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Need help rading my gravel

Old 09-07-20, 04:20 PM
  #1  
JakeNY
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Need help roading my gravel

Hello, I bought a Topstone AL 105 in early July and love it. I just started riding after a near 20 year hiatus. I've ridden some rail trails not too far away, as well as the carriage roads in Acadia, and the WTB Riddlers are great. I'm surrounded by tarmac and want a second set of wheels and tires. Looking at the price of the cassette, it seems obvious I should put a new cassette on the second set of wheels I buy for road tires.
Also, which tires on which wheels? I'm looking for the best buy choice, so carbon wheels is not something I want to invest in- I will be riding for pleasure and pushing myself for exercise on the tarmac, and not racing.
I'm also thinking of buying a new larger geared crank because I haven't gone lower than 4th gear on my larger crank ring in the last month and I run out gearing on the flats and going downhill. I know I'll need a new bottom bracket as well, but am not sure about the crank length.
It all adds up to a lot of money that makes me think of just trying to get $50 - $100 for my old Raleigh and just pick up a used road bike, but I'm trying to get rid of stuff not buy more.

Recommendations?

Last edited by JakeNY; 09-07-20 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 09-07-20, 04:30 PM
  #2  
badger1
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Why would you want to 'raid' your gravel? Are you in short supply?
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Old 09-07-20, 04:48 PM
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Steve B.
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One thought is use the stock WTB TCS i23 28 spoke wheels for road use with road tires and a road oriented cassette, then add a 2nd beefier set of wheels with the Riddler tires and the existing 11-34 cassette. You retain the hill gears for gravel use. The question is - how heavy are you, and do you need a 32 spoke wheel ?, or can you get away with a lighter wheel, especially in the rear. You can easily get a set of Shimano GRX 24 spoke gravel wheels, plus cassette, plus rotors, plus whatever tire size you want, for about $600. I’m having a spare rear wheel built from Universal Cycles, Mavic rim, 105 hub, 32 DT double butted spokes, hand built. The price for front and rear is $460. Note though that currently, Shimano CenterLock disc rotors are really hard to find.

I would do wheels first and not yet change the crank. A 46/30 is a really useful range for hills. Also ask yourself how fast you need to go, as a 46 ring with an 11 cog is about 26-28 mph. Do you need more speed than that ?, or do you just need a cassette with closer gearing ?. I run a 12-25 on my road wheels for mostly flat riding with a few local hills (Long Island), where I want the one tooth jumps thru a lot of the range.

Try that a while, before swapping cranks. It’s about $135 or so to go to a 105 crank with 50/34 rings and a new b-bracket. I’ve the same bike as BTW, love it.
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Old 09-07-20, 04:59 PM
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JakeNY
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I weigh 171 lbs
So, I would have to put a new rotor on- I forgot about that.
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Old 09-07-20, 05:02 PM
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pennstater
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I've been riding GP5000 700x32 tires on asphalt AND dirt and cinders. Great road tire and more than acceptable on the trails in Acadia. I rode 700x25s there. You could try them it might save you from having to buy a set of wheels. If you buy wheels you will also need new discs which may or may not properly align in the brake caliper. You may have to shim the discs or adjust the calipers every time you change wheels. Not a big deal. Replacement FSA crankset would probably fit the existing BB but you would also need a new chain. Choosing wheels has so many variables. Lots of threads you can read. I bought DT Swiss ER1600 and have found them to be excellent.
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Old 09-07-20, 05:10 PM
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up your cadence. If you took 20 years off there is no way you are running out of gear on the flats. I run 46/30 cranks and that is good for around 32ish mph without blowing my legs out spinning on downhills.
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Old 09-07-20, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
One thought is use the stock WTB TCS i23 28 spoke wheels for road use with road tires and a road oriented cassette, then add a 2nd beefier set of wheels with the Riddler tires and the existing 11-34 cassette. You retain the hill gears for gravel use. The question is - how heavy are you, and do you need a 32 spoke wheel ?, or can you get away with a lighter wheel, especially in the rear. You can easily get a set of Shimano GRX 24 spoke gravel wheels, plus cassette, plus rotors, plus whatever tire size you want, for about $600. Iím having a spare rear wheel built from Universal Cycles, Mavic rim, 105 hub, 32 DT double butted spokes, hand built. The price for front and rear is $460. Note though that currently, Shimano CenterLock disc rotors are really hard to find.

