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  1. #1
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Granny isn't everything!

    I know another gearing thread!

    Being new to touring and trying to figure out what gearing is right for me I wanted to start a thread that might help others with some things I "think" I have figured out that suit me best. For me (gear inches) is the term that best describes gears in terms of what I feel when riding in them. Having rode enough with a load now in my mind I can picture what I feel with 54 gear inch doing 12 MPH on a level road etc. I would suggest knowing that feeling for several gear inches and several cadence RPM's that you feel comfort in along with your lowest granny and highest tall gear. There is some magic numbers for everyone and IMO everyone's numbers are different. Touring and racing are two different animals. One rider may be able to tour with bike, body & gear weight on a level surface in a totally different gear but the same or different cadence and a different speed but feeling the same exerted effort based on abilities (strength and conditioning).
    Here was my process of tuning in my bike to me.
    It came with front gearing of 30-42-52 and 11-32 (9 speed cassette)in the rear, a very common gear range and IMHO one to high for almost all even unloaded. When first riding you quickly find you want more low end to spin up hills and I learned many go as low as 22 tooth granny and I then found out a shift from 42 to 22 is too great a drop to not expect problems and that in going that low I would have to be careful not to go to any of the smaller back gears as I wouldnít have enough take up for the slack chain. I was told 26 was about the reasonable smallest I could go without going smaller on the 42, 52 and a shorter chain. so I went 26. That worked pretty well and I could have been very happy with that setup but I kept feeling my top gears were also to high with a top gear of 126 gear inches and many said anything over 100 is a waste. Around that time I needed to have my wheels rebuilt (spokes) and I thought as long as they are apart why not change the cassette lowering the granny a bit more and also the top gear. so I put on a 12-36 (9 speed). that dropped my granny from 21.6 to 19.4 and my tall gear from 126 to 117. I did some riding with this range on my new spokes and didnít seem to get into the tall gears enough to really notice but that bump in the granny I sure noticed. I was quite surprised at how like everyone had been saying getting under 20 would be. At this point I got "Granny Fever" and having a brand new mountain bike crank in the shed I knew would fit 22-32-44 I punched the numbers in and saw if this will work I will have utopia a 16.3 gear inch granny and a top gear of 97.6. I did see that if I didnít keep my cadence above 90 in this stump puller gear I would topple over from lack of speed but being able to ride up El Capitan loaded might be worth it. so I got out the crank puller and went to town. I had to shorten the chain and reposition the front derailleur. with the range of gears in the back and the smaller in the front the adjustment was just barely able to be made, but I got it working and went straight for the steepest hill I could find, the test hill I had been using to benchmark all these changes. Well I rode to the top without much peddle effort but the high cadence trying to stay upright about killed me. No leg burn but was sucking air like crazy. After catching my breath I did a more natural ride slight hills, level and slight down hills. The results were I absolutely hated these front gears. Half the gears I like to ride in were on the 32 and the other half on the 44 the 44 was much like my 42 center gear was before but being on the outside I didnít want to ride cross chained especially with the missing link. So instead of jumping around with the easy back shifts I was doing math in my head and flipping between 32 and 44 in the front and then making bigger jumps in the back.

    What I learned is the 9 gears using the center gear in the front is what it's all about for me. In my case 42 is perfect matched to a 12-36 it gives me a range of gear inches between 31 and 94. It just worked out that the 26 granny made for a ok shift out of the 42 (and I do run a chain minder) and I have 5 low gears to jump around on a mixed climb. Now for the 52 top gear, I guess I could drop it to a 50 or even a 48 but there is already a good amount of overlap gears there and actually maybe 4 that I see using downhill or if I feel like mashing a little on the level. I haven't a clue if I will ever find a need for the 52-12 but the 52-14 is a nice top gear. So tonight out come the tools and on goes the old crank setup.

    I donít see the last change as a waste of time because it pointed out just how much I was looking at the extremes and not paying attention to what for me I wasnít seeing and that is those middle gears, that alone can cover almost all my riding requirements the shifts are small and easy I donít need to really keep track of where I'm at. If I'm anywhere in the middle of the cassette to the big end I can drop on the granny and go shifting as needed on a hill, a long flat haul pop on the 52 and save some wear on the middle gear.
    Thatís my process, I only post it that it might help some other newbie out finding the right middle gears.
    Pics below of where I'm sticking for now! Hmmmm maybe I should tweak that 52 to a 50?



