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Mtn Bikers - what gears do you have, which ones do you use?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

People are dropping chainrings left and right. It's the cool thing to do now. I just built a new bike and even though I do 99% of my riding in the middle ring, I decided to "keep it real" with a triple. I rode on Wednesday with my new setup 24/32/42 x 11-36 and never once shifted off the 32t. Buuuuttt.... I know there are places where I will grind it out on the 24 and I know there are places where I will use my 42. Whiteroom is getting ready to build a new bike and is debating how many gears to run. My thinking is that you have to figure out at what point would you just give up and walk anyway regardless of how low your gears can go.

 

XX1 is a pretty tempting option, but it doesn't cover everything that a triple does.

post #2 of 26

I ride everything you ride on one gear sometimes....... I do tend to get wasted on the road but lets be honest if I was nt waiting on the trail the road would be a non issue! :P

 

the problem with XX1 for me is price and no bash guard yet...

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Can you climb Perry Hill on your SS? I don't think I can do it on my 32t. I won't walk if I can help it. If I ever get a case of amnesia and decide to climb the Burke Mtn access rd again, I'll definitely need the 24t ring. Not all of us are as awesome as you are.

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

the problem with XX1 for me is price and no bash guard yet...

 

Why can't you run a bash? You can get XX1 rings for 104BCD now.

post #5 of 26
Ride my mtb on the road only for short stretches, when I must. I'm a spinner, not a masher. Been riding a 24 / 32 / bash for years. I think those are the teeth, anyway - it's whatever used to pass for std gearing on a triple. 34 is the big cog in back. Definitely need the granny for the riding I do, and would even take a 36 cog on the 29er. Big ring is worse than useless to me. Fact I almost never use the 32-11 combo ...maybe on a pavement segment three times a year. I like the ratios okay, but not the chainline / derailleur adjustment issues on the smaller cogs. Basically I don't use the three smallest cogs. Not perfect but it works for me.
post #6 of 26

26/36/46 x 11-28 on my work bike, I need a lower gear to get a big load out of a steep loading dock but this is good for trail riding when I unhitch the trailer and mount 700x41tires. And I can ride to and from the trail without too much trouble on a hybrid. :)

post #7 of 26

24/34/42 x 11-32  Since there's no real mountain close by I run on 42 most of the time down to 34 when its windy or hills. in combination with anything between the 5th and 8th.

post #8 of 26

It of course depends on the rider and riding, but I like my triple chainring.   It bums me out that it's next to impossible to find a new bike with one.   It's the super low granny gear I'd miss without a triple. (Call me a wuss)  Even if you don't need the granny gear to get up something, I think it's important because it allows you to a) spin at the cadence of your choice, and b) keep your effort and heart rate out of the red zone if necessary.

 

I've found both really help in ultra distance rides with lots of climbing.   If you toast yourself on the climbs, you'll pay dearly at the end of a long day.  The same applies to Xterra's where you want to keep your legs fresh for the run.   

 

On the other hand... If you are just going out and hammering for an hour or two, the compact double will make you work harder on the climbs.

post #9 of 26
I rode a ss 29r exclusively for three years. At first it made me stronger. But eventually I think it was very hard on my joints.
Now I ride a fully geared fatty and I use them all.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Can you climb Perry Hill on your SS? I don't think I can do it on my 32t. I won't walk if I can help it. If I ever get a case of amnesia and decide to climb the Burke Mtn access rd again, I'll definitely need the 24t ring. Not all of us are as awesome as you are.

 

 

ha I was there when I did, not my favorite thing in the world at all though....

 

back to the OP.

 

one bike is 32x19 SS 29er

 

my other is 24/32/bash with a 11x36 cassette 29er I use the granny a lot on this bike mostly because its quicker to shift than the rear......

