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Touring Big Ring / Half Step

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Touring Big Ring / Half Step

Old 10-02-12, 11:08 AM
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bud16415
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Touring Big Ring / Half Step

On my touring bike it came with a road triple and a wide spaced cassette 11-32 (9 sp). I have made a number of changes to the gearing lower granny ring and an even wider cassette switching to a 12-36. I am totally happy with my low gear now and my 42t center gear is perfect for my all around needs. The big ring is virtually useless as a top gear way too high. I do like it as it gives me the option for in between gears in a 1.5 step way.

I think I want to change the large ring to get a true half step pattern along with one higher GI. That would require me to find a 45t large ring to work with my (TruVativ Touro Triple Road Crankset). That’s a 5 hole 130mm BCD 45t ring.

My question is with a 45t to 42t jump do I need to find a ring with ramps and pins? I’m using STI shifting.

I haven’t seen a lot of 45t rings and any suggestions on where to get one at a reasonable price?

A 46t would also give me a half step but would be off just a little bit more from the mid points. Not sure if anyone could tell the difference and if I can’t find a 45t I will look for a 46t.
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Old 10-02-12, 11:18 AM
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I had a bike in the mid-80's that I geared 46/42/26 half step with a 13x28 6-speed freewheel and it worked well. The front derailleur was a Sun Tour ARX and it had friction downtube shifters.

The big problem today is finding a front derailleur with an inner cage plate shallow enough to clear a 4 tooth chainring difference. Most current fd's, particularly ones designed for use with brifters, require a 10 or 12 tooth difference. The inner plate will hit the middle chainring or the derailleur will have to be mounted way too high above the big chainring which will make shifting very poor.
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Old 10-02-12, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I had a bike in the mid-80's that I geared 46/42/26 half step with a 13x28 6-speed freewheel and it worked well. The front derailleur was a Sun Tour ARX and it had friction downtube shifters.

The big problem today is finding a front derailleur with an inner cage plate shallow enough to clear a 4 tooth chainring difference. Most current fd's, particularly ones designed for use with brifters, require a 10 or 12 tooth difference. The inner plate will hit the middle chainring or the derailleur will have to be mounted way too high above the big chainring which will make shifting very poor.

Great point. I had it set quite a bit high when I tried a mountain crankset on it a few years ago and it shifted pretty well. I left it high as I didn’t know if I was going to like that gearing and I didn’t, actually hated the too small center ring. That was a 44 32 22. So close on the largest ring to what I want to try now, so I know I could lower it a good amount. I guess that’s something I will have to worry about if I find the 45t ring.
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Old 10-02-12, 01:48 PM
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[a +1]

Thing is 9 speed fills in the wider gaps that a half step and Granny was made to resolve
when the freewheels were 6 speed ..

one problem is the FD for a triple, now has a deeper back plate
to shove the chain up from the big gap between inner and middle
chainrings, which precludes less than 10t difference between the outer and middle.

Perhaps just remove the outer, replace it with a CX style chainguard disc.
and set it up as a 9 speed with a bail out granny gear,
as small as the bolt circle will take.

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Old 10-02-12, 02:57 PM
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I toured for years with half step gearing and love it. If I need wider gearing I go to step and a half, but have never needed or wanted anything like the the almost standard 39/53 chainrings.

You won't need ramps because the jump is small enough for smooth changes without them. And you'll love the tight spacing this makes in your mid range gears where you do most of your riding.

I'm setting up a touring bike for next summer, for a likely trip to Norway, and will run triple with half step (or 1-1/2 step) plus a bailout granny for climbing out of the fjords.
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Old 10-02-12, 03:45 PM
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I have a tourer set up with half-step and a grandpa. 7 speed is the only way I know of to get half-step with a modern drive train. Front is 20-40-44. The rear is 11-13-16-19-23-28-34.
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Old 10-02-12, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
I have a tourer set up with half-step and a grandpa. 7 speed is the only way I know of to get half-step with a modern drive train. Front is 20-40-44. The rear is 11-13-16-19-23-28-34.
What front derailleur are you using?
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Old 10-03-12, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I toured for years with half step gearing and love it. If I need wider gearing I go to step and a half, but have never needed or wanted anything like the the almost standard 39/53 chainrings.

You won't need ramps because the jump is small enough for smooth changes without them. And you'll love the tight spacing this makes in your mid range gears where you do most of your riding.

