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  1. #1
    Senior Member azza_333's Avatar
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    How many people tour self supporting with a double crank

    I am curious to know how many others out there go in unsupported tours with a double chainring crank.
    Bike 1: 2015 Kona Sutra, Crank 22/36/48, Cassette 11-34, Bike 2: Custom built Carbon Fibre frame, Di2 Ultegra equipped, Hydrualic Disc brake touring speed machine

  2. #2
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    I hardly use my large chainring on my triple
    bikegpx.us for free touring map routes & gpx files

  3. #3
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I did on the Southern Tier and it worked out quite well. My setup was a bit unusual though. It was an old 7 speed with a 12-28 cluster and a 39/26 on the crank. The crank was an "ultra compact double" made by leaving the big ring off of a triple. It worked out to a range of 25 to 88 gear inches and I was very happy with the setup. I should probably mention that I was self supported, camping and cooking, but packed very light. I was carrying less weight than a lot of folks who are credit card touring, so a 25 " gear was plenty low enough.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I @ LBS, have shipped back compact double crank bikes for riders who finished the 3000+ mile transcontinental US tours.

    they rode Un-Supported.. carried their own stuff ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-21-15 at 09:53 AM.

  5. #5
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    I toured with a double back when I was young and foolish.




    Now that I'm enlightened, I run single-speed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    I haven't toured with a double for a long time but might consider it again since this winter I purchased a new crank, 46/30 from Sugino and with my 11-34 cassette on the back, that works out to a gear inch range of 113-23.5" Btw, this is actually a little lower gearing than one of my older touring bikes that had the standard Shimano triple of a 52/42/30 and 28t large cog in back.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I tour on a variety of bikes, some only have a single crank with a 3 speed hub that is about as low as I will go. I have seen more than one person touring on a single speed bike. Their choice.

    Aaron
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  8. #8
    Senior Member azza_333's Avatar
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    What about any on road doubles?
    Bike 1: 2015 Kona Sutra, Crank 22/36/48, Cassette 11-34, Bike 2: Custom built Carbon Fibre frame, Di2 Ultegra equipped, Hydrualic Disc brake touring speed machine

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azza_333 View Post
    What about any on road doubles?
    I have seen quite a few who were doing just fine on them. Some on coast to coast and other long tours with real mountains. Some even were carrying heavier loads and didn't have a really big cluster on the back. I'd consider a road double or compact double with a wide range cluster on the rear and a very light load. If I toured in flatter terrain I'd even consider regular road bike gearing, but since I tend to tour in the mountains and am in my mid 60s I do tend to need fairly low gears where it gets steep at all.

  10. #10
    Senior Member azza_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I have seen quite a few who were doing just fine on them. Some on coast to coast and other long tours with real mountains. Some even were carrying heavier loads and didn't have a really big cluster on the back. I'd consider a road double or compact double with a wide range cluster on the rear and a very light load. If I toured in flatter terrain I'd even consider regular road bike gearing, but since I tend to tour in the mountains and am in my mid 60s I do tend to need fairly low gears where it gets steep at all.
    What do you consider a wide range 11-32? and what do you consider a very light load?
    Bike 1: 2015 Kona Sutra, Crank 22/36/48, Cassette 11-34, Bike 2: Custom built Carbon Fibre frame, Di2 Ultegra equipped, Hydrualic Disc brake touring speed machine

  11. #11
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    Haven't done a trans-cont., but have done lots of shorter self-supported camping tours on my Cannondale road bike with 53/39 rings and a 7-spd 13/32 cassette.

  12. #12
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azza_333 View Post
    What do you consider a wide range 11-32?
    Yeah, about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by azza_333 View Post
    what do you consider a very light load?
    It varies a bit with the trip, but around or below 20 pounds including bags is starting to get into the range. I was carrying about 14 pounds of gear, bags, and clothing for the Southern Tier, but have trimmed some weight on a few items since then. I figure that I can camp and cook with 9-12 pounds of stuff even with moderately cold overnight conditions.

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    I swapped out the double on my cx bike for a Sugino wide/low double (40 x 24t). It doesn't have much top end, but with an 11-32 cassette, it is geared plenty low for climbing with a full load (I pulled a 55 lb trailer around the Rockies last year).

  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
    I swapped out the double on my cx bike for a Sugino wide/low double (40 x 24t). It doesn't have much top end, but with an 11-32 cassette, it is geared plenty low for climbing with a full load (I pulled a 55 lb trailer around the Rockies last year).
    If it shifts the big jump from 24 to 40 well enough, that sounds like a pretty sweet setup. My 39/26 with a 12-28 was adequate for a light load and your setup has more range on both ends. I'd think that would make it pretty versatile. Did it shift between rings pretty well?

