Old 09-24-18, 02:56 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Bikes: Too many. Cannondale SuperSix, Trek Remedy 8, Trek Crossrip+ get the most ride time.

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Could you explain what you want the bike to be able to do for you, and why you think you need uncommonly high gearing? I don't want to be too dismissive--some people have physical problems that restrict them to very low cadences, or perhaps you have some exotic needs regarding land speed records.

To put things in perspective, average cyclists pedal about 60-80 rpm on average, and professional road cyclists average around 90rpm. Assuming the low average range of 60rpm, this means a top speed of 43.3 KPH on a 29x2.1 tire on 175mm cranks with a 60x11, and 38.2 for 53x11, and 36.1KPH for 50x11. These speeds are higher than noncompetetive athletes cruise on flat ground, would mostly be reached via hard efforts in a draft or down hills. Cyclists reach higher speeds sprinting on flats commonly, but that's almost always accomplished at high cadences usually in excess of 100rpm.

On a personal note, I'm a moderately fit cyclist who rides steep descents often and rarely want more than the 50x11 on my road bike (hitting speeds up to 50MPH), and spent a fair amount of time riding with a high gear of 46x11 in similar terrain. At extremely high speeds I loose interest in pedaling because I can go faster for less effort focusing on making my body more aerodynamic rather than pedaling more. On the 46x11 there were times I would've kept pedaling if I had a higher gear, but I don't think it effected my solo ride times in any meaningful way. If I road raced competitively I would consider higher gearing, predominantly given the competitive importance of sprinting which I rarely ever do on solo or non competitive rides.

If you do want to run road drivetrain components with a flat bar setup, there are definitely shifters that will work for this. For the pure compatibility concerns of fitting, say, a road 53/39 crank on a 29er bike your main concerns are:
-The chainline is 2.5mm outboard for mtb vs road bikes. This is sometimes no big deal, but given the additional clearance problems you're likely to have, it's probably better to get a 3 piece crankset with a square taper, octalink, or ISIS bottom bracket that you can use to bring the crank outboard.
-Chainring clearance is usually pretty tight to designed cranksets on most mountain bikes, so usually much larger chainrings won't fit. You may have better luck in general with steel frames and those designed more towards touring use. I would definitely check the specs for a given frame and contact the manufacturer. I did a quick search and failed to find anything that'll work for you.
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