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Change gearing on 80s bike

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Change gearing on 80s bike

Old 07-22-13, 01:03 AM
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Change gearing on 80s bike

I found a couple road bikes on Craigslist that look interesting but they are geared way too high for my liking. Some of them are like 52/42 or 53/39 crank with 6 or 7 speed 14-26 cassette which way too high for my hilly area.

What options do I have on something like this if I want to get the gearing down to about 30 gear inches? I am in a hilly area and the new bikes I've been testing are 50/34 cranks with 12-28 or 12-30 cassettes. The used bikes I've been looking at are mostly things like Panasonic, Miyata, Nishiki, Univega, etc. Can these bikes fit a triple crank of some sort - I don't see how else I could get the low gear down to my liking unless I can put a cassette with big 36 tooth gear or something like that.

Also how common are 27" tires? That's the other concern because until I started looking at these bikes I had no idea there is such a size.

Last edited by jsdavis; 07-22-13 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 07-22-13, 05:37 AM
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Panaracer Paselas are still made in 27" and they're good tires. The tan sidewalls look right on vintage bikes.

The Sugino XD2 is a good one for lowering you gearing without breaking the bank. I'm sure you can find it cheaper elsewhere.

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Old 07-22-13, 08:05 AM
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Since you'll be limited to the 6-7 speed freewheels, you won't want to go to a wide range freewheel because the spacing gets too wide. The best option is to go with a triple crankset (need to replace bottom bracket also), to get the range you need without sacrificing spacing. Odds are you'll need a new front derailleur also, but those are cheap.

There probably will be some issues of RD capacity, but these are surmountable if you accept that your granny can only be used with the larger few rear sprockets. (be sure the chain is long enough to use the two biggest together even if you never intend to do so).
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Old 07-22-13, 08:18 AM
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Consider the cost of a new crank and bottom bracket and the limited range of available 6-speed freewheels before buying one of the CL bikes. A newer, better suited bike may be a wiser financial choice.
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Old 07-22-13, 08:36 AM
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My 83 Schwinn (Panasonic made) came with a 52/42 110 BCD Sugino crankset. It was a simple matter to change the 42 to a 36 and the 52/36 shifted fine with no other changes. I think you could get down to a 34 tooth.
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Old 07-22-13, 05:55 PM
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I'm 50+ and ride a bike with a 52/42 front and a 7 speed 14 to 28 freewheel.
Very old hat by modern standards but I manage most hills on the down to 40"
bottom gear, but I generally avoid really vicious inclines, I don't like them at all.

Thankfully road builders don't like inclines much either and in the
UK roads will generally wind around a bit to be as flat as possible.

Out of the saddle is your low gear, but I'm practising hard staying in the saddle on
hills. For real hills I'll have to practise standing much more, not yet in my plans.

rgds, sreten.

Lower gearing is probably better for being competitive, and staying
in the saddle but I'd say for fitness it doesn't really matter that
much, out of the saddle is good for using muscles differently.

Last edited by sreten; 07-22-13 at 06:38 PM.
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