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34/24 crank fine for a touring bike?

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34/24 crank fine for a touring bike?

Old 11-07-20, 03:43 AM
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crankholio
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34/24 crank fine for a touring bike?

And if so, will it much matter if the small cog on the cassette is 11T or 12T?
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Old 11-07-20, 04:07 AM
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robow
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The 34 x 11 yields a high of only 83.5 gear inches or 20 mph at 80 rpm which isn't nearly high enough for me not to be spinning out more than I would like. Your riding style might find that acceptable. If your smallest cog in the cassette was a 12, now it's even worse in that you max out at 18 mph at 80 rpm.
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Old 11-07-20, 08:16 AM
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Agree with Robow, a high gear of mid 80s gear inches is pretty low.

I have one touring bike that I set up with a high gear of 85.1 gear inches for touring and on shallow downhills I often wish I had a higher gear. But that is a very heavy duty (and heavy) bike, so I only rarely need a higher gear on that bike when touring. When I am not touring on that bike, I use a bigger chainring for my near-home riding to give me higher gears.

My other two touring bikes have triple cranks, smallest chainring is 24, biggest is 46, that works pretty good for me with an 11/32 cassette. I have toured with a big ring of 52, that was bigger than I needed, thus changed to 46 instead.

Some people on this forum use a biggest chainring as small as 42, but that would be too small for me.

On the 11 or 12 tooth smallest sprocket, my bikes with 11/32 cassettes have both an 11 and 12 tooth sprockets. I rarely use either of them unless it is a shallow downhill, if I lost one of those two sprockets it would not bother me very much. But, with a chainring that is 46 or 52, that is a much higher gear than you would have with a 34.

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Old 11-07-20, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post

Some people on this forum use a biggest chainring as small as 42, but that would be too small for me.
Agree, I tried for a while to use a 44 as my largest chainring and the high gear was just "acceptable". I then dropped to a 42 and that was just too small for me. Btw, the speeds I mentioned above were using a 700c wheel, if a 26" wheel is being used then that 34 x 11 at 80 rpm only gets you 18 mph.
A little more speed downhill makes shorter work of the uphills when you're running that "ribbon of highways".
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Old 11-07-20, 09:16 AM
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Crank, figure out your gear inch range and get back to us with b+w numbers for your wheel and tire size, and 12 and 11 teeth. Then we can talk.

also, why considering a 34/24 specifically?
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Old 11-07-20, 09:57 AM
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crankholio
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Crank, figure out your gear inch range and get back to us with b+w numbers for your wheel and tire size, and 12 and 11 teeth. Then we can talk.
I don't know what b+w means, but I'm running 700x32 and 700x28.

Originally Posted by djb View Post
also, why considering a 34/24 specifically?
Because I just put it on my bike yesterday.

Moving to a 42/26 is a possibility for the future if it doesn't suit me. I'm not sure yet if the lack of higher gears will bother me or not. But I previously ran a 48/34 and I didn't feel I had low enough gears with that setup.
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Old 11-07-20, 12:13 PM
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My Rohloff14 had 21.8 to 114.6 GI. I use the high almost as much as the low.
When I had a big tailwind, I was doing 27 to 30 mph on the FLAT. Very seldom of course.
85 GI is for just a slight downhill or tailwind. I agree high gears and momentum will get you up the backside of dips far better than low gears. This helps boost your avg. speed quite a bit many days.
21GI is plenty low enough for most situations. I can push at 3.2 mph or so, on tiring hills.
My bike is 120 lbs too.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 11-28-20 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 11-07-20, 06:35 PM
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My Rock and Road has a 24-36-46 up front. Here, in Vermont, the 46 is mostly for decoration. I ride a lot of dirt roads and 20 MPH is a handful. Even if it is smooth, for dirt, the vibration makes it hard to see potholes, etc. The low gears, on the other hand, get a workout, my low is about 19 GI.
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Old 11-07-20, 06:55 PM
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I've got a high of about 85-95 and it isn't enough. Not because I like speed. I seldom go over 16 mph while pedaling. It's because I like to slow pedal and keep up the pace with the slight downhill grade. I also like to stand on the crank once in awhile to stretch out my back on flat terrain. It's hard to do that when you spinout too soon.
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Old 11-07-20, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by crankholio View Post
And if so, will it much matter if the small cog on the cassette is 11T or 12T?
The reality is, only you can tell OP.
What works for one, doesn't work for another.
Its obvious from some of the posters above that what suits me fine wouldn't work for them.
We are all different as are many of our bikes and riding style.
I never get near my tallest gears and they don't suit my riding style and I understand that my 15.3 to 80.2 gear inches (sheldons gear calculator) wouldn't suit everyone.
I'll never see 50 again though and its hilly where I ride, my knees aren't great and my mountain bike tourer isn't light.
Due to touring predominately longer durations away, I tour with 4 panniers, rack bag and handlebar bar and sometimes with a trailer.
With this combo, I never get close to top gear and tend to spin in the high 90's (cadence).
29er with 2.3 tires, 18T on the IGH and 34T on the cranks.
YMMV

