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Old 09-11-14, 08:02 PM   #1
etsisk
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dang

not too happy right now. I did a 17.34 mile hilly ride today, first ride with real hills since my arthritic knee acted up and scotched backpacking - was tired but ok with it. My bad knee has been aching for the last couple of hours, down into the joint where the arthritis is. Makes me wonder if I'm going to HAVE to have the partial knee replacement if I'm ever gonna be able to do ANYthing I want to do - like bike tour, etc. It's already kept me from backpacking (though I enjoy the bike now). I dunno. dammit. Sorry for venting. Just figured that folks like y'all would understand better than anybody.
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Old 09-11-14, 08:15 PM   #2
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What kind of gearing do you have?
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Old 09-11-14, 08:17 PM   #3
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it's an old ultegra 6 speed - I plan to get new wheels and put a 10 speed cassette on it, but I can't do that just yet. I spent an embarrassing amount of time on my small chainring, and for the most part it didn't feel like I was really pushing hard. And yet, here we are.
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Old 09-11-14, 08:27 PM   #4
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For the sake of my knees ... I have various issues with them from time to time ... I ride with gearing so low most cyclists could climb walls.

I have a triple, and my low is either 26 or 28. I think it's 26. The large ring in the cassette is either 32 or 34. And there are hills I can only get up when I'm in the lowest of the low ... especially when I've got a load on the bicycle.
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Old 09-11-14, 08:52 PM   #5
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I'm sporting a 22 small ring in front and a 30 big cog in the rear. The hills are a little slower, but they sure are a lot easier on my body. I don't know a lot about the kind of offerings they had back in the day of 6sp stuff, but as Machka pointed out, some really easy gearing helps. I'd try that before giving up if you don't have that sort of gearing already. And even if that doesn't work, don't give up. Find a way to do what you love. I think some cassettes meant for 2x10 geared, 700c mountain bikes go up to 36 tooth cogs in the rear. You'll be able to climb anything with a 22 front and 36 rear. You'll have plenty of time to look around and enjoy the scenery too.
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Old 09-11-14, 09:08 PM   #6
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I don't know what size big cog I have in the rear - my small chainring is a 30. I'm trying to figure out how to get the new wheels/cassette earlier... I could just get the rear wheel and cassette, but that would be a 700 and my front wheel is a 27" - would that weird out the handling?
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Old 09-11-14, 09:09 PM   #7
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it's an old ultegra 6 speed
that doesn't answer the question, you need to say their sizes in tooth counts, not that there are 6 of them.

count the number of teeth on the cogs and the chainrings .

then the relative size of the gear ratios they create, can be discussed .
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Old 09-11-14, 09:12 PM   #8
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I know that, and I've explained that I don't know the numbers for the freewheel, though my small chainring is a 30.
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Old 09-11-14, 09:13 PM   #9
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nobody can count for you from here.
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Old 09-11-14, 09:21 PM   #10
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Bob, that sounded harsher than I meant it to sound (which was "not harsh at all"). Sorry. Tough night. I'll count the large cog tomorrow. That's the one that y'all have in mind, right?
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Old 09-11-14, 09:54 PM   #11
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Bob, that sounded harsher than I meant it to sound (which was "not harsh at all"). Sorry. Tough night. I'll count the large cog tomorrow. That's the one that y'all have in mind, right?
Yes.
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Old 09-11-14, 11:55 PM   #12
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I feel for you! Sorry to hear about your knee. I decided to do a quick search and found this thread on BF. Maybe something mentioned in the thread will help the frustration.

