Old 08-21-15, 10:46 AM
  #9  
Tim_Iowa
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
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Bikes: 1997 Rivendell Road Standard 650b conversion (tourer), 1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10 (gravel/tour), 2013 Foundry Auger disc (CX/gravel), 2016 Cannondale Fat CAAD 2 (MTB/winter), 2011 Cannondale Flash 29er Lefty (trail MTB)

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As others have said, gear range is more important than the number of gears. You could get the same total gearing range on a 5-speed bike or a 30-speed bike.

SRAM (wifli) and Shimano (GS) offer mid-cage RDs that can fit a 32t cog.

Mixed with a compact crank (34t chain ring), you can climb just about any road grade, and some off-road as well. 34 x 32 = 28 gear inches.

With a standard 39t chain ring and 32t cog, you have 32 gear inches.
34t chain ring and 28t cog = 32 gear inches
39t chain ring and 28t cog = 37 gear inches
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