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Trying to figure out a new bike - What do I want?

Old 12-31-21, 09:05 PM
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smasha
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Trying to figure out a new bike - What do I want?

My old commuter bike is about 10 years old, never quite what I wanted, and it seems like 27-speed setups are out of fashion. Unfortunately, it seems like most newer gearing options are worse, for me.

I live with hills. That means up hills and down hills.

Current setup is 26x36x48 cranks (175 crank-arms) with a 9sp 11-34 cassette. 700c x 32c wheels/tires.

Gears: This give me about as much range as I want on the high end, but leaves me wanting more on the low end. I tend to go downhill with empty panniers, and uphill with fully loaded panniers. I mostly have enough gears to stay within a comfortable cadence, so fewer gears does not appeal to me.

Seems like current setups have fewer gears and less range from lowest to highest gear. Crap for a commuter bike in hilly terrain.

I'm kind of tempted by the idea of a Rohloff or Kindernay 14 speed hub, maybe with a belt-drive. Maybe a Pinion gearbox? But it seems a bit crazy to spend more on a commuter bicycle than a car would cost. Also seems a bit crazy to have a rear-wheel that costs more than most bikes.

So I'm wondering what cost-sensitive (value conscious?) options I have, for a good commuter bike with both a wide range of gears, and enough gears to keep a comfortable cadence, up and down hills, with light and heavy loads.

Not looking for an e-bike. Probably looking for something that will work well with front and rear panniers. Other considerations… Upright/comfortable riding position w/ flat-bars. Aluminium or carbon frame and fork; I don't like steel's weight or susceptibility to rust. Compatibility with a cargo-trailer might be nice, but not a strict requirement. Internal cabling preferred, or at least no cabling along the top-tube. Disc-brakes (hills, weather). Not sure if what I want is more of a "commuter" or "adventure" or "bike-packer" bike; I'll probably be using it more for commuting and car-free living (eg daily transport, grocery shopping), but if/when Junior moves out, I may want to do some "adventure" and/or "bike-packing" trips.

I'm living in NZ, so availability, shipping/duties, fitting/sizing, and just being able to sit on it and ride around a parking lot before I buy are all factors.

Last edited by smasha; 12-31-21 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 12-31-21, 09:34 PM
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What are you riding now?
What brands to your LYS carry?
How's 2022 so far?
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Old 12-31-21, 10:06 PM
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smasha
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
What are you riding now?
What brands to your LYS carry?
How's 2022 so far?
Current ride is a Giant Transend-1, give or take a 2010 model, with a few customisations, as you do.

Local shops carry Giant, Merida, Marin, Cube, Kona, Fuji, Trek, Specialized, Liv, Focus, and plenty more… But they often get very limited selections of models and/or frame sizes. During normal times, they often don't know what's coming in, or when. A couple of local shops do custom builds, for custom-build prices.

With import duties they way they are, it may almost make sense to build something up from overseas parts. Most shipments worth less than $1000 NZD (including shipping) don't get charged duties.

2022… 2020, too

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Old 01-01-22, 12:43 AM
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Gearing is a nearly trivial change. What don't you like about your bike other than the gearing?

In re "in a few years I might..." Remember it's just a bike, you're not married to it.
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Old 01-01-22, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Gearing is a nearly trivial change. What don't you like about your bike other than the gearing?
Sometimes gearing is easy to change, sometimes it's pretty much impossible. Last I checked, even getting a 9-speed triple crank-set is pretty much impossible.

What I don't like about this bike…
  • The frame will not work well with a cargo trailer
  • The rear brakes get in the way of a rear pannier rack; I have to use a rack with disc-brake extenders, which is wider than I'd like, and every few years the rack breaks
  • The cabling under the top-tube is in the way of any bag mounted to the top-tube
  • The cabling under the top-tube is in the way of hanging the bike on hooks, eg a "bike tree" rack
  • Cable disc-brakes are a bit wonky, by modern standards
  • The handlebars are not a common diameter, making it hard to fit accessories to the bars
And the lowest gear should be a bit lower.

Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
In re "in a few years I might..." Remember it's just a bike, you're not married to it.
I've been riding this bike for longer than I was married.
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Old 01-01-22, 07:27 AM
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With 1200.00 expendable I'd get a Rohloff hub w/mechanical discs without a blink. You'll pass it on to your grandchildren.. I've ridden rigs equipped with an Alfine 11 and a Rohloff 14. No comparison. Get the Rohloff. It's got some noise in 7th, but a small price to pay for 526 gear spread.


Btw, I'm a Kiwi, too. So you can multiply the cost by 1.46 so you'll be in for about 2 large at 1500 USD.

