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Gearing questions

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Old 11-08-17, 03:34 PM
  #26  
pdlamb
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
@pdlamb Tell me about that Fuji Touring bike (Nashbar has the same bike) been looking at it in the mix.

Well, mine probably won't be like yours if you buy it today, since mine's pushing 20 years old and it retains the original fork and brakes. I got the Touring because (a) I figured I was a load for the bike to carry, (b) it handles wider tires well, and (c) it's more versatile than the skinny tire racer-wannabe bikes. When I bought it, it was something like a gravel grinder (with rack mounts) would be today.


I went to a taller Nitto stem and Brooks saddle pretty early. Got tired of messing with 7-speed STX shifters, so I went to Campy shifters and derailer and a 9-speed cassette and freehub (Shimano, for the bigger gears). Hit by a car around 2003, new bar. I didn't adjust the dropouts when I spread the frame for 9 speeds, which may have contributed to the frame breaking around 2007 -- replaced under warranty. Bearings were shot around that time, so I built up a new rear wheel. Added a nice dyno hub front wheel a few years after that. Front derailer broke a bit later, so I got a MTB derailer (ratcheting Campy shifter doesn't care which type or brand). Seatpost broke last year, replaced with a nice two-bolt design. It's like the hatchet George Washington used to chop down the cherry tree; the handle's been replaced three times, and the hatchet head twice, but it's still George Washington's hatchet.


So now it's got a MTB 46-36-24 crank with a Shimano 11-34 cassette. At my body weight, the terrible load of a triple is insignificant, in the noise. It'll handle tires up to 35s, but I usually run 32s and sometimes a 28. Light enough for a run over the mountain behind my house, sturdy enough to add a couple panniers and make a run out to the orchard on the north side of the county and bring home half a bushel of apples. The dyno lights will run all night, every night, without needing to be charged - at least as long as I can keep pedaling. It's my "normal" commuting bike, and the one I like to ride to work every day. I've pulled a 22% grade on it a couple of times, but I lack the power and endurance to climb more than a 10-12% grade for more than a few hundred yards. (The inclinometer was too heavy to leave on there for long!) I can usually stay in the middle ring, but on more than a few rides I've been happy to have the two extra bailout granny gears. FWIW, I find I can ride a granny gear about 50% faster than I can walk.


Also FWIW, I've got a different travel bike with bar ends. My take is that they're just as easy to run as Ergo or STI; I let go of the bar, drop my hand down, and the hand falls right on to the shifter. Don't be afraid of bar-ends. Also, don't worry about Deore components; I've been running a Deore rder on a third bike for 28,000 miles with one maintenance issue (idler wheel bushings needed grease).

Bottom line: get a decent frame and go ride it. You can upgrade incrementally to find out what works (or doesn't) for you.
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Old 11-08-17, 03:54 PM
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@pdlamb Thank you very much for taking the time. This is VERY helpful to me.
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Old 11-09-17, 03:44 AM
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I had Gevenalle shifters on the Europa before she died. Actually, I had Retroshifters as they were before Gevenalle bought them out. They're based on the Tektro brake lever which is a shape I really like. They offer the advantage of full friction shifting on the front and whatever you choose on the back (just change the shifter lever). They are also dead simple of course.

In use, once you get used to them, they're basically just like brifters. Not quite as 'under your fingers' and as simple as brifters, but the differences aren't large enough to discourage you if you're of a mind to choose such a weird system. I personally found them as easy to use as brifters and far more reliable.

Their big disadvantage is the shifter cables which pass across in front of the bars and hence may come into conflict with a tank bag.

The big advantage is that if you're playing with gearing, the friction shifter on the front allows you to use a triple or a double whereas if you want to go from 9 to 10 to 11 to 12 at the back, you only need to buy a new downtube shifter (Microshifters these days, I was able to use DuraAce).

