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Old 05-16-05, 10:34 PM   #1
danimal
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gearing for west coast?

Hi all, this is my first post, but I've been lurking for a bit and all the info here has been really helpful as I prep for my first tour ( I start next tuesday!).

So I know there have been quite a few gearing questions, but I'd like some thoughts on what would be best given my current set-up and proposed route:

I'll be riding from Seattle to LA on my Spec. Allez Comp Cro-mo; it's currently set-up for riding/racing with a double and a 12-25 cassette. On the tour I'm hauling a BOB trailer...will this current set-up be okay? or will I be hating life the first time I hit a climb? I'm considering finding a 12-27 which I can use post-tour for other especially hilly rides, will this be enough? My third option is to borrow an xt cassette and rear-derailleur from a friend (11-32, I think)?

Any thoughts on what I should do? -I'm leaning towards the 12-27 because I'll be taking my time on this trip and will be stopping and doing quite a bit of 'unloaded' riding (and I am really comfortable with my current ultegra setup), but if I can't track down a 12-27...?
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Old 05-16-05, 11:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal
...will this current set-up be okay? or will I be hating life the first time I hit a climb?
I don't know. Have you loaded your trailer and gone out on a test run? Unless you're running a compact double up front, your current 25 cog may not be low enough....
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Old 05-16-05, 11:25 PM   #3
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Y'know, only one person can really answer this question. Depends on your legs, your fitness, your climbing ability, your gluttony for burning thighs....

But if it was me, I'd ride a touring bike without a trailer AND use the 11-32. With a road bike and a trailer I'd be searching for an 11-36 You ever been down the Oregon coast? It ain't flat, believe me. If you do it with your current setup, you truly live up to the name "danimal".

-- Mark
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Old 05-17-05, 12:30 AM   #4
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thanks for the input...i'm running a standard front, and i'm definetely not a glutton for punishment so i think i'll take my friend up on his offer for the mtb cassette.

mark: why no trailer...personally it was money issue because a friend loaned me the trailer, thus saving me from having to buy racks/panniers/etc...
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Old 05-17-05, 03:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal
thanks for the input...i'm running a standard front, and i'm definetely not a glutton for punishment so i think i'll take my friend up on his offer for the mtb cassette.

mark: why no trailer...personally it was money issue because a friend loaned me the trailer, thus saving me from having to buy racks/panniers/etc...
For better spacing than a MTB cassette, consider a Sheldon Brown custom cassette available from Harris Cyclery. If I were riding your bike on a similar tour, I would choose either his cyclotourist 13 or 14. With a standard road crankset (53/39) it would be extremely rare to find me in the big ring&11, 12 or 13 cog-while towing a trailer (or carrying panniers for that matter).

I would still be walking some climbs (on a loaded bike) even with the 39/34 combination.

Another possibility (yet perhaps a "kludge") may be to try a tripelizer conversion ring. These are rings that bolt on to your existing crank (provided they are compatible). You'd need a wider bottom bracket (not too much$), as well as a triple front deraileur. If on a tight budget, and you currently use brake/shifters, you could opt for a front downtube shifter instead (and use the same front lever for the brake). Not the best option, but if your doing the occassional "nasty" climb, would seem to be a knee saver. Easily should last a few thousand miles. --I'm considering using one if I end up qualifying for Boston-Montreal-Boston.

[edit]I'm all about "spinning" while touring, or on long non pace line rides. I can only "mash" for a couple hours and I'm wiped out. So i guess it depends how strong you are, your riding style, and how bad the climbs are, in regards to what will work for ya.

Last edited by Camel; 05-17-05 at 03:56 AM.
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Old 05-17-05, 07:17 AM   #6
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Maybe you can borrow a mountain bike, and pull the bob with that?

Watch out for BOB on the downhills, by the way. He likes to get ahead of you... Keep the speed and weight low.

Have a great ride!
Anna
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Old 05-17-05, 10:44 AM   #7
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About a trailer:

I'm not in the religious camp against trailers, it's just personal preference. The choice of trailer vs. panniers can only be made if you try both. And I haven't actually toured with a trailer -- just pulled kids around town. You're in a good situation cuz you actually have the chance to try a trailer for 'free'.

