Sub Unity

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
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[XAP]Bob
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Joined: 26 Sep 2008, 4:12pm

Re: Sub Unity

Postby [XAP]Bob » 20 Jan 2015, 10:57am

Mick F wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:Sub 50%, on a 20" wheel ;)

If I went that low on my upwrong, I'd fall off! :lol: :lol:

You need a more sensible number of wheels then ;) :mrgreen:
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

tatanab
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Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Sub Unity

Postby tatanab » 20 Jan 2015, 11:08am

Not necessarily. About 30 years ago I met a really adventurous tourist who geared down to 11". He was probably in his 40s with many years of touring off the beaten track in Africa. He said that his experience was that if you can only go at 2mph hour after hour due to sand and other bad surfaces then it is easier to do so in the saddle rather than pushing a heavily loaded bike.

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Mick F
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Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Sub Unity

Postby Mick F » 20 Jan 2015, 3:28pm

Another ride with my new 28t inner.

A couple of observations.
The new bottom gear isn't arithmetically much lower than the old bottom gear. 30/30 vs 28/30. The practical difference is huge! The new bottom gear feels SO low and I reckon I won't use it much, but when I do, it will be worth it. The new 2nd gear is low enough for most things.

The change from middle to inner is now bigger of course, so it's upset my routine. No doubt I'll get used to it and modify the times when I change to inner.

Everything is as sweet as a nut. :D
Mick F. Cornwall

Gearoidmuar
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Location: Cork, Ireland. Corcaigh, Éire má tá Gaeilge agat.

Re: Sub Unity

Postby Gearoidmuar » 22 Jan 2015, 7:39am

I've always found it handy, when touring, to have a really low gear. The places where I've needed it are in Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall along the coast, Donegal, some areas of Brittany and on real back roads in West Cork.
My first ever tourer did not have a low-enough gear. It was a Coventry Eagle Touristique, double chainring and its lower gear was a 36 x 28 as I recall. I was really light at the time but that was too high for savage hills.
My third tourer was a Dawes Galaxy. When the original chainrings wore out (can't remember what they were but prob 48, 38, 28, I replaced them with a MTB 42, 32, 22. Now I had REALLY low gears. I found this fantastic. I prefer to spin rather than grind.
My current tourer has a Rohloff and has gearing from about 19 inches to whatever. I love the Rohloff. It gives little trouble and needs less maintenance. I did have to have it serviced after 3 years becuase of a minor shifting problem (an irritaion) but this was done free of charge. Fantastic company to deal with.

Mick, go lower!

Brucey
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Re: Sub Unity

Postby Brucey » 22 Jan 2015, 8:06am

tatanab wrote:Not necessarily. About 30 years ago I met a really adventurous tourist who geared down to 11". He was probably in his 40s with many years of touring off the beaten track in Africa. He said that his experience was that if you can only go at 2mph hour after hour due to sand and other bad surfaces then it is easier to do so in the saddle rather than pushing a heavily loaded bike.


I've long thought that for the occasional (moderately sized) hill where you don't have low enough gears, the choice of a struggle or a walk is no great hardship; one is good for the soul and the other makes a nice change. But if I were faced with the soft sand, I'd definitely choose the low gears, too.

I'd also question my reasons for choosing such a daft place to ride a bike, but that is another matter entirely!

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

mig
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Re: Sub Unity

Postby mig » 22 Jan 2015, 8:52am

MickF - have you always preferred low gears or has there been a trend towards them as you've got older? i ask as i come from a racing background and would use a 53T outer a few years ago even for normal (summer) riding. i'm finding now that i don't tend to use it at all. maybe from repeated winters on 65-70" fixed or maybe as i'm getting older. i'm assuming that my gear choice will go lower as i age. is this what you have found?

ps. i ride mostly flat roads with the occasional trans-pennine jaunt in the warmer months.

Brucey
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Re: Sub Unity

Postby Brucey » 22 Jan 2015, 9:08am

I've seen many older riders use a lower cadence than when they were younger, but they don't always go slower!

I have a theory, that whatever tendencies you have to start with, just get moreso as time goes on.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

niggle
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Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 10:29pm
Location: Cornwall, near England

Re: Sub Unity

Postby niggle » 22 Jan 2015, 10:54am

My touring bike also has a 19" bottom gear. In August 2012, on a hot day with the bike loaded up with camping gear and after already tackling a couple of significant hills on the road from Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, I left Combe Martin via the 25% longish ascent up Nutcombe Hill. (Yes the North Devon coast has some severe gradients, worse than my part of Cornwall if not MickF's).