Last edited by rifraf; 11-07-20 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 11-07-20, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by crankholio View Post
I don't know what b+w means, but I'm running 700x32 and 700x28.
Because I just put it on my bike yesterday.
Moving to a 42/26 is a possibility for the future if it doesn't suit me. I'm not sure yet if the lack of higher gears will bother me or not. But I previously ran a 48/34 and I didn't feel I had low enough gears with that setup.
black and white, old habits from photography.
without knowing your bikes wheel size and tires, it's up to you to go to a gearing calculator to get your gear inch numbers, and the different top gear numbers for 11t and 12t cassettes.
For some of us gearing nerds, we know what specific gear inch translates to real world stuff.
one of my bikes has a top gear of 104 gear inches, and I spin out at a bit over 50 kph, and for what I use this bike for, carrying a good load, I'm fine with that top gear. But that bike has 26 inch wheels, 45mm tires, 44 big ring, 11t cassette.
I also can spin pretty fast when it's required.

but as others say, hard to know how you are with your touring load, on what roads you ride, etc etc
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Old 11-07-20, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by crankholio View Post
I don't know what b+w means, but I'm running 700x32 and 700x28.



Because I just put it on my bike yesterday.

Moving to a 42/26 is a possibility for the future if it doesn't suit me. I'm not sure yet if the lack of higher gears will bother me or not. But I previously ran a 48/34 and I didn't feel I had low enough gears with that setup.
This is one of the likely many calculators around and you may (or may not) decide its interesting enough to explore
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html
Best of luck whatever your choice

At the end of the day only you have to spin your cranks so buy according to your predominant riding style, be that spinning or mashing
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Old 11-08-20, 01:45 AM
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My own thoughts would be it wouldn't be high enough for long downhills. I like to keep my legs a little bit loaded when descending after a long climb, otherwise you get that Lead Legs "lactic acid" build up feeling. Just spinning the cranks unloaded doesn't seem to help keep it at bay. (I also don't like Lager Legs, when you have a beer with lunch and it's like riding through treacle afterwards)
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Old 11-08-20, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by crankholio View Post
Moving to a 42/26 is a possibility for the future if it doesn't suit me. I'm not sure yet if the lack of higher gears will bother me or not. But I previously ran a 48/34 and I didn't feel I had low enough gears with that setup.


look, this should be really easy, barely an inconvenience.

you've got the bike, you've got racks, you've got packs.
best of all, the bike already has some gears.

get you a notebook, and note down the chain rings and the cogs.

load up your bike as you would for your tour or commute.
ride around and see just which gears are the bestest for
various types of terrain and wind conditions.

mark in red the bestestest gear combinations.

and now hit the interwebs, go to some of the recommended gear
calculators. enter in your current setup, including tire sizes,
and see what your current setup gives you in terms of gear inches
in all combinations, and which your favorite gear inches are.

now play with the calculator, figger out which chainring and
cog combinations will get you those same gear inches, and
can you give you more top and/or low end.

then you can see what you'd need to do change to get
a little higher or lower........
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Old 11-08-20, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by crankholio View Post
...
Moving to a 42/26 is a possibility for the future if it doesn't suit me. I'm not sure yet if the lack of higher gears will bother me or not. But I previously ran a 48/34 and I didn't feel I had low enough gears with that setup.
Since you previously ran a 48/34, you could have easily ridden the bike for several days in only the 34 to figure out if that was a realistic option. My road bike has a 50/34 compact double, I can tell you with certainty that if I tried to ride on only the 34, I would have given up that plan after less than 5 miles. My road bike cassette is a 12/29.

It really helps to think about your chainring sizes if you also have your cassette info.
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Old 11-08-20, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Since you previously ran a 48/34, you could have easily ridden the bike for several days in only the 34 to figure out if that was a realistic option.
It was always in the 34. I never used the 48. That's why I took the leap and swapped cranks. Figured I'd never miss it.
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Old 11-08-20, 09:29 AM
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I have a rohloff hub with a belt drive using a 46T front sprocket and a 19T rear sprocket. On a 26" nominal wheel, that gives me a range of 17.6 to 92.3 gear inches.
I do use the lowest two gears - mostly when heavily loaded up hill (as in 40-50 kilos of cargo) and I also wish for another gear at the top end when going downhill and sometimes on the flats (I'm really not good at spinning with a non-motorised prosthetic foot).
The actual gear inches changes depending on tyre choice. If I use my Kojak 1.35 it will be a little lower, and if I use my 1.8 Naches Pass, it will be shifted a little up.

