Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg)
Reload this Page >

What's your lowest gear (in gear inches)

Notices
Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

What's your lowest gear (in gear inches)

Old 08-11-13, 09:58 PM
  #26  
bigfred 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: NZ
Posts: 3,841

Bikes: More than 1, but, less than S-1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I'm not surprised that you're finding 36X25 (38.4") a challenging gear. I'm about 6'5", 250lbs and consider myself to be a reasonably strong to very strong clyde climber. I've swapped the 34 tooth inner ring my cranks came with for a 36 in combination with an 11-26 cassette to give myself a 36X26 (37.0") low gear. I'm considering that ideal for my competitive nature.

Before getting too caught up in trying to cram the max cassette onto your bike that the derailleur will accommodate, I would suggest replacing your inner ring with a 34 or lower. A 34/46 X 11-28 combination would provide you with a 32.4" low gear while maintaining a reasonably overlap between rings and minimizing some of the big gearing jumps that the mega range cassettes involve.
__________________
Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.
bigfred is offline  
Old 08-11-13, 11:43 PM
  #27  
brons2
Hook 'Em Horns
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 284

Bikes: Mine: Paul Taylor Custom 66cm, Rivendell custom 68cm, '75 Eisentraut Touring 69cm, 68cm track frame of indeterminate origin, '92 Cannondale M500. Ours: '93 Burley Duet tandem XL. Hers: L Mercier Sora thingy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Tandem: 21" (not yet implemented, but I have the parts)
Rivendell: 27"
Paul Taylor: 30"
brons2 is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 01:41 AM
  #28  
Bigbandito
Circus bear
Thread Starter
 
Bigbandito's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 75

Bikes: 2018 Fuji Absolute 2.3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
Going back to your original post, are you struggling in your easiest gear, or are you getting by? Next question is are you intending on riding even steeper terrain than you already do?

...you say you've been using what you have for a few months now. As you ride more, you will get to be a stronger rider, which then leads into my second question from above. Do you see yourself riding steeper, harder terrain? If so, then you may search for better gearing.
After reading the responses and thinking about this for a while, I have realized that - like most things in life - there are so many variables involved that I can't base my decision simply on what someone else does. Things like weight, height, relative fitness, riding style, etc. have such an influence on the outcome, that I will probably not know what I need until I try something.

My current fitness level is so poor that I really can't tell what gearing I would ultimately like to have or need. I feel pretty capable of making it up most smaller hills, but of course here are some where I still have to get off and walk up. I don't really intend on climbing mountains and just feel like I'd like to have another gear or two to go to sometimes. I think I'll put the 12-30 cassette on the back and see how that works. That gearing would give me a 23% increase at the bottom end.
Bigbandito is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 06:23 AM
  #29  
donalson
just pedal
 
donalson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 973

Bikes: Surly Disc Trucker, trek 560

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the real tell-tale is your cadence... if you are dropping below your optimal cadence because it's too difficult to spin the cranks then you could prob use a lower gear...
donalson is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 07:44 AM
  #30  
IBOHUNT
Senior Member
 
IBOHUNT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Western Maryland - Appalachian Mountains
Posts: 4,023

Bikes: Motobecane Fantom Cross; Cannondale Supersix replaced the Giant TCR which came to an untimely death by truck

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 126 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 25 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by donalson View Post
the real tell-tale is your cadence... if you are dropping below your optimal cadence because it's too difficult to spin the cranks then you could prob use a lower gear...
^ This.
Being old I have dodgey knee's to start with. They don't like slow grind it out climbs so normally it was a 32 cassette (28") since I could encounter CAT2 and CAT3 climbs within 4 miles of the house.
When I was larger and knew I would be doing a 'hilly' ride, defined as 101-125'/mile gain, you wouldn't had to take a second look to see a SRAM X9 RD and a 36 tooth cassette (25") on the back coupled with the compact front 34/50. I've found that even a 3 lb difference can feel like a lot when I start seeing >10% climbs.

