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Touring with One-By Drivetrain?

Old 05-31-23, 11:46 PM
  #26  
Ron Damon
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This idea that when shifting one must land in the perfect gear is a fixation from competitive road cycling where the rider stands to lose in ranking, position and earnings. We are talking about non-competitive touring. I don't see it as a big deal, much less as a deal-breaker. Not to mention, of course, that the real leg shock and dramatic change in gearing comes not from rear shifting but rather front shifting when you go from one chainring to another. But that gets conveniently overlooked in the tally of pluses and minuses. 😉

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Old 06-01-23, 04:00 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
This idea that when shifting one must land in the perfect gear is a fixation from competitive road cycling where the rider stands to lose in ranking, position and earnings. We are talking about non-competitive touring. I don't see it as a big deal, much less as a deal-breaker. Not to mention, of course, that the real leg shock and dramatic change in gearing comes not from rear shifting but rather front shifting when you go from one chainring to another. But that gets conveniently overlooked in the tally of pluses and minuses. 😉
I don't see where the gaps are such a big deal for us when even pro tour riders like Wout van Aert and Primoz Roglic are opting for them is some cases. I figure that going a little faster or slower or choosing a bit higher or lower cadence is not a hardship. With closer ratio clusters I usually shift two, three, or even four gears at a time any way. I am very likely to opt for a 1x on my next bike which is likely to be a gravel model or a MTB.
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Old 06-01-23, 04:54 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
A Deore 11-speed 11-51t cogset gives you 464% range. For light- and medium-load touring, where top end speed is relatively unimportant, I'd say it's hard to ignore.

An advantage of the 11-speed Deore M5100 part over the M6100 12-speed 10-51t part is the the former, unlike the latter, can be mounted on a standard freehub spline, and is quite a bit less expensive.

A triple crankset today? With the widening range of cogsets in the last decade, no. Today, a double at most, for sure.
A triple allows for a tight cassette, which is a bonus in and on itself. Also at least the way I use a triple is close to how I use a 1x, but I have the bailout granny ring and the big ring for downhills etc. But 90% of the time I'm on the middle ring where I can use the full cassette if I want.

With doubles you easily run into cross chaining if you want to use the whole cassette with a single chainring. If you emphasize the big ring as the main ring, going lower on the cassette means that at some point the chain angle gets pretty rough. Not necessarily and issue but I don't like to do that. Dropping down on the small ring can be an issue or not depending which sort of system you have. Since I feel I need a 22t or 24t as the small ring, the jump to the big ring is inevitably pretty large, because a 32 or 34 is spin out town on the flats. So if I do need to use the bailout small ring I need at least two, maybe three upshifts on the cassette side so as not to come to a complete halt. Loaded touring bikes slow down fast. With a triple I'll need maybe one or no upshifts at all.

It doesn't help that middle ground cranksets are expensive and difficult to find. A 24-40 crankset with a 11-40 12-speed cassette could work fine, but as far as I know such a combination doesn't exist anywhere. A 11-speed 11-40 does exists, but that crankset is still a dilemma. I like way more that I can buy a crankset for under 100 than paying over 500 .

Originally Posted by Ron Damon
This idea that when shifting one must land in the perfect gear is a fixation from competitive road cycling where the rider stands to lose in ranking, position and earnings. We are talking about non-competitive touring. I don't see it as a big deal, much less as a deal-breaker. Not to mention, of course, that the real leg shock and dramatic change in gearing comes not from rear shifting but rather front shifting when you go from one chainring to another. But that gets conveniently overlooked in the tally of pluses and minuses. 😉
I dunno. I don't race and my favorite drivetrain is my GRX 46-30 and 11s 11-34 cassette. The jumps between the cassette cogs are small enough that they're sometimes almost unnoticeable and I love it. I'm not trying to jockey for a winning position in a race but I do really appreciate the feel of keeping a constant cadence on a gradually increasing incline. With my 11-50 or 10-50 drivetrains the downshift is always a bit of a shock that really messes with my rhythm. Also when riding with someone having a tigher cassette allows for me to keep my preferred cadence whilst matching speeds with the other rider. With a wide cassette I usually feel like I'm mashing or spinning too fast to be efficient.