I'm setting up a touring bike for next summer, for a likely trip to Norway, and will run triple with half step (or 1-1/2 step) plus a bailout granny for climbing out of the fjords.

What I have right now is 52-42-24 X 12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32,36 and I’m 99.99% happy with those gears. The 52 gives me a pretty close one and a half step range and that has been fine for the last couple years. I originally had thought about doing what Bob said and just replacing the big ring with a chain guard disc, but that seemed like a waste plus I did like one of the two larger ratios the big ring gave me. As time went on I started using the one and a half steps as it really tightens up the most common gears. If you have them you will use them is my thought.

The 10 tooth jump isn’t too bad but I got to thinking a 3 tooth jump should shift like butter up front and when I started looking at the numbers a 45t big ring split the ratio dead on half step.

It would get rid of the 117 GI top gear with 101 GI so that would be perfect for me on down hills or when riding unloaded. The two big advantages I see would be the really easy front shift 42 to 45 and the simplicity of just doing a single shift in the back to match the shift in the front.

Thanks for confirming what I felt, that ramps and pins wouldn’t be needed in doing a 3t jump. I should be able to lower my FD a little and it is doing the 24 to 42 shift where it is now fairly well with anticipation and a soft pedal shift.

Other than not looking correct will I have any issues with the FD outside guide being too far away from the chain ring?

Would adding a chain guard disc for a 52t add any security for the chain falling off the outside of the 45t with the gap?

45t seems to be an odd size outer chain ring. I have found a few but they seemed pretty expensive. Any suggestions on where to find one would be appreciated?

Thanks to all for the suggestions so far.
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Old 10-03-12, 08:31 AM
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Would a Chop Saw Chainring from Porkchop BMX for 25 bucks tell me if this is workable?

I have never used a 110/130 BCD not sure if these would fit over a road crank or not?

http://www.porkchopbmx.com/Chop-Saw-...45T-SILVER.htm
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Old 10-08-12, 07:23 AM
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I made the pilgrimage to my two LBS on Friday asking about a 45t 130mm 5 hole chainring. They both found a pretty expensive road bike ring that was out of my price range. They didn’t see any issues with getting my 10 tooth jump FD to work with a 3 tooth jump after I mentioned the potential problem and then explained it to them. I then asked if they could order me a BMX 110/130 BCD ring and if that would even work. They didn’t seem to have an opinion on that but found me one for about $50 that would take 2 weeks to get. I didn’t ask about the install charge.

I went home and found this on Sheldon Brown on the subject of these rings and usage with a derailleur.

http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/chain...30.html#rocket

Did a Google and found this similar ring for $14 that I could have in 3 days. So I put it in the shopping cart and it should be a good way to experiment without much cost.

http://www.amazon.com/Rocket-10H-BMX.../dp/B0011FYHZC

If it doesn’t work I can always use it on a single speed build. Should know in a couple days.
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Old 10-08-12, 08:39 AM
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The French TA company has long made premium replacement chainrings

And cut them in odd and even tooth numbers , from long wearing alloys.

so that is a good source of 45t chainrings , when most others skip from 44 to 46 ..
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Old 10-08-12, 09:23 AM
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I like this plan, bud. I agree that gears over 100" don't make a whole lot of sense when touring, and you might as well try a half-step setup.

I've used one of those dual-pattern chainrings on my fixed-gear and it worked well. My only concern would be how well the tall teeth will play with your STI shifters. Maybe you could file down a couple teeth here and there to make it shift more readily.
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Old 10-08-12, 09:31 AM
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Golly half step?? I havent heard much about that since the mid 80s. I spoz that some racers use it. Half step means double shifts which are basically a chore. With the large number of sprockets on the rear these days, most people just pick a front chain ring, and do most of the shifting on the rear. A lot of us look at gears as as 1 by 9, 2 by 9 and 3 by 9, expressed as 25 or what ever.

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Old 10-08-12, 10:50 AM
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W
ould a Chop Saw Chainring from Porkchop BMX for 25 bucks tell me if this is workable?
BMX is all 1/8" not derailleur chain. so the teeth are too thick
but maybe .. if you are not using more than a 2 speed freewheel. in back

since they don't bend sideways like derailleur chain does.
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Old 10-08-12, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
BMX is all 1/8" not derailleur chain. so the teeth are too thick
but maybe .. if you are not using more than a 2 speed freewheel. in back
Despite their "BMX" branding, Chop Saw chainrings are 3/32" so they can be used with both: http://www.porkchopbmx.com/5-Bolt-11...rings_c108.htm
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Old 10-08-12, 11:12 AM
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3/32 is not usable past 8 speed, 9 speed needs thinner chains.