Today's gearing is a 36/52 in the front and either a 12-25 or 11-28 rear. (34" or 38"). That seems to suit my cadence and keeps me towards the middle of the cassette the majority of the time

The moral of the story is that usually, as you improve fitness, get your cadence up and drop weight - you can usually drop the number of teeth on the cassette.

This may help:

https://www.machars.net/bikecalc.htm
IBOHUNT is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 07:51 AM
  #31  
big chainring 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wilmette, IL
Posts: 7,032
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Liked 402 Times in 210 Posts
What's your lowest gear (in gear inches)

I'm a flatlander. My gearing is 45/52 with a 14-22 5 speed freewheel. I'm guessing my low gear is 50 some inches.
big chainring is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 08:26 AM
  #32  
InOmaha
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 284
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 84 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Road bike 38/52 14-28 so 37. Hybrid geared mountain bike 28/38/48 11-30 so 26. Mountain bike 24/34/42 14-34 so 19. With the last one you had better be ready to spin if you don't want to fall over.
InOmaha is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 10:50 AM
  #33  
brianogilvie 
Commuter & cyclotourist
 
brianogilvie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Hadley, MA, USA
Posts: 496

Bikes: Boulder All Road, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Breezer Uptown 8, Bike Friday Express Tikit, Trek MultiTrack 730 (Problem? No, I don't have a problem)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I'm not concerned about cross chaining. If I need a gear, I use it.
Me too. Modern flexible chains don't lose much energy even at a big angle. I've got my All Road set up with a 44/28 double and a 13-30 9-speed cassette. On pavement, I use it as a 1x9 most of the time, with the little ring reserved for steep or really long hills. On dirt, I can do much of my riding on the little ring, since around here dirt usually means climbing.
__________________
--
Brian Ogilvie, Hadley, MA, USA
brianogilvie is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 11:12 AM
  #34  
Bill Kapaun
Really Old Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 12,778

Bikes: 87 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1371 Post(s)
Liked 603 Times in 451 Posts
I pretty much use mine as a 1X9 around town.
I'll go to the larger ring (only 4T more) if I get out of the city where I don't have a stop light/sign every 6 blocks or so.
With my emphysema, I can't spin my highest gear (36-12) without a bit of a tail wind.
Out on the "road", I'll use the biggest ring to give me a bit better chain line and basically, put wear on the seldom used big ring instead of the mostly used middle ring. Even then, with a bit of a head wind or fatigue, it's middle ring.
My big ring only gives me about 1.5 higher gears than the middle. IF I get in a situation where I'm maxed out gear wise, I'll just be smiling and enjoy the rare experience.
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 11:36 AM
  #35  
clarkbre
Senior Member
 
clarkbre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 304

Bikes: 1995 Giant Innova, 2012 Surly Pacer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Gearing for my bikes is as follows:

Surly Pacer: 52/42/30 with a 13/26 8 speed cassette & 700x25c tires. Low gear is 30.53"

Giant Innova Hybrid: 42/34/24 with a 12/21 7 speed cassette & 700x28c tires. Low gear is 30.51"
clarkbre is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 12:02 PM
  #36  
MattFoley
Senior Member
 
MattFoley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Road bike is 50/34 with an Ultegra 11-28 out back. I rarely use my 26 or 28 cogs locally, but I like having the 28 for the days I'm out in the mountains or centuries with long climbs. My commuter has a triple with a 48/39/30 up front and an 11-28 cassette. About the only time I use the 30t ring is when I'm pulling the dog trailer up steep hills or hitting the steeper hills (12-15%) after work with my double panniers fully loaded.
MattFoley is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 12:11 PM
  #37  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 19 Posts
One of my gripes with bike manufacturers is that too many bikes are equipped with gear ranges that are better suited to competitive riders.

Pros can run a 50-120 plus gear range while recreational riders who are in good shape might get by with a 40 - x range if the terrain is not too hilly but most folks really appreciate having a bailout gearing that is 30 or less and will never need gearing higher than 100 gear inches.

The number of threads on how to lower the gearing on road bikes is overwhelming, manufacturers should just start offering bikes that come with wider range blocks and derailleurs that can handle this.

One of the most common upgrades I do at my shop and at the co-op is to expand and lower the stock ranges on bikes (old and new) since most people are not racing and benefit greatly from a range that is at the lower end.