Whether you end up needing the surgery is between you and your doctor, but it looks like biking could still be in your future if you do decide to have the surgery.
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Old 09-12-14, 07:12 AM   #13
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it's an old ultegra 6 speed - I plan to get new wheels and put a 10 speed cassette on it,.....,...the partial knee replacement...
will that new 10-speed wheel fit your rear triangle? what's the spacing?

knee surgery is expensive. and painful. why not spend some bucks and get a
decent bike with good low gearing? your knees will thank you.
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Old 09-12-14, 07:23 AM   #14
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not too happy right now. I did a 17.34 mile hilly ride today, first ride with real hills since my arthritic knee acted up and scotched backpacking - was tired but ok with it. My bad knee has been aching for the last couple of hours, down into the joint where the arthritis is. Makes me wonder if I'm going to HAVE to have the partial knee replacement if I'm ever gonna be able to do ANYthing I want to do - like bike tour, etc. It's already kept me from backpacking (though I enjoy the bike now). I dunno. dammit. Sorry for venting. Just figured that folks like y'all would understand better than anybody.
You can't argue with low gearing. On the medical front, I think having a doctor who is an athlete can make all the difference in the world. More than anybody they "get" how important it is to you and might be better to help you with non-surgical options. Also, once you have a better sense of what's going on with the knee I wonder if a professional bike fitting might be helpful. What kind of pedals are you using?
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Old 09-12-14, 07:55 AM   #15
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get a track bike and learn how to spin.
Or join a spinning class at a fitness center. you can learn how to spin there, too.
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Old 09-12-14, 09:15 AM   #16
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My large cog is a 28, my small chainring is a 30. That's all going to change and soon, I hope. I want to switch to a 24 or 26 - hell, even a 22, if that's not overkill. And with the new cassette, the large cog will be bigger, as well, though I don't remember the number. The new wheel and cassette will be 4 mm larger than what's on my bike now, so the rear triangle should be able to be cold pressed out that much without much problem. If it can't, then I had a bigger problem already and didn't know it.
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Old 09-12-14, 09:19 AM   #17
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while I can't afford to replace both wheels and the cassette now, I COULD replace the rear wheel and cassette (which would irk me, as I just put a $48 27-1 1/4 on the damn thing two days ago) at the beginning of the month. But that would mean I would have a 27" on the front and a 700 on the back. Is that nuts? It would only be for 4 to 6 weeks. Is that something I can safely do? Or would it set up some weird harmonic vibration that would send me unsuspectingly over the side of a bridge or something?

oh, and I'm using spd pedals. Someone asked about that.
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Old 09-12-14, 09:41 AM   #18
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NB: 74 mm bolt circle limits you to 24t.. compact MTB [56(suntour) & 58 (shimano)] allow 20t
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Old 09-12-14, 10:55 AM   #19
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Do you think that 24 would be easy enough for at least east coast mtns? The big cog I'd be getting on the new cassette would be a 36.
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Old 09-12-14, 11:16 AM   #20
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Do you think that 24 would be easy enough for at least east coast mtns? The big cog I'd be getting on the new cassette would be a 36.
A 22 might be better...

From ACA:

The Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route is one of the more challenging routes that Adventure Cycling has to offer, as it has many hilly areas where granny gears are needed to negotiate the steep climbs. Northwestern Connecticut, the Susquehanna River area in Pennsylvania, and the country roads north of Richmond are extremely hilly. But you do have some easy riding to compensate, such as when biking the paths along the Potomac River in Virginia. While there is some hill climbing upon leaving Richmond, Virginia, generally the terrain is either rolling or flat through the southern states of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
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Old 09-12-14, 11:30 AM   #21
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My large cog is a 28, my small chainring is a 30.
Your lowest gearing would be right in the midrange for me.

My small chainring is a 22, my large cog is a 34. Just got done with a 2,000 mile San Antonio/New York ride. Based on that experience I'm going to an even smaller 20 tooth chainring and a 36 large cog. On my knee I need to be able to spin EFFORTLESLY, speed is irrelevant.

On my '89 Schwinn Voyageur I was able to switch out between 700c and 27" quite easily, and running a 27" up front and 700c in back would not affect anything (or vice versa), in fact somewhere around here (on the commuting board I think) someone posted a photo of his bike with exactly that.