I was just commenting on the added weight you'll be pulling (uphill!). Lots of articles here both pro and con for trailers. Easier to pack, some people think they don't affect bike handling as much as panniers (debatable), less weight on your wheels, etc. etc. But no one can deny that they add weight and rolling resistance, especially significant uphill at slow speeds. In the overall scheme of things, no big deal for touring, since it's all about low gears and smelling the roses. But that's why it's relevant to your choice of gears.

Yeh, definitely go for a wider-range cassette, and if you stick with the double chainring, at least get the smallest you can fit for the lower one. Have a great time!

-- Mark


Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal
thanks for the input...i'm running a standard front, and i'm definetely not a glutton for punishment so i think i'll take my friend up on his offer for the mtb cassette.

mark: why no trailer...personally it was money issue because a friend loaned me the trailer, thus saving me from having to buy racks/panniers/etc...
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Old 05-17-05, 05:33 PM   #8
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thanks again, everybody,

going back to the money issue, i'll definetely go with the mtb cassette, and i'm checking on a smaller front ring-hadn't even thought of that...that triplelizer sounds like a lot of headache, though.

valygirl: i heard the bob can get a little shakey and to just ride my brakes a bit on downhills, have you ever heard of anybody going down because of their bob?
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Old 05-17-05, 06:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal
valygirl: i heard the bob can get a little shakey and to just ride my brakes a bit on downhills, have you ever heard of anybody going down because of their bob?
Yeah, me. I also borrowed a bob for my first tour, and attached it to a mountain bike, b/c I wasn't sure I would love touring enought to buy an appropriate bike.

I don't really like slamming this product, and for every person who dislikes bob you will find 10 who love him.... however, my friends kind of tapdanced around the issue before I used the trailer. They said they had heard about handling problems, "the tail wagging the dog"... but no stories of actual crashes, and no one said "don't do it!" So I do chime in and tell my stupid little story every once in a while, as a cautionary tale.

I told the story in this thread. Long story short, I was descending on pavement, overloaded, speeding, only 25-30mph, but that's over the spec for the trailer, which I didn't know. It hucked me off. Not cool.

If you do use bob, I would encourage you to find the owner's manual and follow the instructions regarding speed and weight. Also, I have since heard that it matters how you distribute the load - but I don't know how.

Happy touring!

Anna - now a happy 520/pannier rider
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Old 05-18-05, 04:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal
...i'm checking on a smaller front ring-hadn't even thought of that...
If you have a chance, post what you finally end up using. Folks are allways interested in gearing in general, and specifically for touring.
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Old 05-19-05, 10:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal
thanks for the input...i'm running a standard front, and i'm definetely not a glutton for punishment so i think i'll take my friend up on his offer for the mtb cassette.

mark: why no trailer...personally it was money issue because a friend loaned me the trailer, thus saving me from having to buy racks/panniers/etc...
When we rode the coast last year, my friend pulled a bob. The one thing he mentioned is that he brought alot more than needed just because it fit.
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Old 05-20-05, 11:25 PM   #12
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mntbikedude: yeah, as I'm packin' up, I'm noticing that I'm not being especially picky about what I'm throwing in...gotta definetely be careful.

so as for the setup, a friend hooked me up with an xt cassette (11-34) and rear der. -unfortunately i didn't set it up and finally get the trailer until today (and I'm boxing it all up now), so it's gonna be a trial-by-fire when I get out there..should be interesting.
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Old 05-21-05, 01:21 AM   #13
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that's a lovely ride, and you don't need to bring much for it since you can restock, resupply several times everyday. in fact, make sure you have plenty of space in your bags for fresh fruits, breads and other goodies you'll pick up along the way

the only memorable killer hills on the pacific coast route is the section just south of leggett (sp?). it's where the 101 goes around the Lost Coast and hooks into the 1 on the coast. 6-7 % grade for much of the 28mile or so length.

a good test: load up your rig and ride up a 6% grade for a hour to see if you want/need lower gearing

but, who knows, by the time to you get to northern california you might have gotten so strong, it's a moot point
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Old 05-24-05, 07:24 PM   #14
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I'm doing the same ride, but south to north. The coast is hilly, period. I'm pulling my BOB with my 26-36-46 and Shimano Mega 34 in back! I've ridden some long 10% grades and it really helps, but if you don't have it, that's ok to. Have fun
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Old 05-25-05, 10:44 AM   #15
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Wah-hoo, it seems like I finally found some people who know gearing. FYI- the mechanics subforum does not.

