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Advice on front ring

Old 01-28-17, 10:09 PM
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Advice on front ring

I just bought a 42 tooth sram rival 1x crank set and paired it with a 11x42 Sunrace-MX3-10-Speed-Cassette. I did a decent gravel ride today and my low was plenty low but my concern was that everything leading up to the 42 seemed too high with the 42 front. I came off of a race face crank set with a 38 tooth and an 11x36 cassette. It just seemed like the hills get harder sooner now until I hit the 42 rear bail out gear. I would like to be able to do 95% of the steep hills around here in my 32 and 36 cogs and save the big aluminum 42 for those "rare times" when the hill is really long and steep and I am getting fatigued. So I think I may be wiser to pair the cassette with a smaller front ring that can take advantage of everything leading up to the 42. I cannot decide on whether to go with a 38 or 40 though. Any opinions? I think the 38 will be perfect but I am beating myself up for buying a new crank set if I go back to the same size ring as I had before. The whole point of the sram crank was to have more ring options beyond 38 and the whole point of the sunrace cassette was to compensate for the larger front ring. Here I go stepping backwards already. I guess 110 BCD is still more versatile than 104 for a gravel grinder so maybe I didn't waste my money?
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Old 01-29-17, 05:02 AM
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HTML5 Gear Calculator

The "rule of thumb" is that a 3 tooth change in the chainring will shift you up/down the cassette by one cog. But with wide range cassettes, it's best to hit up the calculator.
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Old 01-29-17, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by trail_monkey
I just bought a 42 tooth sram rival 1x crank set and paired it with a 11x42 Sunrace-MX3-10-Speed-Cassette. I did a decent gravel ride today and my low was plenty low but my concern was that everything leading up to the 42 seemed too high with the 42 front. I came off of a race face crank set with a 38 tooth and an 11x36 cassette. It just seemed like the hills get harder sooner now until I hit the 42 rear bail out gear. I would like to be able to do 95% of the steep hills around here in my 32 and 36 cogs and save the big aluminum 42 for those "rare times" when the hill is really long and steep and I am getting fatigued. So I think I may be wiser to pair the cassette with a smaller front ring that can take advantage of everything leading up to the 42. I cannot decide on whether to go with a 38 or 40 though. Any opinions? I think the 38 will be perfect but I am beating myself up for buying a new crank set if I go back to the same size ring as I had before. The whole point of the sram crank was to have more ring options beyond 38 and the whole point of the sunrace cassette was to compensate for the larger front ring. Here I go stepping backwards already. I guess 110 BCD is still more versatile than 104 for a gravel grinder so maybe I didn't waste my money?
I've been considering a 38t ring too. My stuntman comes with a 40t ring and an 11-42 cassette. It seems ok for the few miles I've ridden it, but in the back of my mind I'm contemplating a 38t ring for all the reasons you are. I just want to put some more miles in on my current setup before I buy a smaller ring.

If I were you, I'd buy the 38t. It seems like an optimal gearing range for the type of riding around here.
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Old 01-29-17, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by ckindt
I've been considering a 38t ring too. My stuntman comes with a 40t ring and an 11-42 cassette. It seems ok for the few miles I've ridden it, but in the back of my mind I'm contemplating a 38t ring for all the reasons you are. I just want to put some more miles in on my current setup before I buy a smaller ring.

If I were you, I'd buy the 38t. It seems like an optimal gearing range for the type of riding around here.

Yea a lot of the gravel around SW Iowa is rolling hills. Yesterdays ride had me take a short break at a T intersection. When I left to the west I was immediately into a steep and long hill that was anything between 8-10 percent and was about 100 yards long. That was brutal and I was in the granny in no time flat and then I was standing and mashing. I think the 42 that's on there now will be an excellent ring for certain non gravel rides (road, Wabash, Katy trail, etc) but a 38 would be greatly appreciated when I ride gravel otherwise. I don't regret buying the new crankset now that I have thought about it. For the type of riding that this bike does a 110 BCD has a lot more versatility than the mountain bike crank I replaced.
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Old 01-29-17, 10:11 AM
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You liked the 38t ring and switched because you wanted to have more options if needed? Makes sense, but if you like the 38t ring for what you ride most of the time, grab on in 110 bcd and slap it on.