  15. #15
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    We host people on Warmshowers, and we have *lots* of younger people coming through on compact doubles, and many have cassettes in the 12-27 range. Some of them have said their knees hurt, but many say it's just fine.

    The most amazing rig we've seen, however, is the one ridden by a delightful young man who went from Montreal to Vancouver in 34 days pulling a trailer on a fixie with a 53 front and a 19 rear cog. Amazing.

    As for me, my first tours in the 70s were with a double crank -- triples weren't that common, or at least I didn't know where to get them -- and boy did my knees hurt. Changing over to a 26-36-40 triple with a 14-34 custom 6 speed freewheel gave me the low I needed, and even though the top gear was only around 78 gear inches, I was much happier, and this worked for me for years.

  16. #16
    Garlic
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    In recent years I've dropped my self-supported load down to well under twenty pounds, barely noticeable on my old touring bike. My next bike, if I ever need one, can be a double if everything else is perfect. My last XC trip with a triple, I only used the small chain ring (26) a few times to get out of campgrounds on steep gravel. For the paved hills I encountered, my 36 x 28 was just fine.

    A lot depends on your load, on the grades and surfaces you expect to climb, and how you and your knees do with sustained climbing. There are many levels of ability and physiology and your bike needs to meet your needs.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    have you done your own research ? like on https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/

    Anecdote: one of my companions on an AYH group-tour from SF to SD, on the California Coast , in 1986

    Used the bike he brought from Norfolk England, it had a classic TA 50t, 28t double on his bicycle.

    Freewheels were no higher than 13t back then.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-21-15 at 09:54 AM.

  18. #18
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    Single 46 or 48, or nothing. 16T Rohloff on tour, 22 to 120 GI. Sturmey Archer 5 for century rides, 45 to 116 GI.
    I flew to Vietnam and from China. I took ALL the same clothes and shaver kit as I put in my suitcase on other trips and car+bike vacations. That's 35 lbs + 6 drinks + 12 lbs tool/spares stuff + 5 lbs copper stuff + 5 lbs coat/ rain gear + 8 lbs of pannier bags and bins + 4 lb locks + 46 lbs bike. And that was a hoteling trip.

  19. #19
    nun
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    I use a 46x34 crank paired with a 12x36 cassette. But, IMHO, a mountain double makes the best front touring crank.

    https://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/products/x9-crankset
    Last edited by nun; 08-16-15 at 11:33 AM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member winston63's Avatar
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    I do self-supported tours on my AWOL with a 48/34 up front and an 11-36 cassette. It's worked out fine for me so far.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    I tour self-supported with 15 pounds of stuff or less. I'm sure your question assumes self-supported riders will have much more.

    If I were going to a truly inhospitable area, I still can't imagine having more than 40lbs.

    My compact double is 34-46, and has a 11-32 cassette. For a long time, I toured with a single front chainring and no front derailleur, 38T, but the off-road hills were a problem so I threw a FD back on there. I'm in the big ring 85% of the time.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    My tours are short, a week at most, and no mountains (yet). I was running a Nuvinci hub with a compact double. After a while I realized I was only using one chainring, so I removed the derailer. Around town I would use the big ring, and if I was hauling a load, I would manually move it to the small ring. Then I got the new version of the hub, and I was having trouble getting the big ring to work with the narrower chainline, I went to one ring. Now I'm running an Alfine 8. I'd like a little more in the upper range for riding around town, but I'm guessing the small ring will do the trick when I'm touring.

  23. #23
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    I recently did a 5-day trip with moderate hills, and was fine with 50-34 11-32. For mountains, I'd prefer lower gears.

  24. #24
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    I toured from Vancouver to San Francisco on a compact 50/34, 11/36. Self supported with tent, sleeping bag and portable cpap machine. In addition, I'm a big guy! A lot of mashing, though by nature, I'm a spinner. Didn't have to walk the bike once. My son who went with me had a touring triple. I spent hours watching him spinning in front of me, coveting a touring triple.

    When I got back I quickly converted to a Sugino touring triple. This summer I went from Quebec City to Perce on the Gaspe Peninsula, same gear self supported. Lots of 15+% grades. Even with the triple I had to walk. One young buck has a compact road double and I can't count the times he said that he had to get a triple.

    I think it matters a lot on where you are going, how much you are carrying, both luggage and dead weight, and the size of our engine.

  25. #25
    djb
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    Mongoeric, truer words have not been spoken. Your last bit.

    And yes, gaspe is a bugger of a route. Did me in, or one of my knees, in about 1990 , with the combo of too much weight, too high gearing (with a triple) some too long and steep hills as you mention, and a weak engine.

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