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Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 15 Dec 2019, 1:00am
by Tigerbiten
It all depends on how well your bike is set up for you and what terrain you're cycling over if you'll need to use your smallest chainring.
If it's set up right then the gear you use on the flat is just slightly higher that the gear at the middle of the cassette.
This will give you 4 or 5 gears down before you need to shift to the smallest chainring.
If they're fairly wide spaced gears than that gives you a lot of leeway on what slope you can climb before the shift.
Whereas if it's set up wrong then you'll only have 1 or 2 gears down before the shift and a lot less leeway on slopes.

Due to my choice of components on my bent trike, it's set up the other way around.
I'll normally ride around in my lowest two gear ranges.
My flatland gear are ~12th, My shift gear to the overdrive ranges is 17th and I'll spinout in 24th.
Then again the gearing was picked to match my riding style.

Luck ....... :D

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 17 Dec 2019, 12:18am
by NickJP
My touring bike has a 17" low gear and 90" high gear (Rohloff hub with 17t sprocket and 38t chainring). And I definitely use the low gear on some of the mountains I've encountered when fully loaded in the Alps and Pyrenees. With the 17" gear I can maintain a fairly comfortable cadence of around 80 at 6-7kph up a long steep climb. Like this one in Switzerland, for example, which averaged 13% for 5.5km and where I managed an average speed of 6.7kph.
mostelegg.jpg
You can get a similar low gear with derailleur gearing by using a 24t chainring with a 36t cassette.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 17 Dec 2019, 7:25am
by Vantage
I'm currently running an 11-34 cassette to a 24-36-46 chainset. The same front mech that ran the old 28-38-48 chainset works perfectly fine here. Yours might also be just as good. My Wayfarer is still pretty stable at 2.5mph going up silly steep rocky climbs and the front wheel has yet to lift. Unloaded.
It's an absolutely brilliant bike.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 17 Dec 2019, 7:40pm
by LittleGreyCat
Vantage wrote:I'm currently running an 11-34 cassette to a 24-36-46 chainset. The same front mech that ran the old 28-38-48 chainset works perfectly fine here. Yours might also be just as good. My Wayfarer is still pretty stable at 2.5mph going up silly steep rocky climbs and the front wheel has yet to lift. Unloaded.
It's an absolutely brilliant bike.


Thanks - most helpful.
If I take the suggestion of swapping the 28 for a 24 that gives me the same lowest ratio with my 11-34.
Good to find someone who does use the lowest gears. :lol:
I think I am happy with the other two front rings, as I do use all of the gears at least some of the time.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 20 Dec 2019, 12:00am
by nez
My lowest gear on my super galaxy is 22/34 which gives just a bit shy of 18 inches. I never use it even loaded - I find dropping into the very small chainring while climbing almost impossible. You can do it if you find a little false flat or if you angle across the road a bit. And since it is no better or faster than walking, by that stage I’d rather walk. The last thing you’d want is to miss a gear on a steep section while you’re clipped in! The 22 (titanium) chainring isn’t original btw, I bought it from an online vtt website.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 9 Feb 2020, 4:07pm
by LittleGreyCat
Vantage wrote:I'm currently running an 11-34 cassette to a 24-36-46 chainset. The same front mech that ran the old 28-38-48 chainset works perfectly fine here. Yours might also be just as good. My Wayfarer is still pretty stable at 2.5mph going up silly steep rocky climbs and the front wheel has yet to lift. Unloaded.
It's an absolutely brilliant bike.


Well, done the deed and fitted a 24T ring.
Setup is now 24/38/48 front and 11/34 back.

So far it is working well and I can tell the difference the extra low gearing makes on steep climbs.
I can plug away happily at around 2.5 mph, weaving a little if necessary, and it still seems faster than anyone who has to get off and walk.
Given that 3 mph is a comfortable walking pace on the flat, 2.5 mph up a steep hill pushing a bike probably isn't that comfortable.

I'm now planning to find somewhere with a few more hills for further testing.

Still loving my Wayfarer after just over a year.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 9 Feb 2020, 4:27pm
by wheel71
I used to have a 24t front and 36t rear on the old LHT. If you didn't pedal reasonably fast you fell over. But it would go up anything it'd stick too even loaded. :lol:

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 1:22pm
by Scunnered
I'm going to the Alps for the first time this summer to do the Raid Alpine route (Geneve to Antibes) for charity.
I don't need to carry kit so I'll be using a road bike converted as follows:
  • Replaced 50/34 crankset with 42/28
  • Replaced FD with MTB FD to match crankset
  • Made adaptor to fit direct mount FD to braze-on
  • Replaced 11-34 cassette with 11-36
Lowest gear is ~20" which I hope will be low enough to get me up some very long (but not so very steep?) hills

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 3:11pm
by whoof
LittleGreyCat wrote:
Vantage wrote:I'm currently running an 11-34 cassette to a 24-36-46 chainset. The same front mech that ran the old 28-38-48 chainset works perfectly fine here. Yours might also be just as good. My Wayfarer is still pretty stable at 2.5mph going up silly steep rocky climbs and the front wheel has yet to lift. Unloaded.
It's an absolutely brilliant bike.


Well, done the deed and fitted a 24T ring.
Setup is now 24/38/48 front and 11/34 back.

