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Surly Ogre Under-Geared

Old 09-24-21, 06:30 AM
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Surly Ogre Under-Geared

Sourcing a 38T chainring.

Hi, Everyone. Since this bike is a touring bike, I figured I'd start this thread here. Maybe some of you have similar issues and we can come to a solution together? I have a Surly Ogre, which I love riding. In fact, my wife and I have a matching set of Ogres. The biggest problem that I am finding is that this bike needs more top gear. I'm not an oak-legged pedal-masher, but I'm not liking how easily I can spin out at 18-20 mph. This bike is seriously under-geared. The chainring on it now is a SRAM NX, with a 32T chainring, and its pulling a 11/42 cassette in the back. Using Sheldon's calculator, you can clearly see that I'm getting a solid 87 gear-inches in top gear. I haven't measured my rpms with any devices yet, but trust me, at 18-20mph, my legs are moving pretty fast. The most-common size of chainring for these mtb cranks is 32T, and they are plentiful. I'm having a the greatest difficulty sourcing some larger chainring tooth counts. I did find one, but it seems really expensive. Its a SRAM, and it'd probably do the trick: 38T Chainring


You see this is the problem that I have with 1x gearing systems. They never can quite give you a good spread of ratios. I can live with the lower number, but the top gear number should come up some.


Looking at it with a 38T chainring, and you get a much different story. Top end is much more livable. This would put me into the range of not having to spin like I'm in a spin class, but to actually put some meaningful foot-to-pedal motion into my ride, instead of pedaling my ass off my ass off like mad, and then coast. Pedal then coast. Pedal then coast. Its rather irritating that Surly calls this a touring bike, yet puts some really pathetic MTB components on it.



So I guess what I really need is some advice. I havent been able to source any chainring other than the one in the link that I provided. Every chainring manufacturer seems to pump out the standard MTB-sized rings, which are 28-34T, and nothing available in the larger tooth counts comes with my correct size BCD, which is 94mm. Can anyone recommend a setup? I'd go with all new drivetrain components If I could find that one setup that provides what I need. I like the simplicity of a 1x setup, but I need more range. I may have to just break down and buy a Rohloff, but I'm not crazy about that idea just yet. Any ideas?

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Old 09-24-21, 07:26 AM
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The new Shimano 105 derailleurs support full cable housing from end to end, meaning you don't need frame mounted cable stops. From there, you could mount up a double crankset & a $15 Sunrace thumbie to make it all work.

If you were teetering on a Rohloff, maybe check out a Schlumpf drive by Haberstock Mobility & save yourself a metric eph-ton of cash. I think mine was about $800‐ish. My Rohloff, OTOH with wheel build, Gebla, shifters, etc, was about 3x that.

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Old 09-24-21, 07:50 AM
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94mm modern asymmetric, or old 5 bolt 94mm? Looking at the bike I'm assuming 4 bolt asymmetric, but just checking.

Cheap from China/ebay, up to 40t: https://www.ebay.com/itm/15459143042...Cclp%3A2334524
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Old 09-24-21, 08:03 AM
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What's the lowest ratio gear you need on that bike for the riding you do? If you need that 42 tooth cog on the back, then I'd look into making this a 2x bike.

I probably have the wrong idea about touring bikes, but I'd think they were intended to be loaded up with paniers and bags for cross country touring. So how often will one expect to be doing 20 mph? Especially since I'd imagine this touring bike might have been meant for a lot of touring on gravel roads.

So while you are affectionate toward your bike, might it be better to just get a more appropriate bike with the correct gearing?
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Old 09-24-21, 09:09 AM
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You now see the limitations of 1X drivetrains and the real answer for you is a double crank. As noted, touring bikes are expected to be ridden with a fairly heavy load and, for most touring riders, a very low low gear is far more important than a high top gear. So:

1.Pay the money for the SRAM 38T chainring and give up the low low gear.
2. Install SRAM's 10x42 cassette which will give you a usefully higher top gear with the same low gear. These aren't cheap either.
3. Install a double crank, front derailleur and shifter and have a much wider gear choice. A Shimano GRX 46/30 will give you a much higher top and and even lower low gear.
4. Buy a more suitable bike.

