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Double Crankset Gearing

Old 05-24-11, 09:22 PM
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Double Crankset Gearing

It's a question I've searched for but having a problem finding a simple answer for. Is a 34/50 on a double crankset with a 12-36 cassette going to be low enough for loaded up touring ?

I think the 50 is going to help prevent me from spinning out, but trying to get some local expert advice.
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Old 05-24-11, 09:40 PM
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I run a Sram X7 26/39 double along with an 11/32 or 11/34 running 10 speed Ultegra shifters and XT RD. Either is plenty low for me to ride up anything I've ever come across. For loaded touring in hilly country you may find that 34/36 a little high for your liking.

I can comfortably spin for with the 39 ring and 11 cassette. When I'm touring I really don't worry about hammering down the hills like I do when riding my TCR. That combo allows me to cruise along with zero issues.

Only place you will spin out that 50/12 is down big hills.

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Old 05-24-11, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nhorton
It's a question I've searched for but having a problem finding a simple answer for. Is a 34/50 on a double crankset with a 12-36 cassette going to be low enough for loaded up touring ?

I think the 50 is going to help prevent me from spinning out, but trying to get some local expert advice.
Depends how loaded up you are. Most folks need a minimum 20 gear inch low and anything over 80 is rarely used other than to go even faster down hill. 34F/ 36R gives you around 27 gear inches - not low enough IMHO.
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Old 05-25-11, 01:40 AM
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After my first loaded mini-tour (with some hills in it and a windy day), one of the clear conclusions was that 25 gear inches (the lowest gear that my bike has) is not low enough for me. The touring bike I am currently building will have 16 gear inches as the lowest gear (22/34 with 26x1.5 tires).

Last edited by Seb71; 05-25-11 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by nhorton
It's a question I've searched for but having a problem finding a simple answer for. Is a 34/50 on a double crankset with a 12-36 cassette going to be low enough for loaded up touring ?

I think the 50 is going to help prevent me from spinning out, but trying to get some local expert advice.
Most tourists would say that your gearing is too high. You don't need the 50; spinning out is part of the fun and most tourists are going to freewheel down the hills.

A good range to go for id 100 to 20 gear inches. The 12-36 cassette is good, but look at using combos like 44-30, 42-26 etc on the crank
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Old 05-25-11, 08:39 AM
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Another vote for not low enough, here. I barely got away with 26 front / 32 rear on my first bike, and when it was time to get a new bike I went with 22 in front.

That's for a full camping/cooking load.
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Old 05-25-11, 09:19 AM
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I'm in the "it depends" crowd.

If you expect to climb all day with 50 pounds of gear for weeks in a row, it isn't low enough.

If you're dealing with moderate or minimal hills, have 20 pounds of gear, and have the power, a compact double with a wide cassette is sufficient.
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Old 05-25-11, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by nhorton
Is a 34/50 on a double crankset with a 12-36 cassette going to be low enough for loaded up touring ?
Not unless you can pack everything you need in 15-20lbs. Or your touring route is completely flat.
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Old 05-25-11, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by nhorton
It's a question I've searched for but having a problem finding a simple answer for. Is a 34/50 on a double crankset with a 12-36 cassette going to be low enough for loaded up touring ?

I think the 50 is going to help prevent me from spinning out, but trying to get some local expert advice.
Gearing is something of a touchy subject. Racer dudes fall into the camp of anything less than a 53/42 with an 11-15 10 speed cassette is too Fredish for them. Freds/tourist/retro grouches will tell you that you only need a 34/30/18 crank with a 28-36 4 speed cassette and anything else is just too macho racer dude for them to associate with you.

Mountain bikers (and wise tourists who have functioning knees) fall into a group that realize the utility of very low...perhaps stupidly low...gears. If you have to pedal your bike to the top of a hill that you probably shouldn't be walking up, you need low gears to do it. Once on top of the hill, you probably don't want to spend all your time coasting back down it so you need gears that you can actually pedal.