  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Found Getting off and pushing is another method..
    may be a bit too low tech.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    You have a big leg up in that you have the mechanical skills to try out these different gearing combinations. Most people are stuck with whatever their bike comes with and it takes some convincing to get them to try something different.

    Gears are certainly a YMMV item. Long ago, I found through trial and error, that a 104ish high was as big a gear as I use. Again, through some trial and error I found that a 22 inch low is about what I want on an unloaded bike. I want lower, 18 inches or lower, for a loaded bike. The high and low being established, 9 speed triples with that high and low have reasonably good granularity in the middle.

    I actually feel like we are living in good times for low gear weenies. Mountain bike gearing works well on touring bikes. For unloaded bikes the new low range 10 speed doubles from Shimano and SRAM look promising.

    Speedo
    Last edited by Speedo; 08-15-11 at 02:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    You have a big leg up in that you have the mechanical skills to try out these different gearing combinations. Most people are stuck with whatever their bike comes with and it takes some convincing to get them to try something different.

    Gears are certainly a YMMV item. Long ago, I found through trial and error, that a 104ish high was as big a gear as I use. Again, through some trial and error I found that a 22 inch low is about what I want on an unloaded bike. I want lower, 18 inches or lower, for a loaded bike. The high and low being established, 9 speed triples with that high and low have reasonably good granularity in the middle.

    I actually feel like we are living in good times for low gear weenies. Mountain bike gearing works well on touring bikes. For unloaded bikes the new low range 10 speed doubles from Shimano and SRAM look promising.

    Speedo
    That was kind of my point. That middle chain ring is the one that will work across all 9 of the cassette gears. in smooth steps. The granny and tall ring are going to collect the extreme usage. By using a mtn bike crank I was distributing the useful gear ranges over two rings making dancing more of a task. if I had front shifting failure I could go to my middle and do most riding ok with just the backs gears and they are all in order. before I went to the 12-36 in the back I maybe should have had a 38 or 40 in the middle to suit my level of power output. My point is for me I want the center gear covering as wide a range in the center of the majority of my riding.

    Yes being able to experiment helps a lot that’s why I wanted to share these ideas for those that cant. Even if you are riding a old 10 speed make note of the gear inches you ride in most and what is kind of your personal sweet spot. that info when selecting a touring bike will help you a lot in dialing in what you want, or making the changes on the right end of the bike at least.

  5. #5
    nun
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    Just get rid of the 52t ring completely. I use 42/26 combined with 11/34 on my bike and it works very well. 42x17 is a great all day riding gear and I have 100" for the downhills and 21" for the uphills. I can use the 42 and the 26 across all 9 rear sprockets......but I don't do that as the chain angle gets excessive.

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Somewhere along the way a low gear can get too low...like when someone walking passes you trying to spin up the hill Also if you get too low you will be moving so slow you will fall over. I think the current lowest I have is around the 20" range, much below that is counter productive IMHO. Ditto the insane top end gears. I try to keep my top gears around 100" mark. I am still trying to figure out WTH we need a hundred eleven gears on a tour bike. I can understand having 30 close ratio gears on a racing bike. I did a transcontinental tour in 1977 on a 15 speed bike and judging from the wear on the rear cogs didn't use quite a few of those gears very much.

    I also agree with bobfiets...

    Found Getting off and pushing is another method..
    may be a bit too low tech.
    I quite often "tour" on my Raleigh 3 speed, no shame in walking a few hills, it is good for the muscles to stretch and to use a different muscle group for a bit.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Going back and looking at my favored gears and eliminating the ones that overlap I really have 15 gears available ranging between 19.4 -116.7 gear inches assuming I don’t need the 116.7 I really have 14 out of 27 to be used.

    To nun's point if I had to take one away the 52 wouldn’t be as hard to live without as all I would be sacrificing really would be the 100 gear inch. The lower being duplication and the one above best suited as a theft deterrent gear. There is something to be said for the duplicate gears on both ends though. I find if I have a need to go up to 100 and not just spin up my 94, I will be up in the high gears a while and maybe run up and down them between 58 -100. Likewise a smallish climb I can mash on the 31 for a bit but if the hill is ongoing drop down to 19-33 range. So based around that logic maybe I should drop the 52 to a 48 or go with nun and loose it.

