Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Hybrid Bicycles
Reload this Page >

Gear ratios for steep hills

Notices
Hybrid Bicycles Where else would you go to discuss these fun, versatile bikes?

Gear ratios for steep hills

Old 11-02-18, 05:00 PM
  #1  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Japan
Posts: 106

Bikes: 2020 Trek Domane AL 3, 2019 Giant Escape RX Disc

Liked 15 Times in 10 Posts
Gear ratios for steep hills

I currently ride a hybrid with 48-38-28 chainrings and an 11-32 cassette. I live up a 30% grade hill that cars sometimes have trouble driving up. I prefer to use the 28/32 gear to make it up, particularly after a 100k+ ride. I can barely make it up the hill in the 28/28 gear even when just popping down to the local grocery and back.

Been thinking of buying a new bike someday, and have been looking at the drivetrain possibilities. Never ridden a 2x before. Wondering what others' experience has been with gear ratios on hills. The 28/32 gear I like to use on my hill is about a .88 ratio, and of course the 28/28 is a 1 ratio. The 2x compact drivetrains commonly have 50/34 chainrings and 32/x cassettes. On such a drivetrain, the easiest gear would be 34/32, which is a 1.06 gear ratio.

Given how much harder my hill is when using a 1 ratio gear than a .88 ratio gear, I'm a little apprehensive about moving to a drivetrain where the easiest gear ratio is about 1.06. I doubt I'll have access to a 30% grade hill when test riding a bike to check it out before buying. Interested to hear what others' experiences have been switching to 2x compact drivetrains and tackling steep hills.

By the way, is it "chainrings" or "chain rings", and how do you know? When I search for the previous sentence on google, tons of articles containing both spellings turn up. But neither spelling shows up on dictionary.com.
el forestero is offline  
Old 11-02-18, 05:43 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Montreal, Canada/ Brasilia, Brazil (currently)
Posts: 581

Bikes: Giant FCR 3 with lots of mods, Brazilian made Caloi 100.

Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by el forestero
I currently ride a hybrid with 48-38-28 chainrings and an 11-32 cassette. I live up a 30% grade hill that cars sometimes have trouble driving up. I prefer to use the 28/32 gear to make it up, particularly after a 100k+ ride. I can barely make it up the hill in the 28/28 gear even when just popping down to the local grocery and back.

Been thinking of buying a new bike someday, and have been looking at the drivetrain possibilities. Never ridden a 2x before. Wondering what others' experience has been with gear ratios on hills. The 28/32 gear I like to use on my hill is about a .88 ratio, and of course the 28/28 is a 1 ratio. The 2x compact drivetrains commonly have 50/34 chainrings and 32/x cassettes. On such a drivetrain, the easiest gear would be 34/32, which is a 1.06 gear ratio.

Given how much harder my hill is when using a 1 ratio gear than a .88 ratio gear, I'm a little apprehensive about moving to a drivetrain where the easiest gear ratio is about 1.06. I doubt I'll have access to a 30% grade hill when test riding a bike to check it out before buying. Interested to hear what others' experiences have been switching to 2x compact drivetrains and tackling steep hills.

By the way, is it "chainrings" or "chain rings", and how do you know? When I search for the previous sentence on google, tons of articles containing both spellings turn up. But neither spelling shows up on dictionary.com.
Considering you need to go up a 30% grade, but also do 100K rides, I'd stick with a triple crank and get a smaller granny chainring (that's how I choose to spell it despite my browser trying to correct it), a 26 or 24T. Unfortunately a new bike with a triple crank is hard to find these days except for the most entry level models. In a double, something like a 48-32 with a wide range cassette(11-36) will give you a similar range to what you have now. In a 1x maybe something like 38T front ring and a 10-42 or a 10-44 or the new Eagle 10-50 cassette, but that smells too expensive.
andrei_r is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 06:12 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Kips Bay, NY
Posts: 2,223

Bikes: Ritchey Swiss Cross | Teesdale Kona Hot | Haro Extreme | Specialized Stumpjumper Comp | Cannondale F1000 | Shogun 1000 | Cannondale M500 | Norco Charger | Marin Muirwoods 29er | Shogun Kaze | Breezer Lightning

Liked 1,030 Times in 498 Posts
Originally Posted by el forestero
I currently ride a hybrid with 48-38-28 chainrings and an 11-32 cassette. I live up a 30% grade hill that cars sometimes have trouble driving up. I prefer to use the 28/32 gear to make it up, particularly after a 100k+ ride. I can barely make it up the hill in the 28/28 gear even when just popping down to the local grocery and back.

