Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 75
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    94
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    What is the optimal number of gears for touring?

    I'm scratch-building a touring bike. I know what range of gear-inches I want to cover. What I'm debating is how many gears I want to use to cover the range. Currently, I have a 3x8 setup on my non-touring, do-everything bike. I often get pissed off, hopping up and down between two cogs because neither of them is quite what I wanted. I've calculated a 3x10 setup (and actually found the parts to make it) that would cover my desired range with much smaller gaps between gears. I plan on using either barcons mounted on Paul Thumbies or downtube shifters mounted on Kelly Take-Offs. I haven't decided which yet. So I'll have something with both index and friction modes either way.

    My concern, however, is the touring aspect of this build. 10 cogs are all well and good if you can hit them reliably. With a barcon/DT shifter, is the system reliable enough for touring, or is 10-speed too fiddly for real touring?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The number of gears isn't nearly as important as the range of gearing on a bike. Depending on the set-up, you might be able to get that gearing with 2x5 or 3x7 or 3x10. It doesn't matter. My present bike is a 3x9 system and it works very well. Before that, I had a 3x7 system and I had no complaints.

    As far as hopping up and down between two cogs, that's something I don't face, simply because I don't care enough about that aspect. Unless you've got huge steps between the gears, it's hard to notice the variations every time you shift. If you are concerned, you might want to make a chart of the gearings and where they are. On a 3x10 set-up, the next step up from the 2-3 position might not be 2-4. It might be 1-6 or 3-2.
    Life is good.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    94
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    As I said, I've worked out what gear range I want to cover. I have plotted it all out on charts.

    My question really is wither the 10speed ends up being too fiddly and hard to keep in adjustment for touring.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,237
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It's not clear if you're hopping between two cogs on the cassette or two of the front chainrings. But if you're cadence preferences are that acute maybe you need a chainring that's two teeth larger/smaller? Can't speak to the functioning of the 10cog gear train from any experience but I'd be more inclined to stick with the 8spd for longevity sake and ease of finding chains. I've got two barcons on two bikes set on friction, one is an old Suntour that has no indexing and the other is a Shimano 9spd that I've set on non-index.
    Last edited by LeeG; 07-29-10 at 12:48 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    94
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Between two cogs in the cassette. The gaps in the current 8-speed cassette are 13-16% right now and I just don't like it. Yes, I have a very narrow range of cadence and force that I'm comfortable in. Prior knee injuries have left me unable to exert much pressure on the pedals, so I have to spin everything basically at the max I can without starting to bounce.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My Shimano nine-speed cassette hasn't been fiddly and I've used it for close to 20,000 kilometres. The only fiddly part has been the triple chainrings in the front. That probably has more to do with indexed shifting than anything else.
    Life is good.

  7. #7
    Should be out Riding
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    My Bikes
    Bob Jackson Vigorelli
    Posts
    1,904
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    This article is about SRAM's new Apex Goupo, however it has some good ideas about gearing that might be of some use.

  8. #8
    nun
    nun is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    My Bikes
    Rivendell Quickbeam, Rivendell Rambouillet, Rivendell Atlantis, Circle A town bike, De Rosa Neo Primato, Cervelo RS
    Posts
    2,441
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by williaty View Post
    Between two cogs in the cassette. The gaps in the current 8-speed cassette are 13-16% right now and I just don't like it. Yes, I have a very narrow range of cadence and force that I'm comfortable in. Prior knee injuries have left me unable to exert much pressure on the pedals, so I have to spin everything basically at the max I can without starting to bounce.
    I wouldn't use 10 sp for touring as I prefer the more rugged 9 or 8 speed equipment. Also it sounds as if you are applying a racer's philosophy when it comes to cadence and effort. Get a range between 20" and 100" and choose your gearing so that you minimize gear duplication.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Madison, WI
    My Bikes
    2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2004 Surly LHT, 1961 Ideor, et al.
    Posts
    100
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It is not a question of having lots and lots of gears, it is a question of having the right gears and being able to find them when you want them.

    I use a triple (52/42/24) and eight speed SRAM (11/12/14/16/18/21/26/32) rear. To avoid premature wear, I don't use the smallest two rear sprockets with the smallest chainring, don't use the largest two rear sprockets with the largest chainring and don't use the innermost and outer most two rear sprockets with the middle chainring. That gives me a total of 18 gears that I actually use.

