Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Tandem Cycling
Reload this Page >

Seriously considering a lower nanny gear

Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

Seriously considering a lower nanny gear

Reply

Old 06-08-18, 03:03 PM
  #1  
124Spider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 188

Bikes: 2016 Cervelo R3 2018 Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Seriously considering a lower nanny gear

Hi,

We have a beautiful new Rodriguez tandem that we're loving (our first tandem; we have put about 300 miles on it). But we're quite sure that the lowest gear isn't adequate for when we take it on the road and encounter a long, long 6% uphill.

We have a 3x9, with 53/42/30 chain rings and 11-32 rear cassette.

I am pretty sure that a 26 nanny ring would work fine for us.

On semi-level ground (+/- 3% grade), we stay in the middle ring, and use pretty much all the gears in the cassette. So I'm not inclined to change the middle ring to something lower.

If I put in a 26 ring to replace the 30 ring, (i) will the derailleur have any trouble with such a wide range, shifting up from the 26 to the 42? and (ii) is it likely that a couple of fit folks would be fine with a 26 nanny gear driving an 11-32 cassette? Or is it likely we'd wish we had gone with a 28 instead of a 26?

For context, on my road bike, I have 54/37 rings, and an 11-28 cassette, and I've not yet hit a hill I can't get up. My wife has 50/34 rings, and an 11-36 cassette on her road bike, and hasn't yet (after switching to a lower cassette) found a hill she can't get up.

Thanks.

Mark
124Spider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-18, 04:46 PM
  #2  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,534
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 951 Post(s)
If you are like most teams your tandem climbing style does not involve much out of the saddle honking in the cruising ring, and much more of a 'sit and spin" (if it can be called spinning) in the granny ring. On your road bike you attack the climb with plenty of momentum to start and stand up as it bleeds off. If the hill is short enough you may never have to shift down. That is why a 34Tx28T low gear combination can serve well on a roadbike. We have had a number of tandems and all of them, including the double recumbent tandem we just started riding, all of them, first thing we do is change the granny to 24T (they are usually 30T as sold). You will regret not going all the way down to 24T more than you might have regretted going to 28T instead of 26T.. 24T is the lowest possible granny with a 74mm bolt circle spider which yours almost certainly is. If you are going through the hassle of pulling the crank and swapping out the rings you may as well go all the way down. We have both a 52/42/24 and a 52/39/24 on different tandems. The shifting from the granny to the middle ring is equally easy for both, but we prefer the feel of the shift to the 39T cruising ring and I am looking around for another so both tandems will have 39T cruising rings. FWIW.
Leisesturm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-18, 04:53 PM
  #3  
124Spider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 188

Bikes: 2016 Cervelo R3 2018 Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
If you are like most teams your tandem climbing style does not involve much out of the saddle honking in the cruising ring, and much more of a 'sit and spin" (if it can be called spinning) in the granny ring. On your road bike you attack the climb with plenty of momentum to start and stand up as it bleeds off. If the hill is short enough you may never have to shift down. That is why a 34Tx28T low gear combination can serve well on a roadbike. We have had a number of tandems and all of them, including the double recumbent tandem we just started riding, all of them, first thing we do is change the granny to 24T (they are usually 30T as sold). You will regret not going all the way down to 24T more than you might have regretted going to 28T instead of 26T.. 24T is the lowest possible granny with a 74mm bolt circle spider which yours almost certainly is. If you are going through the hassle of pulling the crank and swapping out the rings you may as well go all the way down. We have both a 52/42/24 and a 52/39/24 on different tandems. The shifting from the granny to the middle ring is equally easy for both, but we prefer the feel of the shift to the 39T cruising ring and I am looking around for another so both tandems will have 39T cruising rings. FWIW.
Really a thoughtful excellent post; thanks so much!

Mark
124Spider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-18, 06:29 PM
  #4  
Ludkeh
alpine cross trainer
 
Ludkeh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Central New York
Posts: 250

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Quintara Roo Sendoza, DaVici In-2-Ition Tandem,

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
If you are like most teams your tandem climbing style does not involve much out of the saddle honking in the cruising ring, and much more of a 'sit and spin" (if it can be called spinning) in the granny ring. On your road bike you attack the climb with plenty of momentum to start and stand up as it bleeds off. If the hill is short enough you may never have to shift down. That is why a 34Tx28T low gear combination can serve well on a roadbike. We have had a number of tandems and all of them, including the double recumbent tandem we just started riding, all of them, first thing we do is change the granny to 24T (they are usually 30T as sold). You will regret not going all the way down to 24T more than you might have regretted going to 28T instead of 26T.. 24T is the lowest possible granny with a 74mm bolt circle spider which yours almost certainly is. If you are going through the hassle of pulling the crank and swapping out the rings you may as well go all the way down. We have both a 52/42/24 and a 52/39/24 on different tandems. The shifting from the granny to the middle ring is equally easy for both, but we prefer the feel of the shift to the 39T cruising ring and I am looking around for another so both tandems will have 39T cruising rings. FWIW.
We live in a very hilly part of the country, so the factory chain ring combination did not work for us at all!. On our Co-Motion tandem I tried various combinations of chain ring. Shimano Ultregra 52,42,28 combination shifted well but did not give us low enough gearing. Than I tried 52,42,26. Still not enough low range and the shifting became sketchy. The drop from 42 to 26 required a chain catcher and the pickup from 26 to 42 was hit or miss and very frustrating.