I feel it's a good compromise for me, but regardless of what pther people use, there is nothing as good as trying out things for yourself and go from there: Seeing what you're comfortable with and notice if you want something lower, something higher, or perhaps both. Then calculate how much more or less you want and buy that.
Regardless of what you choose, it will always be a compromise.
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Old 11-08-20, 10:22 AM
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Let me tell you my views and what works for me. I have tripple at the front 42-32-22 and 14-34 at the back. I have 26 inch wheels. My gear inches are both low at low and high end i.e. 16.8 to 78. I mostly ride on 32 and 14 combination in the flatland. I spin a lot and my speed is 20 km/h. I am loaded and have panniers. I find this low speed ok. I find that the aerodynamics is the biggest issue to the bike with bags. I simply can't pedal faster than this on extended tours. I just finished 216 km (135 miles) in a day. I had descents but I never used 42 at the front. And I never use it on the flat while loaded. But that is because my descents aren't huge and I mostly coast on mine due to safety reasons. I know many people will say I'm silly. It all depends on the terrain your riding and your riding style and preference. Perhaps, if I were you, I'd go triple at the front just to have more versatility for long descent where you want to spin if you frequently encounter them. I use my granny gear of 22 when climbing. It's important to have low gear for climbing. I don't understand new touring bikes that have low gear inches above 22 for example. That isn't low enough for a touring machine in mountains. So you have around 21 gear inches at the low (24 teeth/32 teeth (assumed casette) *28 wheel size) so I assume you will be fine for climbing. Also with 34 front and 11 or 12 at the back I would be totally ok but some people would need a bigger ring at the front.
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Old 11-08-20, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by crankholio View Post
It was always in the 34. I never used the 48. That's why I took the leap and swapped cranks. Figured I'd never miss it.
Then you probably have your answer. I would not be able to tour on that combination of gears, but that might work great for you. I suspect you are a high cadence rider and do not apply a lot of torque to the crankset.

I know a guy that tours with a cadence at least 50 percent higher than mine, neither of us would last long with the gearing that the other has.
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Old 11-08-20, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Then you probably have your answer. I would not be able to tour on that combination of gears, but that might work great for you. I suspect you are a high cadence rider and do not apply a lot of torque to the crankset.

I know a guy that tours with a cadence at least 50 percent higher than mine, neither of us would last long with the gearing that the other has.
I also tend not to pedal on steeper descents. I have a fear of going too fast and crashing and sliding along the asphalt. Always paranoid the front tire will blow out, handlebars will loosen up, etc. It's not super rational, but it's there.

Going to change out my 11-34(11,13,15,17,20,23,26,30,34) cassette for an 11-32(11,12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32) and give it another test ride. It seems pretty good so far.
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Old 11-09-20, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by crankholio View Post
I also tend not to pedal on steeper descents. I have a fear of going too fast and crashing and sliding along the asphalt. Always paranoid the front tire will blow out, handlebars will loosen up, etc. It's not super rational, but it's there.

Going to change out my 11-34(11,13,15,17,20,23,26,30,34) cassette for an 11-32(11,12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32) and give it another test ride. It seems pretty good so far.
There are gear calculators on-line where you can enter your chainring and sprocket sizes to see what the gear ratio is for each possible gear. From that you can see if there are any redundant gears, etc. I can't suggest any because I use my own spreadsheet for that, perhaps others will see this note and suggest a website with a calculator?

Keep any chainlinks you remove, just in case you want to add them back later.
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Old 11-09-20, 09:00 AM
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Sheldon Brown's gear calculator has a pretty good one, showing the various combinations - you can also put in you own tooth counts

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html
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Old 11-09-20, 12:03 PM
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I suspect the 34 would be a little bit small for my comfort, but only a little bit, for loaded touring. I've got big rings on the order of 44-48, but those see a lot more use unloaded (joyriding).

If, after you try that combination, you want a bit higher gearing, you might consider changing the big ring. Easy (just use thread locker) and fairly inexpensive -- assuming you can source the size you want with the correct BCD.
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Old 11-14-20, 05:16 PM
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I run 22-34 up front and 11- 40 on the back.

​Real world touring setup.
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Old 11-14-20, 07:28 PM
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A 22 x 40, a low of only 15 gear inches and 3.5mph at 80 rpm, not sure I could stay upright with that one but glad it works for you.
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