Been thinking of buying a new bike someday, and have been looking at the drivetrain possibilities. Never ridden a 2x before. Wondering what others' experience has been with gear ratios on hills. The 28/32 gear I like to use on my hill is about a .88 ratio, and of course the 28/28 is a 1 ratio. The 2x compact drivetrains commonly have 50/34 chainrings and 32/x cassettes. On such a drivetrain, the easiest gear would be 34/32, which is a 1.06 gear ratio.

Given how much harder my hill is when using a 1 ratio gear than a .88 ratio gear, I'm a little apprehensive about moving to a drivetrain where the easiest gear ratio is about 1.06. I doubt I'll have access to a 30% grade hill when test riding a bike to check it out before buying. Interested to hear what others' experiences have been switching to 2x compact drivetrains and tackling steep hills.

By the way, is it "chainrings" or "chain rings", and how do you know? When I search for the previous sentence on google, tons of articles containing both spellings turn up. But neither spelling shows up on dictionary.com.
The only exact aspect of cycling is the gearing. The math does not lie. If you need X gear inches, going to the newest hi end double with >X is not the solution. You need X gear inches. No amount of marketing helped my old creaky knee up over a hill ever.
DorkDisk is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 07:02 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,871

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX Single Track 2x11

Liked 588 Times in 445 Posts
Originally Posted by el forestero
I currently ride a hybrid with 48-38-28 chainrings and an 11-32 cassette.
Consider the following setups (in gear-inches) @ BikeCalc.com:

1. 700x38mm, 28/38/48T with 11-32 cassette: high 119.81, low 24.18.

2. 700x38mm, 28/38/48T with 12-36 cassette: high 109.92, low 21.43.

3. 700x38mm, 22/32/44T with 11-32 cassette: high 109.92, low 18.96.

4. 700x38mm, 22/32/44T with 12-36 cassette: high 100.85, low 16.76. (The "low" here is 30% lower than the 28/38/48T with 11-32.)
Clyde1820 is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 04:13 PM
  #5  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Japan
Posts: 106

Bikes: 2020 Trek Domane AL 3, 2019 Giant Escape RX Disc

Liked 15 Times in 10 Posts
Thanks for the helpful suggestions, folks. Will plan for the likelihood of needing to swap out the cassette and/or chainrings on whatever bike I buy to get that granny gear.
el forestero is offline  
Old 11-03-18, 05:38 PM
  #6  
nothing to see here
 
Bryan C.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Antioch, CA
Posts: 564
Liked 145 Times in 78 Posts
Originally Posted by el forestero
Thanks for the helpful suggestions, folks. Will plan for the likelihood of needing to swap out the cassette and/or chainrings on whatever bike I buy to get that granny gear.
I went down this road with my Giant Escape. My local trails are mostly fire roads up never ending foothills. Originally had a triple up front. Swapped to a 46/32 double crankset with a wide range 11-36 cassette and a 40 tooth expander cog which required a wolftooth roadlink. Did the conversion pretty cheap overall.

Might have been cheaper to run a 2x Shimano SLX MTB style drivetrain but I wanted a road drivetrain for higher gearing at the top end. Generally speaking, MTB drivetrains will give better climbing ratios and road drivetrains will be more about top end speed (YMMV). Many ways to do it although its just added expense on top of a new bike purchase.
Bryan C. is offline  
Old 11-04-18, 07:38 PM
  #7  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Japan
Posts: 106

Bikes: 2020 Trek Domane AL 3, 2019 Giant Escape RX Disc

Liked 15 Times in 10 Posts
Thanks for the heads up on the expander cog and roadlink. Wasn't aware such things existed. Nice to know about these options.
el forestero is offline  
Old 11-06-18, 02:44 PM
  #8  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Liked 1,360 Times in 866 Posts
Wink 1:1

If cog and chainring are the same tooth-count,
then it's like a chain drive unicycle with an extra wheel .

Every rotation of the pedals turns the wheel once.
fietsbob is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Kiramarch
Tandem Cycling
42
05-05-18 08:09 AM
n0thing
Hybrid Bicycles
43
09-23-16 03:28 PM
Bigbandito
Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg)
48
08-17-13 10:13 AM
SellOut
Bicycle Mechanics
10
10-02-12 08:01 PM
Apaulo
Road Cycling
8
10-05-11 06:09 PM

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
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.