Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-27-09, 11:56 PM   #1
fatigoworld
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 351
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
lowest gear inches for supported touring

is 34" low enough gearing for SUPPORTED touring? assuming i am in decent shape, carrying no load on my bike, and biking across the country which will include some mountains...


this website suggests 30" for non loaded touring but my current set up has 34" as the lowest. also it is a little vague about the terrain.

http://www.bicycle-touring-guide.com...e-gearing.html


any opinions?
fatigoworld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 12:13 AM   #2
BengeBoy 
Senior Member
 
BengeBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Bikes: 2014 Pivot Mach 5.7 MTB, 2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper
Posts: 6,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you can make a reasonably inexpensive change to a chainring or a cassette to get the gears lower, I'd do it.

I don't think anyone regrets having another gear (or two) to reach for when the going gets tough. It's not just hills - heavy duty headwinds on the plains can have you riding in some low gears as well. Even on a fully supported tour, you're likely to be carrying something in a seat bag or handlebar pack.
BengeBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 07:31 AM   #3
acantor
Macro Geek
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Bikes: True North tourer (www.truenorthcycles.com), 2004; Miyata 1000, 1985
Posts: 1,254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
When I take my touring bicycle for a ride, even when not carrying significant luggage, I am grateful that I have super-low gears to get me up steep hills and through strong head winds. My lowest gear is around 18 inches, and I use it.
acantor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 07:36 AM   #4
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
Posts: 18,295
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 409 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatigoworld View Post
is 34" low enough gearing for SUPPORTED touring? assuming i am in decent shape, carrying no load on my bike, and biking across the country which will include some mountains...


this website suggests 30" for non loaded touring but my current set up has 34" as the lowest. also it is a little vague about the terrain.

http://www.bicycle-touring-guide.com...e-gearing.html


any opinions?
If someone else is carrying your gear, your 34" will probably work. However, like acantor, I have the lowest I can get on all my bikes all the time. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it
__________________
Stuart Black
New! Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 07:48 AM   #5
John Nelson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 537
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
34 gear inches suggests a 34 small ring and a 27 large cog. If you have road derailleurs, then it's probably not possible to get smaller gear inches without significant changes. If you're not old, then you'll probably do fine with what you have. If you are old, then save your knees and make the change, perhaps to a different bike.
John Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 08:28 AM   #6
BigBlueToe
Senior Member
 
BigBlueToe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
Posts: 3,393
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Amen brother!
BigBlueToe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 08:36 AM   #7
Bacciagalupe
Professional Fuss-Budget
 
Bacciagalupe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 6,438
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've done short tours with around 25 pounds of luggage with around the same kind of gearing.

It depends on your fitness, how hilly the route is and how long the tour is. I'm reasonably fit, so I was able to do a nearly flat tour and a semi-hilly tour (Ireland) without too much trouble. Other tours with more inclines and carrying more weight (California coast) definitely benefited from lowering the gearing.

If your tour is going to be more than, say, 2 weeks long and/or involves a lot of hills, I'd lower the gearing.
Bacciagalupe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 09:10 AM   #8
fatigoworld
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 351
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i am currently running a single chainring front thats 44t chainring and 11-34 cassette. its always been a good range for me which is 34" to 107". i have never needed more or less. although i havent climbed many mountain ranges (except for the adirondacks). i would love to stay with my current set up if possible but i dont want to screw myself over if its a mistake.

i understand the reasoning of having extra low gears that you wont end up using, but what if i wont even use 34"? i am honestly broke right now so it would be a stretch to make any changes to my bike....i wouldnt want to go throught the trouble if i dont absolutely need to...
fatigoworld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 09:18 AM   #9
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Bikes: Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Calfee Dragonfly Tandem
Posts: 29,159
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
No one can tell you the right gears for you, with any certainty. It all depends on fitness, riding style (read desired cadence) and terrain.

One test however would be go out and find some sustained steep climbs. If you can comfortably climb a 15% grade with that setup, I think you'll likely be ok.
__________________
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.
merlinextraligh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 09:20 AM   #10
John Nelson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 537
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You never absolutely need to. Worst case is that you might have to walk a few of the steepest sections and/or take a break or two on some of the longest hills. No worries. Have fun.
John Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 09:50 AM   #11
fatigoworld
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 351
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
No one can tell you the right gears for you, with any certainty. It all depends on fitness, riding style (read desired cadence) and terrain.

One test however would be go out and find some sustained steep climbs. If you can comfortably climb a 15% grade with that setup, I think you'll likely be ok.
anyone know a 15% grade climb near NYC?
fatigoworld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 09:51 AM   #12
BengeBoy 
Senior Member
 
BengeBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Bikes: 2014 Pivot Mach 5.7 MTB, 2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper
Posts: 6,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatigoworld View Post
i am honestly broke right now
New information.

When I read "supported tour across the US" I was assuming you were paying for the support and that a few bucks for a new crankset wouldn't be a big deal.

Sounds like your current set-up has served you well. Have a great trip!
BengeBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 09:52 AM   #13
BengeBoy 
Senior Member
 
BengeBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Bikes: 2014 Pivot Mach 5.7 MTB, 2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper
Posts: 6,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatigoworld View Post
anyone know a 15% grade climb near NYC?
Sneak into some parking garages.
BengeBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 11:25 AM   #14
rhm
multimodal commuter
 
rhm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NJ, NYC, LI
Bikes: 1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...
Posts: 16,101
Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
I don't think its a fitness issue so much as a riding style issue, but that's beside the point. At any rate, I rode across the Rocky Mountains when I was 21, carrying all my gear, and my lowest gear was 34 inches. And it was fine, really, it didn't bother me at all. But I wouldn't do it that way again.
rhm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 12:32 PM   #15
fatigoworld
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 351
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
if you did it again without gear, would it be a suitable range?
fatigoworld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 02:25 PM   #16
Speedo
Senior Member
 
Speedo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston Area
Bikes: Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
Posts: 1,998
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatigoworld View Post
is 34" low enough gearing for SUPPORTED touring? assuming i am in decent shape, carrying no load on my bike, and biking across the country which will include some mountains...
I like a 22 inch low for the long steeps, but that's me. Gearing is very personal. Try finding a nice long steep climb and see how you feel about your 34 inch low. It might be fine for you. Or not.

Speedo
Speedo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 02:46 PM   #17
Speedo
Senior Member
 
Speedo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston Area
Bikes: Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
Posts: 1,998
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatigoworld View Post
anyone know a 15% grade climb near NYC?
Can you go up to Bear Mountain State Park? Climb up the road to the top of the mountain. If you make it up without walking or hurting your knees you can go on your tour without worries.

Speedo
Speedo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 03:57 PM   #18
fatigoworld
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 351
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
ill try bear mountain, thanks!
fatigoworld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-09, 04:21 PM   #19
Speedo
Senior Member
 
Speedo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston Area
Bikes: Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
Posts: 1,998
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatigoworld View Post
ill try bear mountain, thanks!
I just checked. That won't give you a 15 percent grade, but it will give you a very challenging 8-9 percent grade for a couple of miles.

Speedo
Speedo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:06 AM.