Likewise on my old Schwinn the longer axle (130mm??? 135mm?? I forget) on the new rear wheel fit right in, if yours doesn't I have heard it is not hard to bend out the chainstays.

I used the $55 Bike Nashbar 44/32/22 mountain bike crankset, if there's anything wrong with it, I have yet to discover what it might be.

Mike
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Old 09-12-14, 11:47 AM   #22
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the new cassette will have a 36 on it. When I get around to the chainrings, I'll go with mid 20's - maybe a 24, but I don't know the numbers, just what folks tell me about the results. I know that with the 28 cog/30 chainring it ain't easy enough.
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Old 09-12-14, 12:10 PM   #23
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I run 20 x 36 on 26 wheel.....Use it all the time.....I'm old and lazy.....and have good knees....Used to be young and lazy....

I've always had low gears and use them alot.....Not sure if that has helped in not having knee issues or not...But it hasn't hurt.

Hopefully getting some lower gears will help with your knee pain.....Trying to ride in pain or having to worry about it is no fun at all.

Seat position up/down and for/back has a big effect on your knee comfort also....Just saying.....

Hope you find your cure.....

Last edited by Booger1; 09-12-14 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 09-12-14, 12:15 PM   #24
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the new cassette will have a 36 on it. When I get around to the chainrings, I'll go with mid 20's - maybe a 24, but I don't know the numbers, just what folks tell me about the results. I know that with the 28 cog/30 chainring it ain't easy enough.
I find that when I ride up a very steep hill UNLOADED that my lowest gear combo 26/34 is just about right This tells me that a mountain triple would be better for when I am loaded. Below are three quotes on the mountain triple from people who rode the TransAm. I am not sure but I think parts of your Atlantic Coast route may even be steeper than the Appalachians on the Transam.

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When we purchased the bikes, we traded out the standard chain ring (with 28, 38, and 48 teeth on the three rings) and replaced it with a 22-32-44 chain ring. This has provided us with much lower "granny gears" for the hills. The cost of this change is a loss of pedal power at higher speeds. For those familiar with gear inch measurements, we changed from a range of 22.2 - 117.8 inches (standard chain ring) to a range of 17.5 - 108.0 inches with the chain ring we use. In practical terms, this tradeoff means that we are able to usefully pedal up steep hills at speeds as low as 2.5 mph. But on downhills, once we get up over 31 or 32 mph, we can no longer pedal - the pedals just spin, unable to do any work. Any speeds we have achieved faster than that have been due purely to gravity! For our touring objectives, this tradeoff has been well worth it, and has enabled us to say that we have never walked a hill on any of our tours (except for a couple of ridiculously steep driveways)! For others who are stronger riders and who like to hit the higher speeds, this choice of chain ring would not be for them.
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To achieve a lower gear ratio, I exchanged the stock triple crank (with 26/36/48 rings) with a Deore XT M770 triple crank with 22/32/44 rings. The lower gear ratio really helps on the hills when the bike is loaded. I have ridden it fully loaded on the Ride Across North Carolina and from my home in Mt Vernon, VA to Pittsburgh, PA via the C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage. It has held up very well, with the only incident being a broken spoke on the NC ride.
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Install a mountain bike triple crank (44-32-22) and an 11/34 cassette for your next tour. I wish I had.
Links to these pages below...

Biking Across America: Recap: Bike Equipment & Packing Summary: What we used, what we took, how it worked out
Three Retirees Westbound on the TransAm: The Bike: Surly Long Haul Trucker
Three Spokes and a Mirror: Summary:
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Old 09-12-14, 12:34 PM   #25
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thanks for the links! I'll read them shortly.

I notice that folks all seem to be getting sets of chainrings - but I LIKE my 52 tooth chainring. I'm looking at buying individual chainrings and having them put on - a 24/xx/52 (the small and large ones are the only ones I know I want. I'll probably find something smaller than what I have to split the difference in the jump between small and large. I'm just guessing, though. Anyone with opinions, I'd love to hear them.
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