    In the past anytime I thought about lowering the top gear I assumed I needed to move the center lower also. the lure of two things leads you that way. One is you want to space your range out evenly in your mind and having a 42 set next to a 48 seems not enough step for touring even though road bikes have those kind of spacing. The other lure is you know if you drop the 42 to a 38 you can lower the granny a few teeth. But what I found for me is I would rather stay in the middle nine and have them well spaced to cover say 85% of my needs than closer steps that require me jumping back and forth on the front rings more.

    So for me the middle / middle gearing is 42/21 or 54 gear inches or 11 MPH at a cadence of 70 RPM.

    And I agree there is nothing wrong with walking / pushing a little.

    Before After Before pics


  8. #8
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    Congrats on looking at your gearing from a mathematical perspective. I also did that when I decided which crankset and cassette to buy and I believe that the effort of calculating gearing has paid off.

    Unladen around town I am in the 60 to 90 gear inch range 90 percent of the time. Loaded with camping gear however drops that to 50 to 80 gear inch range for about 90 percent of the time. These ranges are not all I want, but they are the ranges where I spend the vast majority of the time and for that reason I want a lot of gear choices in those ranges for slight variation in windage or grade.

    For the long shallow downhills I also like a couple high gears and of course want the low gears for climbing hills. Unlike you, I found that the 52/42/24 front works quite well with my 11/32 eight speed rear cassette. Yes, I agree that the shift from 24t up to 42t is not very smooth but it works so I stick with it.

    I tried a 20t front and found I could not stay upright unless I was using a higher cadence than I wanted so I went back to the 24t.

    For my largest chainring, I bought a 46t that I plan to use instead of the 52t for loaded touring (half step gearing plus granny). But around town I will stick with the 52t (one and a half step gearing plus granny). The 46t will give me one more gear in the 50 something gear inch range, but around town I would rather keep the two really high gears for some long shallow downhills that I frequently ride down.

    Photo is before I bought the 46t chainring, shown with 52t.

    IMG_4891.jpg

  9. #9
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Tourist in MSN

    I just put your gears into "Mike Sherman's Gear Calculator" and took a look at the final gear inch spread you are running. with your 11-32 and my 12-38 factored in we are almost identical in our ranges your granny's run 20-58 mine 19-58 your middles 35-102 mine 31-94 so I'm about one gear lower. And like you said that tall gear is one to be played around with like I'm debating on also. The tall ring as you mentioned is a easy one for anyone to change and it really would be no big deal to swap it lower before loading up to tour. (Great suggestion!)

    Like you my bike wants to be a loaded touring bike but it's also my daily grocery getter and around town fun bike also. I do have other bikes I could use much lighter than the tour bike even when the Windsor is unloaded but the gearing, sturdy ride, fenders, lights, storage etc. has me thinking "Take the Windsor. I used the same thought process as you and wanted if I could the gearing to overlap my desires loaded and unloaded.

    Thanks for replying to the intent of why I started the thread. I read a lot of gear threads that mainly talked about Ways to get lower climbing gears. That’s very important but as you said 90 percent of the time you are in the middle range.

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    set-up on my 26" wheeled LHT, 24/36/46 with 12-28 8spd cassette. Having 12,13,14 gives a good close range of gears where I am inclined to put out lots of energy for fast commuting with an acceptable spacing for mid-range riding. 22"-98" range. Replacing 12-28 cassette with 12-32 gives 19" low.

    30/44 on Cross-Check triple(chainguard on outer ring) and 12-28 cassette makes for single chainring riding most of the time 43"-100" with 29" low. Replacing the 30t ring with 28t ring and 12-32 cassette gives 24" low.

  11. #11
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    I spend a fair amount of time in my big ring on the flats. After loading my gears into the formula I can see why. It does work well for me when loaded. I don't ride it a lot empty.

    24,36,48
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  12. #12
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    LeeG
    Your LHT has a little taller mtn crank than the one I tried and with 26 tires compared to my 700 I took a look at your gears. Your center gears are 32-74 gear inch across the cassette where mine are 31-94. With the mtn crank I tried it even fell off more it was a 22-32-44. but I was hoping to get to about 90 high because I do multi use the bike. To my way of thinking you are about perfect for a fully loaded tour bike for staying in the center ring also. And in my case my center now is enough for multi tasking.
    You mentioned your close gears where you run a lot at speed and that’s something else people should factor in if they do have a sweet spot they like. Keep in mind it’s a percentage of the two gears you are jumping so a one tooth jump down around 12 is like a 3 tooth jump at 32. Another reason I liked the 12-36, staying bigger in the back got me a low gear inch granny keeping a bigger set of rings/ lesser drop between middle and small ring.
    Gus
    Looking at your center ring range 26-80 gear inch. Most likely a really nice range for loaded touring also, if you spin about my speed.