Finally I went to a 52,39,24 tooth chain ring setup. I went to Spťcialitťs TA and purchased a 39 tooth middle chain ring with pickups and a 24 tooth small chain ring. Shifting between the middle and small chain ring are smooth and chain pickup happens effortlessly. Chain catcher is still a good idea. The only negative with this setup is that you can use only the 4 largest sprockets on your rear cassette. Anything else will cause severe chain cross. For us the trade off was well worth it. We have a few very low stump puller gear for those very steep hills. Once the hill is climbed and we've made a few shifts it's time to grab the middle chain ring anyway.
Ludkeh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-18, 07:28 PM
  #5  
reburns
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Saratoga, CA
Posts: 225

Bikes: 2005 Trek T2000; 2005 Co-motion Speedster Co-pilot; various non-tandem road and mountain bikes

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Our rides almost always involve sustained 7% climbs as well as shorter sections in the teens. We had a 52/39/30 chain set with 11-34 9 speed sprocket. I decided to try a 26T for the inner ring, and have never regretted it.

I agree with the previous comments about having a chain catcher and up shifting to the middle ring after you get into the meat of the sprocket. Shifting still works great. The only adjustments Iíve had to make are to trim the front derailer slightly once Iíve let the chain drop into the catcher, and also to let our cadence drop lower before I shift onto the small ring, as the jump is significant and the stoker can end up spinning too fast otherwise. Of course with a 24 it would be an even bigger transition, but Iím sure you would get used to it in time. I canít remember ever thinking that I had a gear that was just too low. There are plenty available to shift up to! 😀

Frankly, small inner rings arenít expensive, and if you are used to working on your bike, it doesnít take all that much time to switch it out, so not a huge deal if you try it and decide you want to go back.
reburns is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-18, 08:09 PM
  #6  
rm -rf
don't try this at home.
 
rm -rf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: N. KY
Posts: 4,805
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 510 Post(s)
Here's your 9 speed 11-32 with a 39 chainring (red) vs a 42 chainring (black)
The 39 is just about a half shift lower. Both have good coverage from 10 to 25 mph. So I'd switch to the 39 if it helps the front shifting.

These settings in Mike Sherman's Gear Calculator. The charts update on the fly as you change gearing, tire size, or cadence. The settings are in the URL, so you can bookmark that display. Change the 39 & 42 to 30,42,53, etc.


Last edited by rm -rf; 06-08-18 at 08:12 PM.
rm -rf is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-18, 08:46 PM
  #7  
124Spider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 188

Bikes: 2016 Cervelo R3 2018 Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Great information, folks!
124Spider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-18, 09:23 PM
  #8  
SparkyBeacon 
Tourer
 
SparkyBeacon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 54

Bikes: Birdy folder, Bike Friday, Burley tandem, Nishiki fixie conversion, Dahon "Coca-Cola" Speed P8

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
We are not fast and do not race. I could care less about maybe spinning out the high gear under favorable circumstances some day. I want to be able to keep going if possible when challenged by hills.

I shrunk each chain ring by 4 teeth. Out tandem came with 54-44-28 chain rings and now has 50-40-24.
SparkyBeacon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-18, 09:31 PM
  #9  
jnbrown
Senior Member
 
jnbrown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Encinitas, CA
Posts: 1,059
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
We have 50/39/28 on front and 12-32 on back (10 speed). It has been working well for us and we are in our 60's. Max gradients we ride are maybe 15%.
I am tempted to go to 11 speed 11-32 because we often spin out the 12-32 on downhills.
jnbrown is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-18, 03:57 PM
  #10  
124Spider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 188

Bikes: 2016 Cervelo R3 2018 Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Thanks so much for all your excellent comments and suggestions.

I expected that I would do the work (I'm comfortable changing chain rings), but I decided that this is a fairly major surgery, with a significant chance of needing some additional work to ensure smooth shifting.

I decided to change the rings from 53/42/30 to 53/39/24. I'll bring it to Rodriguez next Saturday for them to do the work, and make sure it's done right.

Thanks again; I'll report back after we've had it for a while, and tested the new gearing on some serious local hills we've avoided when riding the tandem.