So far it is working well and I can tell the difference the extra low gearing makes on steep climbs.
I can plug away happily at around 2.5 mph, weaving a little if necessary, and it still seems faster than anyone who has to get off and walk.
Given that 3 mph is a comfortable walking pace on the flat, 2.5 mph up a steep hill pushing a bike probably isn't that comfortable.

I'm now planning to find somewhere with a few more hills for further testing.

Still loving my Wayfarer after just over a year.

I've got 26/34 = 20" (Mrs Whoof 26/36 = 19") on my tourer and have never had any trouble with stability in these gears. As you say it's a lot easier and quicker than walking.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 3:24pm
by whoof
Scunnered wrote:I'm going to the Alps for the first time this summer to do the Raid Alpine route (Geneve to Antibes) for charity.
I don't need to carry kit so I'll be using a road bike converted as follows:
  • Replaced 50/34 crankset with 42/28
  • Replaced FD with MTB FD to match crankset
  • Made adaptor to fit direct mount FD to braze-on
  • Replaced 11-34 cassette with 11-36
Lowest gear is ~20" which I hope will be low enough to get me up some very long (but not so very steep?) hills

I've ridden this with a couple of rear panniers with a gear of 26/27 ( 700c) =27"
The climbs are long but not steep. The only steep section (1km at ~10%) was the top loop of the Cime de Bonette. This does come after 22 km of climbing but if you take things steady it's a lovely ride. We saw lots of Marmots near the top.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 3:30pm
by pwa
whoof wrote:
Scunnered wrote:I'm going to the Alps for the first time this summer to do the Raid Alpine route (Geneve to Antibes) for charity.
I don't need to carry kit so I'll be using a road bike converted as follows:
  • Replaced 50/34 crankset with 42/28
  • Replaced FD with MTB FD to match crankset
  • Made adaptor to fit direct mount FD to braze-on
  • Replaced 11-34 cassette with 11-36
Lowest gear is ~20" which I hope will be low enough to get me up some very long (but not so very steep?) hills

I've ridden this with a couple of rear panniers with a gear of 26/27 ( 700c) =27"
The climbs are long but not steep. The only steep section (1km at ~10%) was the top loop of the Cime de Bonette. This does come after 22 km of climbing but if you take things steady it's a lovely ride. We saw lots of Marmots near the top.


Been up there with a 38t chainring and a largest sprocket of 32t at most, in the days when it was harder to put low gears on a tourer, so it is brilliant that we don't have to put up with that anymore. Is the Gallibier (north side) climb on the route? That gets a bit steep on a zig-zag section.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 5:24pm
by Morzedec
Blimey! What have I been missing, all these years? I've done a few E to E, and can't think of any hill on it (apart, perhaps, from Berriedale in the early days) that was too much of a struggle to get up, even when laden.

When I ride back to the UK from my home in France with a trailer full of camping gear (I'm tall and heavy, so use a larger than average tent just for me, and a Thermarest Basecamp mat) there is only one annoying little bump that can sometimes have me in the 'granny', and that's where the Nantes Brest towpath dives away from the canal at Guerledan and heads up towards Caurel. I've no idea of the gradient, it's not very long, but it's almost as bad as the jolly little ramp next Coombe Junction station below Liskeard - which always has me off and walking.

May I suggest that (a) everyone is different and will have their own ability, (b) that being 'well ridden in' is often as much use as extra-low gearing, and (c) if it's too difficult to ride up, just get off and walk.

Like many others (and living in Cornwall for a couple of months every year) I know that the worst part of an E to E is 'down 'ere in Cornwall and Devon, where the hills - if not really that difficult - just keep on coming, and it's this that wears out the unprepared, not the steepness of the climbs. I know of one daft bloke on this Forum who chose to live halfway up Gunny hill, which, for those who are yet to have the pleasure, leaves many experienced tourers gasping (No doubt I'll get a Red response, quite soon).

The best advice that I can offer anyone is to do your training, on a fully-loaded bike, well before you set out on an E to E, and then to enjoy the ride - after all, it's not very far .........

happy days,

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 5:33pm
by pwa
I don't know about LEJOG, but when cycling with camping gear in Provence I found that having a very low gear could be very leg saving when I came to tight hairpin bends on narrow roads, where for a few metres the gradient increased significantly. Just using that lowest gear for thirty seconds or less kept my legs supple and out of the red zone so that I could soon move to a slightly higher gear without feeling that I had put in a big effort. And on long climbs you need to think about rationing effort, saving some for when you need it.

This steep little section of road had me in my lowest gear but still cycling, with four panniers. It's nice to have the option.
https://www.google.com/maps/@44.3227823 ... 6?hl=en-GB

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 8:07pm
by djnotts
"May I suggest that (a) everyone is different and will have their own ability...."

Just so. I need c.20" on an unladen machine (maybe up to 25" on a sub-18lb full carbon!) simply to return home up a pretty average hill. But this is now. 10 years ago I was OK on mid-60"s single speed, fixed or free. Health is the decider.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 8:24pm
by whoof
Morzedec wrote:Blimey! What have I been missing, all these years?

May I suggest that (a) everyone is different and will have their own ability, (b) that being 'well ridden in' is often as much use as extra-low gearing, and (c) if it's too difficult to ride up, just get off and walk

Perhaps you have missed that if you have appropriate gearing that it doesn't have to be too difficult and you don't have to get off and walk.