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What Sort of Gearing Works Best for your Needs?

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What Sort of Gearing Works Best for your Needs?

Old 11-23-20, 05:51 PM
  #1  
Moisture
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What Sort of Gearing Works Best for your Needs?

Thought this might make for some interesting conversation.. lets say you can spec your bike with any sort of ratios you want. What are you picking?

1. What sort of terrain do you ride on?
2. What sort of bike is it?
3. How hilly is the area you ride in
4. Whats your current ratio spread and how does it suit your needs?
5. How would you change it?

- Mostly pavement, some gravel and dirt paths
- Road bike
- Mostly flat, some long hills, nothing crazy steep
- 40/52t front, 14-34t rear (2x5)
- 36/52t, 11-34t (2x8)

While my current gearing is totally sufficient for my needs and actually quite useful, I find myself being in top gear (52/14) all the time on flat terrain in non windy conditions. I'd like for slightly lower and slightly higher gearing on both ends of the spectrum. Something like 2x7 or 2x8 would offer some ideal spacing in terms of snatching through the gears while accelerating from a stand still.

Interestingly enough, I found a Biopace Mountain LX crankset made by shimano (28/38/48) . Never seen that sort of spacing before. Typically lower end mountain bikes come with 22/32/44. Woukd be interesting to give this unique ratio spread a try.
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Old 11-23-20, 06:00 PM
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Mulberry20
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Thought this might make for some interesting conversation.. lets say you can spec your bike with any sort of ratios you want. What are you picking?

1. What sort of terrain do you ride on?
2. What sort of bike is it?
3. How hilly is the area you ride in
4. Whats your current ratio spread and how does it suit your needs?
5. How would you change it?

- Mostly pavement, some gravel and dirt paths
- Road bike
- Mostly flat, some long hills, nothing crazy steep
- 40/52t front, 14-34t rear (2x5)
- 36/52t, 11-34t (2x8)

While my current gearing is totally sufficient for my needs and actually quite useful, I find myself being in top gear (52/14) all the time on flat terrain in non windy conditions. I'd like for slightly lower and slightly higher gearing on both ends of the spectrum. Something like 2x7 or 2x8 would offer some ideal spacing in terms of snatching through the gears while accelerating from a stand still.

Interestingly enough, I found a Biopace Mountain LX crankset made by shimano (28/38/48) . Never seen that sort of spacing before. Typically lower end mountain bikes come with 22/32/44. Woukd be interesting to give this unique ratio spread a try.
Road, 53/39, 12/25 10 speed cassette no complaints
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Old 11-23-20, 06:09 PM
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I use fixed gear and singlespeed bikes for all of my riding....My cycling season never ends and I ride all year round. The area I ride has rolling terrain mostly gentle hills but we also have some big hills out in rural areas which can be a big challenge especially for somebody who rides singlespeed.. The type of riding I do includes: commuting to work, road riding, gravel riding, mountain biking, snow biking.
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Old 11-23-20, 06:11 PM
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Fixed gear 42x15 works best for me.
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Old 11-23-20, 06:18 PM
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48/32 with 11-36 rear
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Old 11-23-20, 06:48 PM
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Road 50/34 with 11-28

Gravel 40T with 11-32
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Old 11-23-20, 06:51 PM
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Road,
52/42 and 13-21 7sp - that's more than I need, a 50 big ring would be enough. Pavement, flat terrain.
52/42 and 12/23 9sp
MTB (but used as gravel) 26/36/48 and 12-19 7sp. Dirt roads, flat terrain. A 46 would be better.
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Old 11-23-20, 06:57 PM
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50/34 and 11-32. I think my older bike is 11-30.