OP was asking about half stepping 9 speed that is a different issue..

i dont think a 2 t chainring difference will help.. do the ratio math first.

stick a 48t on the outer for the top few gears, but it is not going to half step the 9 speed cassette..

like worked when there were 6 speeds with wider gaps to fill in between.

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Old 10-08-12, 11:33 AM
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rydabent
I know half step went out about the same time as the typewriter and I agree with having 9 or 10 cogs a guy should be happy, and I am on my road bike with a double that I think I could live with even a single on.

The difference is this bike is a touring bike and besides hauling my extra pounds around and the bike starting out strong and slightly heavy, I’m throwing up to another 50 pounds of gear on it sometimes.

For me that mandates the lowest granny gear combination I can stay upright on (18 GI) but still wishing the other end of the range to get around 100 GI. IMHO the maker of the bike only thought the gearing thru about half way when putting the wide spaced cassette on and then putting a road triple up front. Far from ideal for my needs. My first try was to use a mountain bike crank 44 32 22 and that took care of the range but left my most used gears split between the 44 and the 32 not allowing me to do what you suggest in just riding the center ring. I went back to the road crank and changed the cassette to the 12-36 and lowered the granny from 30 to 26 and then 24. I liked that a lot but like many didn’t use the big ring 52 at all and the spacing across the cassette was a little big between cogs. When I was hunting for middle gear between what the cassette allowed I saw the 52 42 combination was “one and half step” and would use it that way doing a double shift with a two cog change on the cassette. (That does take some thinking to get right.) Plus the 52 gave me a couple GI to high and a couple low ones I might use but with fear of cross chaining.

With the STI shifters the shifts will pretty simple to remember being just a single shift up or down in the front to get a half gear or a double shift with both paddles doing the same thing. I doubt I will run that pattern up and down the range. But rather stay in the center ring until I’m close to what I want and then use the half step for fine tuning to keep my cadence where it feels right for the conditions.

So it was really down to take the 52 off as some have suggested and replace it with a chain guard, keep the 52 and do one and a half step if I need one in between, or try something like this that at very least gives me a backup ring close to my 42 if I needed it or taking some of the wear off the 42.

ThermionicScott
Thanks. I will have to see how it shifts. I have a machine shop so if need be I could measure my 42 and 52 tooth depth and trim the BMX ring down. Will have to see. Below is the GI I will end up with.

My Granny without cross chain will give me this GI range. (6 gears)
17.7
20.0
22.8
26.6
30.4
35.5

And my main rings with half step will give me these without cross chaining. (15 gears)
31.4
35.3
40.4
47.1
- 50.5
53.9
- 57.7
62.8
- 67.3
70.7
- 75.7
80.8
- 86.6
94.3
- 101.0

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Old 10-08-12, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
3/32 is not usable past 8 speed, 9 speed needs thinner chains.

OP was asking about half stepping 9 speed that is a different issue..

i dont think a 2 t chainring difference will help.. do the ratio math first.

stick a 48t on the outer for the top few gears, but it is not going to half step the 9 speed cassette..

like worked when there were 6 speeds with wider gaps to fill in between.

The Rocket ring I ordered on Amazon is also 3/32. I was unaware there were rings thinner than 3/32 for 9 and up speeds. If needed I could also thin the ring.

The difference between 42 and 45 is 3t as posted above it shows how far off from splitting the GI I will be, much closer than the more common 42, 46.
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Old 10-08-12, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Golly half step?? I havent heard much about that since the mid 80s. I spoz that some racers use it. Half step means double shifts which are basically a chore. With the large number of sprockets on the rear these days, most people just pick a front chain ring, and do most of the shifting on the rear. A lot of us look at gears as as 1 by 9, 2 by 9 and 3 by 9, expressed as 25 or what ever.
Yes, 1/2 step went out, but that doesn't mean it won't have advantages for many people.

In the Bronze age, many of us preferred half step because it was easier to shifter the front to fine tune for wind or a shallow grade. Shifting the rear was a bit slower and involved manually trimming. Index shifting, especially gated cassettes, changed all that and the rear shifts crisply and reliably.

