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Old 06-13-13, 09:51 AM
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Yes, the OP does, indeed, live in the coastal SF Bay Area, where the San Andreas Fault (a mere 3/4 mile from my house) has made mincemeat of our topography. I can handle some pretty steep stuff (10-17% over 2 miles) in the middle ring if it's short (less than 1/2 mile or so).
We have one climb I've spoken of often (Sharp Park Road) which really kicks my hindquarters. Anything that gets me out of Dodge is like that and the exertion plus my HR restrictions (BP. Less of a problem) plus my asthma lead me to some really small gears. And even then, I need short breaks to let my breathing recover.
I mean, I could just keep the Giant and its triple (I did just replace the crankset and brifters last year) and try to find a 26T ring somewhere. Might be perfect. BUT I'M TALKING ABOUT A NEW BIKE, PEOPLE! Are ye trying to talk me out of it? I could get one with SRAM WiFli (I admit to being very, very curious about SRAM after years of Shimano) or the 30/30 Shiman set up. <sigh> Oh, I don't know... but that Felt Z3 really rings my bell on paper.
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