The leg shock is easily mitigated with upshifts on the cassette. But you can't do that with a wide cassette.

I do realize that these two replies I've made are pretty contradictory. However what works great for my (all)road bike actually doesn't work at all well for a loaded touring bike. Kinda like how the 1x 12s 10-50 works great for the MTB, but just sucks on the road.

For example the whole upshift thing to mitigate leg shock. Works great with a road bike and if you drop a chain you usually have time to use the front mech to re-engage before coming to a stop. And if you do come to a stop, you can easily remount the chain by upshifting the front, raising the rear wheel and spinning the cranks. AND you can set off even if you're in too high a gear. Grind it out. With a loaded bike you're way more likely to stop before you can re-engage. Lifting the bike or trying to engage the chain whilst on a steep incline may not be a viable option, especially if you have a trailer full of kid. What comes up, will want to roll back down if you don't have both hands firmly pressing the brake levers.

As the triple may not even need an upshift, you're much safer in terms of potential chain drops. But I wouldn't use it on a pure road bike.
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Old 06-01-23, 06:32 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
This idea that when shifting one must land in the perfect gear is a fixation from competitive road cycling where the rider stands to lose in ranking, position and earnings. We are talking about non-competitive touring. I don't see it as a big deal, much less as a deal-breaker. ...
We have different opinions on that.

I have three touring bikes, one has a Rohloff hub with 13 percent difference with each gear shift. My derailleur bikes have eight speed cassettes and a half step plus granny triple crank have much closer gear ratios in the mid and upper range where I spend the vast majority of my time.

My Rohloff hub gearing plots up on a graph like this (this was also shown in a previous post in this thread):



And this is from one of me derailleur touring bikes, of the 24 possible gears I try to only use the 18 least cross chained gears, thus only 18 are shown:



I really like the closer gears in the mid and upper range so I can fine tune my gearing for optimum cadence. The lowest gears, they are much further apart but I spend so little time down there, I can live with wider gear spacing where I rarely use it. The two lowest gears are only used on the steepest hills.

On hilly terrain, I often end up in less than optimum gears because the slope is often rapidly changing, thus the half step does not really help much there. But on flatter terrain, that is where the close spacing really shines.

I doubt if I have changed your mind, but that is ok, we do not all have to share the same opinion.

Only a very small minority use half step plus granny gearing, it is an acquired taste and my first experience with a bike with half step gearing was back in the 1970s, so I got used to it long ago.
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Old 06-01-23, 07:47 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
This idea that when shifting one must land in the perfect gear is a fixation from competitive road cycling where the rider stands to lose in ranking, position and earnings. We are talking about non-competitive touring. I don't see it as a big deal, much less as a deal-breaker. Not to mention, of course, that the real leg shock and dramatic change in gearing comes not from rear shifting but rather front shifting when you go from one chainring to another. But that gets conveniently overlooked in the tally of pluses and minuses. 😉
Disagree. it's a deal breaker.

the most miserable touring experience is riding long-distance with a load, on varied terrain or especially against the wind, being unable to find the correct gear. either too high or too low, so can't maintain a comfortable cadence.
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Old 06-01-23, 07:55 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
Disagree. it's a deal breaker.

the most miserable touring experience is riding long-distance with a load, on varied terrain or especially against the wind, being unable to find the correct gear. either too high or too low, so can't maintain a comfortable cadence.
Wow. So rigid and unadaptable. Come on, let's get real, folks. You slow down or speed up a bit. It's not brain surgery or Swiss watch-making.
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Old 06-01-23, 08:03 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Wow. So rigid and unadaptable. Come on, let's get real, folks. You slow down or speed up a bit. It's not brain surgery or Swiss watch-making.
"getting real" means buying/assembling a bike that fits your needs, not settling for an inappropriate gear range because it helps the manufacturer's bottom line or is just like what your favorite intertubes influencer had in their latest tikky-tokky.

