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  1. #1
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    challenging them hills

    I moved to a hillier area (7-10%) and it's killing me. I am 65 with one kneecap (lost in 1971) and somewhat in good shape. I have a Lemond Buenos Aires triple (52/42/30) crankset and 12-25 cassette. But I am having more trouble then I use to in the hills. I do good on the mountain bike, but I don't want to use it for the street. So I guess my question is, do I get a touring bike or ?. On my Lemond I only use the lowest 50% of the gearing. Only use large chainring on downhills. I have outgrown the average speed thing. What is available out there with lower gearing, but not a slug? Does a cyclocross bike fit in this category?

  2. #2
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    What's the gearing on the mountainbike?
    Before getting another bike, try changing
    to a bigger cassette. I just did my 1st
    century. I saw a lot of skinny folks with high
    end roadbikes. While passing them w/ my
    entry level roadie w/ a 32 casstte, I can see
    that they had small cassettes(23/25)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
    What's the gearing on the mountainbike?
    Before getting another bike, try changing
    to a bigger cassette. I just did my 1st
    century. I saw a lot of skinny folks with high
    end roadbikes. While passing them w/ my
    entry level roadie w/ a 32 casstte, I can see
    that they had small cassettes(23/25)
    x 2

  4. #4
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
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    Does it not make sense that you need lower gears if you having trouble riding steeper hills?

    Start out with a 27 or 28 T cassette. And/or switch to a 26 inner chain rain. The real solution, though, with a 10% grade and a 30 T inner chainring, is to ride more if possible, and become stronger.
    This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

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  5. #5
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I rarely used the 52 on the first triple I had except for downhills. Got a triple on one bike and it is 50/39/30. Can use that 50/11 on some of the flats aswell- providing I have a tailwind.

    Granny ring seems the cheapest option . Change to a 28 and you would get lower gearing. Problem would be the jump from the 42 to the 28 as the step would be a bit large. R.D would probably take it. You could go smaller on the granny down to a 26 or even a 24 but the step from middle would be greater and could require a new rear derailleur.

    The other alternative is a new cassette and if you go to the "New" Tiagra or Ultegra cassette that has a 30t on it you will have gearing for your hills. The RD should be able to take it but you would probably require a new chain if yours is not long enough.

    You have talked N+1 and a CX bike. Look at the gearing as most Cyclo cross I have seen are compact doubles that would give you similar gearing to what you have now. As you are "Struggling on a triple right now- Go for a triple again. 50/39/30 on the chainrings and a larger cassette on the rear. I believe that if you look at a Sram equipped bike- you can get an 11/32 cassette as standard.

    The other alternative is to change your Crankset to an "Older" style MTB setup. 48/38/28 was the standard and I am certain they are still available. The ideal would be 48/36/24 and some riders here use that aswell and can advise on suppliers. This is what we use on our offroad Tandem and it takes a very steep hill (Or one unfit rider) before we have to push the bike. This conversion would only require the crankset. Front Derailleur and changers will work- and even the cassette will be ideal.

    Thinking about it- this would be the best suggestion for you and IF/WHEN n+1 gets a strong hold- then get the crankset changed from new to the 48/36/24 and a 12/25 cassette and you will be climbing walls -if they get in your way.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    You can easily and relatively inexpensively put on an MTB RD and a cassette up to 11-36. We're running this on our tandem.

    I have a compact crank (50-34) and an 11-32 cassette on my single. This is reasonably low gearing with two "side effects"
    1. On rollers I'm between the 50 and 34 which in inconvenient
    2. I wouldn't necessarily like this setup in a paceline - the steps in the rear are a bit large. They are even a bit large for fast cruising

    But if your main goal is easier climbing the mtb cassette regardless of front setup i the way to go
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  7. #7
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    I've had a similar bike with similar gearing. It does have the advantage of being light. Changing the gearing would be cheaper than buying a new bike for sure.

    Now I have a 30X34 as my smallest gear. I never use it. I can't stay upright at that speed.

  8. #8
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    I agree with the recommendations on changing the rear cassette. The 12-25 cassette takes some serious muscles to push longer and steeper grades.

    Rather then just opt for an 11-30 cassette, give yourself even more range with an 11-34 or 11-36 cassette.

    I changed my gears last year on a compact double 50/34. From an 12-25 cassette to a 11-34 and have been very happy with the switch. I'm a little stronger now, so I don't use the 30T or 34T very often, but it's nice to have these large gears in reserve.

    For some, the gap in gear spacing is an issue, but not for me. Since my cadence varies between 80 - 100 rpm's, depending how I'm feeling and the terrain, weather etc..., the extra spacing means I'm actually shifting less. Where I used to upshift or downshift twice, I now shift once to find the right gear. And if speed is not your primary concern, the wider ranged cassette will suit your needs well.

    good luck...

