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Perfect Touring Drivetrain? Pinion + Sturmey Archer (P1.18 + CS-RK3)

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Perfect Touring Drivetrain? Pinion + Sturmey Archer (P1.18 + CS-RK3)

Old 06-16-23, 03:19 AM
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Perfect Touring Drivetrain? Pinion + Sturmey Archer (P1.18 + CS-RK3)

My previous touring drivetrain was a 3x8 derailleur with 52/42/20 chainring + 11-36 cassette. Combined with wide, dropped handlebars, secondary brake levers on top, with fingertip trigger shifters, this was pretty damn near perfect.

The front/rear ratios on that drivetrain go from 4.72 (52/11) down to 0.55 (20/36). An overall range of 858%.

In the case of the Pinion P1.18 gear box, with 30T chainring and 26T sprocket, its ratios go from 3.98 down to 0.63 (a 628% range).

With 30T front and back, it's 3.45 down to 0.55.

The Gates belt drive provides a choice of 32T/39T chainrings with sprockets from 24T to 39T.

Anyway, we can already see that a derailleur setup can provide a wider range of gears, with three chainrings for three modes of: descent; cruising/gentle ascent; and granny ascent. And an 8 speed cassette provides a nice selection for each (albeit 3 gears unusable in granny mode). Thanks to indexed shifters, it is easy to change between mode, and easy to change 1-3 gears up or down the cassette.

However, although the Pinion gearbox has a large range of 18 gears, its overall 628% range is not quite large enough for touring, where ideally, one has something like a 900% range of a granny-derailleur setup.

This is because one needs a ratio around 0.5 to ascend long 8% gradient hills with a fully loaded tourer, and, to avoid missing out on the downhill side of things, a ratio of over 4.5 to keep up with the pedals at 55-60km/h.

So, with the Pinion, one can have a touring setup 30T/30T, but resign oneself to freewheeling descents beyond 35km/h. Or, one can have a commuter setup of 30T/26T, with ascents greater than 5% becoming a slog, but at least one can speed down them at around 50km/h.

The solution is to partner the Pinion P1.18 gear box with a Sturmey Archer CS-RK3 3 speed IGH at the rear, with 30T chainring and 30T sprocket.

For a 30T sprocket, this 0.75/1/1.33 ratio IGH is roughly equivalent to having a 3 speed cassette of 22-30-40T.

So, in low gear, one has a ratio of 0.41, and in high gear one has a ratio of 4.6. That's an overall range of 1114% - blowing a granny-derailleur's range out of the water.

Given the 2nd gear of the Sturmey Archer 3 speed IGH is direct drive it has insignificant losses in efficiency, which is perfectly suited to the range of gears in which efficiency is critical, i.e. progress on the flats, and minor inclines. Thus, with ratios of 0.55 to 3.45, for ascents up to 8% and descents of up to 2% (35km/h), one doesn't touch the IGH. However, for steeps of 8-15%, there is a granny range available of 0.41 up. And for descents beyond 2%, for speeds of 40-60km/h or more, there are high speed gear ratios of up to 4.6. The minor efficiency losses in 1st and 3rd gear of the IGH then become inconsequential, given one is either gaining from reduced effort in otherwise difficult ascent, or one can afford to waste free energy provided by gravity.

NB 'Walking the bike up the hill' is equivalent to a gear ratio of about 0.4, so there's no point having ratios lower than this. I've found that this means a sustained gradient of about 15% is the borderline after which dismounting becomes the more attractive option. If there's a very short steep section of 20-25%, sure, one can pedal it out. However, that's all for tarmac. For rough/dirt tracks, I have found that 9% is my limit (with 45Kg of bike+luggage).

With the P1.18+CS-RK3 I have recently completed a 600km multi-day tour over mountainous terrain (mostly tarmac, but plenty of unmetalled tracks, bridle-ways, and the odd steep footpath). Unsurprisingly, I found this combo to be usefully superior to the bare P1.18, and superior to my previous derailleur setup.
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Old 06-16-23, 09:21 AM
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If you want crazy, you could go P.18 and Rohloff or go really crazy with an old Sram DD3 hub with an 11 speed cassette and a P.18 and then figure out a double chainring at the front and probably use a fat bike offset front derailleur and you will have 1188 gear combinations. Don't ask me how to shift it all and remember where you are at. You did a much better job than I could at getting all the ratios and such figured out but I would think once you get the crazy amount of gears I suggest you won't really need to worry so much.

Going to your mechanic:
"In between 546-563 there is a bit of noise"
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Old 06-16-23, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
If you want crazy, you could go P.18 and Rohloff or go really crazy with ....
Yes, there is always the crazy option.

The P1.18 + RK3, is basically the Pinion drive (30T:30T), but with a secondary lever giving you granny or overdrive.

I contend that when it comes to touring, Pinion+SA is better than Pinion alone, and needs little further improvement, i.e. is 'perfect'.

An improvement to the Pinion I can think of is to separate gear selection from the actual gear change, i.e. the rider selects whatever gear they want at any time, and the gearbox actuates the change at either of the two near-zero-torque angles (between pedal strokes).
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Old 06-16-23, 11:10 AM
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As I mentioned in a previous post on this topic:

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
My Rohloff bike has a narrower range (526 percent) than the Pinion 18 you have, so I clearly understand the lack of range. I use the same wheel sprocket for all purposes, but when I am riding around near home on an unladen bike, I use a 44T chainring. That gives me a range of gears that is nearly perfect for the hills in my area. For that type of riding, the most weight my bike ever has on it is a pannier of groceries to carry home from the store.

