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What gearing do you guys use for hills?

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What gearing do you guys use for hills?

Old 03-06-15, 09:51 AM
  #26  
MileHighMark
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Road: 50/34 & 11-32 (11s)
Gravel/commute: 40 & 11-36 (11s)
MTB: 36/24 & 11-36 (10s)

All three bikes have 700C/622 wheels.
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Old 03-06-15, 10:00 AM
  #27  
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Pretty flat here in Houston. My road bike came with 50/34 compact chainring and 12x30 10s cassette. I swapped out the cassette for a 12x27. Giving up the 30t wasn't such a big deal (I rarely use it), but I gained a 16t gear in the "sweet spot" range of gears I routinely use on the roads. We'll see how badly I miss the 30t gear next month when I do the BP MS150 from Houston to Austin. Last year I only used it once or twice on some steep sections through the state park. I don't think it will that big a deal.
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Old 03-06-15, 10:48 AM
  #28  
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22/32/42 crankset and 11-34 cassette on my crosscheck. We have some decent hills around here. I like having climbing gears more than top end.
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Old 03-06-15, 11:05 AM
  #29  
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Touring bike = road bike with mountain gearing. Lows around 20". I've climbed a couple of 20-22% roads with that, but fortunately for me, they're less than a quarter mile. There's a 0.4 mile climb at 8-10% on the way home I can usually do if I get down into granny gear (26x34 or 22x32) that would be a whole lot easier if I didn't have 30-90 miles in my legs by the time I hit it.
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Old 03-06-15, 01:15 PM
  #30  
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Touring bike: 48/34 & 11-36
Cross: 46/36 & 12-25

Without a doubt, the cross bike doesn't have a low enough gear for me for some of the more serious hills around here. If a hill is short enough I can sprint it, but otherwise it's a bit of a killer. I'm pretty comfortable on the tourer tackling some big hills though.
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Old 03-09-15, 02:17 PM
  #31  
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Know I am jumping in this late, but dont forget you will need a specific RD for a 32 tooth cassette. Some shimano RD will take a 12-30 but you need the new ultegra one for the 32. Sram is the same way as you need the LONG RD for their 32.
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Old 03-09-15, 02:38 PM
  #32  
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My cross bike has a short cage derailleur (5800 series 105) and 11-32 cassette and works great
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Old 03-09-15, 02:39 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
Know I am jumping in this late, but dont forget you will need a specific RD for a 32 tooth cassette. Some shimano RD will take a 12-30 but you need the new ultegra one for the 32. Sram is the same way as you need the LONG RD for their 32.

The new 105 5800 GS medium cage RD will also work with the 11-32 I bought. Don't need ultegra.
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Old 03-09-15, 03:41 PM
  #34  
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Not trying to split hairs, with which will and will not. I do know not all will work with a 32 tooth, and believe MOST will not. A few years ago I tried to upgrade my giant to a 12-30 and had a short cage ultegra on and it would not work. had to go the medium as the short was maxed at 28. I also know at that time the DI2 was listed at 28. At that time you had to use a mountain RD to go to 32.

Today I have an ultegra that is rated for 32 and glad to see they have made that down to the 105.

Just trying to tell people that rushing out and buying a 32 without checking to see if your bike supports it, could be problematic.

