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Matching chainrings and cassettes

Old 03-15-17, 07:47 AM
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Matching chainrings and cassettes

Hey guys/gals,

Trying to figure out my gearing setup on my AWOL. I got a feeling that my gearing is too tall, trying to figure out what I need to do to fix the gear range. I mostly run on the small chainring in the front, don't think I have ever used the large chainring, wondering if I can shorten the ratio's to give me better shifting through the cassette and open up use of the large chainring?

Currently running 50/34 in the front on a sram rival crank and 11-32 on the rear cassette.

Any recommendations?
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Old 03-15-17, 07:57 AM
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I'm not sure I'm following your post. You indicate that you think the gearing is too tall, yet want closer ratios.

These two goals are somewhat inconsistent.

You're not going to get an inner chain ring smaller than 34, so the option for lower gearing is an 11-36 (which may require a new rear derailleur) but will also widen the steps between ratios.

You could go with 46/38 chain rings (often use for cyclocross) to make the big ring more useful, but you'll raise the gear ratio of your lowest gear.

You could also go with a 46/34 combination, but the rings wouldn't be designed to work together, and you might see some degradation of your front shifting.

I'm not a big fan of triples, but your stated purpose, lower gearing and closer ratios, a triple appears to be the answer.
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Old 03-15-17, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I'm not sure I'm following your post. You indicate that you think the gearing is too tall, yet want closer ratios.

These two goals are somewhat inconsistent.

You're not going to get an inner chain ring smaller than 34, so the option for lower gearing is an 11-36 (which may require a new rear derailleur) but will also widen the steps between ratios.

You could go with 46/38 chain rings (often use for cyclocross) to make the big ring more useful, but you'll raise the gear ratio of your lowest gear.

You could also go with a 46/34 combination, but the rings wouldn't be designed to work together, and you might see some degradation of your front shifting.

I'm not a big fan of triples, but your stated purpose, lower gearing and closer ratios, a triple appears to be the answer.
Well, Merlin, that isn't exactly right. I don't think they mean they don't have a low enough gear, but rather not enough low gears. Too many gears up at the small end of the cassette. I mean that for road riding there is nothing "too tall" about 34/32. One tactic to get more of the lower gears would be to have a cassette with a larger smallest cog like a 12 instead of an 11. That frees up a space for a medium cog in the middle of the cassette. If you can find a 13 largest cog, that would be even better. Those come on so-called "junior" cassettes which are required for teenage racers. If you don't really need the 32 for climbing, you can tighten up the cassette from that end too. A good choice might be a 12-28 or even a 12-25 or 12-26. Or as I said before, a junior cassette like 13-26. True, you won't really have lower gears. In fact your lowest gear will be higher, but you will have more choices at the middle and lower end of the cassette. If that is what you want, that is how to get it.
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Old 03-15-17, 08:33 AM
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^ that's where the OP doesn't give enough information. does he need the 34/32 combination for his low gear? If so he's not going to get much closer spacing without a triple.

If you can find, or assemble a 11 speed cassette with 12-32, it would be a slight improvement in spacing but not much.
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Old 03-15-17, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
^ that's where the OP doesn't give enough information. does he need the 34/32 combination for his low gear? If so he's not going to get much closer spacing without a triple.

If you can find, or assemble a 11 speed cassette with 12-32, it would be a slight improvement in spacing but not much.
Right. If they can do without the 32, then a 12-28 or 12-26 would give him a lot of rideable gears. And a 13-26 or 13-28 even more.
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Old 03-15-17, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
You're not going to get an inner chain ring smaller than 34
I don't think this is quite right.

There is a growing list of options for so-called "adventure" gearing that offer 48/32 and even 46/30 chainrings. Because these chainrings do not work with the BCD of compact cranksets, it will require replacing the cranks too. But it might be the simplest option for getting more usable range out of your existing set up.

Some examples:

- FSA Modular Adventure SL-K crankset
- Sugino OX901D
- White Industries VBC chainrings
- I've even heard rumors that the Easton EC90 SL cranks might soon get sub-compact chainring options
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Old 03-15-17, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by blazin View Post
I don't think this is quite right.

There is a growing list of options for so-called "adventure" gearing that offer 48/32 and even 46/30 chainrings. Because these chainrings do not work with the BCD of compact cranksets, it will require replacing the cranks too. But it might be the simplest option for getting more usable range out of your existing set up.

Some examples:

- FSA Modular Adventure SL-K crankset
- Sugino OX901D
- White Industries VBC chainrings
- I've even heard rumors that the Easton EC90 SL cranks might soon get sub-compact chainring options
Context was on his Rival cranks. I meant to say with your Rival cranks.
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Old 03-15-17, 09:06 AM
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The older I get, the more of an adventure riding becomes...even on the same old streets. I didn't know they made special gear ratios for that.
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Old 03-15-17, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Context was on his Rival cranks. I meant to say with your Rival cranks.
Then I agree entirely!
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Old 03-15-17, 09:37 AM
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I've been spinning myself in circles on this ordeal... I'll put it in laymans terms as I get the feeling I'm screwing up Tall/short/close/low/high. I am looking to get more gear options at low speeds on the bike(especially loaded). I don't even touch the large chainring on the crank until I am really hammering down. I have too much top end gearing and not enough low speed gearing.
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Old 03-15-17, 09:40 AM
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When you say not enough low end gearing, are you saying that your lowest gear is not low enough for you; the low end gears are spaced too far apart, or both?