    The 52 and 42 are one and a half step gearing, so when I want to shift from one gear to the next, it is easily predictable on how to get there, upshifting the front and down shifting the rear (or vice versa) is a frequent shift for me when the slope of the road changes a slight bit.

    New Picture..png

    In the important range of 60 to 90 gear inches where I spend the vast majority of my time, my gears are spaced pretty close to each other. The gears are spaced farther apart where I am on the shallow long downhills in my highest gears. They are also spaced farther apart on my granny (24t) chainring for climbing the steep hills. But, I spend very little time in the higher and lower gears, so I can live without more gear selection in those areas. And you can see I have no redundant gears where two or more gears are identical to each other.

    I would not mind having a few more evenly spaced gears in the 40 to 60 gear inch range for long shallow uphills, but it is not worth buying a lot of new equipment to obtain the additional gears. I have considered changing the front 52t to a 45t for half step gearing, that would give me one more gear in the 50 something range and I would loose the highest gear, I might still do that some day. Plot is attached.

    New Picture (6)..png

    The upshift from the 24 to 42 is not a smooth shift but it eventually works, I use a friction front shifter (bar end).

    The gear inch calculations are based on the actual diameter of my 700cX37mm tires.

    If you are wondering if I actually spent the time to program a spreadsheet so I could calculate and plot gearing on a chart, yes I did because I wanted to make sure that I got the gearing that I wanted when I built up my 700c touring bike about six years ago. I was happy enough with this mix of components that I used the same mix again a few months ago when I built up an expedition touring bike with 26 inch wheels.
    Last edited by LHT in Madison; 08-15-10 at 05:26 AM. Reason: remove ambiguity, added half step gearing plot

  10. #10
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,310
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A few thoughts....

    • I think you're being too fussy. I've used a variety of bikes with different gaps and combos -- including 1 x 8 -- and never got upset over hitting a precise cadence.
    • If you really can't stand where the whole range of the cassette falls, why not try adjusting the chainrings?
    • I don't think there is a big issue with using a 10 speed cassette, especially if you can do your own maintenance.
    • Barcons are pretty robust.

  11. #11
    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    My Bikes
    2002 Litespeed Vortex, 2010 Specialized Tricross Expert,2008 Gary Fischer Hi Fi Carbon, 2002 Specialized S-Works hard tail, 1990 Kestrel KM 40
    Posts
    1,517
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think a lot of the extra gears are just marketing hype - it would make a lot more sense to try to get as few gears as possible within a specific range with appropriate spacing. Instead, the manufacturers know that 'more is better' is what sells.

  12. #12
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Central Coast, CA
    My Bikes
    Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
    Posts
    3,388
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My opinion is that the sweet spot for touring is 3 x 9, with at least a 24-tooth granny (maybe 22?) and a wide range cassette. I have a 34-tooth big sprocket and I'm glad (the Cyclotouriste from Harris Cyclery.) I agree that a wide range is desirable. I'd also add that high gears are much less crucial than low when you're going to be carrying a big load up hills.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    4,237
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by williaty View Post
    Between two cogs in the cassette. The gaps in the current 8-speed cassette are 13-16% right now and I just don't like it. Yes, I have a very narrow range of cadence and force that I'm comfortable in. Prior knee injuries have left me unable to exert much pressure on the pedals, so I have to spin everything basically at the max I can without starting to bounce.
    This sounds like something you'll have to experiment with. Either you get a closer ratio 8spd cassette and get exactly the gear gaps you want with low and high gears compromised somewhat or you turn over the drive train to 10spd.

    I do find your need to maintain a particular output and cadence that is so specific as to require such a closely spaced gear cluster(probably closer than racers in the 60's) in somewhat contradiction to the need to reduce aggravating knee injuries. Aggravating knee injuries are more likely to come from pushing to a particular max effort than dialing back that effort to meet the gear that's 69" instead of 72". In other words the terrain ends up varying more than the discrete number of gears and you'll end up having to shift out of the ideal 10speed cog because the wind went up 5% or the grade went up 1%. Simply reducing your effort to match your prefered cadence would do the same thing.

    Is it that you want the closely spaced gears to occur with the same chainring so you don't have to hunt for the other combinations on the other chainring?