The gearing will then be different since you have an 11-42 cassette instead of 11-36, but you wont use that 42 cog often, like you mentioned.
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Old 01-29-17, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
You liked the 38t ring and switched because you wanted to have more options if needed? Makes sense, but if you like the 38t ring for what you ride most of the time, grab on in 110 bcd and slap it on.

The gearing will then be different since you have an 11-42 cassette instead of 11-36, but you wont use that 42 cog often, like you mentioned.
You are correct. I let the internet sway me. I felt like I was running too little of a gear. I mean even most production gravel bikes are running no smaller than a 40 front. I got to thinking it was time I stepped up and joined the rest of the biking community and going with a 110 BCD crank set made ring selection so much easier. So I shopped around and the best price I found on crank sets was from Bike Inn and I was able to get a Sram Rival crankset with a 42 tooth 1x chain ring for $103. I would have preferred a 40T ring at that point but since that was about $50 bucks cheaper than the competitors, I settled and ordered it anyways. I have been really busy since that time with other obligations and have been battling illness off and on for a few weeks so I have not had a chance to put any "real" rides on. I finally got healthy and had time yesterday to do a decent ride. So yesterdays ride was the first real test for me with this gear set up. I now realize that for flat riding with less climbing this set up is ideal but for the relentless rolling hills in this part of the country I would be better suited going back to the 38. You never know anything until you give it a shot........
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Old 01-29-17, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by trail_monkey
...the relentless rolling hills in this part of the country...
A very accurate way to describe this area! Those relentless hills are a pain in the as on 32c slicks, especially with newly spread rock (on my road bike).

I've been eyeing those same cranks to have a completely matching group, but the cranks only come with a 42t ring. Ok, like you say, for a more gentle terrain, but a no-go for us mortals around here.
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Old 01-29-17, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ckindt
A very accurate way to describe this area! Those relentless hills are a pain in the as on 32c slicks, especially with newly spread rock (on my road bike).

I've been eyeing those same cranks to have a completely matching group, but the cranks only come with a 42t ring. Ok, like you say, for a more gentle terrain, but a no-go for us mortals around here.
I wasn't aware they only came in 42. I assumed the place I bought them only had that in stock lol. I am trying to sell my race face cranks, BB, and 2 chain rings for 75 bucks complete on several swap shops with no bites so far. I want the money to buy my new ring lol.
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Old 01-29-17, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by trail_monkey
You are correct. I let the internet sway me. I felt like I was running too little of a gear. I mean even most production gravel bikes are running no smaller than a 40 front. I got to thinking it was time I stepped up and joined the rest of the biking community and going with a 110 BCD crank set made ring selection so much easier. So I shopped around and the best price I found on crank sets was from Bike Inn and I was able to get a Sram Rival crankset with a 42 tooth 1x chain ring for $103. I would have preferred a 40T ring at that point but since that was about $50 bucks cheaper than the competitors, I settled and ordered it anyways. I have been really busy since that time with other obligations and have been battling illness off and on for a few weeks so I have not had a chance to put any "real" rides on. I finally got healthy and had time yesterday to do a decent ride. So yesterdays ride was the first real test for me with this gear set up. I now realize that for flat riding with less climbing this set up is ideal but for the relentless rolling hills in this part of the country I would be better suited going back to the 38. You never know anything until you give it a shot........
Fully agree. The internet partly persuaded me on my gravel build too.
I wanted to try 11sp since i havent had anythong over 9.

So 5800 105 derailleurs and 11sp gevenalle shifters were the route i went.
It took awapping the 36t of my cx50 crank for a 34t ring, and using an 11-36t cassette with a wolftooth roadlink to make everything work out.
I love the bike and love the setup, now, but i should have stuck with 9sp components and set it up as a 46/36/26 triple mated to an 11-32 cassette. It would have been cheaper to buy, the cassette would be lighter, and i would have a smaller gear inch for bailout without needing a workaround like the wolftooth. The ring ranges would have allowed for plently of high and low end so i wouldnt spin out on downhill and also could spin going up hills for traction. And the gevenalle ****ers would be friction front so there would be no downside to the triple that often is seen with indexed shifting.

