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  1. #1
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    Will I regret this gearing choice for Fort Collins, CO?

    I recently overhauled my touring/commuter bike (a Nashbar aluminum touring frame/cro-moly fork). I put a new crankset on the front, specifically an FSA that is 50, 39, 30 and a new SRAM cassette on the back which is 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26. St. Sheldon gives a gear inch range of 113.8 on the top end with 31.5 on the bottom end, taking into account my wheel/tire size and crank arm length. I'm sure this will be fine while I'm commuting around in super flat Chicago, but wonder if I'll end up wanting to swap this FSA crankset out for a Sugino XD600 triple (46, 36, 26), when my wife and I move out there in the near future. This bike is mainly for commuting but I'd like to do some short tours and maybe the occasional S24O. Just wondering if it's super hilly around Ft. Collins thus requiring lower gearing. Kinda wish I'd bought the Sugino instead, but it's more trouble than it's worth to send back this FSA crankset so I might as well use it.
    My blog: http://aconservationist.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Fort Collins, along with other front range cities (Denver, Loveland, Colorado Springs), is on the plains, just to the east of the foothills and Colorado Rockies. As such, these towns and east are pretty flat. However, head west just a few miles and you can be in steep country - Rist Canyon, Big Thompson Canyon area, Cache La Poudre River Canyon, etc. will head up to much higher country - Trail Ridge Road, Cameron Pass, etc., etc.

    So, it depends - east or west or just around town??

    Others will add much more.

  3. #3
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    Sounds like you already decided you are keeping it.

    That would probably be too tall a gear for most people if you are carrying a camping load touring in the mountains, which is where the good touring is. It's fine if you are carrying credit-card gear or for commuting and day riding. As DnvrFox said, Ft. C. in town is pretty flat.

    For full camping load in the mountains, I use a mountain bike gear setup - triple with a 22tooth granny and a 12-34 cassette. THis is an extremely low gear, probably most people would not require that low a gear, but I like it for carrying too much stuff over long/high mountain passes.

    DOn't sweat it, there are plenty of opportunities to buy bikes & bike parts on the front range.

    You're going to love Ft. Collins, really nice riding around there, and very bike-friendly.
    ...

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    I recently overhauled my touring/commuter bike (a Nashbar aluminum touring frame/cro-moly fork). I put a new crankset on the front, specifically an FSA that is 50, 39, 30 and a new SRAM cassette on the back which is 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26. St. Sheldon gives a gear inch range of 113.8 on the top end with 31.5 on the bottom end, taking into account my wheel/tire size and crank arm length. I'm sure this will be fine while I'm commuting around in super flat Chicago, but wonder if I'll end up wanting to swap this FSA crankset out for a Sugino XD600 triple (46, 36, 26), when my wife and I move out there in the near future. This bike is mainly for commuting but I'd like to do some short tours and maybe the occasional S24O. Just wondering if it's super hilly around Ft. Collins thus requiring lower gearing. Kinda wish I'd bought the Sugino instead, but it's more trouble than it's worth to send back this FSA crankset so I might as well use it.
    "Flat" is relative. I disagree that Ft. Collins is "flat". It's flatter than the mountains to the west but if you start at the Poudre River and ride the 7 miles across town on Prospect to Horse Tooth Damn, you are looking at an 800 foot elevation gain. Granted most of it is going to be on the west end and if you were to cut off the western 2 miles, the elevation gain is only 200 feet, that's still a lot more than you'll find in most parts of Chicago. Just picking a route at random, you could start at Monroe Bay and go due west for 7 miles in Chicago and only gain 70 feet in elevation.
    And, out here along the Front Range, going from north to south often involves more climbing than going east and west due to the drainages that you cross.

    You don't have to change the crankset. You can leave your current gearing in place and just change the inner ring of your crank. Without knowing the specific bolt center diameter (BCD) for your bike, you can get a smaller inner ring. If your bike has a BCD of 74mm you can go as low as 24 teeth. And, assuming that the FSA is an external bearing crank, it's trivial to remove the crank and replace the ring. I'd suggest going that route first.
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  5. #5
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    I decided to switch it out. I bought a different crankset. The replacement for the replacement is a mtb/touring crankset - 48-38-28. That should be fine for loaded touring. Basically the same as what I had before. I can always swap out the cassette if I want to get some slightly lower gears beyond the 26 that I have on there now. I'll save the FSA for a road bike I'm building up to be a "play" bike.
    My blog: http://aconservationist.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    when are you arriving here in Fort Collins?

    We were recently awarded Platinum Bike Friendly Community Status by the League. one of only 4 cities in the country. pretty exciting time to get out here.

    make sure to check out YourGroupRide.com for all the info on the local scene. and follow them on FB as well.

    If you didnt already know, we're also hosting stage 6 of the USA Pro Challenge this year, on Aug 24. finishing in downtown!
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

  7. #7
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    Badhat - the wife and I were hoping to move out later this year. It all depends on finances and whether we can acquire employment. We've been dreaming of moving out there for several years now. Can't stand Chicago anymore. Actually, we've had difficulty tolerating Chicago for several years now.
    My blog: http://aconservationist.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    i moved here from chicago too, for what its worth.

    back in 2004.

    lived in anderson for many years.
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

  9. #9
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    I also moved from Chicago to Fort Collins and I couldn't be happier. Chicago is a nice place to visit but not somewhere I want to live, again.
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  10. #10
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    Badhat - Mayday - I find it funny that both of your moved from Chicago as well. Chicago is definitely a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live here. Sheesh! My wife and I have been saying that to each other for nigh on probably 6 or 7 years now. Chicago outlived it's novelty about 3 years after we moved here, and now we're going on something like 11 years. Ugh. Can't wait to get moved out there.
    My blog: http://aconservationist.blogspot.com

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