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Old 09-24-21, 11:08 AM
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Thanks for the link! Its funny, because I looked on eBay but I do not recall seeing that ad. I'll be the first to admit that I am not fond of ordering anything from China. However if the chainring is machined and not stamped we're going to be more interested. The chainring needs to be 94BCD symmetrical.
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Old 09-24-21, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
So while you are affectionate toward your bike, might it be better to just get a more appropriate bike with the correct gearing?
I'm affectionate to all my Surlys, well, all my bikes to be truthful. Now tell me what "appropriate" bike you would recommend. Can you show me a bike that can do what the Ogre can do, and has a wider gear range? Show me something that has the features of the Ogre, the larger tires, etc, that I can ride on broken pavement and dirt roads, both of which we have in abundance here. Bear in mind, I'm asking for help and suggestions to get a new chainring and/or gearing setup, and I am NOT asking for suggestions for what other bikes to buy. At the most, this bike might tow a Bob trailer, but fully-loaded panniers will stay on my Bilenky for road-touring duty.
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Old 09-24-21, 11:23 AM
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Is 96mm BCD the asymmetric one? I definitely get confused by the more recent additions to the BCD world.
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Old 09-24-21, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
Hi, Everyone. Since this bike is a touring bike,
I get the feeling that this is not the bike you were really after in function, but it is in looks.

The Orge is advertised as a All Season Commuter, not tourer, that is in the product info, but really is secondary, they have the LHT/Disc Trucker that covers the touring market.

The limitation your getting as noted by others is the 1x gearing, and that it's really an MTB solution being shoehorned into an application that it's not best suited for; HillRider has identified probably he best solutions, all of which cost money, how much you want to put into the Orge vs getting a more appropriate bike for your intended riding is up to you.

For the Rohloff idea, that really is a new bike time, as you really want a frame designed for that hub system from the start.
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Old 09-24-21, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
I'm affectionate to all my Surlys, well, all my bikes to be truthful. Now tell me what "appropriate" bike you would recommend. Can you show me a bike that can do what the Ogre can do, and has a wider gear range? Show me something that has the features of the Ogre, the larger tires, etc, that I can ride on broken pavement and dirt roads, both of which we have in abundance here. Bear in mind, I'm asking for help and suggestions to get a new chainring and/or gearing setup, and I am NOT asking for suggestions for what other bikes to buy. At the most, this bike might tow a Bob trailer, but fully-loaded panniers will stay on my Bilenky for road-touring duty.
You'll have to do the searching. Otherwise I'll have another 50 or more questions that need to be answered along with the question I ask that you ignored.

What's the lowest ratio gear you need on that bike for the riding you do?
If you can do with out some of the other lower ratio gears, then it might make sense to increase the size of the front chain ring. If you do need those lower ratio gears, then you need to make it 2x on the front or accept that you can't do the things you wish to do on this bike.
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Old 09-24-21, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
For the Rohloff idea, that really is a new bike time, as you really want a frame designed for that hub system from the start.
I think the Ogre is already setup for Rohloff use. I don't know if OP's Ogre has the same frame spec as the current model, but the current model is supposed to support it.

Ogre | All Season Commuter | Surly Bikes
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Old 09-24-21, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
I did find one, but it seems really expensive. Its a SRAM, and it'd probably do the trick: 38T Chainring
Why not just get the 36T version for < $70? That is still a 12.5% reduction in cadence compared to a 32T chain ring.

