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OEM gear ratios

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Old 04-09-08, 01:16 PM
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John E
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OEM gear ratios

On a classic bike, how many of you try to keep the OEM gear ratios, such as a knee-breaking 52-45 / 14-15-17-19-21 with an early 1970s PX-10, and how many of you freely change them? In my usual style on many topics, I have a centrist position of freely changing gear ratios within the constraints of the OEM derailleurs, and preferably with period-correct and brand-correct components. There is no way I am going to ride a Capo with 52-48 / 14-16-18-20-22 gearing -- the lowest I can go with my cranks and derailleurs is 45/26, which fortunately fits my needs.
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Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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Old 04-09-08, 01:36 PM
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Little Darwin
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I change whatever it takes to make a bike ridable.

Of course, I don't ride anything so collectible that I feel bad doing it.

I currently have an early 70's Sears 10 speed with cotterless crank, LX RD and 6 speed Megarange freewheel... along with upgraded wheels (aluminum rims), technomic stem and Nitto bars with Tektro brake levers and stem mounted indexed 6 speed Shimano shifters.

The headset, frame, fork seatpost and brakes are original, everything else is a replacement, and decidedly not period correct.

My Schwinn Voyageur has exactly the same original components, with everything else replaced with current Shimano 105 level components.
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Old 04-09-08, 02:26 PM
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^ whatever makes it ridable. I don't mind having 52/42 13-24 7sp for long stretches of rolling hills, but I'd much rather have 53/39 13-25 9sp for some steeper hills.
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Old 04-09-08, 03:21 PM
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I keep the OEM equipment on the bike. For bikes like my P8E that has 52/45 and 14/23 I keep a spare rear wheel with 13/28 which I can substitute.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:28 PM
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I'm still riding my original gearing so far - 52/42 chainrings and a 13-15-17-19-21-23 freewheel. It's okay for >95% of my riding but when I do the biggest hills around here I really could use a lower gear. I'm thinking of getting a spare wheel with a 12-27 freewheel for the hillier rides.
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Old 04-09-08, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
On a classic bike, how many of you try to keep the OEM gear ratios, such as a knee-breaking 52-45 / 14-15-17-19-21 with an early 1970s PX-10, and how many of you freely change them? In my usual style on many topics, I have a centrist position of freely changing gear ratios within the constraints of the OEM derailleurs, and preferably with period-correct and brand-correct components. There is no way I am going to ride a Capo with 52-48 / 14-16-18-20-22 gearing -- the lowest I can go with my cranks and derailleurs is 45/26, which fortunately fits my needs.
I'm with you on that John, more or less. I don't rule out changing the oem derailleurs out for a period/brand correct replacement with more range though - say, swapping a Nuovo Record for a Rally. I live in Colorado so I have to be a bit flexible if I still expect to be able to walk when I'm older.

Currently my Bottecchia has a 52-40 front in place of the oem 52-42 setup and the oem 14-28 setup in the rear which is fine for riding in town and really wasn't bad for an oem setup but I'm seriously considering swapping the rear axle to allow a 13-32 7-spd with a Campagnolo Rally derailleur for riding some centuries this year. Those 12,000 passes are rough. BTW, back in the day I swapped the oem 14-28 freewheel on my bike for a 13-21. It was flatter and I was younger.
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Old 04-09-08, 10:04 PM
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I'm all for tinkering with a bike but i tend to keep all the origional stuff so I can put it back for the next guy.
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Old 04-10-08, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaeger View Post
I'm still riding my original gearing so far - 52/42 chainrings and a 13-15-17-19-21-23 freewheel. It's okay for >95% of my riding but when I do the biggest hills around here I really could use a lower gear. I'm thinking of getting a spare wheel with a 12-27 freewheel for the hillier rides.
That was the OEM gearing on my Bianchi. I replaced the 52 with a 50 to improve the 1.5-step ratiometric progression, and I have used two different freewheels with the bike: a 13-15-17-19-21-23-26 SRAM 7-speed and a 14-16-18-20-23-26 SunTour 6-speed. I normally treat 42/23 as if were still my lowest gear, but it certainly is comforting to know that I can always reduce the pedal effort by an additional 12 percent, if need be.
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Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
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Old 04-10-08, 04:51 PM
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OLDYELLR
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Is it going to be a rider or a wallhanger? I bought my Nishiki Ultimate new with 52-42 * 13-14-15-17-19-21 gears and rode it that way for a few years. After backsliding for a few more years, I got back into it and found the hills a lot tougher, so I switched to a 14-28 7-speed freewheel.
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Old 04-11-08, 07:15 AM
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I will be facing this situation when I get my '87 Fuso up and running. 50-42 crankset with a 6-spd cassette that appears to go no higher than 21. While I can get my fixie up Monte Sano with its 42-15 gearing, it's not as enjoyable as it sounds.

I have no problems with swapping in an 8-spd cassette and/or changing the chainrings up front if I need it.
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