The set up I use for my XC mountain bike and touring bikes runs 20-110 which is pretty much all the range you need to pull stumps or go really stinking fast and you can do this with a compact triple and a fairly tight rear block.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 02:59 PM
  #38  
Bigbandito
Circus bear
Thread Starter
 
Bigbandito's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 75

Bikes: 2018 Fuji Absolute 2.3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
One of my gripes with bike manufacturers is that too many bikes are equipped with gear ranges that are better suited to competitive riders.

The number of threads on how to lower the gearing on road bikes is overwhelming, manufacturers should just start offering bikes that come with wider range blocks and derailleurs that can handle this.

One of the most common upgrades I do at my shop and at the co-op is to expand and lower the stock ranges on bikes (old and new) since most people are not racing and benefit greatly from a range that is at the lower end.
That's good to know. Thanks. So do you think the 32.6 inches I'll get from going to the 12-30 on the back will be enough?
Bigbandito is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 03:12 PM
  #39  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 19 Posts
Originally Posted by Bigbandito View Post
That's good to know. Thanks. So do you think the 32.6 inches I'll get from going to the 12-30 on the back will be enough?
This all depends on you... I am a whippet with a bad leg who can manage a 30-40 gear inch low on a light bike but if I am loaded up I like lower gearing so I can keep spinning at a fairly high cadence.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 03:23 PM
  #40  
Bigbandito
Circus bear
Thread Starter
 
Bigbandito's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 75

Bikes: 2018 Fuji Absolute 2.3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
This all depends on you... I am a whippet with a bad leg who can manage a 30-40 gear inch low on a light bike but if I am loaded up I like lower gearing so I can keep spinning at a fairly high cadence.
Well I'm more of circus bear, but I'm gonna try it.
Bigbandito is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 06:24 PM
  #41  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 24,328

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 125 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4307 Post(s)
Liked 1,811 Times in 1,102 Posts
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
One of my gripes with bike manufacturers is that too many bikes are equipped with gear ranges that are better suited to competitive riders.
Exactly! But things aren't getting any better. With Shimano going to the Dynasys system, they have made getting really low gears for road bikes almost impossible. Shimano offers an 11-36 10 speed cassette but you can't use it on a road system because you can't shift it with current derailers.

I've never understood the mentality of the bicycle companies. They offer stuff for young strong riders who don't have 2 nickels to rub together and completely ignore the old weak riders who have all the money.

I ride, proudly by the way, bikes that have 20/34 gear combinations. That's around 15 gear inches on mountain bikes and road bikes
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 08:18 PM
  #42  
chrism32205
Senior Member
 
chrism32205's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Posts: 670

Bikes: Bianchi Axis (commuter), Specialized Tricross S-Works, BMC Team Machine SLT01, Mercier Kilo TT

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd trade a lower gear range any day. I don't find myself going 25+ mph riding solo all that much.
chrism32205 is offline  
Old 08-12-13, 10:47 PM
  #43  
Bill Kapaun
Really Old Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 12,778

Bikes: 87 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1371 Post(s)
Liked 603 Times in 451 Posts
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
One of my gripes with bike manufacturers is that too many bikes are equipped with gear ranges that are better suited to competitive riders......
One of my pet peeves is the "generic" 11-32 they seem to put on most 8 speed bikes.
With a 32T "1st" gear, new users will tend to only use the big ring unless doing a hill forces them to a smaller ring. Many probably never use 7 & 8!
48:32 is a pretty good take off gear. I think something like 13-25 would make so much more sense. 38:25 is a good take off gear too!
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Old 08-13-13, 09:39 AM
  #44  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 6,938

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1616 Post(s)
Liked 844 Times in 523 Posts
Originally Posted by Bigbandito View Post
That's good to know. Thanks. So do you think the 32.6 inches I'll get from going to the 12-30 on the back will be enough?
Depends on your strength and terrain. My bikes have low gears of 21-19", and I've used low gears on all of them. I live within two miles of at least four grades of 10% or more.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 08-13-13, 09:47 AM
  #45  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 19 Posts
Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
One of my pet peeves is the "generic" 11-32 they seem to put on most 8 speed bikes.
With a 32T "1st" gear, new users will tend to only use the big ring unless doing a hill forces them to a smaller ring. Many probably never use 7 & 8!
48:32 is a pretty good take off gear. I think something like 13-25 would make so much more sense. 38:25 is a good take off gear too!
Many people do not grok the concept of multiple front chainwheels. This is evident when I service bicycles and see that the bike has never been shifted off the front and has one badly worn chainwheel and one or two fresh ones.