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Old 01-02-22, 04:37 AM
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Crunching the numbers… 26x36x48 cranks with a 9-speed 11-34 cassette gives me a gearing range of about 570%. Without too much cross-chaining, I think I've got 13 usable gears. I guess I'm looking for >600% gearing range, with at least 14 usable gears.

Compared to my current setup, a Rohloff hub would give me one more gear, but less gearing range than my current setup. A Kindernay XIV would also give me less gearing range than my current setup.

I do think that gearing range is a high priority for me, given the hilly terrain and the loads I carry. So a Rohloff or Kindernay with a belt-drive is not the answer. Maybe a Rohloff or Kindernay with a double chain-ring? At that point, I'd probably be better off with a wide-range derailleur setup… But I'm not sure if such a setup exists. Maybe an 11-speed double chain-ring with a wide-range cassette?

Seems like the only other option to get the gearing range I want would be a Pinion gearbox. More money (a lot more money), more weight… But more gears and more gearing range, and low maintenance.

If anyone can recommend a derailleur setup that does what I want, that's probably going to be the best option for me. I could by an extra bike or two, certainly a couple of cargo trailers, for the cost of a good IGH or Pinion gearbox.
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Old 01-02-22, 05:34 AM
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Just thinking out loud… Compared to my current 26x36x48 cranks with a 9-speed 11-34 cassette… With the same size wheels/tires, and crank-arm length… If I've got the maths right…

An 2x11 setup with 30x46 cranks and 11-46 cassette (do they still make these?) would give me about 15% more range at the low end, which I could use when dragging groceries uphill, but it would take about 4% of range from my high end, which I might miss when going down-hill.

The overall range of gears would go from 570% to 640%. I'm not sure how many usable gears I'd have with that 2x11 setup. And I'm not sure if 11-speed 11-46 cassettes are available.
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Old 01-02-22, 08:22 AM
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I don't think any non-1x style rear derailleur supports more than 42t cassettes. For total range with a derailleur you still can't beat a triple... Look instead to the front where you can install a much smaller inner ring (like a 22t)

I'm sorry your current bike has trouble with racks. It seems like it shouldn't. A trailer hitch is simple, it just goes on the skewer right under the quick release lever
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Old 01-02-22, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I don't think any non-1x style rear derailleur supports more than 42t cassettes. For total range with a derailleur you still can't beat a triple... Look instead to the front where you can install a much smaller inner ring (like a 22t)
Seems like triple chain-rings and 9-speed drive-trains are both out of fashion

Even a few years ago, it was hard to find a replacement 9-speed crank-set, and I started to realise that this bike may have an expiration date.

There are a few online guides to pairing an 11-42 cassette with an 11-speed double crank-set. Short of spending an extra few thousand dollars for a Pinion gearbox and a suitable frame, that may be my best option. Hopefully someone can suggest better options.

Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I'm sorry your current bike has trouble with racks. It seems like it shouldn't. A trailer hitch is simple, it just goes on the skewer right under the quick release lever
I think it's because this was just built in the early days of disc-brakes, the rear brakes stick out from the frame, so I need the "extender" nubs at the bottom of the pannier rack, and with those, and where the bolt-hole are, it's just too many things competing for the same space. If I take off the pannier rack, then there's room for a trailer, but the frame won't deal with both of them at the same time. IIRC there are also some trailers that clamp to the back of the chain-stay, but the location and size of the pannier rack's attachments get in the way of those, too.
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Old 01-03-22, 06:26 AM
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9-speed, 26x36x48 cranks with 11-34 cassette, gear range:

Code:
( 48 / 11 ) / ( 26 / 34 ) * 100 = 570.629%
Aside from a Pinion gearbox, are there any options for getting more than 570% range between low and high gears?

Seems like the death of the triple-crankset killed reasonably cheap drive-trains with high gear ranges
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Old 01-03-22, 08:20 AM
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What's wrong with 9-speed? Parts are difficult to get across the board right now. You have a 110 BCD crankset already.... what crankset would you change to? 26 X 34 is already pretty low at 20.6 gear inches. Youi can swap in a 24T ring and probably can change to an 11-36 cassette to get down to 18 gear inches. That's almost walking speed. With a simple, inexpensive ring and cassette swap the gearing setup you already have is very good.