By about half way up I was unable to continue pedalling, but pushing the loaded bike up (after a ten minute break whilst drinking a decent amount of water) was barely any easier. As well as the simple effort needed to push the loaded bike, my shoes (Shimano SPD leisure things) slipped even though it was bone dry chip and seal, and it was hard to keep the bike at the right lean angle so that I did not bash my shins but did not struggled to hold it up. I really think I would have been able to make use a of an even lower gear on that hill, and a couple of others that day*.

*I only did 28 miles that day but climbed over 3750 feet, i.e. about 134 ft per mile average. It seemed quite severe to me but I have not toured outside the UK.

Gearoidmuar
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Location: Cork, Ireland. Corcaigh, Éire má tá Gaeilge agat.

Re: Sub Unity

Postby Gearoidmuar » 22 Jan 2015, 6:59pm

I don't know that hill, but I've toured bits of both coasts in Devon (and Cornwall) and Devon has some savage hills by anyone's criteria. I actually came across one in either North Devon or Cornwall, but Devon I think, marked as 35% max. I couldn't ride it even though I had a really low gear. I couldn't keep the bars down..

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andrew_s
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Location: Gloucestershire

Re: Sub Unity

Postby andrew_s » 22 Jan 2015, 7:18pm

I take the view that if I'm going to have a granny ring, it may as well be as low as possible, so mine are 24T or 20T, both to 32 (giving 5/8 for the 20T inner).
It does mean dropping 2 or 3 cogs at the back when you change to the inner if you want the next lowest gear rather than just anything lower, but I don't have a problem with that.

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Mick F
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Re: Sub Unity

Postby Mick F » 23 Jan 2015, 11:14am

mig wrote:MickF - have you always preferred low gears or has there been a trend towards them as you've got older? i ask as i come from a racing background and would use a 53T outer a few years ago even for normal (summer) riding. i'm finding now that i don't tend to use it at all. maybe from repeated winters on 65-70" fixed or maybe as i'm getting older. i'm assuming that my gear choice will go lower as i age. is this what you have found?
My cycling career was always one of utility. I've never raced or been "sporty" in any way.

From being adult, I've cycled to work when I could. Started off only a mile or so on a 3sp, then six or seven miles. It was then that I bought my first dropped bar 10sp. The route then was only into Devonport from out in Plymstock, not much of any hills.

We moved to Scotland, and I traded up for a better bike. 12sp double, but even with seven miles each way, there were no hills to speak of. We moved house, and I had fourteen miles each way, but this time it was over the hills, so I bought bigger cogs for my 6sp Suntour block.

We moved to Plymouth and the gears weren't to my liking, so chopped and changed cogs till I was happy. All this time I'd been using 52/42 chainsets. We moved to Cornwall, and I bought a new chainset 36/52 but still played around with the cogs. I eventually had a whole set of them! :lol:

After buying the Mercian, all the good bits went on it, and I sold the other put back to standard. Still, I fiddled with ratios. I did JOGLE fully loaded with panniers and 36/52 with a 13-28 7sp Suntour cassette. I managed ok and didn't walk up Berridale but I had a rest at the bottom before tackling it. :D

After leaving the RN, I started to ride for leisure and pleasure as I didn't have to commute, and found steeper hills as I explored. I modernised my Mercian to a triple Campag 30/42/52 with 9sp 13-23 but it wasn't low enough so went to 9sp 13-26. That was fine, but I found I wanted lower especially as I'd got into towing a trailer, so when I went to 10sp, I fitted 30/42/53 and a 13-29 cassette. That was fine, and the way it remained until fairly recently.

When Campag came out with the 12-30 10sp cassette, I jumped at it. Perfect.

It was as I was ordering a new rim from Spa that I browsed their site and saw their reasonably priced inner rings, so I took a punt on a 28t.

It's too low generally, but on the odd occasion I want it, at least it's there.

Is it me getting older?
Dunno physically that it makes a difference, but mentally I'm not so much in a hurry maybe?
I still adore my top gear of 53/12, and would happily go a bit higher but TBH it's not needed.

If I lived somewhere flat - Milton Keynes for instance(!) - I'd ditch my triple and use a double or even a single.
Mick F. Cornwall