First a summary of this thread and then my questions?

__________________SUMMARY_________________________________________________

ROAD DOUBLE 53.39
-----------------------
39x27==39gi SheldonBrown- most popular
39x32==33gi EmmCeeBee-no trailer ??
39x34==31gi Camel--too high, walk bike
39x36==29gi?? EmmCeeBee-trailer ??

ROAD TRIPLE 52.42.30
-----------------------
30x27==30gi EmmCeeBee-no trailer
30x28==29gi SheldonBrown cs902
30x32==25gi
30x34==24gi
30x36==22gi?? EmmCeeBee-trailer


TOURING TRIPLE 26.36.46
------------------------
26x34==20gi RLong-10% grades


__________________Questions_________________________________________________

1. About what type of grade could you handle, loaded with 25gi [30x32, 26x28] ?

2. Are there times when the jump is just too hard from 36x21 to 36x25/or 26x15 to 26x18 and you need an inbetween gear. That is, 36x25/26x15 is spinning too fast, but 36x21/26x18 jump is too hard and you have to drop back down to
36x25/26x15 because you can't get your cadence up to the right level at 36x21/26x18? Or is all this always easy?


Looking forward to a short tour, but need to adjust my normal cassette and need answers to the above in deciding between the different options.

Thank you for replying and sharing.
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Old 05-25-05, 10:08 PM   #16
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I've not had any problems shifting what I have. You do need to know your system though, as with any bike, especially though with triples. When you drop from 36 to 26 you need to be in the right zone on your cassette. You get used to it, especially on a long ride, or frequent short rides.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
39x34==31gi Camel--too high, walk bike
...if it were me, on my road bike (loaded).

My touring bike on the other hand has a triple 48/38/24, and an XT 11-32. So 24x32==20.3gi. Yeah-long steep climbs, no problem (loaded&slow).


Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
1. About what type of grade could you handle, loaded with 25gi [30x32, 26x28] ?
Not scientific, but I'd guess 4-5%-and not a long one either.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
2. Are there times when the jump is just too hard from 36x21 to 36x25/or 26x15 to 26x18 and you need an inbetween gear. That is, 36x25/26x15 is spinning too fast, but 36x21/26x18 jump is too hard and you have to drop back down to
36x25/26x15 because you can't get your cadence up to the right level at 36x21/26x18? Or is all this always easy?
Comparitively, with the current setup on my tourer-seems allright for me gap wise. Mine seemingly has the inbetween jumps covered 21 to 24 and 16 to 18 respectiveley. I would still like to "tighten" up the range a bit though-kind of a cross between custom cassettes. Like a "century special" 13 14 15 17 19 21 24 27 30, but swap the 27+30 for my current xt low end 28+32.


Thanks for getting me thinking about this. I'm about to setup my brevet bike with a triple.
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Old 05-26-05, 04:37 PM   #18
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I really really appreciate your feedback. I have been struggling with GI since Oct and have not found a good solution.
The bottom line from your feedback is that I should not worry too much about the shifting gaps but focus more on the range. My problem is in trying to balance in order of priority

1. keeping cadence changes smoother between gearing changes.
2. ability to hit reasonable speeds on normal commute
3. ability to be able to ride up hills with total weight about 300 lbs
4. cost of changing gear system

I would appreciate you experts reviewing the following data and telling me what you think.

Old time rider, first bike I tried to ride to death, but after 4 years failed, was a schwinn varisty. It was extremely durable and low low maintenance, but had a problem when changing gears. Often I wished for a gear between 8 to 9 and 9 to 10.
Finally found some data on this bike. Naturally it was a 10 speed: 39.50 14-28. Best guess on rear cassette is: 14,17,20,24,28. I know the ends are correct, the numbers inbetween are best guesses. Shifting from 8th to 9th, or 75gi to 84 gi was hard. Shifting from 9th to 10th, or 84gi to 96gi was often impossible. From 8th speed to 9th was a 17.5% change, and from 9th to 10th was a 21.1% change.