If you just want something new an shiny, most bikes are being built with a single or double chainring these days which does not provide the low gearing you (and I) need.
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Old 01-03-22, 08:37 AM
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Why not just get a TA Carmina and BB with whatever rings you're looking for, use your existing front derailleur then get a modern 11-34/36 10/11 speed cassette with derailleur and pick a shifter barcon, Gevenalle, thumbie.
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Old 01-03-22, 02:55 PM
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I don't know but I suspect MTB and hybrid triple cranksets and index front derailleurs are all the same regardless of the chain or rear speed-size. At least Shimano and compatible ones, anyhow. And Shimano ones often come in both MTB and trekking versions that are about a shift apart in size, so you know you can get the smaller ring.

...for whatever bike you get, if it still has a triple.
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Old 01-03-22, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by timdow View Post
What's wrong with 9-speed? Parts are difficult to get across the board right now. You have a 110 BCD crankset already.... what crankset would you change to? 26 X 34 is already pretty low at 20.6 gear inches. Youi can swap in a 24T ring and probably can change to an 11-36 cassette to get down to 18 gear inches. That's almost walking speed. With a simple, inexpensive ring and cassette swap the gearing setup you already have is very good.

If you just want something new an shiny, most bikes are being built with a single or double chainring these days which does not provide the low gearing you (and I) need.
It's not so much the lust for new and shiny, as much as the things I don't like about my old bike just being less likeable every time I ride it, and pretty much the whole drive-train, except for the chain, at a point where it's becoming impossible to get parts.

IIUC, 9-speed parts are going the way of the steam engine, if they haven't already.

I've comfortably adjusted, tuned, replaced, and upgraded drive-train components; I'm cool with that. I think the only time I ever had drive-train work done by a shop was "facing" the bottom-bracket housing, when I wore out the old crankset, and I was forced to "upgrade" from a square-taper BB to an external-bearing BB. That said, I'm not sure where to start, building up a drive-train from the drawing board; as I understand it, there are frame compatibility issues that I don't fully understand. I probably could do that, and given what's available off-the-shelf I may have to, but I would prefer the convenience of just getting a new bike that's geared how I want it, or at least mostly geared how I want it.

But… If 9-speed parts are just impossible to get, and everything is moving towards 11-speed, maybe I should build a custom 3x11 33-speed drive-train? Is that even possible? The range I want is really dependent on a triple-crankset, which I think I could build up from parts as an 11-speed triple… And then add a "normal" 11-speed 11-34 or 11-36 cassette on the other end… Which would give me a gearing range comparable to a 27-speed drive-train, with a few more gears. Of course, one of the problems now is even finding shifters for a triple-crankset; I don't know enough about derailleurs to even know what kind of compatibility issues/problems to look out for, eg I don't know if it would be a problem finding a front derailleur that would be compatible with a custom 3x11 crankset.
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Old 01-03-22, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
Why not just get a TA Carmina and BB with whatever rings you're looking for, use your existing front derailleur then get a modern 11-34/36 10/11 speed cassette with derailleur and pick a shifter barcon, Gevenalle, thumbie.
I am wondering along these lines. I guess at some point all of the custom components may add up to a price and/or complexity where "unconventional" (eg Rohloff, Pinion) options make more sense.

As noted above, I am a little bit intimidated by the idea of building up an unusual drive-train from parts.
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Old 01-04-22, 04:32 AM
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Wow there's a lot to cover here. haha. Problem is I doubt any manufacturer has a ready made model with all your requirements. For those with 3x11 like the XT, which would give you the bottom end you want, you have to give up the top end.
Pinion/IGH:
1. About NZ$3.5-4.5k should get you on a Priority 600, a Rabenick TS10, Maxx Cross all with Pinion drives, and it can be fine tuned with cog sizes for your needs, just by changing the front or rear cog. The actual gearing is lower in general so you may like it off the rack. And it has the accessories like fenders included.
2. If you want to get into the P18, you will have go to custom bikes, which are not budget friendly.
3. Rohloffs are also great but may not be what you want, since each gear shift gap is a little wider than Pinion 18, but narrower than the 12.

Non IGH:
1. You could get any strong aluminum frame, and build your own, but you have to be weary of compatibility of all drivetrain components. With a Deore XT 3x10 and 11-36, it would give you that bit of bottom end, BUT the frame is the issue since more of these 3x groupsets have MTB specs, and you want to stick with commuter/touring specs, your chainline and Q-factors will be off, and of course, they also accommodate wider tires, so you do have a bit better ride but probably tougher climbs.