While I ride everything, I have a slight edge in mountain biking experience and tend to err on the side of the mountain bikers. I also live in an area that is uphill from everywhere. I have triple cranks on every single bike I own and everyone of them but the go fast bike have 11-34 rear cassettes. My touring bike has my lowest gears...46/34/20 crank...and I've used the lowest and highest on several tours. Sometimes within yards of each other



That's a 50 mph downhill across the way and a 4 mph uphill.

If you are new to touring, I'd say to get as low a low as you can and a reasonable high. (about 100 gear inches is a reasonable high). If you find that you aren't using the low or the high, you can always change the gearing later.
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Old 05-25-11, 10:41 AM
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Yet another vote for not low enough. I have recently been trying to convert my Mercian Road bike to a touring bike while keeping my Sugino double up front and decided it's a lost cause. The smallest ring you can use on a 110 double is 33t and I know I would be begging for a lower gear. Perhaps if you live and tour only in flatter areas it might work but not here in southern BC.

I was calculating gear ratios and not intending for anyone else to read it but here it is anyway. The percentage after the first equals sign is the one to look at. I am used to a 24/32 but the best I could do with the Mercian is a 33/36 and that doesn't come close enough.

BTW, Shimano says you need a Shadow rear derailleur to use their 36t cassette or you have to replace the B-tension bolt with a longer one for a non Shadow derailleur.

Kayakdiver, I like the idea of your mountain double and if I build up another touring bike, I will probably do the same.

26”x2=206
24/32=0.75x206=154.5cm 60.83”
26/32=0.8125x206=167.4cm 65.9”
26/30=0.87x206=178.5cm 70.3”
26/28=0.93x206=191.58cm 75.4”

622x28mm=214
34/32=1.06x214=227.4cm 89.5”
34/34=1x214=214cm 84.2”
34/36=.94x214=202cm 79.5”
33/36=.92x214=196cm 77”
33/32=1.03x214=220cm
33/34=0.97x214=208cm
30/32=.94x214=201cm 79”
30/34=0.88x214=189cm 74”
30/36=0.833x214=178.33cm 70”
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Old 05-25-11, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by aroundoz
Yet another vote for not low enough. I have recently been trying to convert my Mercian Road bike to a touring bike while keeping my Sugino double up front and decided it's a lost cause. The smallest ring you can use on a 110 double is 33t and I know I would be begging for a lower gear. Perhaps if you live and tour only in flatter areas it might work but not here in southern BC.

I was calculating gear ratios and not intending for anyone else to read it but here it is anyway. The percentage after the first equals sign is the one to look at. I am used to a 24/32 but the best I could do with the Mercian is a 33/36 and that doesn't come close enough.

BTW, Shimano says you need a Shadow rear derailleur to use their 36t cassette or you have to replace the B-tension bolt with a longer one for a non Shadow derailleur.

Kayakdiver, I like the idea of your mountain double and if I build up another touring bike, I will probably do the same.


26”x2=206
24/32=0.75x206=154.5cm 60.83”
26/32=0.8125x206=167.4cm 65.9”
26/30=0.87x206=178.5cm 70.3”
26/28=0.93x206=191.58cm 75.4”

622x28mm=214
34/32=1.06x214=227.4cm 89.5”
34/34=1x214=214cm 84.2”
34/36=.94x214=202cm 79.5”
33/36=.92x214=196cm 77”
33/32=1.03x214=220cm
33/34=0.97x214=208cm
30/32=.94x214=201cm 79”
30/34=0.88x214=189cm 74”
30/36=0.833x214=178.33cm 70”
I really love the setup... You would be very pleased if you decided to go this route. Some might say that a 39 big ring is pretty low but at 100 rpm on the 11/39 you are looking at approx 24mph.. plenty fast for any touring I'm doing.
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Old 05-25-11, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by aroundoz
Yet another vote for not low enough. I have recently been trying to convert my Mercian Road bike to a touring bike while keeping my Sugino double up front and decided it's a lost cause. The smallest ring you can use on a 110 double is 33t and I know I would be begging for a lower gear. Perhaps if you live and tour only in flatter areas it might work but not here in southern BC.
Crank choice basically depends on what BB interface you have and then on the rings you need. To get good touring gears with a double you could use the Sugino 110/74 double and do 42/26 or 40/24. Or a less expensive way is to use a 110/74 triple and just use the middle and inner ring positions. That's what I do. I have a 42/26 with an 11/34 cassette and get the following ratios