A secondary advantage is people pointing and saying "WTF are those things?"
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Old 11-09-17, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
50/34 with 32 teeth in the rear was designed for road bikes with a rider and a seat bag. Once you add weight to that bike, you're going to want more gear than that, unless you live in Nebraska.
Ha Ha! I live and cycle in Nebraska and prefer a triple. Funny thing is I've ridden the alpine rides in Colorado and numerous mountain passes in the west and the fastest I have ever gone downhill is in the Sandhills of Nebraska! We aren't flat, unless you stick to the interstate.
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Old 11-09-17, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
Ha Ha! I live and cycle in Nebraska and prefer a triple. Funny thing is I've ridden the alpine rides in Colorado and numerous mountain passes in the west and the fastest I have ever gone downhill is in the Sandhills of Nebraska! We aren't flat, unless you stick to the interstate.
All the more reason that anything less than 1:1 isn't enough.

I can't think of a ride I've ever been on where I thought to myself, "I really wish I wasn't carrying this third chain ring.....I'd be so much faster up this mountain if I wasn't."
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Old 11-09-17, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
I can't think of a ride I've ever been on where I thought to myself, "I really wish I wasn't carrying this third chain ring.....I'd be so much faster up this mountain if I wasn't."

Ain't THAT the truth!
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Old 11-10-17, 09:27 AM
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A 50/39/30 triple with 11-28 cassette works fine for me on my Bike Friday only because its 20" wheels effectively lower gearing by 25%. Its middle chain ring provides lower gearing than the lowest gear of a 50/34 compact with + 11-28 cassette. Shimano's standard road bike offerings for 700C (or 650B) just don't cut it for me.

I'm currently running a 42/26 compact plus crank (OX601D) with an 11-32 (11 speed Ultegra 6800) cassette. Before that I was using a 46/34/24 touring triple with a 12-30 (10 speed Ultegra 6700) cassette. The lowest and highest gears of both setups are basically the same, but the compact plus double works better with Shimano STI shifters than the touring triple did. On top of that the 11 speed allows me to use hydro disc brakes, which are vastly superior to anything I've used before for all weather riding. 46-12 or 42-11 is plenty fast for descents of up to 40-50 km/h.

Where I spend the bulk of the time is climbs. For that I want a low gear that's a little quicker than walking, but not by much. My current setup gives me about 6 km/h at 60 rpm cadence.

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Old 11-12-17, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
Okay this is curious and sort of the basis for my question. I currently ride a 50/34-12/30 typical road bike. I very rarely run out of gears around my county with a few climbs being the exception. I CAN say there are a few climbs that I'm pretty much at the limit with my current low range. So I kind of thought an 11/32 would give one more climbing gear with that 32 cog.

Being in search of a more comfortable, upright, larger tire, touring type bike, I find a LOT of Touring specific bikes have a triple on front and 9 on back. My question with that is, typically they come with Shimano Deore or Sora and I kind of thought that was low end, entry level. Which would need to be upgraded in a couple thousand miles.

And what are those bar end micro shifters all about? (Remove cable interference with front rack or bag?)

So I'm thinking just stick with what I know, typical road bike gearing but an upright, bigger framed, larger tired, steel framed comfort bike, and go ride....

but I keep coming back to the triple up front and the advocates of them in this thread and wonder if I'm missing something. ???
I am a bike touring kind of biker, racks and panniers and camping gear, etc. I don't ride randos but I like to watch this board for tips for long days in the saddle. I wanted to provide a bit of my background so you understand my comments and reasoning better.

Bar ends - that has a lot of history in touring. Decades ago most shifters were downtube mounted and were friction, not indexed. A lot of the bikes back then had small diameter frame tubing, thus were not very stiff. And bikes had a lot fewer gears back then. So, if you were shifting on difficult terrain, bar ends gave you a way to have both hands on the handlebars for better control while shifting.

I have bar ends on three bikes, a brifter on one bike. But I have been riding bar ends since the 1980s, so my personal preference is towards bar ends. I have one Rohloff bike and I even have my shifter on the end of the handlebar (I use the HubBub adapter) because I like that location for a shifter.