At the end of the day, trying to mash parts not designed to work together, and hoping they work could turn out to be a total disaster. And does it matter if you roll down the hill at 40 or 45kph? I would prioritize an easier climb than ultimate top speed. For me, the cheapest upgrade test for you is actually a 11-36t 10 speed cassette and long cage derailleur upgrade, which would cost less than $300. Will 2t more give you that easier uphill climb with load?
As for the rack snapping, I assuming it's the extension piece? There are racks with extend backwards away from the discs. Your need for a trailer would probably cos strain if not mounted on the dropouts. I've broken 3 bike mounts ferrying my kids in a trailer back then, and I was glad they were steel so fixing them was easy!
I suggest you look at thru axle bikes and get a Robert Axle extended axle to tow your trailer, if you haven't already. The dropouts are easily the strongest mounts on the bike so better the axle break than your bike frame mounting points, especially if you go to a carbon frame!
I suggest you also look at going to 35c. That may give you a smidge more top end speed going down hill.
I had the similar requirements as you, minus the trailer. I wanted a super wide gearing in a road/hybrid geometry that's under 10kg for the 1 bike that does all except heavy touring. I ended up buying a custom Ti from Germany. So yes overall, your needs of super wide gearing, high load bearing, and top end speed means you probably have to compromise somewhere, or shell out the $ to get what you want, and you still won't be happy, just like me! haha

Originally Posted by smasha View Post
My old commuter bike is about 10 years old, never quite what I wanted, and it seems like 27-speed setups are out of fashion. Unfortunately, it seems like most newer gearing options are worse, for me.

I live with hills. That means up hills and down hills.

Current setup is 26x36x48 cranks (175 crank-arms) with a 9sp 11-34 cassette. 700c x 32c wheels/tires.

Gears: This give me about as much range as I want on the high end, but leaves me wanting more on the low end. I tend to go downhill with empty panniers, and uphill with fully loaded panniers. I mostly have enough gears to stay within a comfortable cadence, so fewer gears does not appeal to me.

Seems like current setups have fewer gears and less range from lowest to highest gear. Crap for a commuter bike in hilly terrain.

I'm kind of tempted by the idea of a Rohloff or Kindernay 14 speed hub, maybe with a belt-drive. Maybe a Pinion gearbox? But it seems a bit crazy to spend more on a commuter bicycle than a car would cost. Also seems a bit crazy to have a rear-wheel that costs more than most bikes.

So I'm wondering what cost-sensitive (value conscious?) options I have, for a good commuter bike with both a wide range of gears, and enough gears to keep a comfortable cadence, up and down hills, with light and heavy loads.

Not looking for an e-bike. Probably looking for something that will work well with front and rear panniers. Other considerations… Upright/comfortable riding position w/ flat-bars. Aluminium or carbon frame and fork; I don't like steel's weight or susceptibility to rust. Compatibility with a cargo-trailer might be nice, but not a strict requirement. Internal cabling preferred, or at least no cabling along the top-tube. Disc-brakes (hills, weather). Not sure if what I want is more of a "commuter" or "adventure" or "bike-packer" bike; I'll probably be using it more for commuting and car-free living (eg daily transport, grocery shopping), but if/when Junior moves out, I may want to do some "adventure" and/or "bike-packing" trips.

I'm living in NZ, so availability, shipping/duties, fitting/sizing, and just being able to sit on it and ride around a parking lot before I buy are all factors.
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Old 01-04-22, 02:20 PM
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You can get the range you want out of a 2x11, but not all in one group. Specifically you need a Shimano 2x11 speed MTB RD, which is big enough for 11-42 and has wrap for a double front, and is different from the way more common 1x and is now last-generation or middle-group. At the front you need a gravel crankset (46-30), which might need you to get a road FD and flat bar shifter instead of the MTB hardware. You will be over the chain wrap rating but the rating is for suspension bikes and has some leeway.

33 speed existed at M8000 but have not checked lately. I think the trekking groups are still 30 speed.

There may have been a Campy Ergo 33 speed way back, Athena maybe?

You might notice 27 speed going away, but 24 speed Altus / Acera stuff is still around, more so anyhow. It's a compatible but distinctive upgrade from the 21 speed Tourney freewheel setups at the very bottom of the bike shop market.

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Old 01-04-22, 05:12 PM
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The problem is that smasha apparently wants 48/11 as the top gear. Most of the 3x11 systems are 40 big chain cranks. And then you have the problem of total capacity of the entire system, which you managed with the 46-30 11-42. With his current 48-36-26 setup, he could just see if 2t more and an extra gear will help. It's only a smidge higher than 30/42. Changing an entire drivetrain will cost quite a bit, if he doesn't like it, his sunk cost is higher.
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Old 01-04-22, 05:23 PM
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I like the concept of building up your own bike to your own specs.

There are a couple of options to do your 3x11. But, it isn't completely straight forward. It depends a bit on what you want.