Mark
124Spider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-18, 01:00 PM
  #11  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 35,688

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 129 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5100 Post(s)
As I recall TA Zephyr triple cranks offered 2 bolt circles for the granny gear 74 & 56mm
with a 110 large chainring bolt circle.
56 allows a 20t, 74, a 24t..
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-18, 04:17 PM
  #12  
124Spider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 188

Bikes: 2016 Cervelo R3 2018 Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
I brought the tandem back to Rodriguez, who swapped in the desired 53/39/24 rings, but determined that it didn't want to shift well that way, so they instead used a 26 nanny ring, and replaced the 11-32 cassette with an 11-34 cassette. And they didn't charge us, since it's a new bike. Yay for good customer service!

Today, we took it out and tried out the tough hills in our area. And it worked just fine! It's a much slower slog up than on my half bike, but we're convinced that we can get up anything we're likely to encounter.
124Spider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-18, 07:49 PM
  #13  
2frmMI
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Mid Michigan
Posts: 345

Bikes: Erickson Signature, Paketa D2R

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Its not a nanny you ninny its a granny!
2frmMI is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-18, 10:02 AM
  #14  
oldacura
Senior Member
 
oldacura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lafayette, Colorado
Posts: 974

Bikes: 1998 Co-Motion Co-Pilot, 2015 Calfee Tetra

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 142 Post(s)
We got our new Calfee with 52x34 tooth chainrings and an 11 - 36 (11 speed) cassette. I changed the cassette out for an 11 - 40 and like it better.
oldacura is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-18, 01:18 PM
  #15  
124Spider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 188

Bikes: 2016 Cervelo R3 2018 Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Update:

We brought the bike back to Rodriguez, with the plan to swap out the 53/42/30 for a 53/39/24. But they found that that didn't shift well, so they put in a 26 instead of a 24, and swapped out the 11-32 cassette for an 11-34. And didn't charge me anything (yay for good customer service).

We took it on a long ride with significant hills yesterday, and we like the gearing. Unlike with my half-bike, on which I can blast up even long hills, it seems that going up long hills in a tandem is just a matter of slogging to the top; but at least we now are confident that we can slog our way to the top of just about any hill we're likely to come across.

Thanks for all your advice; much of it was very helpful!

Mark
124Spider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-18, 04:04 PM
  #16  
etasch
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 22
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Remember if itís not momentum, itís mo legs!
etasch is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-18, 10:51 PM
  #17  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,534
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 951 Post(s)
Originally Posted by 2frmMI View Post
Its not a nanny you ninny its a granny!
I see what you did there. The o.p. might not though, just saying ...
Leisesturm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-18, 10:27 AM
  #18  
124Spider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 188

Bikes: 2016 Cervelo R3 2018 Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I see what you did there. The o.p. might not though, just saying ...
OP doesn't care "what he did there." Either it was a very poor joke (in which case he/she should at least have used some sort of emoticon to indicate it was a joke), or it was a nasty swipe. Either way, that's why the administrators gave us the "ignore" option, so that we could keep tabs on people whose "contributions" are suspect. As I have now done with 2frmMI.

Last edited by 124Spider; 06-19-18 at 02:46 PM.
124Spider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-18, 11:19 AM
  #19  
oldacura
Senior Member
 
oldacura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lafayette, Colorado
Posts: 974

Bikes: 1998 Co-Motion Co-Pilot, 2015 Calfee Tetra

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 142 Post(s)
Originally Posted by 2frmMI View Post
Its not a nanny you ninny its a granny!
I think most of us knew that the OP meant Granny.

I don't think 2frmMI meant any disrespect.
oldacura is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-18, 07:29 PM
  #20  
2frmMI
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Mid Michigan
Posts: 345

Bikes: Erickson Signature, Paketa D2R

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
I think most of us knew that the OP meant Granny.

I don't think 2frmMI meant any disrespect.
2frmMI indeed thought he had found a funny way to make a rhyming little comment. He enjoys his own jokes and didn't intend any harm. He thought putting ninny between nanny and granny was clever. He will rethink that. Furthermore, used his nanny gear this weekend doing the 'wall' on the Michigan Mountain Mayhem ride, without success - ended up walking the steepest pitch (18%).
2frmMI is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-18, 07:46 PM
  #21  
124Spider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 188

Bikes: 2016 Cervelo R3 2018 Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Originally Posted by 2frmMI View Post
2frmMI indeed thought he had found a funny way to make a rhyming little comment. He enjoys his own jokes and didn't intend any harm. He thought putting ninny between nanny and granny was clever. He will rethink that. Furthermore, used his nanny gear this weekend doing the 'wall' on the Michigan Mountain Mayhem ride, without success - ended up walking the steepest pitch (18%).
Thank you for this; rethinking is good.

Mark
124Spider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-18, 12:24 AM
  #22  
WPH
Senior Member
 
WPH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 231

Bikes: 2015 Apollo Syncro tandem, 2006 Scott CR1 SL (still a beastie race bike), 1993 Trek T200, 2006 Fuji Absolute Le, 2000 Thorn Club Tour

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
I am gonna call it the nanny gear from now on!
WPH is offline  
Reply With Quote

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


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service