103.1 63.8
87.2 54.0
75.6 46.8
66.7 41.3
56.7 35.1
49.3 30.5
43.6 27.0
37.8 23.4
33.4 20.6

Most days I never come out of the 42 ring and the 26 ring is just for the really steep stuff.
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Old 05-25-11, 02:16 PM
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Nun,
Seeing your Ramboulet was what gave me the incentive to get my Mercian more tour ready. The smallest ring you can use on a 110 double is a 33t which is made by TA. That's the smallest that exists in a 110 spacing. If I am wrong, let me know because I would love to buy it.

VO has a 50.4 double which comes with 30-46 and they will soon be stocking even smaller rings. That and it looks pretty sharp as well.

https://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...-crankset.html
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Old 05-25-11, 06:41 PM
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I use the exact gearing you're thinking of on my long distance bike (nashbar crank50/34 to 12-36, with deore derailler, flipped the b-screw), but I live in a countryside where the hills rarely exceed 400m and a ride might have a big climb of 50m, so I don't need anything lower but you can swap the innner ring for a 30 and get lower without much expense... my inner ring is steel too. I could manage credit card touring with my setup but would want to haul a lot of gear with it either.

I plan on putting MTB gearing on my heavy touring bike though, it just makes sense for a fella my size.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:52 PM
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Is a 34/50 on a double crankset with a 12-36 cassette going to be low enough for loaded up touring ?
People in the Hundreds, ride down the Pacific Coast on tour on all sorts of bikes , those doubles among the choices

1:1 low, a 34:34, Might be OK, If you don't mind walking some really steep hills.

my derailleur touring rig , 13-32 cogs, 110-74 , 50,38,24 ..
24:32 = 1:0.75

now with the cassette hubs, offering 12t cogs, no need for the 52.
you can function with a 48 outer.

Found ,for my longest tour 95" gear, was high enough.

A 50/14 on a 700-35 wheel.

YMMV

a British friend on a SF to SD Cal tour used their TA double.. that was a 50-28.
Freewheel was 13-28. , I think..

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-05-14 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Gearing is something of a touchy subject. Racer dudes fall into the camp of anything less than a 53/42 with an 11-15 10 speed cassette is too Fredish for them. Freds/tourist/retro grouches will tell you that you only need a 34/30/18 crank with a 28-36 4 speed cassette and anything else is just too macho racer dude for them to associate with you.

Mountain bikers (and wise tourists who have functioning knees) fall into a group that realize the utility of very low...perhaps stupidly low...gears. If you have to pedal your bike to the top of a hill that you probably shouldn't be walking up, you need low gears to do it. Once on top of the hill, you probably don't want to spend all your time coasting back down it so you need gears that you can actually pedal.

While I ride everything, I have a slight edge in mountain biking experience and tend to err on the side of the mountain bikers. I also live in an area that is uphill from everywhere. I have triple cranks on every single bike I own and everyone of them but the go fast bike have 11-34 rear cassettes. My touring bike has my lowest gears...46/34/20 crank...and I've used the lowest and highest on several tours. Sometimes within yards of each other

If you are new to touring, I'd say to get as low a low as you can and a reasonable high. (about 100 gear inches is a reasonable high). If you find that you aren't using the low or the high, you can always change the gearing later.
Well put Mr Perkins, I especially liked the Fred/retro grouch comparison. Yup, I agree a 20-100 g.i. range is a good target. Ive used a 21 to maybe 105 g.i. and that always worked well.
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Old 05-26-11, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by kayakdiver
I run a Sram X7 26/39 double along with an 11/32 or 11/34 running 10 speed Ultegra shifters and XT RD. Either is plenty low for me to ride up anything I've ever come across. For loaded touring in hilly country you may find that 34/36 a little high for your liking.

I can comfortably spin for with the 39 ring and 11 cassette. When I'm touring I really don't worry about hammering down the hills like I do when riding my TCR. That combo allows me to cruise along with zero issues.

