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Gearing for my old-man flat-bar rig!

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Gearing for my old-man flat-bar rig!

Old 06-26-18, 01:34 PM
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Gearing for my old-man flat-bar rig!

I recently built up a Lynskey Sportive Disc, and it's plenty fast for all my unloaded distance riding needs. I'm 47, not getting any younger, and not getting THAT much faster, so it will handle all my centuries and doubles. I'm good there.

My next project is going to be a flat-bar (actually, probably trekking/butterfly bars) touring bike I can use for 11-15 mile one-way commutes in crappy weather, plus loaded tours. Hydro disc brakes, rear and front rack mounts, 650bx47 tubless, probably something like a Lynskey Backroad, or a custom frame that's similar, but more designed for my kooky personal geometry. The last few years, I've felt some soreness in my knuckles, so I'm planning to make this my easy-shifting, easy-braking (hence the hydros), ride-till-I-drop-dead-at-110 bike.

My question is whether I can get away with MTB gearing. at the top end. I was thinking of a previous-gen, 10-speed XTR double to give me oodles of low end. With 40t up front and 47s, that's roughly 26 miles an hour at 90rpm. Which seems fine, honestly. I don't mind coasting down hills, and rarely go over 30mph. But will I miss that high-end?
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Old 06-26-18, 02:07 PM
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I think it should be fine gearing. I ride a bike with similar gears, 26/38, 10-42 on 700x35 or 700x40 tires, and I spin out at 27 mph. I'm 65 and fit, love the trekking/butterfly handlebars. This is also my road touring and training bike. Why be in such a hurry, anyway? The ride is awesome. Does one or two mph faster downhill make it better?
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Old 06-26-18, 02:18 PM
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now that cassettes 'go to 11'... what was a 52:13 high can be done with a 44t.
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Old 06-26-18, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
now that cassettes 'go to 11'... what was a 52:13 high can be done with a 44t.
I could actually go to 10t with SRAM Eagle, but I dunno how I feel about a cassette costing as much as a frame....
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Old 06-26-18, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cormacf
But will I miss that high-end?
On rolling hills where you want to carry your momentum from the previous downhill up the next hill - that's one place you might miss it.
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Old 06-26-18, 03:54 PM
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My derailleur touring bikes (one of which is a Backroad) have a 46T big ring in front and 11 in back. For loaded touring that is fully adequate. Unladen on a fast downhill, that is not quite what I would like, my rando bike has a 52 big ring and 11 in the back.

A few quick notes on the Backroad. The bike is designed for drop bars. If you put flat bars on it you might find that the reach is shorter than you want. So, take a very good look at the geometry first. I have no idea how it would work to put fenders on that bike when it was designed for 700c and you are running 650b. (Most touring bikes have fenders.) I have 700c wheels and fenders on my Backroad, my fenders are 45mm and tires are 37mm.

The frame can do though axle or 135 mm conventional. I am running 135mm conventional on mine. In other words, it is built for a mountain rear hub, not a 130mm road hub.

ADDENDUM:

I corrected the above, I later realized that my comments on reach were in error.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 06-26-18 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 06-26-18, 10:34 PM
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getting older, planning on loaded touring? your knees, if you want to keep them, would appreciate more low end.
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Old 06-26-18, 11:35 PM
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Thanks for all the tips. I suppose i could go with a triple. The XTR M980 Triple is 50 grams less than a current-gen XT double, and it would give me 2 extra teeth on the chainring with 42/32/24...
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Old 06-26-18, 11:55 PM
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I just swapped out the rear cassette on my converted rigid mtb from 13/30 to an 11/34. That's combined with a 42/32/22 triple. Bigger jumps but quite a range from high to low.




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Old 06-27-18, 05:35 AM
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I have a triple 48-38-28 with a 11-32 9 spd cassette on my frankenbike...lots of gear at both ends.
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Old 06-27-18, 06:13 AM
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22-32-42/44 is never wrong if you expect some steep climbs and/or heavy loads.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cormacf
...next project is going to be a flat-bar (actually, probably trekking/butterfly bars) touring bike I can use for 11-15 mile one-way commutes in crappy weather, plus loaded tours. Hydro disc brakes, rear and front rack mounts, 650bx47 tubless, probably something like a Lynskey Backroad, or a custom frame that's similar, but more designed for my kooky personal geometry...My question is whether I can get away with MTB gearing. at the top end.
I regularly go 25-30mph down hills on 26" mtb frame with 5 deg flat bar+bar ends and 22/32/44 + 11-32t gears, perhaps 110rpm. I'm not philosophically opposed to coasting once I hit 20mph.

