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Cycling with gear

Old 08-30-22, 03:12 PM
  #1  
Scudders
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Cycling with gear

I dont normally cycle with much gear but in order to cycle on a couple of overnighters with tents and stuff laden on the bike I could do with making my gearing a little lighter.

I currently have a 1 x 11.... 40t on the front ring and 11x34 on the wheel. Which suits me fine when I'm out for a day, but travelling with gear and overnight, I reckon I'll be off the bike pushing quite a lot if I dont do something with the gearing, especially through peak district.

First I thought, change of rear derailleur and cassette.

Then I thought, Change to smaller front ring.

The bike has a Narrow Wide Front ring, 40t with a 110BCD so simply swapping the chainring alone isn't an option as all smaller chainrings have a 96BCD.

So, my question is, can I swap the front crank and ring out to say, 30t and remove links from my chain in order to obtain the desired easier gearing, or would that not work and why? Any other suggestions?

The rear derailleur is a Ultegra GX medium cage.

PS, changing to a 2x11 isn't an option as I no longer have shifting on the left lever due to a smash and replacing with one of the more budget friendly grx levers that dont include the shifting mechanism (1 x 11 specific)
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Old 08-30-22, 07:49 PM
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As you found out, going do a smaller chainring means a new crank. Also consider that a 30-11 will not give you that much of a high gear. So as long as you're replacing the crank anyway you might consider buying a triple and using it as a double, say a 30 and a 40.

On the flip side, payload doesn't matter as much as you might imagine. You and the bike gross out at 150-200#'s or more, so the relative increase in weight isn't all that much.

Keep I'm mind that weight only matters on acceleration and hill climbing, so your priority should on the mid range and high end where you spend most of the time.

If/when you find overly steep hills you can compensate for the lack of low gear by slaloming which effectively makes them shallower. I used this same technique over most of my life, rather than worrying about having a low enough gear that I'd use less than 1% of the time.

Of course, only you know your actual capabilities and limitations, so you might try some experiments, setting up your load and seeking out some tough climbs not too far from home.

Whatever you decide I'll give you my best wishes for a great trip.
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Old 08-30-22, 08:50 PM
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I suggest visiting the Touring sub forum here for other's opinions. Having done self supported touring for decades and now getting even older and slower I find that the lack of really low gearing (I live in the hilly Finger lakes of NYS and seek the hills of other areas on tours) on modern 1x or even older 2x systems to be lacking. If a low enough gearing is attained the gearing jumps between shifts tends to be more than I like in the more mid ranges. Andy (Who learned to shift a front der way back when)
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Old 08-30-22, 09:55 PM
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One of the options I don't see mentioned very often is to just "run what ya brung". You have about 32 gear inches with your current setup which is not ideal for touring but pretty good. There is no shame in walking up the steep parts. So don't let the lack of having a "good" setup (and I would argue that you already have a pretty good setup) stop you from going on a little jaunt somewhere with your current ride.
That is not to discount Posts 2 & 3. That is good, solid advice.
"Carpe diem" as the kids say.

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