    Check out a 13-26 8spd cassette with 22/32/44 crankset on 700x35 wheels. A 22-92 gear range of closely spaced gears. If you have knee problems you probably aren't putting out the hp. that can utilize 96"+ gears so you can enjoy a closer spaced mid range of gears.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    My Bikes
    Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Schwinn Typhoon, Nashbar touring, custom steel MTB
    Posts
    5,032
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    All of my road bikes use 10-speed cassettes these days. Chains seem to wear out a bit quicker, but as far as I can tell they're just as reliable as anything else. My touring bike uses a 9-speed trekking crank (48/36/26) along with 10-speed FD, RD, chain, and cassette (12-27). One caveat: I use Shimano STI brake/shift levers rather than barcons or DT shifters, so I can't comment on shifting performance.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8,432
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by williaty View Post
    Currently, I have a 3x8 setup on my non-touring, do-everything bike. I often get pissed off, hopping up and down between two cogs because neither of them is quite what I wanted. I've calculated a 3x10 setup (and actually found the parts to make it) that would cover my desired range with much smaller gaps between gears.
    My 3x9 set up is such that I can get intermediate gears by double shifting (eg, once upshifting the front and double downshifting the rear). Fortunately, it's set up that what needs to be done to find the in-between gears is easy to remember!

    While this is not as easy than having close steps between cogs, it isn't that hard and it is still useful to be able to get just the right gear. (Note that I do these "complicated" shifts on fast-ish group rides. I use brifters, which I think work better for fast group rides.)

    Quote Originally Posted by LHT in Madison View Post
    It is not a question of having lots and lots of gears, it is a question of having the right gears and being able to find them when you want them.
    Yup! (Read the rest of LHT in Madison's post!)
    Last edited by njkayaker; 07-29-10 at 10:30 AM.

  16. #16
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Everett, WA
    My Bikes
    CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004
    Posts
    8,081
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    I don't think you're being too fussy at all. I'm at least that fussy and find that being fussy about your gears will make you more comfortable and less injury prone. I have the same approach that you have. I have one bike with 9 speed rear, triple in front, running non-indexed barcons. It's totally simple and I have no problems with it. It's just like playing a trombone. In a few rides, you'll know exactly where your gears are and how to hit them first try. With barcons, you can run both shifters at the same time and never take your hands off the bars. I like that and it's safer. You also save about a pound over STI. 10-speed isn't going to be noticeably different from 9-speed, except that you'll have that extra cog I wish I had. And you'll wear out your chains faster. Try Finish Line Ceramic lube.

    In redoing my derailleur pulleys for that bike, I took the float out of both of them and that made the shifting too fussy, though it worked fine on my STI bikes. So don't do that.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8,432
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by SBRDude View Post
    I think a lot of the extra gears are just marketing hype
    You aren't really saying anything useful here since you don't what "extra gears" means. More than 3? More than 20?

    Quote Originally Posted by SBRDude View Post
    - it would make a lot more sense to try to get as few gears as possible within a specific range with appropriate spacing.
    What is "appropriate spacing"? Since you don't say, no one can tell how many gears are required to obtain it.

    Some people might think that close spacing is "appropriate" (and more sprockets makes that easier to obtain).

    Quote Originally Posted by SBRDude View Post
    Instead, the manufacturers know that 'more is better' is what sells.
    You don't really provide enough support for people to determine whether this claim of yours is reasonable or not.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8,432
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I don't think you're being too fussy at all.
    I don't think he's being fussy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    being fussy about your gears will make you more comfortable and less injury prone.
    Having close gears can make things more comfortable but I haven't seen anything that less-than-close ratios is associated with an increase in injuries (we aren't talking about range). That is, I suspect that any reasonable thing that people would do with modern components have close-enough ratios to not have any "injury" issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I have the same approach that you have. I have one bike with 9 speed rear, triple in front, running non-indexed barcons. It's totally simple and I have no problems with it. It's just like playing a trombone. In a few rides, you'll know exactly where your gears are and how to hit them first try.
    I don't know why people don't run gear charts instead. People with triples have even more reason to run gear charts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    With barcons, you can run both shifters at the same time and never take your hands off the bars.
    You can shift both brifters and have your hands on the "controls" and have access to the brake all at the same time!

    While you have to take your hand off of the bar, you can shift downtube shifters at the same time too (it is a bit harder).