 

I am actually very much a spinner on my geared bike. My beliefs is a SS ridden fast will not only give you low end torque but also gives you the abilty to spin. Your effective powerband is a lot larger

 

My biggest beef with triple is the outer chain ring that gets caught on stuff and puts needless stress on the BB/Frame as it hits stuff. As well the idea of a spikey thing cutting open my lower leg.

 

it is possible and easy to have 24/32 or 24/whatever double.  32x11 at 100 rpm on a 29er is 25 mph. does any really ever need to go faster than that on trail? take a look at your Average speed and my quess its 1/3 of that speed.

post #11 of 26
+1 on all Josh's comments. Then we probably ride terrain that's roughly similar. (No really long climbs here, though.) Hate that 42T ring jutting out there uselessly.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

it is possible and easy to have 24/32 or 24/whatever double.  32x11 at 100 rpm on a 29er is 25 mph. does any really ever need to go faster than that on trail? take a look at your Average speed and my quess its 1/3 of that speed.

 

I totally agree on everything you said, I just like my super-wussy granny at 22/36.  Like you, I don't care about the high end.

 

So, I stand corrected and am stoked you can do 22/36 with a SRAM double easily.   My dream bike is speced with a SRAM 24/36:

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/epicfsr/epiccompcarbon29#specs

 
SRAM makes 22/36 a conversion kit (and that still leaves you with a 36/11 top end vs. the stock 38/11):

http://twentynineinches.com/2012/03/12/sram-2236-double-conversion-kit-on-test/

 

Problem solved, so I'd be happy with the double!

 

Sound like 22/36 is a PIA with a Shimano double, though:

http://forums.mtbr.com/drivetrain-shifters-derailleurs-cranks/shimano-xt-crankset-w-22-36t-786074.html

post #13 of 26
Quote:

Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

 

ha I was there when I did, not my favorite thing in the world at all though....

Funny, I was there the last time I rode Perry hill also!

post #14 of 26

I have the standard 22-32-44 front and 11-34 rear. My rides entail long climbs followed by long downhills so I use every gear (though I rarely use 22f-34r for long as I find its faster just to walk.) 

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post

I have the standard 22-32-44 front and 11-34 rear. My rides entail long climbs followed by long downhills so I use every gear (though I rarely use 22f-34r for long as I find its faster just to walk.) 

 

I find that If you spin in an even lower 22/36 it's still faster than walking.  It also takes a lot of energy to get off and on the bike and get going again.  I'd rather stay on and keep spinning away.

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post

I have the standard 22-32-44 front and 11-34 rear. My rides entail long climbs followed by long downhills so I use every gear (though I rarely use 22f-34r for long as I find its faster just to walk.) 

 

so you legit feel a need to pedal faster than 25 mph? 

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post

I have the standard 22-32-44 front and 11-34 rear. My rides entail long climbs followed by long downhills so I use every gear (though I rarely use 22f-34r for long as I find its faster just to walk.) 

 

I find that If you spin in an even lower 22/36 it's still faster than walking.  It also takes a lot of energy to get off and on the bike and get going again.  I'd rather stay on and keep spinning away.

 

None of which speaks to what for me is the real point, namely that the challenge of trying to tractor up some rocky technical pitch at essentially 0mph is one of the most interesting parts of MTB riding. Here in northern New England we don't have much that's steep enough to require a 22 / 36 that is not also more or less continuous rocks and/or roots, since in our wet climate and thin soil any dirt on a pitch like that doesn't stay.

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

 
SRAM makes 22/36 a conversion kit (and that still leaves you with a 36/11 top end vs. the stock 38/11):

http://twentynineinches.com/2012/03/12/sram-2236-double-conversion-kit-on-test/

 

Problem solved, so I'd be happy with the double!

 

 

 

 

 

Can't really tell if this setup will take a different bash guard. Is it a standard 104 BCD spider exactly like you'd have on a triple? Question behind the question is that I trashed 3 or 4 plastic bashguards in the course of a season or two. I am not that hard core a rider, so I was flummoxed by this strange development. I finally learned from the eThirteen people that my chain lube of choice (ProLink) does not play nice with plastic bashguards. Switched to a RaceFace aluminum bash years ago and have been fine since. 