But touring, I swap out the 44T chainring and use a 36T chainring. That gives me the lower gears I need for hill climbing with a load. But I spin out on the uphills downhills. But, the lower gears are more important to me than the upper ones that I lack, so I just live with it. I add or subtract 4 chain links when I make the switch.

In that regard, you are fortunate to have the wider range of the Pinion 18. Since you have chain drive, if you still find you want a wider range for different types of riding, you might find you are doing the same as me, changing your gear range by swapping sprockets or chainrings for the type of riding you are going to be doing.
....
My point is to just use the bike and gearing system you have, but if for a specific route or trip you knew in advance that you would want a higher or lower gear range, then change a sprocket or chainring to adjust your range for that period of time.

You have a nice bike, don't complicate it.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 06-16-23 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 06-16-23, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
P.18 and Rohloff
It's been done.

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Old 06-16-23, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Xavier65
...
An improvement to the Pinion I can think of is to separate gear selection from the actual gear change, i.e. the rider selects whatever gear they want at any time, and the gearbox actuates the change at either of the two near-zero-torque angles (between pedal strokes).
Maybe that will happen some day. But, some of us are happy to mechanically keep things simpler.

The best vehicle that I have ever owned was a 1965 Ford F250. Had a 240 cubic inch straight six engine and a four speed. The truck came with three options from the factory, (1) limited slip rear axle, (2) an AM radio, and (3) auxiliary rear springs. A vehicle of that vintage did not come stock with windshield washers, back up lights, or even a passenger side window visor, none of which were included. But, when it broke it was amazingly simple to fix. In other words, I am a believer in the keep it simple approach.

The last thing I would want is a bicycle that decides exactly when to shift instead of me doing my shifting. Especially for a bike that might decide to stop shifting when I am 80 km from help.

If I am going up a hill on my Rohloff bike and want to downshift further, I find it is pretty easy to time my shift the way you suggest should be automated, when my right side pedal gets to the top of the stroke, I make the shift at that time. Mentally, it is easier for me to keep this straight by only shifting when the right pedal is at the top of the stroke, not the left, thus I do not have to think about which side to shift. I think you will find after some practice that you can perfect that with a Pinion.
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Old 06-16-23, 11:29 AM
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But I spin out on the uphills.


Downhills?

Aerodynamic studies have indicated adopting an aero tuck and coasting is faster down big hills than sitting up and flailing away at the pedals. As an empirical check of this lab finding, I've seen tucked, coasting riders catch pedaling riders down the back side of big Cols in the ToF.
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Old 06-16-23, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
an old Sram DD3 hub with an 11 speed cassette
Or a brand new, in-production Sturmey-Archer CS-RF3 and a SRAM Eagle NX 12-speed cassette. Whatever. Lots of ways to skin a cat.
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Old 06-16-23, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Or a brand new, in-production Sturmey-Archer CS-RF3 and a SRAM Eagle NX 12-speed cassette. Whatever. Lots of ways to needlessly harm a cat.
I doubt they have a 12 speed XDR or Microspline free hub for it but I had thought of that when 12 speed first came out. Could potentially still work for 11 speed with a mountain cassette. I can never remember the SA version of the DD3 so I always just go for the SRAM one but that was when I was trying to out do the late great Sheldon Brown in gears and trying to figure a way to do it. I think he got to 256 or something if memory serves but it probably doesn't.

Though no need to harm cats or anyone really use it as an expression I know it is an old expression but totally unneeded.
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Old 06-16-23, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Downhills?

Aerodynamic studies have indicated adopting an aero tuck and coasting is faster down big hills than sitting up and flailing away at the pedals. As an empirical check of this lab finding, I've seen tucked, coasting riders catch pedaling riders down the back side of big Cols in the ToF.
Correction made, thank you.

I rarely coast on the downhills unless I do not have the gearing. Coasting instead of pedaling is more stress on my bum on a long day. So, I like to have some higher gears for pedaling on shallow downhills, even if those gears see very little use. My cassettes that have 11 and 12 tooth sprockets, almost no wear at all.
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Old 06-16-23, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
I doubt they have a 12 speed XDR or Microspline free hub for it but I had thought of that when 12 speed first came out. Could potentially still work for 11 speed with a mountain cassette. I can never remember the SA version of the DD3 so I always just go for the SRAM one but that was when I was trying to out do the late great Sheldon Brown in gears and trying to figure a way to do it. I think he got to 256 or something if memory serves but it probably doesn't.

Though no need to harm cats or anyone really use it as an expression I know it is an old expression but totally unneeded.
I can't fit a front derailleur to my folding bike, thus added the Dual Drive later. Gives me great gearing. Cassette is an 8 speed 11/32. This calculation is an approximation, as it won't let me use decimals with chainring sizing.
https://gear-calculator.com/?GR=DERS...N=MPH&DV=teeth

This is a bit off topic, so I will skip the photo of the bike. If you are curious,
Folders in the wild - post your photos
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Old 06-17-23, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
I doubt they have a 12 speed XDR or Microspline free hub for it...
The SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed cassette fits on a standard Hyper Glide driver.


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Old 06-17-23, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
The SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed cassette fits on a standard Hyper Glide driver.

https://youtu.be/0g6tVBdfsUw
True but you would still need an 11 speed freehub though. I cannot imagine it fitting on a as they claim 8 speed easily but who knows maybe. It would be fun to build it one day. Maybe I will just for the hell of it.

I get that it is other things but the phrase needs to go away.
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