Last edited by vesteroid; 03-09-15 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 03-09-15, 05:03 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
My cross bike has a short cage derailleur (5800 series 105) and 11-32 cassette and works great
The medium or long cage is not just for the max cog on your cassette, it's also for take-up capacity, which is usually measured in teeth - so if you have a 50/34 in front (14 teeth) and a 11-32 in back (21 teeth) you need an RD that can accommodate 35 teeth. Most short cage RDs peter out around 30 or so, but I don't remember the specific values. Cross bikes tend to have a smaller difference up front, which may explain why it works on YOUR bike but may not work on everybody's bike.
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Old 03-09-15, 06:32 PM
  #36  
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50/34 and a 12-30 cassette. When I got new wheels I changed from 11-28 to 12-30. I get a lot more use out of the 30 cog than I ever got out of the 11 tooth here in South Orange County, CA. Using my same short cage Ultegra derailleur and it works fine for me.
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Old 03-09-15, 06:38 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
The medium or long cage is not just for the max cog on your cassette, it's also for take-up capacity, which is usually measured in teeth - so if you have a 50/34 in front (14 teeth) and a 11-32 in back (21 teeth) you need an RD that can accommodate 35 teeth. Most short cage RDs peter out around 30 or so, but I don't remember the specific values. Cross bikes tend to have a smaller difference up front, which may explain why it works on YOUR bike but may not work on everybody's bike.
50/34 is 16 teeth, not 14, but I get your point, although I still think it would work. You'd have to be using a gear combo you shouldn't be using anyway (like 34x11, 34x12, 34x13, etc) to run into issues. The medium cage has a capacity of 37 while the short cage has a capacity of 33, both of which are likely conservative.

I'm just saying its worth trying before running out to buy a derailleur.

Last edited by Alias530; 03-09-15 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 03-09-15, 07:56 PM
  #38  
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My road bikes have these low gears: 39x21, 42x26, and 42x17 or x26 depending on which wheel I use.

Basically my experience is that for moderate distance climbs, like a mile or two, I need
- For 5%, I use big ring, big cog, so 53x21 or 53x26
- For 10%, I use small ring, middle cog, so like 39 x 21 or 42x26
- For 15%, I use small ring, big cog, so 39x21 or 42x26, and it is really hard work, actually I doubt I could do two miles like that. Make that, I know I can't.

Therefore, my fourth road bike, just built up, has a triple and the low is 30x26. Yeah, I think that will do nicely.

My fifth road bike, still a project, will be 46/42 x 14-26 x Sturmey Archer 3 speed.
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Old 03-09-15, 08:02 PM
  #39  
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50/39/30 up front with 11/28 in back. Only one bike.

I can count on one hand the number of times I've used the little ring. But man, was I celebratory it existed for each of those times. I pretty much stay in the middle ring.
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Old 03-09-15, 08:36 PM
  #40  
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46/34 and either 11-28 or 11-32 11 speed SRAM cassette. Would prefer 48/36 but those don't exist (Rotor Q Rings). Usually don't need more than the 25 cog and always bring one extra just in case. If I think the 25 cog is enough, I have the 28 on the rear. If I think I need the 28, I bring the 32.

At 320 watts on a 14% climb that we can have in the East, I am doing about 5 MPH. At 200W, it is more like 3.2 mph. What is that about 50 rpm and 32 rpm grinding the 34x32 gearing. That is why I prefer to keep long climbs to no more than 10%.
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Old 03-09-15, 08:40 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by RR3 View Post
46/34 and either 11-28 or 11-32 11 speed SRAM cassette. Would prefer 48/36 but those don't exist (Rotor Q Rings). Usually don't need more than the 25 cog and always bring one extra just in case. If I think the 25 cog is enough, I have the 28 on the rear. If I think I need the 28, I bring the 32.

At 320 watts on a 14% climb that we can have in the East, I am doing about 5 MPH. At 200W, it is more like 3.2 mph. What is that about 50 rpm and 32 rpm grinding the 34x32 gearing. That is why I prefer to keep long climbs to no more than 10%.
I just looked at Strava and the last 10% grade that was a mile or longer I did was at 6.3mph average speed and my average cadence was 64 (34x25 gearing). I don't have a power meter so I can't comment on that.

I felt like I was ruining my knees even at that cadence haha... couldn't imagine 30-50rpm
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Old 03-09-15, 08:57 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
I just looked at Strava and the last 10% grade that was a mile or longer I did was at 6.3mph average speed and my average cadence was 64 (34x25 gearing). I don't have a power meter so I can't comment on that.

I felt like I was ruining my knees even at that cadence haha... couldn't imagine 30-50rpm
You can calculate the power required....

An interactive, model-based calculator of cycling power vs. speed
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Old 03-10-15, 01:57 PM
  #43  
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I live in the Seattle area where there are hills aplenty. I have two road bikes setup with a Shimano 105 front derailleur with 50/34 chainrings and a Deore XT rear derailleur with a SRAM 11/36 cassette.

