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Old 12-01-05, 12:38 PM   #1
cyclintom
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Thinking of the presently running string about gear ratios I have started wondering:

Exactly what speeds do you ride (top and average) while on the tour? I've seldom found myself going over 25 or so when carrying a load regardless of the incline. For one thing, I don't feel comfortable knowing that loaded touring bikes are a great deal more prone to speed wobbles from flapping packs than a road bike. For another you are severely limited in your stopping power in the first place. The very best you can expect from a bike is to be able to stop about half as fast as the average car.

Riding on flat roads I usually ride around 15 mph but when touring with other loaded tourers it's been more like 12-14 mph most of the time.

If all of this is the case, why would you want an 11, 12 or even a 13 tooth cog?

Knowing this I think that those tourers who ride 44-48 tooth big rings know a lot more about it than those discussing 52-12's.
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Old 12-01-05, 01:36 PM   #2
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I'll usually hover around 12-15 depending.

Can't see a reason for anything below a 14 littlecog except for maaaaybe a light brevet or something? Who goes that fast on a tour who also thinks, I need to go faster?
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Old 12-01-05, 01:51 PM   #3
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I recently hauled 50 lbs up 3,000 feet over 40 miles on a Trek 520 with the factory chainrings (52t large ring). I stayed around 5 mph. I could have used maybe one gear lower but generally the low end is fine. I use the same bike for commuting unloaded so I appreciate having the high gears as well.

On the flat loaded I sray around 14 mph, unloaded 18.
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Old 12-01-05, 02:12 PM   #4
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Not everyone has a massive budget to spend on multiple bikes. Those of us who can only afford one bike for all purposes need the widest gearing range possible. Or at least I do.
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Old 12-01-05, 02:52 PM   #5
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Not everyone has a massive budget to spend on multiple bikes. Those of us who can only afford one bike for all purposes need the widest gearing range possible. Or at least I do.
I second that. I use my tourer for commuting too so it's nice to have a few high gears to really get going.
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Old 12-01-05, 03:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cyclintom
I've seldom found myself going over 25 or so when carrying a load regardless of the incline.
...

If all of this is the case, why would you want an 11, 12 or even a 13 tooth cog?
A 44/11 combo at 80 rpm on a 27" wheel is about 25mph.

That's why I want an 11.
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Old 12-01-05, 03:25 PM   #7
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I've managed to spin out in my top gear once. Down a hill where I reached 41.5 mph. That's a cadence of 130+ in my top gear. Fair enough, you don't size your gears for one-off descents, but it is certainly possible.

However, not for loaded touring anyway...
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Old 12-01-05, 03:47 PM   #8
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Well, itīs an interesting discussion
IMHO itīs too complex to end up in something reasonable. I have a Cannondale T2000 with 26/36/48 and rear cogs 11-34 and my experience from my touring North Island, New Zealand is, that itīs an outstanding gearing for my rytme of biking and the many different weather conditions and especially the relative change of road profiles.

I know that some people want to change from 26/36/48 to 28/38/48. If that fits better to their conditions I think itīs OK I think too itīs definitely a question of how fit you are. I react because I made some statistic from the tour. If you can use it – OK! To me itīs only statistic upon which you cannot conclude very much exact

Sincerely
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Old 12-01-05, 08:23 PM   #9
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Fastest speed this last season while loaded was 38.9 mph, nice brand new pavement, no side roads or driveways and straight as an arrow... in short the perfect downhill. It is rare that I will let the bike get up much past 25 mph on downhills when its loaded up. Keep in mind that bike when loaded up is over 500 pounds* and with all that mass rolling downhill you really have to watch it.

For the most part we travel at 12 to 15 mph and avarge about 11 mph every day.

* Yep I said 500 pounds, it's a tandem.
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Old 12-02-05, 09:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by CdCf
Not everyone has a massive budget to spend on multiple bikes. Those of us who can only afford one bike for all purposes need the widest gearing range possible. Or at least I do.
Well, I can appreciate that but we're talking about touring and not general purpose riding.
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Old 12-02-05, 09:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Per Kuhlwein
I react because I made some statistic from the tour. If you can use it – OK! To me itīs only statistic upon which you cannot conclude very much exact
Per, that is an interesting chart and I note that your fastest average speed appears to be some 15 mph (25 kph). That agrees pretty closely with my experiences.

