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Old 03-01-14, 05:14 PM   #1
hammockman
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Mountainbike touring gearing question

Searched but didn't find. I'm about to get a 26" Surly Troll. It will be my everything bike. I am a heavy guy, 235 at present time. I live on the side of an extinct volcano in Costa Rica so every ride I take involves pretty steep hills and I want to do some heavy loaded touring in Colorado. What would you guys recommend for gearing?

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Old 03-01-14, 07:00 PM   #2
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A standard triple (22/32/42 front) with an 8 or 9 speed rear (with a 34t cog) will give you plenty of gears for anything.
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Old 03-01-14, 07:54 PM   #3
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I'd recommend trying the bike as it is. The stock 24t granny and 11-34 cassette will give you about 18.5 gear inches for your first gear. This might work fine for you, if not, find out if you can put a 22t granny on. Surly could answer this for you.
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Old 03-02-14, 06:23 AM   #4
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Most MTB's that I am familiar with come with relatively low gearing to start with. Give it a try, swapping out the smallest front cog is usually pretty straightforward and not too expensive if you need to drop the range. Most of my touring bikes are equipped with a low in the 17"-20" range.

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Old 03-02-14, 08:00 AM   #5
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Play around with a gear ratio calculator, and you'll get an idea what gears you want. My MTB gearing allows me to ride at a decent cadence from 3 mph to 30 mph. Below that, I can walk and above that, coast.
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Old 03-02-14, 09:22 AM   #6
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The stock gearing is already pretty good but if you want lower, Shimano makes a 9 speed 12-36 tooth cassette that can get you an even lower gear. I ride lots of pretty steep hills here on my Troll and love having the 22-36 as a granny gear.

While in Colorado, make sure to pedal up Pikes Peak, it is very surreal pedaling above timberline on a perfectly paved road. Also if you are going to be near Colorado Springs, look me up on Warm Showers if you need a place to crash.
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Old 03-02-14, 10:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by chriskmurray View Post
The stock gearing is already pretty good but if you want lower, Shimano makes a 9 speed 12-36 tooth cassette that can get you an even lower gear. I ride lots of pretty steep hills here on my Troll and love having the 22-36 as a granny gear.

While in Colorado, make sure to pedal up Pikes Peak, it is very surreal pedaling above timberline on a perfectly paved road. Also if you are going to be near Colorado Springs, look me up on Warm Showers if you need a place to crash.
The Troll complete comes with a 12-36 cassette and with a 48/36/26 crankset. That's actually a pretty good base to start with. I'd not change out the crankset or the cassette. The only thing needed for a much lower gear is a new inner ring on the front. The 64mm bolt circle diameter (BCD) on the crank can take chainwheels down to 20 teeth, although a 20 tooth inner is a little hard to find. A 22 inner is more "normal". That's still a good low gear with a 36 tooth cog on the cassette (15 gear inches).

I would keep the 48 outer, however. At 100 rpm, a 12 tooth high cog will spin out at 27 mph with a 42 tooth ring but won't spin out until 31mph with the 48 tooth ring. It's not a huge difference but any thing you go up you'll want to come down. Coasting down long downhills gets tedious quickly.
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Old 03-02-14, 10:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The Troll complete comes with a 12-36 cassette and with a 48/36/26 crankset. That's actually a pretty good base to start with. I'd not change out the crankset or the cassette. The only thing needed for a much lower gear is a new inner ring on the front. The 64mm bolt circle diameter (BCD) on the crank can take chainwheels down to 20 teeth, although a 20 tooth inner is a little hard to find. A 22 inner is more "normal". That's still a good low gear with a 36 tooth cog on the cassette (15 gear inches).

I would keep the 48 outer, however. At 100 rpm, a 12 tooth high cog will spin out at 27 mph with a 42 tooth ring but won't spin out until 31mph with the 48 tooth ring. It's not a huge difference but any thing you go up you'll want to come down. Coasting down long downhills gets tedious quickly.
I stand corrected, for some reason I was thinking it had an 11-34 cassette on the back and a standard 22-32-44 crankset, should have looked at the specs before posting. With that being the case, if you need a lower gear like cyccommute pointed out just swapping the small ring to a 22t is the way to go.
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Old 03-03-14, 11:04 AM   #9
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Thanks Everybody,
This website is great. This answers my question perfectly. It sounds like I'll go to the small 22t granny and see what it feels like without changing the rear. Down here living on the side of the volcano I can barely make it up some of the hills even in the low, low gear. I can't even catch the old ladies walking up the hills. I was a little worried about trying to ride up the mountains in Colorado with a loaded bike but I am getting in better shape as I ride and as you guys point out if I need to I can change the rear to a Shimano 12-36 cassette.
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