It's not hilly here at all so most of my favorite combinations are geared for speed, not for climbing.
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Old 11-23-20, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
48/32 with 11-36 rear
+1. My latest (cargo) bike adds a 22T to the front of that!! Nothing it can't climb, and it keeps up with the Hipsters (I'm 61) on the level. My road bike has 50/39 x 11-28 but I rarely take it to the big ring. I'm about to preach the gospel of the granny gear and warn those who will hear, about the evils of overgeared production roadbikes. They are a great evil loosed upon the land. Resist them with all thine resistance. When you are old enough to find the "Over Fifty" forum interesting you will see the sad, sad, testimonies of those who were rocking the 88" fixed gears in their mis-spent youth but now have no knee cartilage. A word to the wise is sufficient.
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Old 11-23-20, 07:18 PM
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Old 11-23-20, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Interestingly enough, I found a Biopace Mountain LX crankset made by shimano (28/38/48) . Never seen that sort of spacing before. Typically lower end mountain bikes come with 22/32/44. Woukd be interesting to give this unique ratio spread a try.
I have one of those on my shelf ... had issues with one crank arm, and swapped it out until another came in the mail, never ut it back. Did a ton of miles on it as a commuter---excellent around-town/carrying a load gearing with a normal cassette.

If 52x14 is too low for you, you wouldn't like it for road use but it is great for off-road---gravel and dirt, mild single-track.
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Old 11-23-20, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I have one of those on my shelf ... had issues with one crank arm, and swapped it out until another came in the mail, never ut it back. Did a ton of miles on it as a commuter---excellent around-town/carrying a load gearing with a normal cassette.

If 52x14 is too low for you, you wouldn't like it for road use but it is great for off-road---gravel and dirt, mild single-track.
Thats what I was thinking. But sometimes i would prefer something lower than 40t up front. I wouldn't say that 52x14 is too low. Its actually a super versatile gear in the sense that I can use it from anything from hills to cruising on flat surfaces. I just want to have an 11 or 12t cog reserved strictly for downhill sprinting.

Does something with more teeth than 34 in the rear cassette make sense for road and gravel use?

What about for singletrack? Would you prefer a 1x? 2x? Or the good old 3x like on the biopace? And what sort of rear cassette?

I'm mainly.tempted to try the 3x biopace crankset because the arms are 175mm versus 170.

What do you think of 11 vs 12 or 14 for the top gear? I've read that 11 isn't too useful for anyone but the racer group or something like that.

Last edited by Moisture; 11-23-20 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 11-23-20, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
Road, 53/39, 12/25 10 speed cassette no complaints
How do you fare on steep climbs?
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Old 11-23-20, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Thought this might make for some interesting conversation.. lets say you can spec your bike with any sort of ratios you want. What are you picking?

1. What sort of terrain do you ride on?
2. What sort of bike is it?
3. How hilly is the area you ride in
4. Whats your current ratio spread and how does it suit your needs?
5. How would you change it?

- Mostly pavement, some gravel and dirt paths
- Road bike
- Mostly flat, some long hills, nothing crazy steep
- 40/52t front, 14-34t rear (2x5)
- 36/52t, 11-34t (2x8)

While my current gearing is totally sufficient for my needs and actually quite useful, I find myself being in top gear (52/14) all the time on flat terrain in non windy conditions. I'd like for slightly lower and slightly higher gearing on both ends of the spectrum. Something like 2x7 or 2x8 would offer some ideal spacing in terms of snatching through the gears while accelerating from a stand still.

Interestingly enough, I found a Biopace Mountain LX crankset made by shimano (28/38/48) . Never seen that sort of spacing before. Typically lower end mountain bikes come with 22/32/44. Woukd be interesting to give this unique ratio spread a try.
1. Pavement, gravel or dirt forest roads, non technical trails.
2. All road.
3. From flat pave to steep gravel.
4. 46/30 11-30 11 spd. Perfect
5. Nothing.
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Old 11-23-20, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
How do you fare on steep climbs?

Fine, I work at it. I have two bikes with the exact same Campy group set. I know this set up is on the rare side nowadays but it works for me. Last real hills I did were in Maine this summer around Sugar Loaf.
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Old 11-23-20, 08:14 PM
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Road 50/34, 11-34 11 speed
46/30, 12-27 10 speed
Hilly Terrain, most rides average 100+ ft climb per mile.