    I see you have the big ring at 48t and I have convinced myself for a couple reasons now to do 26-42-48. One being I have to add one link to a normal chain now because of the 36 on the cassette. Not that I go over there but if I were to forget I could wreck something without the link, and the longer chain will go slack if I forget and go small/ small. The other reason is why not get rid of that too high top gear and have one more useful gear in the run. If I need a chain on the road I don’t have to mess around adding a link also.

  13. #13
    nun
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    I just don't understand the need for a big ring on a touring bike! Honestly who pushes along at over 20mph and downhill I coast along. That's why my largest ring is 42t and my largest gear is 42x11 (103"). In fact gears on touring bikes are over rated.......I toured in England on a single speed bike (40x17) and had a great time, but for most tourists a gear range form 100" to 20" is more than enough and you can get that with a 42/26 crank and an 11/34 cassette. Also I don't see the need for half step if you are using a 9 speed cassette.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    Tourist in MSN

    Thanks for replying to the intent of why I started the thread. I read a lot of gear threads that mainly talked about Ways to get lower climbing gears. That’s very important but as you said 90 percent of the time you are in the middle range.
    You are welcome.

    I did not expect anyone to run the numbers on my gearing. The Sram eight speed cassette is 11/12/14/16/18/21/26/32. The Sram nine speed cassette has the same sprockets except that the 26t on the eight is replaced with a 24 and 28 on the nine. Thus, most gears are the same. For this reason I went with eight speed instead of the additional gears offered by the nine since the additional gearing offered very little to me and eight speed was cheaper. The Shimano cassettes may have different gearing than the Sram cassettes which is important when you are running the numbers thru a calculator.

    If we are getting down to details, I can't use the smallest two sprockets on the cassette (11 and 12) when I am using the 24t chainring as the derailleur cage does not take up all the chain slack. But, those two gears are pretty cross chained so I don't use then anyway. I also do not use the largest chainring with the largest two sprockets on the cassette, as that is very cross chained too.

    I was biking long before indexed shifting and some of my bikes have older chainrings that do not have ramps and pins. So, I do not give any consideration to ramps and pins when swapping chainrings, but some people would have an issue with lack of ramps and pins and resulting less smooth shifting.

    Windsor tourist - I think that has an indexed front shifter but for my setup I need friction with that big jump between the smallest and middle chainrings.

  15. #15
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I quite often "tour" on my Raleigh 3 speed, no shame in walking a few hills, it is good for the muscles to stretch and to use a different muscle group for a bit.
    It depends a lot on the terrain. Walking a bit is fine, but it becomes a bigger deal when the climbs are steep and long. I know that I walked way more miles than I found acceptable one climb in the Sierras and would have killed for a gear lower than 20". On the other hand 21.7" was OK for the entire TA. Still, I wouldn't have minded a bit lower a few places in the Appalachians.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    nun

    I totally agree with you. In fact your 42/26 rings are what I finalized on you have a 11-32 and I liked a 12-36 so we are about at the same place there as well. Seeing as how my crank and shifter is set up for a triple I could toss the 52 save a few ounces I guess. But in my case I ride the bike a lot un loaded as a commuter also as do many. My thought now after all the excellent input on this thread is replace the 52 with a 48. giving me the taller ring for running light and most likely not needing the 32 or 36 on the cassette anyway. loaded I might just take the 48 along for the ride. As to coasting vs high gear down hills I also agree. The only exception I find is around here we do have some really rolling terrain, many small climbs to the mile. rather than coast down at 15 and pump up the other side I find it is a lot more energy wise (sometimes) to hit say 25 at the bottom and do a soft shift to a mid gear and spin up the other side with the built up speed. once again that would mostly be unloaded and commuting with a lighter load.
    I agree anyone with a double wanting to tour would do well with something close to your setup. Or perhaps considering trading the top gear for a pie plate chain guard.

    From this day forward (LOL) I proclaim the front gearing range of 48/42/26 to be called "Bud's compact triple."

