Touring Tech Top Tips

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
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Joined: 7 Jun 2010, 4:29pm
Location: Devon

Re: Touring Tech Top Tips

Postby BigG » 26 Sep 2010, 11:28am

An excellent discussion well worth preserving. I would just like to add a further word about gear range. It is important to choose the correct top and bottom ratio based on real riding experience, not only on popular or commercially preferred set-ups. Top gear is a matter of personal preference, you must decide at what speed and cadence you are prepared to sit back and freewheel. For me this is a top gear in the mid 90's (inches). This gives me 25 mph at a reasonable cadence of 90. Bottom gear is based on more objective criteria. For all of us, our true bottom gear by default is to get off and walk. Pushing a cycle up a steep hill will result in a speed of not much more than 2 mph (this is not cyclocross!). A gear of 13.5" means that the cycle travels the same distance as your foot - exactly as happens when walking. In practice, of course, walking is an infinitely variable gear as we can vary our stride length. However, walking with a 21" stride is about the norm for the uphill push and coincides with the 13.5" gear mentioned above. If you accept this argument, then the lowest riding gear should be one step above this. Practical experience suggests that relatively large gear spacings are acceptable at the granny end of the range and I find that 30% gap to a bottom gear of between 17" and 18" is a good practical compromise. It is interesting to note that many contributors to this site have come to a similar conclusion. This gives a speed of about 3 mph at a hill climbing cadence of 60. Below this, keeping a straight line becomes difficult anyway.

I hope these comments will allow some readers to clarify their thoughts on the gears they require.

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Re: Touring Tech Top Tips

Postby Gearoidmuar » 29 May 2011, 7:23am

This business of steel being more "comfortable" than aluminium is just nonsense. It's all in the head. "Experts" were tested with bikes some years ago, the frames being covered so they couldn't see what they were and they had no idea. The comfort comes from angles, saddle, perfect fit, handlebar tape and tyre pressure. Not material.
I've ridden loads of steel bikes, loads of aluminium bike and a couple of carbon fibre bikes. All the same.