I'm not sure that I'd like to be descending some hill on a loaded touring bike at 43 mph as your chart showed though.
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Old 12-02-05, 01:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclintom
Per, that is an interesting chart and I note that your fastest average speed appears to be some 15 mph (25 kph). That agrees pretty closely with my experiences.

I'm not sure that I'd like to be descending some hill on a loaded touring bike at 43 mph as your chart showed though.
Hi cyclintom,
Yeah, I think about 25 kph is quite a normal average. But the weather and road conditions during the day change sometimes a lot. Fx. the day I went from Dargaville to Warkworth with an average of 20 kph I first cycled a long flat stretch with strong tail wind and using the 48 front and 11 rear. I could easyly ride 52 - 11 but I donīt think itīs worth changing because of these rare situations. The same day you see, I had a very fast descending too with a max speed of 65,9 kph, but then I turned right in Brynderwyn into HW 1 and a head wind - it destroyed completely the beautiful average so far. I really felt my gearings were perfect

There was many speedy descendings - it was just great. You really get experienced down-hill-rider in New Zealand. Many of those descendings are relatively safe, because of just little trafic and the excellent review of the road. But anyway I felt safe because I knew my new Cannondale was able to handle it and the panniers were fixed properly to the bike. With that feeling you just have to concentrate keeping on the road and looking for any hints on the road.

But I must admit down in the buttom I was and said to my guardian angel, thank you! also thinking of how hard it was to get to the top
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Old 12-05-05, 12:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Kuhlwein
Well, itīs an interesting discussion
IMHO itīs too complex to end up in something reasonable. I have a Cannondale T2000 with 26/36/48 and rear cogs 11-34 and my experience from my touring North Island, New Zealand is, that itīs an outstanding gearing for my rytme of biking and the many different weather conditions and especially the relative change of road profiles.

I know that some people want to change from 26/36/48 to 28/38/48. If that fits better to their conditions I think itīs OK I think too itīs definitely a question of how fit you are. I react because I made some statistic from the tour. If you can use it – OK! To me itīs only statistic upon which you cannot conclude very much exact.
Iīm sorry, I feel I have to correct above nonsense:

My Can. T2000 is with 28/38/48 and what I have read is that people want to change that into 22/32/42. I actually do not understand why - because when you are touring you are getting more and more fit, and to me it means Iīm able to go in a higher gear to maintain the cadence.
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Old 12-05-05, 01:00 PM   #14
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But for people on loaded tours, a 42-11 or 42-12 gear will probably be plenty enough, provided one doesn't need to pedal down hills.
42-12, with 700c wheels, and a cadence of 80 RPM, is ~22.5 mph.
42-11, with 700c wheels, and a cadence of 80 RPM, is ~24.5 mph.

Therefore, a 22-32-42 is probably more than enough for most tourers.
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Old 12-05-05, 01:12 PM   #15
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I frequently take my touring bikes onto unpaved roads and mountain trails where lower MTB size gears are a real benefit esp at the end of a hard day on a steep climb to a mountain-top hostel.
My average speed is affected by navigation. In some places there are few roads so you just keep riding. In my local area there are junctions every 100m and if you dont follow the correct one you end up lost, so riding can be quite slow.
As a rule of thumb, my daily travelling speed, inc all stops is close to 10mph.
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Old 12-05-05, 01:43 PM   #16
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I don't have a computer on my bike, but I have estimated my average speed while touring, based on total distance covered and time, at 10 or 12 miles per hour while riding flat roads and rolling hills, including short breaks.
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Old 12-05-05, 02:54 PM   #17
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I understand and accept your arguments!
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Old 12-05-05, 04:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclintom
If all of this is the case, why would you want an 11, 12 or even a 13 tooth cog?
These questions come up a lot and I can understand that if you seldom go over 25mph because you don't feel comfortable at higher speeds, then you don't need or want an 11, 12 or even a 13 tooth cog.

But, some of us do feel comfortable riding at higher speeds, in fact, I love it - it's a part of cycling that I really enjoy and that keeps me coming back for more. That is why I "want" and love to have a 52-11 high gear on my touring bike and I use it on almost every ride. I ride hard going downhill usually trying to see how fast I can go, and often I find that my heartrate is as high going down the hills as it is going up. Going over 40mph is pretty standard for me and I've reached a high of 49 on my touring bike and 58 on my road bike (I was trying to get 60, but just came up short).

My average speeds when touring are real similar to yours, but I love to hit the downhills hard. I feel the need for speed. To each his own, that's why we all love cycling.
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