But I see so many riders having to spend large amounts of time riding crossed over or partly so. The 53t, combined with small rears was too high, and the 39, with larger rears too low. In essence most of the most used mid range combinations were crossed or somewhat so. Compace drive addresses the issue somewhat, but still leaves gaps in the mid range.

Even in rolling terrain, we spend most of our time riding mid and upper-mid range gears. Those who live in flatter areas don't need as much range, so, done right, reducing the chainring gap, the cassette range together, gives a more usable selection, and allows the rider more choices near the sweet spot, and the ability to avoid riding crossed.
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Old 10-08-12, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Yes, 1/2 step went out, but that doesn't mean it won't have advantages for many people.

In the Bronze age, many of us preferred half step because it was easier to shifter the front to fine tune for wind or a shallow grade. Shifting the rear was a bit slower and involved manually trimming. Index shifting, especially gated cassettes, changed all that and the rear shifts crisply and reliably.

But I see so many riders having to spend large amounts of time riding crossed over or partly so. The 53t, combined with small rears was too high, and the 39, with larger rears too low. In essence most of the most used mid range combinations were crossed or somewhat so. Compace drive addresses the issue somewhat, but still leaves gaps in the mid range.

Even in rolling terrain, we spend most of our time riding mid and upper-mid range gears. Those who live in flatter areas don't need as much range, so, done right, reducing the chainring gap, the cassette range together, gives a more usable selection, and allows the rider more choices near the sweet spot, and the ability to avoid riding crossed.
Well put.

I remember one night wondering if anyone ever ran the same size ring in the outer position as the center and thinking about how that would be to shift as it would be great for chain line.

It all boiled down for me when i realized the most important starting point was the center ring on the center cog and then build outward from that. For me and my abilities on this type of bike it came out to 53GI. I have a feeling the half steps being weighted around that GI but favoring the taller GI range will benefit me having more usable gears but also keeping a straighter chain line when in them.

On the other end of the spectrum I rode some cassettes with the mega range big cog and I didn’t like that hard shift and not being able to cascade thru a range of granny gears when climbing a rolling hill. That’s a big plus for the wide spaced cassette coming at it from the other direction.
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Old 10-12-12, 06:47 AM
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My $14 Rocket ring showed up yesterday. I was impressed with the service and the ring surpassed my expectations on fit and finish.

I did a quick install, well it was going to be quick but one of the retaining nuts wanted to spin in the crank and the slots in the back didn’t want to grip. I managed to get it out with a little effort. I compared the tooth form and depth with the old ring and couldn’t notice any difference height, width or taper. The only differences are no lift pins and cutout ramps.

I got the ring on and didn’t have time to adjust the FD but found it shifted from a mile high position so I took it for a ride. The shifting was sluggish but when I get it lowered and tweaked I think that will go away. I took it thru all the cogs without issue both on the stand and riding and didn’t notice any binding. The 101 GI top is IMO perfect for my needs now.

The one unexpected thing I found was I could actually feel the straighter chain line on the 3 smallest cogs. Very smooth.

So this weekend I will get the FD set correct and maybe shorten the chain and put some miles on it.

Aesthetically it is not the most beautiful outer ring for sure, and I don’t care for the unused bolt circle of holes. They don’t call them “Chop-Saw” blades for nothing. Maybe this winter I will pull it off and with a blank canvas do a little customizing to it.






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Old 10-12-12, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
What front derailleur are you using?
That's what I was wondering too.

A modern triple front derailleur won't work because the inside blade of the derailleur cage will hit the middle ring.
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Old 10-12-12, 07:18 AM
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bud16415
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
A modern triple front derailleur won't work because the inside blade of the derailleur cage will hit the middle ring.
If I lower it and I can’t make it work I will have to look for a different FD, or rework the back plate on the type I have. I will post back with what I find out.

If anyone has any suggestions on tweaking this or a better FD for a triple like this please feel free to post your thoughts.
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Old 10-12-12, 07:42 AM
  #24  
rydabent
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Here is my question. Back in the 80s with just 10 speeds, maybe a cyclist could remember his gear inches using half step. But these day with as many as 11 teeth on the rear sprockets can the ave cyclist keep 22 or 33 gear inches straight, I dont think so.
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Old 10-12-12, 08:06 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
If anyone has any suggestions on tweaking this or a better FD for a triple like this please feel free to post your thoughts.
Why are you so set on using half step gearing? That made sense to me when we only had 5 cogs on the back but today, not so much. I personally prefer having relatively big gaps between chainrings and using a close range cassette.
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