Because what you need or want for your lowest gear is going to dictate the answer of how to best address your problem.
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Old 03-15-17, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
When you say not enough low end gearing, are you saying that your lowest gear is not low enough for you; the low end gears are spaced too far apart, or both?

Because what you need or want for your lowest gear is going to dictate the answer of how to best address your problem.
Both, I think the lowest gear isnt quite low enough, and they are spaced too far apart. Generally not too bad when unloaded, but when I throw on the bikepacking gear, I run out of options real quick on climbs. Feels as though my cadence is too fast in one gear, but jump to the next and it really bogs down. End up being stuck in between two gears on the low end.
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Old 03-15-17, 09:57 AM
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In which case you likely need to get a new crankset. Either one that will allow you to use smaller chainrings, as in Blazin's post, or go to a triple ( Which involves new shifters derailleurs, and crankset.

You could get the lower gear by going to a SRAM Wifly 11-36 cassette but that would exacerbate your spacing problem ( and likely require a new rear derailleur)


If you went with a mountain bike crankset, you could run much smaller chain rings, have a lower low gear, and closer ratios.

A SRAM 2x10 crankset with 42-28 chain rings and an 11-28 cassette, would give you a bit closer spacing, lower low gear, and still have a decently high top end.

If you went with 38-24 chainrings, you could get even lower gearing, and/or tighter spacing. And 38/11 is still good for 24mph at 90 rpm
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Old 03-15-17, 09:58 AM
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Seems to me you should just get a SRAM 1x11, 38 in the front, 11-36 in the back. SRAM Rival x1 seems like a good choice. They do have RD that can go up to 42.
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Old 03-15-17, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
Seems to me you should just get a SRAM 1x11, 38 in the front, 11-36 in the back. SRAM Rival x1 seems like a good choice. They do have RD that can go up to 42.
the 11-36 ends up with a slightly higher (almost equivalent) to his current low gear.

And if you went with the 42 with the 38 in a 1x11 setup, the jumps in his gearing would be larger than they are now.
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Old 03-15-17, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
the 11-36 ends up with a slightly higher (almost equivalent) to his current low gear.

And if you went with the 42 with the 38 in a 1x11 setup, the jumps in his gearing would be larger than they are now.
So he wants smoother transitions?

Hmm maybe then a 12-25 with a SRAM MTB 1x crank in the front, 26. 26-25 is near 1:1 ratio.
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Old 03-15-17, 10:29 AM
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All your options are a bit too complicated tbh. I personally would look for a cassette that starts with larger sprockets and goes as low as you need. TA Specialites makes cassettes starting at 14T and even up to 18T, although they might be hard to get. Good thing is that as you ride more and get stronger your problem will solve itself.
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Old 03-15-17, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
All your options are a bit too complicated tbh. I personally would look for a cassette that starts with larger sprockets and goes as low as you need. TA Specialites makes cassettes starting at 14T and even up to 18T, although they might be hard to get. Good thing is that as you ride more and get stronger your problem will solve itself.
Any suggestion where the OP is going to acquire an 18-36 11 speed cassette?
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Old 03-15-17, 10:36 AM
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Any LBS in any small town in France should be able to order it for him.

Or here maybe (well, not 18-36.)
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Old 03-15-17, 10:39 AM
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46-30 11-32 sounds like what you need. FSA tempo adventurer cranks can be had for <$100
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Old 03-15-17, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by budfan08 View Post
I've been spinning myself in circles on this ordeal... I'll put it in laymans terms as I get the feeling I'm screwing up Tall/short/close/low/high. I am looking to get more gear options at low speeds on the bike(especially loaded). I don't even touch the large chainring on the crank until I am really hammering down. I have too much top end gearing and not enough low speed gearing.
Loaded + Climbing + Not enough gears + Gears too far apart = Triple. No real way around that fact.

A 30/40?/50 triple w/ your current 11-32 would definitely meet your needs.




PS on terms: "top end" = high speed, and "low end" = low speed. You are using those terms backwards.

Top end, big gears, big ring, small cog, up shift in a car = fast on the flat and/or descending

Low end, small gears, small ring, large cog (and "tall" gearing), down shift in a car = slow on the flat and/or climbing
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Old 03-15-17, 12:53 PM
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Triple or MTB gearing ... or MTB triple. No matter what he needs to redo his crankset, and maybe his front derailleur and shifters ... so starting out with an MTB double and a 13-32 would be the cheapest way. Possibly he would just need the crankset and cassette.
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Old 03-15-17, 12:59 PM
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Is there a reason why you would "start out" with a MTB drive train on a road bike?

Why not "start out" with a road bike drive train? Particularly since it will be lighter, and the controls more likely appropriate / compatible / coordinated with the ones he already has and doesn't need to replace (ie. rear brifter, derailleur, cassette)?
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Old 03-15-17, 01:51 PM
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OP you are proposing to climb at like 5 mph. Is that really how you like to spend your time?
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Old 03-15-17, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
Is there a reason why you would "start out" with a MTB drive train on a road bike?

Why not "start out" with a road bike drive train? Particularly since it will be lighter, and the controls more likely appropriate / compatible / coordinated with the ones he already has and doesn't need to replace (ie. rear brifter, derailleur, cassette)?
You can put on an "MTB" crankset with smaller chain rings with no other parts change, other than shortening the chain.
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