Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Gearing. Any point in messing with it?

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Gearing. Any point in messing with it?

Reply

Old 06-03-08, 07:46 PM
  #1  
545h4
Wait, what was I doing?
Thread Starter
 
545h4's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 130

Bikes: '04 Haro Escape 8.1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Gearing. Any point in messing with it?

I ride a MTB, and was curious about whether there is any real gain in modifying the gearing on it. My ride is moderately hilly, but nothing extreme, and I am carrying about 15-20# in my panniers. The current setup is 22-32-42 with a 11-32 cassette. I feel like I am riding in 42x11-18 the majority of the time, and very seldom do I ever drop to the 22. Should I switch out the 42 for a 46 or 48?
545h4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-08, 07:59 PM
  #2  
joejack951
Senior Member
 
joejack951's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Wilmington, DE
Posts: 11,848

Bikes: 2016 Hong Fu FM-079-F, 1984 Trek 660, 2003 Specialized Hardrock, 2004 LOOK KG386i (RIP), 2005 Iron Horse Warrior Expert, 2009 Pedal Force CX1, 2016 Islabikes Beinn 20 (son's)

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1112 Post(s)
Sounds like you'd be better off with a road crankset (52/42/30 or 52/39/30 assuming you wanted to stick with a triple). You'd get a lot more top end gearing and still have a bailout gearing for hauling heavy loads or when you're pooped from a long work week. If you are climbing all of the hills currently in 42/18 gear combo, you'll be fine with the 30 little ring. My next commuter will have a road crankset and MTB rear cassette FWIW.

The only issue with going to a road crankset would be the front derailler. If you currently have friction shifters, you'll be able to run a road triple front derailler without any issues. If you are using index shifters, the road derailler has a different pull ratio than the MTB deraillers. If no front deraillers would work for you, I'd go with a touring crankset (48/38/28 or similar) which can be shifted ok with a MTB front derailler (my current commuter set up).
joejack951 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-08, 08:57 PM
  #3  
JeffS
not a role model
 
JeffS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,659
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'd say no... we frequently hear people say they're maxing out their mountain gearing, but 99% of the time they're just wanting to push down some big hill - which certainly isn't mandatory for a commute.

Unless you're really strong enough to max out a 42x11 on a regular basis I don't think the cost is worth it until the time when you have to replace something that's worn out.
JeffS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-08, 09:23 PM
  #4  
Tabor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 1,017

Bikes: Surly Crosscheck, Surly Pacerr

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
Unless you're really strong enough to max out a 42x11 on a regular basis I don't think the cost is worth it until the time when you have to replace something that's worn out.
Yea, I run a 30-42-52 and it is rare that I need to go higher than 42x12 on my commute.

If you DO feel the need to upgrade, there are some 48t chainrings out there that would work.
Tabor is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-08, 09:29 PM
  #5  
RT
The Weird Beard
 
RT's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: COS
Posts: 8,554
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I removed my stock MTB rings in favor of the Nashbar Trekking crankset (48-38-28) and a SRAM 11-26 cassette. No more spinouts on hills, and shifting is smoother. I say do it. Can be a little expensive as you'll also need a new bottom bracket and possibly front derailleur
RT is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-08, 10:12 AM
  #6  
HardyWeinberg
GATC
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: south Puget Sound
Posts: 8,668
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 441 Post(s)
Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
I'd say no... we frequently hear people say they're maxing out their mountain gearing, but 99% of the time they're just wanting to push down some big hill - which certainly isn't mandatory for a commute.

Unless you're really strong enough to max out a 42x11 on a regular basis I don't think the cost is worth it until the time when you have to replace something that's worn out.
I agree. Also, there may be front derailer complications going from a 42 to a bigger ring.
HardyWeinberg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-08, 11:15 AM
  #7  
545h4
Wait, what was I doing?
Thread Starter
 
545h4's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 130

Bikes: '04 Haro Escape 8.1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks, everyone.
545h4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-08, 11:22 AM
  #8  
Flimflam
Raving looney
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 2,482

Bikes: 70s Leader Precision w/Shimano 600 (road), IRO Rob Roy (Fixed)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yeah I say leave it - I used to think I needed more teeth on my MTB cogs, but I'm glad I didn't waste the money - it really was only for top end speed flying downhill, and now I rarely even touch that bike anymore.

Keep on trucking, 42 is a nice chainring size - 42:16 or 17 is some nice gearing in my experience (I rode this in the winter on a fixed gear conversion) - on an older/heavier MTB that's used for utility/loaded riding, you'll want the lower ratios more than the higher ones, plus, spinning more doesn't hurt once you're used to it.

Wait and get (an old?) road bike with a 42/52 double on the front, that'll set you straight for when you really want to hit the speed (I've not passed 40mph, but also never spun out on my road bike which goes down to 52:14 IIRC)
Flimflam is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-08, 02:20 PM
  #9  
bkrownd
kipuka explorer
 
bkrownd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Hilo Town, East Hawai'i
Posts: 3,297

Bikes: 1994 Trek 820, 2004 Fuji Absolute, 2005 Jamis Nova, 1977 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by 545h4 View Post
I ride a MTB, and was curious about whether there is any real gain in modifying the gearing on it. My ride is moderately hilly, but nothing extreme, and I am carrying about 15-20# in my panniers. The current setup is 22-32-42 with a 11-32 cassette. I feel like I am riding in 42x11-18 the majority of the time, and very seldom do I ever drop to the 22. Should I switch out the 42 for a 46 or 48?
Question - do you stand on the pedals? I haven't used anything larger than a 42 chainring on any of my bikes since I stopped standing on the pedals.
__________________
--
-=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
Friends don't let friends use brifters.
bkrownd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-08, 02:32 PM
  #10  
545h4
Wait, what was I doing?
Thread Starter
 
545h4's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 130

Bikes: '04 Haro Escape 8.1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by bkrownd View Post
Question - do you stand on the pedals? I haven't used anything larger than a 42 chainring on any of my bikes since I stopped standing on the pedals.
VERY rarely...
545h4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-08, 03:04 PM
  #11  
Pig_Chaser
Senior Member
 
Pig_Chaser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 1,143

Bikes: '07 Giant OCR3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Try increasing your cadence. I was convinced i needed a gearing upgrade until i read that my cadence was freakishly low (50-60RPM). Once i worked it up to 90-100RPM i found i don't even spin out my middle ring until 45kph, definately no need for an upgrade.
Pig_Chaser is offline  
Reply With Quote

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