Now, brifters are more likely to be perceived as less durable than bar ends, which is why many touring bikes are sold with bar ends. A friend of mine was getting ready for his third cross country tour this past spring, his 9 speed brifter stopped working (it was over 10 years old) and he did not have a lot of time to look for a new one. Replacement 9 speed brifters can be hard to find. So he switched to bar ends because they were readily available. On his tour, one of the other riders had a 9 speed brifter stop working, she was then down to only three speeds (triple crankset) for the rest of her cross country tour. At the end of the trip my friend said the bar ends worked great.

Triples - I have two derailleur touring bikes and a rando bike, all have triples and 11/32 cassettes in back. The touring bikes have a granny gear of 24T. The rando bike has a granny gear of 30T because it is never loaded down like a touring bike so the gearing on the rando bike does not have to be as low as a touring bike.

You mention touring bikes often having 3X9. Shimano 9 speed shared the same cable pull between road and mountain components. Touring bikes often used road shifters and mountain derailleurs. When Shimano went to 10 speed and the road gruppo and mountain bike gruppo no longer had the same cable pull, that caused some difficulties for touring bike builders because they no longer could use a road shifter with mountain derailler in back. Also a lot of people tour on older bikes because they last a long time, so older drive trains are often used for touring.

I am running 8 speed cassettes on four bikes (all are 11/32), I do not have any 9 or 10 or 11 speed cassettes. All of my bikes take the same 8 speed chains, including the Rohloff bike. That simplifies maintaining an inventory of spares.

Replacing a 30 with a 32 is not going to give you much difference in gearing.

Triples, it is hard to say if they will continue to be available in the future. Manufacturers are now making bigger cassettes than they used to, more mountain bikes are being sold without triples, I would not be surprised if triples disappear in less than a decade.

I think you might benefit if you watch some of the gearing conversations on the touring forum for a few months. You will find lots of debate and varying opinions there, which is why a few months would be more instructive than coming to a conclusion on what most people do in only a few weeks.
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/
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Old 11-13-17, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I am a bike touring kind of biker, racks and panniers and camping gear, etc. I don't ride randos but I like to watch this board for tips for long days in the saddle. I wanted to provide a bit of my background so you understand my comments and reasoning better.

Bar ends - that has a lot of history in touring. Decades ago most shifters were downtube mounted and were friction, not indexed. A lot of the bikes back then had small diameter frame tubing, thus were not very stiff. And bikes had a lot fewer gears back then. So, if you were shifting on difficult terrain, bar ends gave you a way to have both hands on the handlebars for better control while shifting.

I have bar ends on three bikes, a brifter on one bike. But I have been riding bar ends since the 1980s, so my personal preference is towards bar ends. I have one Rohloff bike and I even have my shifter on the end of the handlebar (I use the HubBub adapter) because I like that location for a shifter.

Now, brifters are more likely to be perceived as less durable than bar ends, which is why many touring bikes are sold with bar ends. A friend of mine was getting ready for his third cross country tour this past spring, his 9 speed brifter stopped working (it was over 10 years old) and he did not have a lot of time to look for a new one. Replacement 9 speed brifters can be hard to find. So he switched to bar ends because they were readily available. On his tour, one of the other riders had a 9 speed brifter stop working, she was then down to only three speeds (triple crankset) for the rest of her cross country tour. At the end of the trip my friend said the bar ends worked great.

Triples - I have two derailleur touring bikes and a rando bike, all have triples and 11/32 cassettes in back. The touring bikes have a granny gear of 24T. The rando bike has a granny gear of 30T because it is never loaded down like a touring bike so the gearing on the rando bike does not have to be as low as a touring bike.

You mention touring bikes often having 3X9. Shimano 9 speed shared the same cable pull between road and mountain components. Touring bikes often used road shifters and mountain derailleurs. When Shimano went to 10 speed and the road gruppo and mountain bike gruppo no longer had the same cable pull, that caused some difficulties for touring bike builders because they no longer could use a road shifter with mountain derailler in back. Also a lot of people tour on older bikes because they last a long time, so older drive trains are often used for touring.