c'mon, man! we're living in the 21st century!
you no longer have to limit your number of gears, or accept a poor gear ratio selection.
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Old 06-01-23, 04:05 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Wow. So rigid and unadaptable. Come on, let's get real, folks. You slow down or speed up a bit. It's not brain surgery or Swiss watch-making.
I guess you like to adapt to the bike. I like to adapt the bike to me.
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Old 06-01-23, 04:25 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by L134
I guess you like to adapt to the bike. I like to adapt the bike to me.
Yes, I am highly adaptable. And I don't make a mountain out of mole hills or split hairs. In other words, I am sensible and pragmatic. 😉 Slowing down or speeding up a bit if you are not in perfect gear is the reasonable, pragmatic approach rather than adding complexity and weight to the bike. KISS. Yeah, i know old habits are hard to break, but let's try to keep it just a wee bit real.

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Old 06-01-23, 09:05 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Yes, I am highly adaptable. And I don't make a mountain out of mole hills or split hairs. In other words, I am sensible and pragmatic. 😉 Slowing down or speeding up a bit if you are not in perfect gear is the reasonable, pragmatic approach rather than adding complexity and weight to the bike. KISS. Yeah, i know old habits are hard to break, but let's try to keep it just a wee bit real.
That's not how it works. Big gear steps become an issue with slight incline undulations. If you want to maintain the same cadence, your speed is going to seesaw a lot, which I find frankly annoying. And the constant leg shocks mess with my flow.

Cadence is surprisingly important. In cycling, in running, in swimming and in walking. Doing any of those for long outside your preferred area gets annoying.

Also, what happens if you're riding with somebody?
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Old 06-02-23, 05:17 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
Also, what happens if you're riding with somebody?
In my experience you have to be even more flexible with speed then, but you do get one more tool to cope with it, drafting. I have found that when riding with folks that I trust to ride close with drafting is a great equalizer and can keep a group of varied strength riders together. It works well even for equal riders when someone is having a bad day. It doesn't work so well for long climbs. That usually requires the stronger climbers wait for the others at some point. We usually met up at the top in the groups or pairs I toured with.

Personally I find it pleasant and helpful to vary cadence throughout the day. Some days I may spend some time noodling along at 50-60 rpm, some I may maintain a steady 90 all day. Sometimes I may climb at 100 or even 110-120, but sometimes I choose to mash a big gear. In any case most often I mix it up throughout the day.

For at least 50 years I have been told that mashing a big gear would ruin my knees, but I have done it at least on some climbs and here I am at age 72 with pretty health knees.

I notice that in the pro peleton in grand tour type racing the majority of the rider who are out of the wind when the pace is not yet heated up are most often rolling along at a pretty low cadence sometimes as low as 50-60 rpm. Some also climb in fairly low gears others spin like mad. Some vary pretty widely depending on conditions and goals at the moment. You see them on much wider ratio clusters these days and no one looks like they are using the little ring until they are on steep climbs and even then some are still on the big ring. A few top riders have sported 1X MTB/Gravel drivetrains for specific stages even including on a time trial bike in one case.
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Old 06-02-23, 05:26 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
A few top riders have sported 1X MTB/Gravel drivetrains for specific stages even including on a time trial bike in one case.
hi stae, this years Giro d'Italia which just finished last weekend was a great race with a dramatic final (penultimate) stage--a TT with a super steep climb at the end. The riders did a bike switch at the bottom of the climb, and the winner went with a 1x climbing bike, but partway up he dropped the chain. Got it back on and a push from some people and was the stronger rider in the tt and so won the race by 14 seconds--but yup, even at the grand tour level, a 1x can drop the damn chain!
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Old 06-02-23, 05:41 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Yes, I am highly adaptable. And I don't make a mountain out of mole hills or split hairs. In other words, I am sensible and pragmatic. 😉 Slowing down or speeding up a bit if you are not in perfect gear is the reasonable, pragmatic approach rather than adding complexity and weight to the bike. KISS. Yeah, i know old habits are hard to break, but let's try to keep it just a wee bit real.
Ron and the others, gearing details nerd alert here!