I love, love, love this combination. With this setup I very rarely find myself "cross training" (pushing my bike up a hill) unless the grade goes over 16%+.

Last edited by jeff556; 03-10-15 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 03-10-15, 02:16 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by jeff556 View Post
I live in the Seattle area where there are hills aplenty. I have two road bikes setup with a Shimano 105 front derailleur with 50/34 chainrings and a Deore XT rear derailleur with a SRAM 11/36 cassette.

I love, love, love this combination. With this setup I very rarely find myself "cross training" (pushing my bike up a hill) unless the grade goes over 16%+.
I agree. Covers a tremendous range from 25 to 119 gear inches. The only issue I have with this setup is the 11 tooth cog. Maybe because I am old and slow, I can't imagine ever having occasion to use the 50 x 11.

This thread has inspired me to change out my gearing. I have already ordered a 12 - 27 9 speed cassette. This takes my low gear all the way down to 25.4 gear inches, while leaving most of the gearing unchanged. I can make it up most of the hills in my area with my 12 - 25 cassette. Hoping that with 12 - 27 and more training and a better diet, I will be inspired to do some of the hillier rides that until now, I was intimidated to try.
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Old 03-10-15, 03:49 PM
  #45  
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50/34 and 11-28 here. Looked at the 12-25, but wanted the bailout gear.

Do 'some' climbing.
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Old 03-10-15, 04:33 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by RR3 View Post
46/34 and either 11-28 or 11-32 11 speed SRAM cassette. Would prefer 48/36 but those don't exist (Rotor Q Rings). Usually don't need more than the 25 cog and always bring one extra just in case. If I think the 25 cog is enough, I have the 28 on the rear. If I think I need the 28, I bring the 32.

At 320 watts on a 14% climb that we can have in the East, I am doing about 5 MPH. At 200W, it is more like 3.2 mph. What is that about 50 rpm and 32 rpm grinding the 34x32 gearing. That is why I prefer to keep long climbs to no more than 10%.
I did find some FSA 48T 110BCD rings. Bought 3 of them when I found them. They are out there on Fleabay, but rare.
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Old 03-10-15, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I agree. Covers a tremendous range from 25 to 119 gear inches. The only issue I have with this setup is the 11 tooth cog. Maybe because I am old and slow, I can't imagine ever having occasion to use the 50 x 11.

This thread has inspired me to change out my gearing. I have already ordered a 12 - 27 9 speed cassette. This takes my low gear all the way down to 25.4 gear inches, while leaving most of the gearing unchanged. I can make it up most of the hills in my area with my 12 - 25 cassette. Hoping that with 12 - 27 and more training and a better diet, I will be inspired to do some of the hillier rides that until now, I was intimidated to try.
Truth be told, I don't spend much time on the 50/11 combination. I would guess I spend 30 minutes on 34/36 for every one minute I spend on 50/11. The reason I bought that cassette was it was an off the shelf option to get me that 36 tooth cog I really wanted.
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Old 03-10-15, 05:06 PM
  #48  
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50/34 with 12-28. Just bought a 12-30 but haven't put it on yet. I really need just a little bit more on the hills. Hoping the 12-30 is perfect.
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Old 03-11-15, 12:07 PM
  #49  
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Currently 42/34/22 11-32...
A little over 17 gear inch. I've seen 27% with pack. But really, it's the engine...


Today is last ride on that, switching to 48/34/22 11-34...

went with 34 as I was going to go to a 24 or 26 even... looked at one on the bike and it's barely worn, so it stays for now...
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Old 03-11-15, 11:13 PM
  #50  
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I'm running a 48/34 and 12-36 10 speed on my Trek 1.5. I usually stay on the 48 ring and cross chain to the 36 when necessary to avoid shifting my troublesome front derailleur. I just ordered a new Ultegra front derailleur to fix my front shifting problems. Then I will probably swap the cassette to a 12-30 for closer ratios to maintain a consistent cadence when shifting. The 32T and 36T gears are not used when I'm on the small ring.
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