I am running 8 speed cassettes on four bikes (all are 11/32), I do not have any 9 or 10 or 11 speed cassettes. All of my bikes take the same 8 speed chains, including the Rohloff bike. That simplifies maintaining an inventory of spares.

Replacing a 30 with a 32 is not going to give you much difference in gearing.

Triples, it is hard to say if they will continue to be available in the future. Manufacturers are now making bigger cassettes than they used to, more mountain bikes are being sold without triples, I would not be surprised if triples disappear in less than a decade.

I think you might benefit if you watch some of the gearing conversations on the touring forum for a few months. You will find lots of debate and varying opinions there, which is why a few months would be more instructive than coming to a conclusion on what most people do in only a few weeks.
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/
AFAIK, the 9 speed XTR RD works fine with a Shimano 10-speed road brifter. It just goes back and forth and the range is the same. You just can't use the 10-speed MTB RD with road brifters - that's what incompatible. Last I looked, the old XTR is still available on ebay.
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Old 11-14-17, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
AFAIK, the 9 speed XTR RD works fine with a Shimano 10-speed road brifter. It just goes back and forth and the range is the same. You just can't use the 10-speed MTB RD with road brifters - that's what incompatible. Last I looked, the old XTR is still available on ebay.
If a 9 speed mountain derailleur and 10 speed road brifter work for you, that is great.

This link suggests that 9 speed Shimano has a cable pull of 2.5mm, 10 speed road Shimano has a cable pull of 2.3mm.
Art's Cyclery Blog Science Behind the Magic | Drivetrain Compatibility

Thus they are close. On your bike, maybe close enough.

I agree that some mixing and matching can work. I am running a Campy 10 speed brifter and 8 speed Sram cassette (11/32) with Shimano XT (M739) rear derailleur on one bike, it works pretty well.

And of course a Jtek adapter can make just about anything work.
Shiftmate Compatibility Charts and Choices - Jtek Engineering

That said, it is unlikley you will find any new off the shelf bikes being sold with mis-matching components as it creates too many opportunities for a customer to look for excuses to be unhappy.
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Old 11-14-17, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If a 9 speed mountain derailleur and 10 speed road brifter work for you, that is great.

This link suggests that 9 speed Shimano has a cable pull of 2.5mm, 10 speed road Shimano has a cable pull of 2.3mm.
Art's Cyclery Blog Science Behind the Magic | Drivetrain Compatibility

Thus they are close. On your bike, maybe close enough.
I think you're confusing something there. The 2.5 mm vs 2.3 mm is not an issue as long as the cassette matches the shifters (9 vs. 9, 10 vs. 10). Cable pull is determined by the shifter. The RD just moves proportionally to however much the cable moves, it doesn't care about the cog spacing. The reduced cable pull on 10 speed shifters is just what is need for the narrower cog spacing on 10 speed cassettes (3.95 mm vs. 4.34 mm).

At 9 speed, road and MTB are fully interchangeable, any shifter will work with any derailleur. 10-speed road shifters will work with a 10 speed cassette, using a either a 9 or 10 speed road RD or a 9 speed MTB RD. The only thing 10 speed road shifters won't work with is a 10 speed MTB RD.