I'd have to say that from my experience I can see both views here.
I got into looking at gearing details a long time ago, and so now look at the percentage jump between shifts. For touring on a loaded bike, or driving a heavy 18 wheeler, its always going to be better with closer ratio shifts. This is why transport trucks use 15 speed gear boxes or whatever.
Back in the day of 5, 6, 7 speed cassettes, the jumps were bigger and more annoying. This is where we get into the grey area of what works fine enough, so yes I can agree with Ron on it not being a big big deal. For example, I have toured a lot on cassettes up to 9 speed and the 9 spd 11-34 has , for me, perfectly fine jumps. Ya, there are a few that are a bit big, but not horrible. My wifes 10 spd touring 11-36 even has slightly closer ratios--so as 11 and 12 speeds become more and more common, you can have as good or better ratio jumps between shifts compared to 9 or 8 speed, so all in all something that works fairly well.

I also ride a bike with a much closer ratio cassette, still only 9 speed, but I would love in the future to have a 11 speed cassette with these same nice close ratios, but with a few added on cogs for good measure--best of both worlds--and why a suitable double and cassette for your bike + load weight + how steep the terrain would be fantastic.
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Old 06-02-23, 06:05 AM
  #39  
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My first touring bike went lots of places on 46/32 with 5 speed 14-32 FW.

An 11 or 12 speed 1X would/could have a lower low, higher high, and smaller gaps. Of course, it could not compete with 46/42/24 with half step and a 6 speed.

I find I want 1 tooth steps from 45 inches to 65 inches and 2 or 3 gears above and 2 or 3 gears below when touring with a load.

My cadence varies according to a variety of factors. Those who piddle along the flats at 10 mph at 90 rpm and 50 watts know nothing
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Old 06-02-23, 06:44 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Those who piddle along the flats at 10 mph at 90 rpm and 50 watts know nothing
Not sure I'd put it that way, but it always seened really odd to me.
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Old 06-02-23, 06:56 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Not sure I'd put it that way, but it always seened really odd to me.
Should I have said 75% wasted heat in the meat?

Anyone who adheres to the 90 rpm mantra irrespective of workload knows nothing.
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Old 06-05-23, 03:47 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
In my experience you have to be even more flexible with speed then, but you do get one more tool to cope with it, drafting. I have found that when riding with folks that I trust to ride close with drafting is a great equalizer and can keep a group of varied strength riders together. It works well even for equal riders when someone is having a bad day. It doesn't work so well for long climbs. That usually requires the stronger climbers wait for the others at some point. We usually met up at the top in the groups or pairs I toured with.
That's all true, but I find that in group riding tighter gearing is an asset as it helps make one more predictable. If you're riding ahead of someone it's nicer for them if your gear changes are smooth and your speed stays constant or at least changes predictably fast. When I was first taught group riding a big emphasis was on rising to ride out of the saddle as that tends to create a sizeable backwards shift, which can be dangerous for the people behind.

But in my touring it's mostly with my wife where we ride side by side and chat.

Personally I find it pleasant and helpful to vary cadence throughout the day. Some days I may spend some time noodling along at 50-60 rpm, some I may maintain a steady 90 all day. Sometimes I may climb at 100 or even 110-120, but sometimes I choose to mash a big gear. In any case most often I mix it up throughout the day.
Cadence does change in relation to the condition and effort level. I haven't had a cadence meter in over a decade, but I'm assuming my typical riding cadence is around 90rpm. But if I'm riding at a lower effort level it's much lower. Alternatively at higher intensities it gets higher. But the point I was trying to make was that I want to choose my cadence by choosing the correct gear and not be forced to use a cadence forced by too large gear steps.

For at least 50 years I have been told that mashing a big gear would ruin my knees, but I have done it at least on some climbs and here I am at age 72 with pretty health knees.
They do say a lot of stuff. But I think the old wisdoms are, at best, only tangentially true if at all. If you regularly mash a big gear at high intensities I can see how that could cause issues. Then again cadence tends to slow down while climbing and the intensities can get pretty high when you run out of gears. However the torque load for the knee joint remains low, because the gear is low.