Like you said- you never know til you give it a shot.
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Old 01-29-17, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Fully agree. The internet partly persuaded me on my gravel build too.
I wanted to try 11sp since i havent had anythong over 9.

So 5800 105 derailleurs and 11sp gevenalle shifters were the route i went.
It took awapping the 36t of my cx50 crank for a 34t ring, and using an 11-36t cassette with a wolftooth roadlink to make everything work out.
I love the bike and love the setup, now, but i should have stuck with 9sp components and set it up as a 46/36/26 triple mated to an 11-32 cassette. It would have been cheaper to buy, the cassette would be lighter, and i would have a smaller gear inch for bailout without needing a workaround like the wolftooth. The ring ranges would have allowed for plently of high and low end so i wouldnt spin out on downhill and also could spin going up hills for traction. And the gevenalle ****ers would be friction front so there would be no downside to the triple that often is seen with indexed shifting.

Like you said- you never know til you give it a shot.
When I built the original build (fisticuff) a year ago I actually ordered Gevenalle levers and shifters. I held them in my hand but then had a change of heart and sent them back. They were very nice though in craftsmanship! I changed my mind because I decided I really wanted to go with a mtb clutch derailleur so I had my LBS order me all Sram stuff. When I went to this most recent conversion, I almost threw on a front derailleur and went with a double front but by the time I bought a shift lever, and front derailleur, I would have had more money tied up than just going the route I did. Why did you need a wolf tooth roadlink for an 11x36 cassette?
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Old 01-29-17, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by trail_monkey
When I built the original build (fisticuff) a year ago I actually ordered Gevenalle levers and shifters. I held them in my hand but then had a change of heart and sent them back. They were very nice though in craftsmanship! I changed my mind because I decided I really wanted to go with a mtb clutch derailleur so I had my LBS order me all Sram stuff. Why did you need a wolf tooth roadlink for an 11x36 cassette?
The 105 5800 rear derailleur couldnt clear the 36t cog. I read that its worked for some and not for others, so its probably frame specific?
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Old 01-29-17, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
The 105 5800 rear derailleur couldnt clear the 36t cog. I read that its worked for some and not for others, so its probably frame specific?

Gotcha. You and I are running apples to oranges. You are running road stuff and I am running MTB stuff.
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Old 01-30-17, 02:59 PM
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@Trail monkey, it sounds like you will be happier with a 38t ring. I'd be in the 42 x 42 granny a bunch on the hills in east-central IA. My bike has a 34 x 34 low gear, and I use it pretty often.

I like how SRAM's 10-speed brifters work with their 10-speed clutched rear derailleurs. My bike is still using the Rival medium cage RD, but I'll replace it with a clutched MTB RD when I break the Rival RD.

FYI, Gevenalle now offers a "GX" version that works with Shimano's clutched 10 and 11-speed Dyna-Sys RDs. https://gevenalle.com/product/gx/
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Old 01-30-17, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim Iowa
FYI, Gevenalle now offers a "GX" version that works with Shimano's clutched 10 and 11-speed Dyna-Sys RDs. https://gevenalle.com/product/gx/
Man I wish they would have had that when I was in the market. That said I am happy with my Sram drivetrain so I have no desire to change.
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Old 01-30-17, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Fully agree. The internet partly persuaded me on my gravel build too.
I wanted to try 11sp since i havent had anythong over 9.

So 5800 105 derailleurs and 11sp gevenalle shifters were the route i went.
It took awapping the 36t of my cx50 crank for a 34t ring, and using an 11-36t cassette with a wolftooth roadlink to make everything work out.
I love the bike and love the setup, now, but i should have stuck with 9sp components and set it up as a 46/36/26 triple mated to an 11-32 cassette. It would have been cheaper to buy, the cassette would be lighter, and i would have a smaller gear inch for bailout without needing a workaround like the wolftooth. The ring ranges would have allowed for plently of high and low end so i wouldnt spin out on downhill and also could spin going up hills for traction. And the gevenalle ****ers would be friction front so there would be no downside to the triple that often is seen with indexed shifting.

Like you said- you never know til you give it a shot.
I did the triple combo you specified. Love it. I've not needed the little ring yet, but the steps on the 11/32 with the 46 and 36 up front are about perfect for all of my gravel.
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