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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 09-12-05, 10:25 PM   #1
rlong
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Chainring combintions for beginners with 26" wheels

I did a search and came up with zip on this subject, so here it is. My wife and I have a Burley Rock n Roll (26" wheels) and we both are recovering from injuries. Believe it, or not, or 28/44/54 front and 12/32 gearing is just not low enough as we are in the coastal mountains off Southern Cal., and just about everywhere we go involves steep, sometimes long hills. I'm thinking about a 26/36/54. I have a new 36t for the middle ring, but would have to buy the new 26. Also, who makes the best tantem chainrings any way? All comments are welcome.
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Old 09-13-05, 12:34 AM   #2
gregm
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The 26/36/54 sounds like a move in the right direction. In fact, go ahead and just pop on your 36 for now... I bet you'll like it a whole lot more than the 44 middle.

I would suggest steel for the 26, for durability. (I think nashbar.com is where I got one for cheap.) You might even put the 54 aside and swap it for something like a 48... the jump from 36 to 54 is gonna be pretty darn big. Also, the 54x12 top gear you have is pretty tall for you for now, until you're ready to pedal hard & fast back down those descents.

Good luck!
-Greg
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Old 09-13-05, 12:48 AM   #3
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I ride offroad, and do some hills that are probably a bit steeper than you will find, but not as long. Initially we had 48/38/26 and linked to 11/32 rear sprocket. We found that 26/32 was just a bit too tall, so went to a 24 on the front and in fact also changed the middle to give us 48/36/24. This is just about low enough for us, but when you compare this to normal offroad of 44/32/22, is just a shade taller. We do occasionally go on road with a slick tyre that will give us a lower gear due to the tyre circumference, and have no problems on the road. 48/11 is a lot lower than your 54/12, but it is surprising how little we use this gear. It has to be on a slight downhill, and I reckon that at 35-40 mph, we are in coasting mode in any case. At the other end of the gearing, it is surprising how often we use the 24/11, even on the road. There is no way that I would like to lose the 24/32, even on road, as like you we ride in a very hilly area, with the odd 15% or higher gradient that keeps appearing for a 100yards or so.

On the make of chainring, Initially we had steel Sugino rings, but went to Middleburn rings to get the range and quality we wanted. These had to be replaced as a set for us as the Suginos were a different spacing from the crank, and this left a slot for the chain to slip into and lock up, when we had a mixture of the two. On the rear sprocket, as I have found out to my cost, XT Cassettes are lighter, but weaker and bend easily, and going to a 12/34 is pointless as the rings bend too easily.
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Old 09-13-05, 03:36 PM   #4
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We are riding Raceface rings, 48/36/26 on our Rans Screamer with an 11/34 cassette. The rings are very, very strong. With the exception of the smallest ring, make sure you have ramps and pins for flawless shifting in both directions.
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Old 09-14-05, 01:23 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=stapfam] At the other end of the gearing, it is surprising how often we use the 24/11, even on the road. There is no way that I would like to lose the 24/32, even on road, as like you we ride in a very hilly area, with the odd 15% or higher gradient that keeps appearing for a 100yards or so.

/QUOTE]

Sorry. Spot the deliberate mistake. That should have been it is surprising how often we use the 24/32
One Thing I have also noticed is although others will say different, the maximum gear range change for a front derailler is only 22t as quoted on the Shimano instructions. Most Tandem riders will stretch this to 24 and experience no problems. The one occasion I went to 26t difference, I did experience some rub noise on the front derailler.
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Old 09-14-05, 09:49 PM   #6
rlong
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Gregm,
Yes, the more I think about it, the more I believe that the 54 is pretty useless at this time as well. Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

Last edited by rlong; 09-14-05 at 09:51 PM. Reason: add intro
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Old 09-14-05, 09:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
I ride offroad, and do some hills that are probably a bit steeper than you will find, but not as long. Initially we had 48/38/26 and linked to 11/32 rear sprocket. We found that 26/32 was just a bit too tall, so went to a 24 on the front and in fact also changed the middle to give us 48/36/24. This is just about low enough for us, but when you compare this to normal offroad of 44/32/22, is just a shade taller. We do occasionally go on road with a slick tyre that will give us a lower gear due to the tyre circumference, and have no problems on the road. 48/11 is a lot lower than your 54/12, but it is surprising how little we use this gear. It has to be on a slight downhill, and I reckon that at 35-40 mph, we are in coasting mode in any case. At the other end of the gearing, it is surprising how often we use the 24/11, even on the road. There is no way that I would like to lose the 24/32, even on road, as like you we ride in a very hilly area, with the odd 15% or higher gradient that keeps appearing for a 100yards or so.

On the make of chainring, Initially we had steel Sugino rings, but went to Middleburn rings to get the range and quality we wanted. These had to be replaced as a set for us as the Suginos were a different spacing from the crank, and this left a slot for the chain to slip into and lock up, when we had a mixture of the two. On the rear sprocket, as I have found out to my cost, XT Cassettes are lighter, but weaker and bend easily, and going to a 12/34 is pointless as the rings bend too easily.
My cranks are suginos, but the chainrings have no markings that I can find, other than the number of teeth. As I told Grege, I am thinking of losing the 54t as well, but maybe not just yet. I have to say though that even my time trial/ triathalon bike only has a 54t on it (26" wheels) and I replaced that with a 53. My old road bike had compact cranks with a 50/34 and I was pretty satisfied with it. However we are comparing apples and oranges now.
Thanks for your suggestions and comments.
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Old 09-14-05, 10:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchell
We are riding Raceface rings, 48/36/26 on our Rans Screamer with an 11/34 cassette. The rings are very, very strong. With the exception of the smallest ring, make sure you have ramps and pins for flawless shifting in both directions.
Really! I admit that I wouldn't have considered Raceface rings, having no knowledge of them at all. Thanks for the idea, and I will look them up.
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