The cassettes and freewheels often show a similar pattern of wear.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 08-13-13, 10:03 AM
  #46  
donalson
just pedal
 
donalson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 973

Bikes: Surly Disc Trucker, trek 560

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Many people do not grok the concept of multiple front chainwheels. This is evident when I service bicycles and see that the bike has never been shifted off the front and has one badly worn chainwheel and one or two fresh ones.

The cassettes and freewheels often show a similar pattern of wear.
no surprise... I've had to teach a number of poeople who have been riding for a while how to use their gears even just a little. On the last group ride I went on it was for the beginners, it was my first ride with this group so I rode with them, the leader of the ride went over all the basic safety things and about 1/2 way though the ride we stopped before a bridge (only real climb of the ride) and told everyone to shift to the small ring in their crank, some people he had to help.

people just don't understand gearing, they don't shift their own car so why would they shift their bike?
donalson is offline  
Old 08-14-13, 07:25 PM
  #47  
cyclist2000
Senior Member
 
cyclist2000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Up
Posts: 4,431

Bikes: Masi, Giant TCR, Eisentraut (retired), Jamis Aurora Elite, Zullo, Cannondale, 84 Stumpjumper, Waterford, Tern D8, Bianchi, Gunner Roadie, Serotta, and looking for a Brompton M6R

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 260 Post(s)
Liked 1,463 Times in 423 Posts
lowest gear on my touring bike is 21 gear inches, road bike with compact crank is 30, my road bike with a triple is 31 GI
cyclist2000 is offline  
Old 08-14-13, 09:09 PM
  #48  
PartsMan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: ENID, OK
Posts: 172
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
One bike has a 30 and 25. The other is a single speed with 38 and 16.
I catch myself using my small chainring on hills I can take on the single speed easy enough.
PartsMan is offline  
Old 08-17-13, 10:13 AM
  #49  
Tandem427
Senior Member
 
Tandem427's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 112

Bikes: Rans F5 Pro 700c, Lightfoot Bigfoot fat-tire, Greenspeed GTO trike, Rans Screamer tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My Rans F5 has a 52/39/26 paired with an 11-34 so that works out to a 20.1-124.2 range and I use all of it on the average ride here. (4 to 40 mph)

Bigfoot has a 32/20 and an Alfine 11 with a 23 cog. The Alfine 11 has a huge gap between 1st and 2nd gear, so 2nd is my practical low gear with 1st as a super bailout gear. Gear inches for the first three gears are 13.3, 17.3, and 19.5 gear inches. If I loose power and grind to a halt on a steep hill I can downshift to 1st and start up again, no problem. When I downshift to 1st too early on a hill I wind up over-spinning my legs like a hamster in a cage. I could probably use it for pulling stumps if I could get enough traction.

I think my trike has a low of around 16 gear inches. It has a 3x7 cassette so 63 gears total. I had no problems climbing up Mt Evans with it.

I never calculated the gear inches for my Screamer tandem but it also has low gears. It has 84 speeds using the same 3x7 cassette with 4 chain rings and a Rohloff intermediate hub with independent coasting and a 2 to 1 gear ratio. I hope I explained that right.
Tandem427 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
el forestero
Hybrid Bicycles
7
11-06-18 02:44 PM
helmet4000
Road Cycling
35
10-29-17 09:32 AM
n0thing
Hybrid Bicycles
43
09-23-16 03:28 PM
SellOut
Bicycle Mechanics
10
10-02-12 08:01 PM
Apaulo
Road Cycling
8
10-05-11 06:09 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.