    (Barcon shifters are perfectly fine!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    In redoing my derailleur pulleys for that bike, I took the float out of both of them and that made the shifting too fussy, though it worked fine on my STI bikes. So don't do that.
    The "float" is engineered in (that is, it's there for a reason). Don't second guess your derailler system manufacturer!
    Last edited by njkayaker; 07-29-10 at 10:58 AM.

  19. #19
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,310
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I don't think you're being too fussy at all. I'm at least that fussy....
    OK, so you're both too fussy.





    I just find the idea that you utterly need to ride at a specific cadence to be comfortable to be a tad unlikely. Short of using a cadence meter I don't even see how you'd accurately detect a 5-10% difference in cadence.

    As to injury, I am not aware of any research that indicates that a cadence of, say 80 vs 90 is actually going to reduce injury. We're not talking about climbing all day with a fixed-gear 52/19.


    By the way, although I don't recommend it you could always look into the NuVinci hub. It's heavy but uses a constant variable planetary gearing system. Instead of having say 18 discrete gears, it uses a spherical set of gears so you can tweak it exactly as you like.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    8,432
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    I just find the idea that you utterly need to ride at a specific cadence to be comfortable to be a tad unlikely.
    No one is saying "utterly". No one is saying a "specific" cadence. Since some people tour on single speeds, you don't "utterly" need more than one gear!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Short of using a cadence meter I don't even see how you'd accurately detect a 5-10% difference in cadence.
    The goal isn't to "accurately detect a 5-10% difference".

    Anyway, I have a 52/42/30 with a 11-32 cluster. It's not that uncommon that I'll doubleshift to get a gear that is in between the ratios of a simple shift. I don't think I'm very special. Just because you can't detect the difference in feel doesn't mean other people can't! (I don't have a cadence meter but my normal cadence is fairly high.)

    Note that, for "normal" touring, you have the option to reduce your speed along with the gearing to the cadence you feel comfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    As to injury, I am not aware of any research that indicates that a cadence of, say 80 vs 90 is actually going to reduce injury. We're not talking about climbing all day with a fixed-gear 52/19.
    Yes. Anyway, people prefer different cadences. Also, people vary their cadence a lot.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 07-29-10 at 11:15 AM.

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    39,955
    Mentioned
    27 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Imho .. 14 ... Rohloff Hub . it solves the double shifting of all derailleur schemes by having an equal difference between gears and turning the grip pull pull 2 cable shifter, one follows the other..

    and you can shift down even when stopped. so very useful when you need to grab a lower gear in the middle of a hill..
    or go thru them all till you get to the 2 foot gear, and have a nice walk.

    external gear ratio 1:2.4, hub cogs are 13 for small wheel bikes ,

    and, 15,16, 17 for 26 & 700c wheel bikes so 36, 38, 41t chain-rings or larger.

    Before I got my Rohloff bike I traveled widely with a 6 speed: 14,17,20,24,28,34 on the wheel,
    and a 24,38,50 on the cranks 622-40 wheels.

    Friction /ratchet bar cons, 80's Campag MTB derailleurs
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-29-10 at 12:15 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    1,273
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    yep,

    14


  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    39,955
    Mentioned
    27 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Oh and as the 10 speed stuff is for road racers, [yup too fussy] no friction mode as they made bar end shifters for Triathlon racers ,
    and time trial stages of multi day races, on the end of aero bars.. not tourists.

    I don't think they accept a granny gear on the crank below the stock 30 .. 30/ 29 is just above 1:1 x your wheel diameter .

    Grinding up mountain passes with the camping gear aboard will make you want a few reduction ratios less than the unicycle gear.

    Gear Calculator for IG hubs : http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/internal.html

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    94
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    1) Both the 10-speed barcons and the 10-speed dt shifters have index and friction modes
    2) With the transmission I've worked out, I'll cover ~20 gear inches to ~105 gear inches with either a 9 or 10 cassette. So I've got granny and cruising covered, it's just a question of spacing.

  25. #25
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,310
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    OK, for the OP's benefit, I'm just gonna say that 10 speed is perfectly fine for touring.

    If I had 10sp and was going somewhere ridiculously remote, I'd consider bringing an extra chain. All other parts I can think of will be just as easy or hard to get for 9sp as 10sp.

    If you're considering barcons vs downtube, I'd go for barcons -- especially if you're going to tweak your gearing constantly. Much easier to use than DT.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •