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Lowest top gear inch you can happily live with?

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Lowest top gear inch you can happily live with?

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Old 12-05-13, 06:45 AM
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wheelinthai
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Lowest top gear inch you can happily live with?

What is the lowest top gear inch you guys can tolerate? While I can touch 60kph, riding my road bike in a peloton, I can accept 80 gear inch as top necessary for my loaded tour bike. Forty kph is easily possible. I can coast down hill, and enjoy the speed when I have the opportunity. However, I must have a minimum of 18.5 gear inch for the tough climbs.
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Old 12-05-13, 07:24 AM
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I agree that having the low end is more important than the high end.

On both of my bikes, I go down to just under 17" and top out just around 106". I find that I use both ends regularly where I live.

The heavier the load on the bike, the more important the low end is (and the less important the high end).
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Old 12-05-13, 08:11 AM
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I did the Southern Tier with a high gear of 87.8" and a low of 25.1". It worked pretty well and the range was adequate at both ends for the light load. I was carrying camping and cooking gear, but packed quite light. If I had to I could go with a lower high gear, but prefer to not go much lower.
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Old 12-05-13, 08:53 AM
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Erick L
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My current lowest is 19" and it's all right but I'll probably go down to 17,6" when the chainrings need replacement.
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Old 12-05-13, 09:13 AM
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I confess I am an old man and don't push as hard as I might have previously. I mostly ride my touring bike unloaded and tend to coast down hills, but like about a 95" top gear for those time when I feel like pedaling down hill or with a wind. For serious up hills, I have equipped my bikes with a 16" low gear. I seldom need it, but when I do, it is a big help. I can spin up hill and save my knees.
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Old 12-05-13, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelinthai View Post
What is the lowest top gear inch you guys can tolerate? While I can touch 60kph, riding my road bike in a peloton, I can accept 80 gear inch as top necessary for my loaded tour bike. Forty kph is easily possible. I can coast down hill, and enjoy the speed when I have the opportunity. However, I must have a minimum of 18.5 gear inch for the tough climbs.
I like have a top gear of 100 to 120 gear inches. Back in the bad old days of mountain biking, I had to run a 44/13 because not much else was available. That's an 88" gear or, more realistically, it's 16mph (25 kph) at 60rpm. If you could spin it at 120 rpm which is really difficult, the speed jumps up to 30 mph (50 kph). But it's really hard to sustain, or even achieve, that kind of rpm. In other words, you spend a whole lot of time coasting.

My current touring bike has a 46/11 high which isn't all that hard to obtain. At a more reasonable 60 rpm, I can do 20 mph. On a downhill, it doesn't take much effort to sustain 90 or 100 rpm which gives me a speed of 30 to 33 mph. I don't have to coast as much and, if I put some real effort into it, can easily pedal up to 40 mph. I find that if I have to coast too much, my legs get stiff and climbing the next hill is harder.
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Old 12-05-13, 09:46 AM
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For me it depends on the time of the year. With the higher air density and other hinderances right now I like a lower gear than I would ever consider riding during the summer months. Right now I'm riding 52x22 full time, single speed. I pretty much always ride single speed anymore, on a cassetted bike. During the summer months I generally ride either a 52x17 or 52x19, loaded or unloaded. I'm not one that likes the feel of my legs flying off without me so I like to pedal slower and do it in a bigger gear. I don't mind standing to climb and actually prefer it to seated climbing so I like the big gear for the climbs as well. I know I was working on building a fixed gear bike this spring and was planning on using a 52x15 on it so I ended up riding a nice chunk of this summer 52x15 on the regular road bike until I had worn the gear out and was forced to shift gears when I changed the chain. I knew the 52x15 would allow me climb the hills around here, with maybe only one or two exceptions and it would also allow me enough speed so my legs wouldn't be flying out from underneath me when I was going down the hills as well. It would provide the perfect balance. I just used the road bike to simulate fixed gear riding and never stopped pedaling. Now if I could ever get that darn fixie finished
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Old 12-05-13, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelinthai View Post
What is the lowest top gear inch you guys can tolerate? ...However, I must have a minimum of 18.5 gear inch for the tough climbs.
When I built my T bike a few years ago I searched this forum for guidelines as this was my first touring specific build-up. 20-100 GIs was the most often recommended range and this advice has demonstrated it's practicality over and over to me. If I had to sacrifice top gear to keep or lower my bottom gear, I would. I also like to have GIs in the intermediate gears as close together as possible and I'd rather lose inches on top, if I had to, to attain this.

Brad
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Old 12-05-13, 10:13 AM
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Juan Foote
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If I used the calculator correctly, I have from 13-70 GI on my trike. I haven't toured yet, but wanted to be able to have the confidence to climb anything I could possibly come across.
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Old 12-05-13, 10:27 AM
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Touring bike -
I rarely use anything over 80 unless I have a really strong tailwind, then there are still 86 and 99

On the other end, there are no really long steep climbs in my AO, so my 'normal' lowest gear is 43, but there are 36 and 31.5 waiting. This is why I ride a triple!!! 28/38/48 up front and 13-24 6-spd freewheel out back. If I wanted to ride hillier terrain, I'd be using my 13-28 6-spd freewheel.

My 'new' primary road bike -
The 'standard' conventional 52/42 and 13-21 6-spd out back, although I might switch the front to the 53/39 I saw for sale here on the forums...
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Old 12-05-13, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I did the Southern Tier with a high gear of 87.8" and a low of 25.1". It worked pretty well and the range was adequate at both ends for the light load. I was carrying camping and cooking gear, but packed quite light. If I had to I could go with a lower high gear, but prefer to not go much lower.
I toured in Engalnd, so nothing long and steep to climb, with a 67" to 38" range and had a great time. I rode from Boston to Buffalo over the Taconic Range this year using 103" to 38" and also found that to be ok. But for an anticipated cross county trip I'll be using 103" to 25". That low end seems very low on some recent rides.
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Old 12-05-13, 12:05 PM
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looking at mine and where I plan on riding I think I might go with a narrower cassette... 17.7" on the low end and 109.3 on the high (mtb 11-34t and a 22-34-44 crank)

then again I should be able to climb anything I might find on the road lol.... i know if I ever used my road bike gearing I'd be pretty screwed (low of 31")... as it stands on an unloaded road bike I have to push to get up a bridge if it's towards the end of my ride... then again i'm a fat boy so that doesn't help... maybe that 17" will stay lol.

edit... just noticed we are looking at top end not low end doh... I can't imagine wanting more than 104 while touring... I ran a 104" on a 29er that I setup for the street (42x11 top) and for solo riding it was great, the one organized ride I did find I wanted a bit more top end when we had a little tail wind in a nice pace line...

as mentioned I find the low gear more important

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Old 12-05-13, 01:35 PM
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I was fine with a 95" top gear .. 622-35 tires 50:14 ..

Have a 16t cog on my Rohloff, 38T chainring, 26" wheel.. [53t Chainring , 20 wheel]

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Old 12-05-13, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

My current touring bike has a 46/11 high
Likewise along with a low 24/34
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Old 12-05-13, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by donalson View Post
looking at mine and where I plan on riding I think I might go with a narrower cassette... 17.7" on the low end and 109.3 on the high (mtb 11-34t and a 22-34-44 crank)
I also run close to this gear combination:44/32/22 and an 11-34. It seems like a good combination for the majority of the time. There have been times when I would have liked one more shift on the low end, but I've never thought about needing another gear on the high side. The gear calculator that I use estimates the speed at the high of 25 mph at 80 rpm, which IMO is plenty on a touring bike.

It is hard to compare all of our opinions because there is a great difference in ability, loaded bike weight, and terrain. My wife and I have ridden some pretty challenging tours on our stock road bikes, but we were very lightly loaded. Our touring bikes started out with 48/36/26 cranks, but after several long tours, we eventually settled on the 44/32/22, 11-34 as a good compromise for the kind of riding we do. I carry about 35 lbs, and we do a lot of mountain riding. This summer we rode across British Columbia, part of Alberta, then down into Montana. I was thankful for that 17.2 low gear.

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Old 12-05-13, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I also run close to this gear combination:4/32/22 and an 11-34. It seems like a good combination for the majority of the time. There have been times when I would have liked one more shift on the low end,
if you REALLY want it you can get a 12-36t 9spd from shimano.

I was also saw earlier today a 42t ring that you can add to a 11-36t 10spd cassette, it was about $80 or so (ah here the link is http://www.bikerumor.com/2013/11/28/...-42t-sprocket/) a neat inexpensive option over sram xx1... but really I see it as more of something for a 1x10 MTB or maybe for a recumbent type ride...
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Old 12-05-13, 06:57 PM
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I never worry about my high end. My touring bike has a top gear of 109" inches but I never get that high.
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Old 12-05-13, 07:07 PM
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Apparently, the high end isn't that important. What is the low end? I've got 23" as a low on my bike. Is it going to be a problem?
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Old 12-05-13, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I like have a top gear of 100 to 120 gear inches. Back in the bad old days of mountain biking, I had to run a 44/13 because not much else was available. That's an 88" gear or, more realistically, it's 16mph (25 kph) at 60rpm. If you could spin it at 120 rpm which is really difficult, the speed jumps up to 30 mph (50 kph). But it's really hard to sustain, or even achieve, that kind of rpm. In other words, you spend a whole lot of time coasting.

My current touring bike has a 46/11 high which isn't all that hard to obtain. At a more reasonable 60 rpm, I can do 20 mph. On a downhill, it doesn't take much effort to sustain 90 or 100 rpm which gives me a speed of 30 to 33 mph. I don't have to coast as much and, if I put some real effort into it, can easily pedal up to 40 mph. I find that if I have to coast too much, my legs get stiff and climbing the next hill is harder.
Wow! Thanks guys for all your inputs. I'm totally amazed with cyccommute's prowess. I've 50/12 on my road bike and can hit 60 kph in peloton, but with my Bianchi Volpe, and 28C tyres, I can only get 48 kph from 44/12. But that's more than I need. I'm currently contemplating getting another CX bike for touring across hills, and hope to use TRUVATIV X9 10-Speed Crankset with 36-22, or 38-24 chainrings. The cog set would be 10-Speed 12-32. Hence I started this topic.
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Old 12-05-13, 07:33 PM
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Apparently, this guy only needed a 104 inch gear to hit 60 MPH.

http://[IMG]http://bikeforums.net/at...4007[/IMG]

http://www.bikereader.com/contributo...nd/murphy.html

I need much less.
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Old 12-05-13, 07:48 PM
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For me, a top end of 83 works well.
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Old 12-05-13, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I like have a top gear of 100 to 120 gear inches. Back in the bad old days of mountain biking, I had to run a 44/13 because not much else was available. That's an 88" gear or, more realistically, it's 16mph (25 kph) at 60rpm. If you could spin it at 120 rpm which is really difficult, the speed jumps up to 30 mph (50 kph). But it's really hard to sustain, or even achieve, that kind of rpm. In other words, you spend a whole lot of time coasting.

My current touring bike has a 46/11 high which isn't all that hard to obtain. At a more reasonable 60 rpm, I can do 20 mph. On a downhill, it doesn't take much effort to sustain 90 or 100 rpm which gives me a speed of 30 to 33 mph. I don't have to coast as much and, if I put some real effort into it, can easily pedal up to 40 mph. I find that if I have to coast too much, my legs get stiff and climbing the next hill is harder.
This is pretty much my take as well, unless I'm touring on a tandem which requires a higher high end due to the added weight and horsepower. (I use a lower low end with a tandem as well since the weight overwhelms the horsepower when g rears it's head.)

With modern drive trains, it's so easy to have a nice wide range without creating uncomfortably large gaps that it just doesn't make sense to me to squish things down and do without an appropriate high gear.
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Old 12-06-13, 01:34 AM
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Oh heck, 88" sounds good, 94" is more than high enough. If the only place you can use a high gear is pedaling downhill it's not needed since the hp requirements to push an un aerodynamic object fast will make more of a time difference pushing a heavy load uphill.
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Old 12-06-13, 01:40 AM
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I get this question a lot as we build touring bicycles and I set upa lot of touring bikes at my shop and the co-op... my thought is that anything over 100 gear inches is not going to be that useful on a loaded tour and most cyclists cannot really exploit gearing any higher than this on unloaded bicycles.

The folder has an 85 gear inch high, my Expedition bike has a 95 gear inch high and I can spin either of these up into the high 20's (mph).

Some folks might like a taller gear for faster descending... they are rarer.
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Old 12-06-13, 03:34 AM
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A 90" top-gear is enough for me. I have shorter cranks (165mm) and am happy at higher cadences, so I can easily pedal that up to 30 mph (50 kph) and beyond that I'm happy coasting. This can be achieved with a 42-12 gear combination, so I got rid of the big ring on my road triple crank a long time ago.

Which lowest gear I take depends on the terrain I'm headed for and the amount of luggage I'm carrying. When riding a fully-loaded tandem around New Zealand for several weeks with my wife, we took a low gear of 20" (26 front and 34 rear) and that was enough, for a high-speed credit-card weekend local tour with some hills (I live in Switzerland), 27" is fine for me (still allowing a cadence of about 80 rpm on sustained climbs).
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