Or perhaps it's all hogwash.

I notice that in the pro peleton in grand tour type racing the majority of the rider who are out of the wind when the pace is not yet heated up are most often rolling along at a pretty low cadence sometimes as low as 50-60 rpm. Some also climb in fairly low gears others spin like mad. Some vary pretty widely depending on conditions and goals at the moment. You see them on much wider ratio clusters these days and no one looks like they are using the little ring until they are on steep climbs and even then some are still on the big ring. A few top riders have sported 1X MTB/Gravel drivetrains for specific stages even including on a time trial bike in one case.
Those on the sun deck are using a ridiculously low wattage. You could put an amateur like me inside the group and I could keep up on the flats. Not so on even slight climbs regrettably. Cadence tends to be individual like the way you pedal (heel or toe down) and many other factors. But I do believe the pros want to use the cadence they choose to use instead of one dictated by gearing.

I've understood that the 1X bikes used in the grand tours were swapped to the riders before a big climb etc. So they wouldn't use said gearing on flat stages or even flat parts of mountain stages.

Originally Posted by GhostRider62
My first touring bike went lots of places on 46/32 with 5 speed 14-32 FW.

An 11 or 12 speed 1X would/could have a lower low, higher high, and smaller gaps. Of course, it could not compete with 46/42/24 with half step and a 6 speed.

I find I want 1 tooth steps from 45 inches to 65 inches and 2 or 3 gears above and 2 or 3 gears below when touring with a load.

My cadence varies according to a variety of factors. Those who piddle along the flats at 10 mph at 90 rpm and 50 watts know nothing
I don't know where you got the idea that anyone here was going 90rpm at 50 watts. That was never the point. The point was, that I personally like to use the cadence I choose to use, which probably is often around 90rpm now that I think of it. But not at 50 watts. And when I'm pushing 1500+ watts it's probably up there way above 100 rpm.
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Old 06-05-23, 06:22 AM
  #43  
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Everybody has their own cadence. I know people with a high cadance and one guy I know has a hummingbird cadence, he really spins the crank. And others that are much slower. When I am working hard, I am around 72 to 78.

Making comparisons between average people on a bike tour with pro peloton racers is not applicable in any way.

Don't assume that a high cadence is only for racers, the guy I know with a hummingbird cadence goes on tours in the desert where he needs to pull a trailer behind his loaded touring bike to carry his load of water. He does not have much torque, but the rpm makes up for it.
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Old 08-09-23, 09:41 PM
  #44  
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We are currently cycling around the world. I'm typing this on my phone inside my tent. One of us has 1x, the other has 2x.

1x is perfectly fine for touring. 34t chainring. 11-50 cassette. If I was setting this up again I would change the chainring to 32t. Never used the 34-11 combo once so far. Hills are tough withe extra weight so one rests at every opportunity. We are coasting well before this fantasy gear comes anywhere near being in play. The highest speed I bother pedalling at is 20 mph. At 20.1 mph I'm coasting. I have zero desire to waste my leg power during a downhill. I prefer to save my legs so I can crush the uphills.

I don't think I'll build another 2x touring bike in my life. In my opinion 2x is obsolete for touring. As for 3x, I stopped using that stuff over 10 years ago.

Regarding finding the perfect cadence, I'm comfortable anywhere between 75 and 90. Some people's neural-muscular system can't cope with this kind of variation. Individual brain muscle control differences, probably genetic. Nothing you can do if you are in the other camp, 1x is not for you.

Last edited by Yan; 08-09-23 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 08-10-23, 04:34 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Yan
We are currently cycling around the world. I'm typing this on my phone inside my tent. One of us has 1x, the other has 2x.