    Tourist in MSN

    You sound like your 8 speed is working out for you. I also agree 8,9 or 10 you will have more than enough selections for this type bike. Mine came with a 9 and indexing shifting front and back. I have to say the index in the back is so smooth and effortless with the STI setup, and having most of what I need right off the 42. its click, click slap, slap making little changes as I ride, almost becomes automatic like driving a standard transmission car, you get to where you are going and don’t recall shifting. I do sometimes think a friction up front would be desirable with the width of the cassette in the back. I found this out when I switched cranks to the small mtn bike and had to try and set the STI back up to work (royal pain). I'm sure part of it is my lack of doing this very much, but the width of the cage and the shifting steps on the side relative to the chain height caused by the large range in the back. I got it working fairly well and good enough to take a few rides to know I didn’t like the split up range of gears. Only to have to try and get it back to where it was a few days later. Once I get the 48 and get it installed I will go to the LBS and see if they can tweak it to perfection again. Chain rub on the front derailleur drives me nuts and as much as I use the front a friction would be nice to nudge a little if it rubbed. you can kind of do this with the STI not sure how it works as I'm fairly new to these but they move in steps. Has anyone ever mixed a index rear with a friction front? I'm sure they have just not sure if it could be done from the brakes. Pretty sure I will just stick with the STI unless I get failures as some have reported. My Cannondale road bike a double has the sora shifters with the thumb push button, can't say as I'm as big a fan of them. Everyone tells me bar ends are the way to go.

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    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    It depends a lot on the terrain. Walking a bit is fine, but it becomes a bigger deal when the climbs are steep and long. I know that I walked way more miles than I found acceptable one climb in the Sierras and would have killed for a gear lower than 20". On the other hand 21.7" was OK for the entire TA. Still, I wouldn't have minded a bit lower a few places in the Appalachians.


    staehpj1

    I have read a lot of your posts over the last few years and as how you did the TA on a Windsor pretty much stock was partly the reason I bought the one I did when I found it used close to home. You as many on here are, on the other end of the touring spectrum from me in accomplishments and abilities at this point. So I really appreciate these forums for allowing us that aspire to learn from those that have done.

    On the topic of pushing a loaded bike up a hill I have had a little experience at least enough to know it's not fun and a means to an end.
    A couple points and a idea:
    I ride my Windsor from the tops, the drops and the horns, but not the hoods. I raised my bars and lowered my STI's to suit me riding more in the drop position, and I added a front only brake leaver to the tops. Works nice to take off a little speed when on the tops I use it getting on and off the bike and to hold the bike against a hill when stopped. I also found it handy when pushing and taking a breather.

    Now for the idea, (no laughter) pushing is a awkward task and puts a strange twist in the back, peddles get in the way of shin etc. has anyone tried or has anyone seen a simple harness setup say a cargo strap and a short cord with a hook that could maybe hook to the seat post or more back. go over your head and under the right arm so a person could pull and push at the same time. Just a crazy idea I had and if it could use some pieces of equipment already carried that would be better. I haven't tried it yet so maybe it’s a dumb idea. Haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I just don't understand the need for a big ring on a touring bike! .
    I think it's an accident of mtn bike cassettes predominating so that when a manufacturer looks for the cheapest cassette for their "sport/touring/touring bike" it's the 11-34 cassette which then gets put on some version of a road double or triple. Back when I had my shop in the 80's it was common for new owners of road bikes to say "can I get a bigger gear, I can't push while riding down hill". And they were riding a 52/14 or 52/13 gear. Of course I said "learn to pedal faster" which didn't give them what they wanted which was the feeling of "pushing". Given that junior racers had gear limitations and they could rip the legs off the average touring cyclist it's kind of funny to hear the rational for a 117" gear on a touring bike where the average speed is about 30% less than training racers.

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    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I just don't understand the need for a big ring on a touring bike! Honestly who pushes along at over 20mph and downhill I coast along. That's why my largest ring is 42t and my largest gear is 42x11 (103"). In fact gears on touring bikes are over rated....... for most tourists a gear range form 100" to 20" is more than enough and you can get that with a 42/26 crank and an 11/34 cassette. Also I don't see the need for half step if you are using a 9 speed cassette.
    completely agree. As I have mentioned, I am more and more fond of the gearing on my commuter with mtn bike crank and an 8 speed 11-28 and would not hesitate setting up a tourer using a mtn crank and an even tighter 9 speed cassette, just to have slighter tighter ratio jumps (while still keeping roughly the old 20-100 range more or less)