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Old 11-15-17, 09:20 AM
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So...
I decided to order a Marin Four Corners, 2017 model. It has a 50/36/30 up front, and 11/32 on back. This keeps me with a 50, but gives me some more low gears for climbing. I'm seeing very little out there with some of the gearing combos suggested above and until I try it, I just don't know what I need, if I need it, or if I even want lower gearing combinations. This will at least open up my experience with a triple and I can make a fair comparison with my current road bike gearing. Outside of mountain biking, I have no idea what pedaling some of these low gear combinations is like and trail climbing on a mountain bike doesn't really translate into road climbing on a touring bike.
It gives me the capability to expand gear if I want to do a tour, or the other 99% of just road riding which I currently do. But it is more upright and larger tires, different gearing, I can ride gravel if I want...It will be interesting to see where this goes. I can always fiddle with different cranksets and/or cassettes.
I really like my Selle Anatomica and intend to leave it on my road bike, maybe I'll try a Brooks on this bike.
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Old 11-15-17, 09:55 AM
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That's a good set of gears for a road bike. Higher than I would want for touring. There's nothing quite like the feeling of running out of gears on the middle ring then dropping down to that little ring and spinning to the top.
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Old 11-15-17, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by joewein View Post
I think you're confusing something there. The 2.5 mm vs 2.3 mm is not an issue as long as the cassette matches the shifters (9 vs. 9, 10 vs. 10). Cable pull is determined by the shifter. The RD just moves proportionally to however much the cable moves, it doesn't care about the cog spacing. The reduced cable pull on 10 speed shifters is just what is need for the narrower cog spacing on 10 speed cassettes (3.95 mm vs. 4.34 mm).

At 9 speed, road and MTB are fully interchangeable, any shifter will work with any derailleur. 10-speed road shifters will work with a 10 speed cassette, using a either a 9 or 10 speed road RD or a 9 speed MTB RD. The only thing 10 speed road shifters won't work with is a 10 speed MTB RD.
I am going to have to think about this for a bit. Perhaps there is another combination that I was unaware of.

Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
So...
I decided to order a Marin Four Corners, 2017 model. It has a 50/36/30 up front, and 11/32 on back. This keeps me with a 50, but gives me some more low gears for climbing. ...
The bike I have with a 30T granny on front and 32T big sprocket on back (the same low gear you have) is good for hill climbing when I do not have a heavy load on the bike. But for touring I usually put a 24T granny gear on the crankset. If your crank has a 74mm BCD for a granny gear, you might be able to put a 24T or 26T on there later if you find you want lower gearing. My bikes use friction front shifters and vintage derailleurs, I can't say if your front derailleur and shifter would be happy with a 24T or not. But ride it first with the 30T and see if you are happy with that gearing. I suspect that the 30T will meet all your needs unless you try to load down the bike for touring.
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Old 11-15-17, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post


The bike I have with a 30T granny on front and 32T big sprocket on back (the same low gear you have) is good for hill climbing when I do not have a heavy load on the bike. But for touring I usually put a 24T granny gear on the crankset. If your crank has a 74mm BCD for a granny gear, you might be able to put a 24T or 26T on there later if you find you want lower gearing. My bikes use friction front shifters and vintage derailleurs, I can't say if your front derailleur and shifter would be happy with a 24T or not. But ride it first with the 30T and see if you are happy with that gearing. I suspect that the 30T will meet all your needs unless you try to load down the bike for touring.
So potentially, dependent upon the derailleur, I could switch out the crankset with a 24-32-42 mtn set, again, assuming the derailleur could handle it.

Actually, I have no doubt the current combination with the 30/32 granny gear won't handle any climb around here. The thoughts of touring, while attractive...well, the reality is, it is unlikely I will ever do much of that. But I'm kind of toying with an across state ride, and on this western end of the state there is a lot of significant uphill, especially on the Blue Ridge Parkway. So IF that ever comes to pass, I know there are other options available to drop to even lower gearing.
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Old 11-15-17, 02:48 PM
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...but then, I don't want such a low gearing that my Strava enters "Pause Ride" mode on my uphill climbs!
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Old 11-15-17, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
...but then, I don't want such a low gearing that my Strava enters "Pause Ride" mode on my uphill climbs!
I find I need 3.5 mph (5.6 km/hour) to maintain vertical and directional stability, slower than that and I am steering way too much. I do not use Strava so I am not familiar with it. But I assume that if you are going faster than walking speed, it will know you are moving. My Rohloff bike (internally geared hub, not derailleurs), I calculated what chainring I would need to buy so that my lowest gear would give me 3.5 mph with a cadence of 72. That chainring is what I use for loaded touring.
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Old 11-17-17, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
...but then, I don't want such a low gearing that my Strava enters "Pause Ride" mode on my uphill climbs!
As long as your lowest gear is faster than the 24" gear, you're right
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Old 11-18-17, 07:14 AM
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my slowest speed is about walking speed. Sometimes I get off and walk just to use different muscles. But on really steep hills, walking isn't that much easier than riding. I recall one time on a windy day when I got off and walked and it was more difficult because there was more frontal surface area. I was cramping on a 600k earlier this year, so I got off and walked a big hill. I really didn't get that far behind the people I had been riding with. Caught them at the next control.