My bike is a "Giant OCR Touring". Giant has now discontinued this model. I think it is because they geared it wrong. Instead of 24.34.35 11-32 they geared it as 30.42.52 11-32. Earlier years were 11-27. Much too high GI's for touring
Because of the fear of harder transitions between gears and normal rides are not up high mountains, I swapped the std 11-32 cassette for a 12-23 cassette. Transitions are perhaps too smooth and my low is a very very high 35gi.

Here is a table of data:

GIANT Std 30.42.52 11-32
_Low GI 25
_Hi GI 128
_Avg Step 13.5
_Max Step 16.7

CURRENT 30.42.52 12-23
_Low 35
_Hi 117
_Avg 8.3
_Max 11.8

Schwinn Varsity 39.50 14-28
_Low 39
_Hi 96
_Avg 18.7
_Max 21.4

Touring Avg 24.xx.46 12-32
_Low 20
_Hi 104
_Avg ???
_max ???

Best?? 28.42.52 11-34
_Low 22
_Hi 128
_Avg 14.4
_Max 16.7


The "Best" would replace the lowest chainring of 30 with a 28 and make shifting a bit harder. If I kept the 30, then lowest would be 24gi. Giants 11..32 would raise it to 25gi. I've been told switching the chainrings from 30.42.52 to 2?.3?.4? is a major cost event. Unfortunately the change to a 11-34 would mean I'd have a max step of 16.7 which is too darn close to the bad step of 17.6 on the old schwinn. It would make my shifts like 1.5 current, and there are some times when I really like the ability to barely brake cadence and shift up one gear, regain cadence and shift again. Making the change would make this more of a jump. So I seem stuck. I don't know what to do.

That is why I was asking what your experience is in shifting from 39GI to 47GI, which is
26 ring 18 cog to 26 ring 15 cog, or
36 ring 25 cog to 36 ring 21 cog, or
30 ring 31 cog to 30 ring 17 cog.

All those changes are in the 17% transition set. Ugh. I think.

So a longer story, but what changes would you make?
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Old 05-26-05, 06:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlong
I'm doing the same ride, but south to north. The coast is hilly, period. I'm pulling my BOB with my 26-36-46 and Shimano Mega 34 in back! I've ridden some long 10% grades and it really helps, but if you don't have it, that's ok to. Have fun

OT, but just wondering if you have a choice to go North to South instead? Then, you'll be riding on the more "scenic" ocean side of the road and you'll have the wind on your back most of the way.
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Old 05-26-05, 07:09 PM   #20
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the only memorable killer hills on the pacific coast route is the section just south of leggett (sp?). it's where the 101 goes around the Lost Coast and hooks into the 1 on the coast. 6-7 % grade for much of the 28mile or so length.

Ok I'm getting ready to take this ride does any one know the elevation gain on this hill? I'm figuring like 2000ish feet. I'm in Colorado and 28 miles at 6% grade is not far off of some of the mountain passes here.
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Old 05-27-05, 09:46 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver

...So a longer story, but what changes would you make?
This gearing discusion deserves it's own thread. Really-I just don't know how to move posts. Very interesting!

FWIW I just dropped my brevet bike off at Harris Cyclery. I decided on swapping the full sized double (53/39), for a ~full sized Ultegra Triple (52/42/*26--I'm having the stock 30 switched out). I'll keep on using the century special cassette (13 14 15 17 19 21 24 27 30). This will not give me much effective use with the 26 above say 21 to 19, and shifting 26/42 will be (vy)sloppy. However, should still fit my brevet needs nicely.

My brains beyond fried rite now (back to back busy double shifts, no sleep) , but hopefully I'll have something sensical to contribute sometime after some sleep+coffee.

Also, for folks considering a switch to a *new* triple-prices on nine speeds cranksets seem very reasonable now-Supergo (as an example-I've no experience with them), has Ultegra triple sets for 99$- I couldn't figure out if these are the 52/42/30's or ?48/38/28's. No short arm lengths (none bellow 172.5 I think).
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