1x is perfectly fine for touring. 34t chainring. 11-50 cassette. If I was setting this up again I would change the chainring to 32t. Never used the 34-11 combo once so far. Hills are tough withe extra weight so one rests at every opportunity. We are coasting well before this fantasy gear comes anywhere near being in play. The highest speed I bother pedalling at is 20 mph. At 20.1 mph I'm coasting. I have zero desire to waste my leg power during a downhill. I prefer to save my legs so I can crush the uphills.

I don't think I'll build another 2x touring bike in my life. In my opinion 2x is obsolete for touring. As for 3x, I stopped using that stuff over 10 years ago.

Regarding finding the perfect cadence, I'm comfortable anywhere between 75 and 90. Some people's neural-muscular system can't cope with this kind of variation. Individual brain muscle control differences, probably genetic. Nothing you can do if you are in the other camp, 1x is not for you.
Thanks for that update.

I too have been ridiing a 1x recently. Mine is on a new mountain bike and it has not been used for anything other than daily local trail rides. That said the 30t and 11-51 seems like it would be good for all of the ratios I'd need for any of the touring I've done or plan to do. So far I am really enjoying the setup. If I were to set up a bike specifically for touring I wouldn't hesitate to choose a similar drive train.
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Old 08-10-23, 06:12 AM
  #46  
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I just like a closely spaced cassette to get finer/closer steps between shifts, I'd run 4 chainrings in the front to keep the 1 tooth steps in the rear.
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Old 08-10-23, 08:57 AM
  #47  
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If only it was possible to get a triple with a 12 speed cassette and brifters. A 12 speed 11-36 cassette would have super tight gearing and with the triple you'd get more range than with a 10-52 cassette. Not a ride goes by with the Disc Trucker that I don't dream of putting on a GRX. Sadly no option for low gearing with the GRX without lots of bodging stuff.

A 10-52 has similar gear jumps as a 9-speed 11-36, but with a triple those big jumps are pretty well mitigated so it's easier to find the proper gear. I remember being severely bothered by the difficulty of trying to find a proper gear with an 11-speed 11-42 and 32t chainring. The lack of front shifting options does remove the mid gears so you're relying completely on the cassette jumps.
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Old 08-10-23, 10:59 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
Not a ride goes by with the Disc Trucker that I don't dream of putting on a GRX. Sadly no option for low gearing with the GRX without lots of bodging stuff.
I have a GRX 11-speed setup on my Soma Saga, and have an 11-40T SLX 11-speed cassette and a 2X 46/30T GRX crankset. The only "bodging" involved turning the B-screw.

I haven't yet had a chance to test it on a real-world tour, but I've fully loaded the bike and ridden local hills that are worse than anything I have encountered on a tour, and it works well.
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Old 08-10-23, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
I have a GRX 11-speed setup on my Soma Saga, and have an 11-40T SLX 11-speed cassette and a 2X 46/30T GRX crankset. The only "bodging" involved turning the B-screw.

I haven't yet had a chance to test it on a real-world tour, but I've fully loaded the bike and ridden local hills that are worse than anything I have encountered on a tour, and it works well.
The way I see it is that the 30t small ring of GRX is the problem. The smallest gear of the DT is 22/36 which gives me 17 gear inches. The 30/40 of GRX gives 20.8. That's fairly close to putting a 11-28 cassette on the DT.

If it were possible to directly use the GRX shifter with the front shimano mtb derailers, that'd be great. That way I could use a 24-38 crankset which would give me pretty decent range. It is possible with a JTEC pulley (which I already use with Sora) but that's a bit of a bodge and a total pain to route a cable through
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Old 08-10-23, 04:19 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
I have a GRX 11-speed setup on my Soma Saga, and have an 11-40T SLX 11-speed cassette and a 2X 46/30T GRX crankset. The only "bodging" involved turning the B-screw.

I haven't yet had a chance to test it on a real-world tour, but I've fully loaded the bike and ridden local hills that are worse than anything I have encountered on a tour, and it works well.
With a 30T chainring and 40T rear sprocket, that is the same ratio as my 24T chainring and 32T sprocket on my 3X8 system that uses a 11/32 eight speed cassette.

I have been using gearing with that for a lowest gear on derailleur touring bikes for over a decade.
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