Unless you absolutely require a custom geometry, why not go with a less costly steel or aluminum frame for commuting duty - something you won't lose too much sleep over if it's stolen while you're at work. Surly Troll or Disc Trucker (DT) in 26" would work OK with 650b wheels + flat bar + F&R rack/pannier capability. BB is pretty low on a DT, raising it (584-559)/2= 12.5mm would make BB height comparable to other touring or CX bikes. I've seen a few 650b LHT 26" conversions. Troll BB height drops 10mm going from 26x2.5 to 650bx47.

Lynskey Backroad is indeed designed for drop bar - short top tube with a long headtube, Backroad has a high stack to reach ratio, i.e. fairly upright posture for a "road" bike. Lynskey occasionally auctions Backroad frames (and other models) on eBay, usually last year's leftover stock in less popular sizes (XS,S,L,XL). I've seen more than 10 Backroad auctions go unbid/unsold with starting price of $700-800. Be patient and you can avoid the normal >$1800 price for a Backroad frame. 650bx47 wheels wouldn't work well on the Backroad as it would drop an already low BB (same 80mm drop as Surly LHT/DT) by >15mm - you'd likely get pedal strike pedaling through leaned turns. Be advised Lynskey tends to use pictures of latest model of Backroad in eBay ads while actually selling you something a little different (apparently they can't be bothered to save a few jpeg files). Their customer service is kinda mediocre too. But their Ti frames are pretty good.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:50 PM
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If you buy a Lynskey, there are two small screws in each rear dropout. Remove them (one at a time) and put blue loctite (or some other threadlocker) on those screws. One of those screws started to unthread on me and it caused a mess of problems. I started to warn a gal I met that had a new Lynskey gravel bike, before I could finish she said that she had already had that problem too.

Originally Posted by seeker333
...
Lynskey Backroad is indeed designed for drop bar - short top tube with a long headtube, Backroad has a high stack to reach ratio, i.e. fairly upright posture for a "road" bike. Lynskey occasionally auctions Backroad frames (and other models) on eBay, usually last year's leftover stock in less popular sizes (XS,S,L,XL). I've seen more than 10 Backroad auctions go unbid/unsold with starting price of $700-800. Be patient and you can avoid the normal >$1800 price for a Backroad frame. 650bx47 wheels wouldn't work well on the Backroad as it would drop an already low BB (same 80mm drop as Surly LHT/DT) by >15mm - you'd likely get pedal strike pedaling through leaned turns. Be advised Lynskey tends to use pictures of latest model of Backroad in eBay ads while actually selling you something a little different (apparently they can't be bothered to save a few jpeg files). Their customer service is kinda mediocre too. But their Ti frames are pretty good.
I agree with everything you said. I got my Backroad on Ebay from Lynskey. The photos did not match what I got in the mail, customer service was poor. But once I got it built up, I really like the bike. I did 71 miles on it today as part of a group ride, approximately half of that on pavement and half on gravel trails with 700c tires that are 37mm wide. (The photo is from a trip last year, the ride today was unladen, no panniers.)

I will add that a Titanium touring bike is the ultimate in bling. A Titanium frame is expensive but you only save a few pounds compared to other materials. And a touring bike needs touring components that add weight. For example, my rear wheel with tire and tube weigh more than the Titanium frame. So, it is not a huge weight saver. But, I got a great price on the bike and really like the way it handles.

I am running an older 700c LHT rim brake fork, I owned that before I bought the frame. Thus, did not buy the Lynskey fork. This means I am running rim brake in front, disc in rear. On the one rainy day I had on a bike tour, the disc worked much better than the rim brakes. But on dry days, the rim brakes (V with Koolstop Salmon pads) are just as effective as the disc brake in the back.


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Old 06-29-18, 12:57 AM
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Thx, all, and great pics. I just built up a Lynskey Sportive Disc, which I also bought on their eBay site (outrageously cheap -- no one else placed a bid!). It's fantastic, and I have zero complaints.

But yeah, looking again at the geometry of the Backroad, it definitely cries out for drops. It has 6 cm more stack than my Sportive, and 1.5cm less reach! I could always just have them start with one of the MTB frames as a baseline and maybe lengthen the chainstays a bit.
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