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  1. #1
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    MTB drivetrain or Road on new road/cross frame build?

    I'm researching a new build and am torn as to which direction I should go with the drivetrain. My plan is to build a city hybrid/cruiser type of bike. I want something that looks old but rides modern. I've decided to go Titanium (with some very horizontal top tubes) and have decided on Lynskey for the frame. I'm either going to do the Viale or the Cooper CX. Both have 135mm rear dropouts. The viale can take a max tire of 30mm and the CX will take up to a 42.

    At first blush, the Viale looks like it will fit my bill because I don't ever plan on taking this bike off paved roads/trails. But I like the CX because I can run a larger tire if I decide to in the future.

    Anyway, I'm more used to the MTB world with the components. And I like MTB gearing better. I went through the Sheldon brown gear ratio calculator and plugged in my choices and out the results came.

    The MTB setup would be this: 48/36/26 chainrings and 11-34 cassette. The road setup would be compact 50/34 and 11-34 (I'd use the long/medium cage ultegra RD). The only thing that I really lose with this setup is the really low granny gear (I might miss on one of those nasty climbs that I do at least once a week). So this is why I'm leaning towards MTB components.

    The other thing is that I'll not be running drops. I plan on running a bar like the FSA Metropolis or s-bend type bar from Carver or TiCycles.

    I guess my decision comes down to two things:

    1. I assume that the MTB crank would work on either bike that I chose. Does anyone know what I would need to look out for in order to make sure it would work? I could just call Lynskey and ask them, but that would be too easy.

    2. The second is really a looks thing. The road cranks are nicer looking (IMO). I am building a "pretty" bike and so looks are important for me on this build. But I don't want to sacrifice pretty for function. I plan on riding this bike until they put me in the ground.

    What do you all think? I'm soliciting opinions. Call me stupid if I'm over thinking this

  2. #2
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    MTB crank should work fine. I've done it before and had no issues. Most on here would consider a 1:1 gear ratio a VERY low granny gear. I would personally go with the 50/34 and a 11-27 cassette but I value smaller gear jumps than you might. I have seen some very nice looking MTB cranks though. I think Crank Brothers makes one. Expensive, but slick looking.
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  3. #3
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    I vote for:
    48/36/26 with a 9 speed 12-36 cassette, Shimano M592 RD; FD to match the shifters you choose (road or mountain).

    I do not like the 33% jump on a 50-34 crank set. The 25% jump on 48/36/26 (or 52/39/30) is much easier on the knees.

    Depending on the hills you are tackling a 50/39/30 (20%/25%) is another choice.

    As you get older, you will want those lower gears.
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  4. #4
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of a 48-36-26 set up with whatever works for the OP in the rear. It's easy changing out cassettes. The 48 and the 36 give you a lot of usable gears and the 26 gives you a bailout. If the OP doesn't mind silver (and wants a crank that looks old school), you can't beat the sugino xd600 triple. The 110/74 bcd is an old school mountain bike set up that works well and chain rings are readily available. I'm running the Sugino triple on my Soma doublecross with a 12-27 9 speed on the rear.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
    I vote for:
    48/36/26 with a 9 speed 12-36 cassette, Shimano M592 RD; FD to match the shifters you choose (road or mountain).

    I do not like the 33% jump on a 50-34 crank set. The 25% jump on 48/36/26 (or 52/39/30) is much easier on the knees.

    Depending on the hills you are tackling a 50/39/30 (20%/25%) is another choice.

    As you get older, you will want those lower gears.
    I'm 40 y/o male. I'm in reasonable shape (5'5 135 lbs) but I wouldn't say I'm an athlete. I only have 1 climb that I like the super small chainring for. That's the hill up to my house. It's a cat 5 hill. Not terrible, but when I'm tired and on my way home, I like to putter up the hill.

    For the rest of my ride, my current setup works fine. I'm running a 48/36/26 with an 11/34 9 spd. MTB setup. Going up my hill, if I still feel good, I'll do the hill with the 36/26 ring.

    I've never ridden 50/34 so I don't know how jarring it would be. Using Sheldon Brown's gearing calculator, it does look like I'll only lose the super low granny gear. And I like the idea and simplicity of a 2x10 setup.

  6. #6
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    If you like 48/36 and don't need the granny gear use a compact double with those gears. Use a double FD and a 9 speed mountain RD with 10 speed STIs or bar ends.
    2003 Stevenson Custom Cycles Sportive
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