Older/heavier rider 210 lbs, so needed some help on climbs with gearing. Advantage is I can ride longer in the mountains/hills with this gearing.
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Old 11-23-20, 08:45 PM
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Road: 1x9
Road: 1x1
Road (shopping and hauling): 1x3
Road (winter shopping and hauling): 1x3

I live in a region of endless rolling hills. And I'm a fairly slow cyclists. All of my bikes have swept bars. As I tell people, the hills in our area can be steep, or they can be long, but they can't be both. So there's always relief ahead if it gets really steep

The 1x9 is what I take out for longer rides (30+ miles) if I'm being sensible. But I also like challenging myself on the 1x1 along similar routes. The other bikes are self explanatory.
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Old 11-23-20, 08:57 PM
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All of them. Give me all of the gears. I will find a place to use them.

Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
...Interestingly enough, I found a Biopace Mountain LX crankset made by shimano (28/38/48) . Never seen that sort of spacing before. Typically lower end mountain bikes come with 22/32/44. Woukd be interesting to give this unique ratio spread a try.
That Biopace will probably feel like smaller rings. That's the interesting effect I feel with my old school 52/42 Biopace on one road bike. The 52 subjectively feels more like my 50T round ring, and the more ovalized/eccentric shaped 42T feels more like the round 38 or 39 small chainring on my other road bike.

It's fairly subtle, but climbing in my bike with 42T Biopace small ring and 28T biggest rear cog feel about like the 38 or 39 round chainring (not sure which is on it at the moment, I swapped 'em recently) and 28T rear cog.

Not everyone cares for Biopace or other eccentric chainrings but I like 'em, although it's tricky to set up to prevent knee twinges. I prefer Biopace with shorter cranks, around 170mm. With longer cranks I felt some knee twinges that I don't get with 172.5 or 175 cranks on round chainrings.

It also depends on the orientation of the eccentric chainrings. Some folks found Biopace works better for them with the rings re-oriented, rather than the factory default. With older 5-bolt spiders choices are limited. More recent oval/eccentric chainrings offer more variety in mounting to suit the rider.
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Old 11-23-20, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
While my current gearing is totally sufficient for my needs and actually quite useful, I find myself being in top gear (52/14) all the time on flat terrain in non windy conditions.
In 52-14, with a reasonable cadence of 90rpm, you would be riding at 26+ mph on 700c wheels with 23mm tires. I find it rather unlikely that you ride at such a speed "all the time on flat terrain in non windy conditions."

I'm guessing that you are rather new to cycling and are still pedaling at a painfully low cadence. You don't need higher gears; you need to learn how to spin. Your knees will thank me when you are...my age.

Last edited by Koyote; 11-23-20 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 11-23-20, 10:57 PM
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I'm perfectly fine with 50/34 and 32-13t. Great combo for wide range of conditions.

I do lots of steep climbs ~15% gradient and fast downhills
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Old 11-23-20, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Thought this might make for some interesting conversation.. lets say you can spec your bike with any sort of ratios you want. What are you picking?

1. What sort of terrain do you ride on?
2. What sort of bike is it?
3. How hilly is the area you ride in
4. Whats your current ratio spread and how does it suit your needs?
5. How would you change it?

- Mostly pavement, some gravel and dirt paths
- Road bike
- Mostly flat, some long hills, nothing crazy steep
- 40/52t front, 14-34t rear (2x5)
- 36/52t, 11-34t (2x8)

While my current gearing is totally sufficient for my needs and actually quite useful, I find myself being in top gear (52/14) all the time on flat terrain in non windy conditions. I'd like for slightly lower and slightly higher gearing on both ends of the spectrum. Something like 2x7 or 2x8 would offer some ideal spacing in terms of snatching through the gears while accelerating from a stand still.