Only place you will spin out that 50/12 is down big hills.
Specifically, which XT RD and, more importantly which FD do you use with the Ultegra STI shifters? I am assuming you are using STI's....
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Old 05-26-11, 09:48 AM
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I've been riding mtn bikes, cargo bikes, folding bikes, electric bikes but just got out my old Sekai 2500 to do some road riding and maybe touring again. It's been 25 years since I've done any touring. I used it all the time and toured across the top of the US a number of times. The front rings are 50, 40 and the rear which I LOWERED to 14, 32. I can't believe I carried 80 lbs of stuff over the Rockies and Cascades so many times with these gears. Ah, youth is wasted on the young.
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Old 05-26-11, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe
Specifically, which XT RD and, more importantly which FD do you use with the Ultegra STI shifters? I am assuming you are using STI's....
Just about any XT will work with the exception of the Dynasys derailers. Even a Rapid Rise would work. The shifting is just 'backwards'. On the positive side, both shifters move in the same direction from high to low gear.

For the front derailer, use a Tiagra for wide range gearing because they are wider between the inner and outer plate. That makes the Tiagra - both double and triple - more forgiving than their more expensive brothers.
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Old 05-26-11, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe
Specifically, which XT RD and, more importantly which FD do you use with the Ultegra STI shifters? I am assuming you are using STI's....
XT Long Cage and Tiagra up front with STI's.
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Old 05-26-11, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Just about any XT will work with the exception of the Dynasys derailers. Even a Rapid Rise would work. The shifting is just 'backwards'. On the positive side, both shifters move in the same direction from high to low gear.

For the front derailer, use a Tiagra for wide range gearing because they are wider between the inner and outer plate. That makes the Tiagra - both double and triple - more forgiving than their more expensive brothers.
Originally Posted by kayakdiver
XT Long Cage and Tiagra up front with STI's.
This is very useful. It is very good to know that at an Ultegra 10 speed STI will make a Tiagra FD shift from and to a 39t big ring. I don't think that this is well known as I am aware of two people who have struggled unsuccessfully with the 9sp to 10sp conversion with "touring" chainrings. Co-Motion was clueless - or more likely too cautious to say anything but push bar ends.
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Old 05-26-11, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe
This is very useful. It is very good to know that at an Ultegra 10 speed STI will make a Tiagra FD shift from and to a 39t big ring. I don't think that this is well known as I am aware of two people who have struggled unsuccessfully with the 9sp to 10sp conversion with "touring" chainrings. Co-Motion was clueless - or more likely too cautious to say anything but push bar ends.
The Tiagra is a true diamond in the rough compared to the 105 and Ultegra. The more expensive derailers are pretty and they shift nice but they are a pain to set up because they are so narrow. I've found the same to be true with mountain bike fronts. The expensive ones are very nice but they will drive you crazy on set up.
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Old 05-26-11, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The Tiagra is a true diamond in the rough compared to the 105 and Ultegra. The more expensive derailers are pretty and they shift nice but they are a pain to set up because they are so narrow. I've found the same to be true with mountain bike fronts. The expensive ones are very nice but they will drive you crazy on set up.
I agree, a few weeks ago I changed the cable on my Tiagra FD and reset everything as I had screwed it up a bit at the end of last season--I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was setting it up (last fall I had been a bit of a doofus with it and mucked it up, the cable as well from tightening, loosening, tightening, loosening)
Found some online step by step stuff for setting up a fd and it worked like a charm, with the trim stuff working right on from the beginning.
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Old 05-27-11, 11:40 AM
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nhorton, You'll probably be fine for the majority of your touring miles. That said, I have to admit that stupid low gearing is nice and maybe more importantly, fun.

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Old 05-27-11, 10:02 PM
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I did a credit card tour in VT last summer with about 27" as my lowest gear. I was carrying about 20lbs. I'm a clyde and did several 5 mile climbs at about 8%. Having said that, if I were carrying a tent, sleeping bag and cooking gear, I'd want something around 20 gear inches.
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