    also agree on half steps. Its interesting to see how the half step was popular before (25 odd years ago or more) but Im sure it was because of the 6-7 speeds avail then.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Somewhere along the way a low gear can get too low...like when someone walking passes you trying to spin up the hill Also if you get too low you will be moving so slow you will fall over. I think the current lowest I have is around the 20" range, much below that is counter productive IMHO.
    Anyone with even rudimentary bicycle handling skills won't fall over no matter how low the gear is. That argument is just a old wives tale that is used to poopoo low gears. I've ridden mountain bikes off road in loose conditions with 12" gears and, while slow, I wasn't in danger of toppling over. On good roads, that kind of gear wouldn't be any more likely to fall over either.

    On the other hand, walking in bicycle shoes -even mountain bike shoe - for any distance isn't all that comfortable. I hiked most of the west side of Loveland Pass (6 to 8 miles) many years ago and was in agony by the time I reached to top. Pedaling, even at 3 mph, is far more efficient then walking while pushing a heavily loaded bike. A few feet of pushing is a nice break but miles and miles of it isn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    Now for the idea, (no laughter) pushing is a awkward task and puts a strange twist in the back, peddles get in the way of shin etc. has anyone tried or has anyone seen a simple harness setup say a cargo strap and a short cord with a hook that could maybe hook to the seat post or more back. go over your head and under the right arm so a person could pull and push at the same time. Just a crazy idea I had and if it could use some pieces of equipment already carried that would be better. I haven't tried it yet so maybe it’s a dumb idea. Haha.
    I agree that pushing is no fun especially if it is for several miles rather than a few hundred yards, but I don't find it particularly awkward. I have never heard of anyone trying anything like you are suggesting and I am having a hard time imagining how it would work. All I can suggest is that you try it and if it works out, let us know the details.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Anyone with even rudimentary bicycle handling skills won't fall over no matter how low the gear is. That argument is just a old wives tale that is used to poopoo low gears. I've ridden mountain bikes off road in loose conditions with 12" gears and, while slow, I wasn't in danger of toppling over. On good roads, that kind of gear wouldn't be any more likely to fall over either.

    On the other hand, walking in bicycle shoes -even mountain bike shoe - for any distance isn't all that comfortable. I hiked most of the west side of Loveland Pass (6 to 8 miles) many years ago and was in agony by the time I reached to top. Pedaling, even at 3 mph, is far more efficient then walking while pushing a heavily loaded bike. A few feet of pushing is a nice break but miles and miles of it isn't.
    That sounds about right to me. Has anyone actually tried a gear that was low enough that they couldn't stay upright? I have never gone much below a 20" gear, but falling over was not even close to being a problem even when using a pretty low cadence.

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    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    On the other hand, walking in bicycle shoes -even mountain bike shoe - for any distance isn't all that comfortable. I hiked most of the west side of Loveland Pass (6 to 8 miles) many years ago and was in agony by the time I reached to top. Pedaling, even at 3 mph, is far more efficient then walking while pushing a heavily loaded bike. A few feet of pushing is a nice break but miles and miles of it isn't.
    +1

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    I just don't understand the need for a big ring on a touring bike! Honestly who pushes along at over 20mph and downhill I coast along. That's why my largest ring is 42t and my largest gear is 42x11 (103"). In fact gears on touring bikes are over rated.......I toured in England on a single speed bike (40x17) and had a great time, but for most tourists a gear range form 100" to 20" is more than enough and you can get that with a 42/26 crank and an 11/34 cassette. Also I don't see the need for half step if you are using a 9 speed cassette.
    I have to say that I for one do push along at greater than 20 mph if there is a tailwind or slight downhill. Also I sometimes like to pedal at a lowish cadence against some light resistance even while braking to keep my legs going on very long descents. Sometimes we rode pace line at high-ish speeds for a while when I was with a group of three. Typically not all day but for an hour or two at times. I actually use my highest gear (111.9") quite a bit on some tours, but not at all on others. I could do without it if I had to, but would miss it.

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    Being the Devil's advocate. Sometimes a walk (for a couple hundred feet) does feel good...relieving...then jump back on and pedal the rest of the way up. But, this also depends on the grade. As far as the big ring (I spend a fair amount of time in it on the flats) I find it a huge asset in rollers as well. Blasting down the descend to pedal up and over the ascent, and doing it again...I would find it difficult without my big ring...but it's only a 48T.
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