Interestingly enough, I found a Biopace Mountain LX crankset made by shimano (28/38/48) . Never seen that sort of spacing before. Typically lower end mountain bikes come with 22/32/44. Woukd be interesting to give this unique ratio spread a try.
my terrain is gently rolling - the biggest local climb is ~1/4 mile @ 5%. I run 51/39 front and 12/23 10sp at the back. This gives me a straight 12-19, plus 21 & 23. Thereís nothing local that canít be climbed on a 39/23. Thereís a fair amount of overlap between the big ring- and small ring ranges, and I treat them like that high and low ranges, spending most time in the 51 and only dropping to the 39 for the more rolling stuff, but I could probably spend the day in the 39 without too much bother. I have a 13/29 cassette if I anticipate an outing with a lot of climbing, like over in Western NC. Thereís a new compact (50/34) crankset in the parts box, but Iím not inclined to install it until I routinely need the extra climbing capacity. In the meantime, I ensure that my 10sp future is secure - I have a couple of new 10sp cassettes thatíll keep me going for at least the next 5 years. After that, Iíll look at EPS , but I likely wonít upgrade to electronic until Campagnolo come out with wireless shifting, so I donít have to drill holes in my Litespeed.
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Old 11-24-20, 02:29 AM
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  1. Exclusively road
  2. All 4 bikes are road bikes - 2 steel, 2 CF
  3. All rides contain several hills 5-6%, 1/2 mile in length, with occasional climbs 7-8% average for 3-4 miles. And the accompanying descents, of course
  4. Two steels are 53/39 x 12-30, one carbon 50/34 x 12-28, all 10sp; other CF 52/36 x 11-34
  5. Nothing. I already changed the first 3 to what I wanted and the 4th is great as it is.
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Old 11-24-20, 08:27 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Thought this might make for some interesting conversation.. lets say you can spec your bike with any sort of ratios you want. What are you picking?

1. What sort of terrain do you ride on?
2. What sort of bike is it?
3. How hilly is the area you ride in
4. Whats your current ratio spread and how does it suit your needs?
5. How would you change it?
1. Pavement, gravel, dirt, forest fire roads and trails, beach. That includes some mud, some loose sand, snow, pretty much anything except rocky surfaces which are very rare around here.
2. Hybrid with front suspension (dual sport type).
3. Mostly flat, longer climbs are rare, but there are some short and steep ones.
4. 44/32/22 front, 11-32 9s rear. I could do without the lowest gears; the high end is about right.
5. A subcompact double (46/30) on the front would probably make sense, but I don't care enough to replace my current XT crankset, which, while an older model, is still really nice. The couple hundred of grams of possible weight saving means nothing to me. I might get an 11-28 cassette though.

Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Interestingly enough, I found a Biopace Mountain LX crankset made by shimano (28/38/48) . Never seen that sort of spacing before. Typically lower end mountain bikes come with 22/32/44. Woukd be interesting to give this unique ratio spread a try.
Nothing unique about that gear spacing, that's a typical hybrid/trekking triple crankset. Other common verison is 48/36/26. Shimano still produce them at all price levels from Tourney up to XT.
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Old 11-24-20, 08:34 AM
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Road/touring bike has a 42/34 front with 12-26 in the back.
Fatbike has a 32 tooth front with a 10 speed 11-34 in the back.
Fargo is a dingle speed. 55 and 70 gear inches.
SS road bike 70 gear inches.
SS trail bikes are 50-55 gear inches.
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Old 11-24-20, 09:21 AM
  #25  
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- Pavement
- Road bike
- Flat to rolling hills. Climbs are 6-8% on average.
- 50/34 front, 11-32 rear on the Cannondale. 50/34 front, 11-30 rear on the Orbea. Both are 11 speed.
- I wouldn't change anything right now as the compact gearing works well. I typically find myself cruising somewhere in the middle the cassette and the big ring the majority of the time.
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