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Old 09-25-21, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
Sourcing a 38T chainring.
BikeInn has this, $58 plus $10 to ship, would it work? Still not inexpensive.

https://www.bikeinn.com/bike/renthal...976&country=us


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Old 09-25-21, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BCDrums View Post
BikeInn has this, $58 plus $10 to ship, would it work? Still not inexpensive.

https://www.bikeinn.com/bike/renthal...976&country=us


That looks like exactly what I am looking for! Thanks! I went to that site - ordered it - payed for it - the screen went blank and then reset and now my order isnt showing at all. No confirmation email and nothing on the Bike INN website in my account. No sign of ever ordering anything. I don't want to order two of these bloody things so I'll wait a week or two and possibly reorder if I get no other feedback from them. No phone numbers listed to call, and their shop is in Spain, so way off my schedule. God, why cant things be simple again like they used to be?
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Old 09-25-21, 08:07 AM
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You might want to reconsider your Bikeinn order. ^^^ I was tempted to order from them before and checked their reviews which are not that great. Bikeinn Reviews | Read Customer Service Reviews of bikeinn.com (trustpilot.com) , Bikeinn Reviews - 163 Reviews of Bikeinn.com | Sitejabber , more sites bikeinn scam - Bing Of course internet reviews can be a little sketchy themselves and this appears to be a legitimate company at least but below the level of what I would consider a good place to buy from. Just Sayin'.
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Old 09-25-21, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
That looks like exactly what I am looking for! Thanks! I went to that site - ordered it - payed for it - the screen went blank and then reset and now my order isnt showing at all. No confirmation email and nothing on the Bike INN website in my account. No sign of ever ordering anything. I don't want to order two of these bloody things so I'll wait a week or two and possibly reorder if I get no other feedback from them. No phone numbers listed to call, and their shop is in Spain, so way off my schedule. God, why cant things be simple again like they used to be?
That's too bad. I have ordered once from BikeInn, that went okay, but you're smart to be skeptical. Other European shops list the Renthal for sale, but maybe not in 38T. Chain Reaction carries it but is out of stock on 38T. I like Chain Reaction, have placed several orders there. Good luck.
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Old 09-25-21, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
You see this is the problem that I have with 1x gearing systems. They never can quite give you a good spread of ratios.
Seems odd to know the limitations of 1X drivetrains and then go buy one.

Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
Its rather irritating that Surly calls this a touring bike, yet puts some really pathetic MTB components on it.
Didn't you see the specs and description before you bought it? "Ogre is designed to be the ultimate steel utility vehicle. Snow, sleet or sweltering humidity, this is an ideal year-round commuter bike. You can also haul enough crap on it that you don’t even have to go home if you don’t want to."
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Old 09-25-21, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Seems odd to know the limitations of 1X drivetrains and then go buy one.



Didn't you see the specs and description before you bought it? "Ogre is designed to be the ultimate steel utility vehicle. Snow, sleet or sweltering humidity, this is an ideal year-round commuter bike. You can also haul enough crap on it that you dont even have to go home if you dont want to."
Go troll someone else's thread, little man.
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Old 09-25-21, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins View Post
Go troll someone else's thread, little man.
Sorry to have touched a nerve, little boy.
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Old 09-26-21, 02:45 PM
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J Higgins, My $.02 is to not focus so much on 100+ top gear but usable high gears just below your highest gear. Ok I see you have platform pedals, yeah that does reduce useful high rpm spinning. So its having a useful second to highest gear in the high 80s then the 100 top gear. I had a 20 wheel folding bike with 93 top gear which I discovered was more than high enough for touring as getting in an aerodynamic tuck made more difference on descents than a big gear I could spin. With all that Id get the 38 chainring and accept that the price is what it is.

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Old 09-27-21, 12:05 AM
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Yup, 87 GI high is laughable. You sure don't need 22 GI on an unloaded bike.
My SA RD3 is 48 to 84. Goes up 10% hills and wizzes at 28 mph.
Last year I did 133.6 miles on my 73 lb tour bike with my SA XL-RD5w. It was 46 to 117 GI.
With any tiny downslope, I was using 4th at 98 GI, for a little while anyway. LOL.
On my last tour the Rohloff14 was at 46/ 16T, 21 to 115 GIs. High was NOT seldom used at all. It's great for keeping momentum at the bottom of a hill or going back up.
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Old 09-27-21, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
J Higgins, My $.02 is to not focus so much on 100+ top gear but usable high gears just below your highest gear. Ok I see you have platform pedals, yeah that does reduce useful high rpm spinning. So its having a useful second to highest gear in the high 80s then the 100 top gear. I had a 20 wheel folding bike with 93 top gear which I discovered was more than high enough for touring as getting in an aerodynamic tuck made more difference on descents than a big gear I could spin. With all that Id get the 38 chainring and accept that the price is what it is.
I just ordered it. The Renthal ring that was mentioned would have been my choice, but but the ordering software that Bike Inn is using just bleeped and went blank when I pressed the complete order button, and no one in USA has that ring in 38T. All is well.

Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Yup, 87 GI high is laughable. You sure don't need 22 GI on an unloaded bike.
My SA RD3 is 48 to 84. Goes up 10% hills and wizzes at 28 mph.
Last year I did 133.6 miles on my 73 lb tour bike with my SA XL-RD5w. It was 46 to 117 GI.
With any tiny downslope, I was using 4th at 98 GI, for a little while anyway. LOL.
On my last tour the Rohloff14 was at 46/ 16T, 21 to 115 GIs. High was NOT seldom used at all. It's great for keeping momentum at the bottom of a hill or going back up.
Hey now, I've got a set of wheels laced up with that very same SA hub, and a matching SA genny hub for the front. I was going to use them in a post-apocalypse-themed rat bike, but never got back to that project. You say that this is your tour bike? How does it work out for you? Just curious, because those wheels are brand new. I should probably make an attempt to use them.

I think you know what I mean about the low top-end gearing. I think that you get it, which is great because a lot of people have given me every suggestion other than what I asked. I'm no finely tuned athlete. All I need is a little more top end and I'm fine. I actually did the same thing with my ECR. When I built that bike, I started out with a couple different ring sizes. After a dozen or so rides, I finally landed on 34T for that one.
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Old 09-27-21, 06:44 AM
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To start, I own a troll. Got my wife a troll. Love it.
The troll and Ogre were always sourced with the good old useful 48/36/26 triple, fantastic crank for touring and anything.

The Bridge Club 27.5 bike with regular drop outs (not horizontal for rohlof, rohlof specific mount and or Bob trailers) first came out with a nice double crank, but then too became what the cool bikepacking kids want and now has a 1x , as what happened to ogre. (Troll discontinued)

one by is new and light and bikepacky, not old person triple, plus it's hard to shift a triple dude.
yes sarcasm

bottom line is that partly due to bikepacking popularity with young folks, and maybe covid messed supply issues, you got caught out with not realizing the limits of 1x stuff.......

a friend found a troll last year, we encouraged her to buy it, thinking it was a remaining stock bike, but then when I saw it, the store had cobbled together a frame with non stock wheels and a 1x 32t crank.
She didn't know any better and is also frustrated with the 32t and 11-42 , on 26in wheels so even lower top end than you.

honestly, a 36 is the easiest route, but a nice double crank would be the best.
Can you find one? Do you want to spend many hundreds more for a crankset, bb and shifter? Probably not.

but I can say that the troll ogre are very cool bikes, I've toured with mine twice in Latin America loaded up and it works great as a tough expedition bike, but I have a mtb triple on it, 44/32/22 and 9 speed, with drop bars.
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Old 09-27-21, 07:02 AM
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I see they've also changed to hydro brakes too. Just looked at your photo of the matching bikes, even the bells.
nice looking bikes. Just goofy/inconvenient they went 1x
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Old 09-27-21, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Just goofy/inconvenient they went 1x
Short-sizing everything and charging full price for it is the new normal these days. Remember when you could get let's say - a 12 ounce can of soda? Now they will slide in the smaller cans on you, and still charge you the same price. Now you get (in some areas) an 11.5 ounce can, and I bet you are paying the same.

Its no different with bike manufacturers. Think of how much they are saving by giving you a 1x. They only have to pay for the 1x crank. They wont have to swallow the cost of a 2x or 3x crank, along with a front derailleur, cables, and shifter. So 1x are all cool and groovy until you figure out that you are paying more and actually getting less.
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