17-07, 12:28 PM   #22
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I'm basically stock with the exception of what might be considered a "custom" rear cog set.
I have an 86 RockHopper with 26-36-46 up front.
The bike came with a 12-14-16-18-21-24-28 cassette.
I picked up a bunch of bike parts last year and amongst the spare parts was a FALCON Freewheel.
It's a total piece of "waste", but it's a 13-14-16-18-21-24-28.
I usually found the 12T cog a bit high, but was often "spinning out" (I thought at the time) on the 14T.
Although I now typically spin the 14T (with a bit higher cadence) the 13T is ideal when I get the rare tail wind. The times I could actually use a 12T are so rare, I've learned to live without it very well.
My ideal cog set (this week anyway) would be 13-14-15-17-20-24-28 or 13-14-15-16-18-22-28.
I'm just curious how long the cheap Falcon stuff will last. I know it's already beyond its expected life, but I keep stuffing grease in it and hoping. If it were only HyperGlide!
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Old 08-17-07, 01:01 PM   #23
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Within a month of buying my first bike last year, a hybrid with a 48/38/28 triple, I knew I wanted closer ratios. I didn't like the big jumps between the gears, and it seemed like in many places, the gear I wanted was the one between the ones I had. Fortunately, my usual terrain doesn't require wide ranges. I replaced the 8-speed 11-30 with a 13-23 and was happy, until winter when snow and snow tires required the big cogs again.

The 8-speed 13-23 is a rare item apparently. I couldn't find another when I bought my road bike (52/42/30) this past winter. So it got a 12-23 and a 12-28 for when I get into the hills south of the city. Recently, I moved the 13-23 from the hybrid to the road bike and am enjoying the 16-tooth cog again. Still wishing for an 18...

I have a new bike on layaway, a Trek Portland. I comes with a 52/39/30 triple and a 10-speed 12-27. I'll be ordering a 13-25 for the nice weather. That'll finally get me the 18-tooth cog I've wanted for a long time. Before snow flies, I'll be getting a 16-27 for it. Yahoo! Close ratios at the low end for snow riding.

With 16 months under my belt, I find I'd continuing to get stronger. That has me thinking about a double for next year. Not yet sure if I'll give up the triples, or if I do, if I'll go compact or standard.

Last edited by tsl; 08-17-07 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 08-17-07, 01:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post

48/36/26....12/26 on the MTB (no root climbing gears). This combination works extremely well on a hardtail used for general purpose Trail, MUP and around town road riding (most rides use a combination of all 3 thus precluding the use of a road bike).
We're not too far apart on mountain bike gearing.

Schwinn: 48-40-28 / 13-15-17-19-22-24-26
(I have also tried it with 48-40-24, which requires care on the 24-to-40 upshift.)
Ross: 46-38-24 / 12-13-15-17-19-21-23-25
(This is particularly fun because the frame says "Shimano 21 speed," but my replacement wheelset has 8 cogs.)

Thanks for all of the responses. We have a gratifying number of gear-heads in the 50+ group!
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Old 08-17-07, 02:07 PM   #25
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Road bike: stock, 50/39/30, 12-25. I'd like an even smaller granny gear, though.
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