For the rear, Shimano Cable Pull was the same up to 10-speed for road, and 9 speed for MTB. There are a couple of ways to get around it. Some of the newer road groupsets now have greater dynamic range.

However, one option would be to go with Microshift Mega Bar End shifters which I think can take 11 speed MTB rear derailleurs, and standard road (or cyclocross) front derailleurs.
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Old 01-05-22, 10:22 AM
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He's going to have to build this or pay someone to build it for him..

I sorta sympathize with the OP but he doesn't seem to want to do the work to get the things he wants.
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Old 01-05-22, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
I sorta sympathize with the OP but he doesn't seem to want to do the work to get the things he wants.
Living on an island on the back side of the planet does make it harder.

It's always surprising to me we sometimes get produce from NZ. Apples. How could that possibly make economic sense?
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Old 01-05-22, 04:25 PM
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I would also try little things like the Andel 48/34/24T crankset, which should give you that bottom end while maintaining your top end. But you will need to make sure your bike will have a BSA BB square, which I didn't want for my tourer when I was doing my research. You probably have to change your riding technique to avoid cross chaining.
Originally Posted by smasha View Post
I am wondering along these lines. I guess at some point all of the custom components may add up to a price and/or complexity where "unconventional" (eg Rohloff, Pinion) options make more sense.

As noted above, I am a little bit intimidated by the idea of building up an unusual drive-train from parts.
That's a little unkind. smasha is in the forums and asking for info. He's trying to crunch the numbers, but doesn't seem to understand the mechanics involved to get there. I was in his shoes just years back, and forums like these helped me a lot in designing my custom bike. It's a lot of info to digest. There are bikes that fit up to 90+% of his criteria, but he hasn't told us his budget.
Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
He's going to have to build this or pay someone to build it for him..

I sorta sympathize with the OP but he doesn't seem to want to do the work to get the things he wants.
I wouldn't mind being stuck on that South Island for a few years. It's gorgeous!

Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Living on an island on the back side of the planet does make it harder.

It's always surprising to me we sometimes get produce from NZ. Apples. How could that possibly make economic sense?

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Old 01-05-22, 04:46 PM
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Don't know what serves as the equivalent of Craigslist in Wellington (Facebook, perhaps), but I'd suggest looking for a used hybrid to source the parts to set up an appropriate drivetrain. Very few hybrids ever see much use, and they generally seem to sell for pretty low prices. The OP might even find an appropriate hybrid that fits and would work for trailer-hauling duties, preferably one with a rigid fork.
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Old 01-06-22, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Sardines View Post
Wow there's a lot to cover here. haha. Problem is I doubt any manufacturer has a ready made model with all your requirements. For those with 3x11 like the XT, which would give you the bottom end you want, you have to give up the top end.
Short of something kind of crazy, like adding a double or triple crankset to an IGH, I don't think anything is going to give me the gearing range I really want. Of course, if it's stupid but it works, then it isn't stupid. A double or triple crankset with an Alfine IGH hub (or a Rohloff? Or a Kindernay?) may be the best compromise, to get the range I want.

Just thinking out loud… Going up and down the same hills, I'd spend more time going up than down. It might make sense to put the low gear of a double crankset "perfectly inline" with the cog on an IGH. Then, when I need a higher range of gears, the chain would only be slightly crossed; no more crossed than most gears in a derailleur system.

Maybe this isn't so crazy, if the range of gearing is a priority?

Originally Posted by Sardines View Post
At the end of the day, trying to mash parts not designed to work together, and hoping they work could turn out to be a total disaster. And does it matter if you roll down the hill at 40 or 45kph? I would prioritize an easier climb than ultimate top speed. For me, the cheapest upgrade test for you is actually a 11-36t 10 speed cassette and long cage derailleur upgrade, which would cost less than $300. Will 2t more give you that easier uphill climb with load?
If I were trying to upgrade my current bike, an 11-36 cassette would be a reasonable place to start. But since I'm looking for a new bike, I'm just trying to think of the cheapest, easiest, most reliable way to get the gearing range I want, starting with a blank slate.

Originally Posted by Sardines View Post
As for the rack snapping, I assuming it's the extension piece? There are racks with extend backwards away from the discs. Your need for a trailer would probably cos strain if not mounted on the dropouts. I've broken 3 bike mounts ferrying my kids in a trailer back then, and I was glad they were steel so fixing them was easy!
I'm using racks with built-in "disc brake extenders", as overall this is the rack I like best. One of the problems with this frame is that the racks that extend backwards still don't give enough clearance for bags, and the bolts/rack-arms are still in the way of any trailer attachment.
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