One thing to consider when choosing the gearing for a new bike is that the bike industry really hates triples. So it's probably easier to go with a double. With current derailleurs, shifting is no problem.
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Old 11-21-17, 05:31 AM
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This page should help you decide what gear ratios you need and what options exist with road components: https://ridefar.info/bike/components/ratios/
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Old 11-21-17, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
This page should help you decide what gear ratios you need and what options exist with road components: https://ridefar.info/bike/components/ratios/
Chris,

Your excellent page has not been updated yet to mention the new IRD "Lobo" Adventure crank set. It supports outer rings of 46, 44, 42 or 40T and (optionally) inner rings of 32, 30 or 28T. They look quite similar to the Sugino OX601D and OX801D and are supposedly 10/11 speed compatible.
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Old 11-21-17, 09:21 AM
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Thanks for the info, I didn't know about the IRD crank. It does look very similar to the Suigno cranks, but slightly different - maybe this is the second-generation version. The non-hollow crank arms, 24mm spindle, and 74/110 BCDs are all the same as the Sugino, but there are some differences in the shape of the spider and finishing. The price is also similar. Hopefully availability will be a little easier for this option. In case anyone is interested, here is the retail page where you can order it direct from IRD for US$350: IRD Lobo "Adventure" Crankset
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Old 11-22-17, 01:37 PM
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By the way, @Chris W's website has a plethora of information on it. Very entertaining! Glad I saw that on your sig line and checked it out.
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Old 11-22-17, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If a 9 speed mountain derailleur and 10 speed road brifter work for you, that is great.

This link suggests that 9 speed Shimano has a cable pull of 2.5mm, 10 speed road Shimano has a cable pull of 2.3mm.
Art's Cyclery Blog Science Behind the Magic | Drivetrain Compatibility
9 * 2.5 = 22.5 mm total pull
10 * 2.3 = 23 mm total pull

36.5mm 9 speed cassette width / 22.5mm pull = 1.62:1
37.2mm* 10 speed cassette width / 23mm pull = 1.62:1 * With 10 speed bike manufacturers started using offset large cogs that could overhang the end of the freehub

The derailleurs parallelograms operate identically.

In theory side-to-side top derailleur pulley float could vary, although I'm not aware of any measurements. Carbon fiber cage Campagnolo Record 10 speed rear derailleurs use 9 speed pulleys. Alloy 10 speed derailleurs use the same jockey wheels, but different hardware although we don't know whether that's just making things narrower for spoke clearance or they did anything with float.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 11-22-17 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 11-22-17, 11:34 PM
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If you divide the sprocket-to-sprocket pitch by the cable pull which will be proportional with a given derailleur, you get:

9 speed: 4.35 mm / 2.5 mm = 1.74
10 speed: 3.95 mm / 2.3 mm = 1.72

So basically the 9 and 10 speed cable pull to cassette spacing ratios are within 1% of each other. For all practical purposes the derailleur spec is the same. That's why a 9 speed RD will work fine with a 10 speed cassette and road shifters.

Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
9 * 2.5 = 22.5 mm total pull
10 * 2.3 = 23 mm total pull
This is not quite right, as with a 10 speed shifter the RD moves only 9 times from low to high, or 8 times on a 9 speed. So the real total pull is 20 mm vs. 20.7 mm.
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