I would do wheels first and not yet change the crank. A 46/30 is a really useful range for hills. Also ask yourself how fast you need to go, as a 46 ring with an 11 cog is about 26-28 mph. Do you need more speed than that ?, or do you just need a cassette with closer gearing ?. I run a 12-25 on my road wheels for mostly flat riding with a few local hills (Long Island), where I want the one tooth jumps thru a lot of the range.

Try that a while, before swapping cranks. Itís about $135 or so to go to a 105 crank with 50/34 rings and a new b-bracket. Iíve the same bike as BTW, love it.
This is all excellent advice, especially the part (echoed by another poster) about perhaps sticking with the current crankset and learning to spin a bit better. Even most strong cyclists will have only occasional need of a gear higher than 46-11.

A regular poster around here, dwmckee , owns a bike shop that specializes in gravel bikes, and he has recommended the GRX wheelset as a great value. I'd take his word for it.
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Old 09-07-20, 06:03 PM
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JakeNY
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I'm a hiker, which is much different, but I have always had very strong legs. I'm sure I can pick up my cadence, I do cycle flats around 17-20 tmph, which I am guessing is slow for many here, but I really am trying to push myself. it just seems like a whole waste of lower gears. Feel free to school me.

Last edited by JakeNY; 09-08-20 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 09-07-20, 07:03 PM
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Steve B.
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Pennstate has good advice about maybe just change tires to a 32. Note that on the WTB wheels, due to their width, a 28mm tire ends up at 32mm, while a 32mm tire runs about 36mm. Agree with him that a 32 or larger slick tire works just fine on trails like at Acadia. I’m not sold on 32 or 36 mm tires for fast road riding, 25-28 is my preference based on my unscientific experiences. 28mm is however, the narrowest size I’d run on the WTB rims.

You can as well just change the cassette to a 11-25, 12-25, etc..... lots of options. You do not have to change the chain, I go back and forth between an 11-34 cassette and a 12-25, as once the chain is sized for a 11-34, it readily handles a 12-25 or 11-25. I got lucky and only added a spacer to my 11-34 cassette, when I swap wheels I don’t need to make adjustments to the R derailer cable tension. As well, I’m using CenterLock discs on one wheel set, 6 bolt on another and did not need to shim the rotors.
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Old 09-07-20, 08:36 PM
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I'd be pretty pleased with myself if I ever got up to 17 - 20 mph cruising speed without the assistance of a good tailwind. If that's where you're at, then I'd say you owe it to yourself to find a technique that will let you keep it up for years to come. Pushing long gears could do a number on your knees.
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Old 09-08-20, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by JakeNY View Post
It all adds up to a lot of money that makes me think of just trying to get $50 - $100 for my old Raleigh and just pick up a used road bike, but I'm trying to get rid of stuff not buy more.
Recommendations?
Ride the old Raleigh?
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Old 09-08-20, 10:28 AM
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fietsbob
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the Best tool..
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Old 09-08-20, 08:54 PM
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Canker
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It isn't a waste of your lower gears. You don't want to ride around in those on flats, big gaps. You are better off being in the tighter section of your cassette that is one of the advantages I like about running my 46/30 gravel gears on the road. I think my perfect compromise road/gravel gearing would be the new GRX crank with a 48/31 but that wasn't available at the time I needed my climbing gears. Anyway if you really want a bigger crank gears you don't need a whole new crank, you can just buy the chainrings pretty cheap.

https://www.amazon.com/Full-Speed-Ah...9619515&sr=8-3
and down in the frequently bought together section is the inner 34t ring.
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Old 09-09-20, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
up your cadence. If you took 20 years off there is no way you are running out of gear on the flats. I run 46/30 cranks and that is good for around 32ish mph without blowing my legs out spinning on downhills.
Not everyone can really spin and for a reasonably strong person it might be a low gear. Personally if I'm riding the road where I average between 20 and 22mph except in the mountains area I find a 46/11 to be inadequate. But I like top speed going down hills to make up for the up hills and around here with the winds it isn't unusual to run faster then 32 on the flats with a tail wind but having to spin like crazy to do it is tiring, the turn around back into the wind can really suck but 46/11 is a limit. A 48 is the lowest chainring I prefer to have other then on the mtb or touring bikes and a 50 is more ideal. A 50/34 with 11-34 cassette is a good setup for decent hill climbing and plenty of speed, a 48/32 and 11/34 was my choice for a go anywhere ride anything bike though it does limit in the downhill.
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