  9. #9
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roaduck View Post
    I moved to a hillier area (7-10%) and it's killing me. I am 65 with one kneecap (lost in 1971) and somewhat in good shape. I have a Lemond Buenos Aires triple (52/42/30) crankset and 12-25 cassette. But I am having more trouble then I use to in the hills. I do good on the mountain bike, but I don't want to use it for the street. So I guess my question is, do I get a touring bike or ?. On my Lemond I only use the lowest 50% of the gearing. Only use large chainring on downhills. I have outgrown the average speed thing. What is available out there with lower gearing, but not a slug? Does a cyclocross bike fit in this category?
    I would try easier gearing on your Lemond before buying a new bike. Is your Lemond a triple with a nine-speed rear cassette? It is very easy to convert the drivertain to achieve a 1:1 or better drive ratio. This will give you the gear range of a touring bike, without the extra weight or cost of these models.

    If you have a triple and a nine-speed cassette, change both the crankset and rear cassette to these;

    http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...t-classic.html

    VO Triple Crankset w/ 28t inner for $100. The VO triple is a modern, stiff, cold forged crank set. It has all alloy polished chain rings, 48/36/28. The rings are pinned and ramped for easy shifting


    http://harriscyclery.net/product/har...ssette-702.htm

    Harris Custom Century Special 13-30 9-speed Cassette


    13 - 14 - 15 - 17 - 19 - 21 - 24 - 27 - 30 cogs.

    This is a Harris Cyclery exclusive, designed by Sheldon Brown, using Shimano sprockets.

    This is intended to provide nice low gears and still preserve reasonably close spacing in the cruising range, without wasting gears by devoting space to ludicrously high gears.

    You should also install a new chain, but you should be able to use your existing derailleurs.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 05-22-12 at 02:12 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the help. I am thinking of going with the 11-34 cassette. I love the bike and I really don't want to give it up yet. The derailleur arm looks long enough. It has about an inch of clearance with the 12-25 cassette. I will probably have to lengthen the chain though.

  11. #11
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roaduck View Post
    Thanks for all the help. I am thinking of going with the 11-34 cassette. I love the bike and I really don't want to give it up yet. The derailleur arm looks long enough. It has about an inch of clearance with the 12-25 cassette. I will probably have to lengthen the chain though.
    The largest cassette you can fit to your existing road-triple rear derailleur will be 30. You will need a MTB rear derailleur to fit a 11-34. This one will fit: http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=950


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  12. #12
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    You can easily and relatively inexpensively put on an MTB RD and a cassette up to 11-36. We're running this on our tandem.

    I have a compact crank (50-34) and an 11-32 cassette on my single. This is reasonably low gearing with two "side effects"
    1. On rollers I'm between the 50 and 34 which in inconvenient
    2. I wouldn't necessarily like this setup in a paceline - the steps in the rear are a bit large. They are even a bit large for fast cruising

    But if your main goal is easier climbing the mtb cassette regardless of front setup i the way to go
    This is the correct answer, do this and for get the other stuff.
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  13. #13
    George Krpan
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    You do better on the mountain bike because of the handlebars. They are wider and have more leverage.

    How about putting a mountain bike bar on your Lemond?

    A wide riser bar would be good but I think a flat bar with bar ends gives the best leverage of all.

  14. #14
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    I have a 2002 Lemond Buenos Aires and changed to the Harris Cyclery 13-30 cassette mentioned above. It works flawlessly with the existing Ultegra rear derailleur. The 1:1 gearing really really helps on the hills.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Get a 39t middle ring, a 26t small ring, and a 12-27 cassette. I set my wife's 9sp Ultegra triple bike up like that and she likes it much better than the original gearing. She didn't want to lose the 52x12 high gear for descents but likes that the middle and granny rings are useful at lower speeds.

  16. #16
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Get a 39t middle ring, a 26t small ring, and a 12-27 cassette.
    This. Having the small ring is much better than having a megarange cassette, makes for much closer ratios and makes it much easier to find the "right" gear.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  17. #17
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Ericm979 and Chasm54 nailed it. One of the problems with pie plate rear cassettes is the gear inch spacing between the gears is too large and require the rider to absorb the changes with greater variation in cadence. Right now you need a bailout gear on the steeper climbs. You will get stronger and the need for lower gearing will diminish. However, with a compromised knee, it is always a good idea to have an easy gear available. Also, the 39 chain ring is a very nice gear for cruising along and spinning faster.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  18. #18
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Ericm979 and Chasm54 nailed it. One of the problems with pie plate rear cassettes is the gear inch spacing between the gears is too large and require the rider to absorb the changes with greater variation in cadence. Right now you need a bailout gear on the steeper climbs. You will get stronger and the need for lower gearing will diminish. However, with a compromised knee, it is always a good idea to have an easy gear available. Also, the 39 chain ring is a very nice gear for cruising along and spinning faster.
    Agreed. If the gear isnt low enough, you arent strong enough

    I speak from experience because my favorite bike is a race-oriented Trek 460 with a low gear of 40/24. On some hills that granny gear is more like Jezebel.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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