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

I finally learned from the eThirteen people that my chain lube of choice (ProLink) does not play nice with plastic bashguards.

 

That was when I switched lubes.

post #20 of 26

Perfect! I am going to see how my 22-33 ghetto conversion coupled with the 11-36 works in a couple of weeks. if I find I need a bit more, the 22/36 may be the ticket. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

 

I totally agree on everything you said, I just like my super-wussy granny at 22/36.  Like you, I don't care about the high end.

 

So, I stand corrected and am stoked you can do 22/36 with a SRAM double easily.   My dream bike is speced with a SRAM 24/36:

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/epicfsr/epiccompcarbon29#specs

 
SRAM makes 22/36 a conversion kit (and that still leaves you with a 36/11 top end vs. the stock 38/11):

http://twentynineinches.com/2012/03/12/sram-2236-double-conversion-kit-on-test/

 

Problem solved, so I'd be happy with the double!

 

Sound like 22/36 is a PIA with a Shimano double, though:

http://forums.mtbr.com/drivetrain-shifters-derailleurs-cranks/shimano-xt-crankset-w-22-36t-786074.html

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

 

I find that If you spin in an even lower 22/36 it's still faster than walking.  It also takes a lot of energy to get off and on the bike and get going again.  I'd rather stay on and keep spinning away.

Spinning away is great when you do lots of cycling and live at lower elevations. Our mountain biking season is 4 or 5 months each year and most of my rides are between 6,500 and 7,500 feet above sea level. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

 

so you legit feel a need to pedal faster than 25 mph? 

Yes. Most of the rides end with a few miles of paved road with a slight downhill pitch. I do try to keep my speed up.

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post

Spinning away is great when you do lots of cycling and live at lower elevations. Our mountain biking season is 4 or 5 months each year and most of my rides are between 6,500 and 7,500 feet above sea level. 

 

I'm not sure I understand your logic here.  I do a lot of riding between 10,000 and 12,000ft, and an easier gear for spinning can be helpful when lacking O2.  rolleyes.gif   If you are not in good of condition because of a shorter season, an easier gear is even more helpful!

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

 

I'm not sure I understand your logic here.  I do a lot of riding between 10,000 and 12,000ft, and an easier gear for spinning can be helpful when lacking O2.  rolleyes.gif   If you are not in good of condition because of a shorter season, an easier gear is even more helpful!

 

also if you can ride at elevation you can ride at elevation. I have absolutey no issue doing aerobic activity at 10K+ feet. 

 

also I am more likely to use my granny riding a 20 percent grade at 1000 feet then a 10 percent grade at whatever elevation....

 

also my point is who cares if you can actually pedal on slight paved DH.....

post #24 of 26

Josh is right.
If you are working out at elevation consistently (live there) your body is used to it and it wont matter, if you go there to train your EPO levels will increase to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Therefore the fact that you are at 10,000ft is not influencing your ability to pedal.

post #25 of 26

I had to look into the elevation question to make sure I'm not crazy...  

 

Even acclimated to altitude, you lose power as the elevation increases.

http://trainright.com/understanding-challenges-of-high-altitude-racing-at-the-leadville-100-and-usa-pro-cycling-challenge/

 

Here's a chart I found from: http://www.twowheelblogs.com/how-altitude-affects-power-output

 

  Altitude             
 Feet   Meters  % FTP
     0       0    100%
  1000     300     99%
  2000     610     98%
  3000     910     96%
  4000    1220     95%
  5000    1520     93%
  6000    1830     92%
  7000    2130     90%
  8000    2440     88%
  9000    2740     86%
10,000    3050     83%
11,000    3350     81%
12,000    3660     78%
13,000    3960     75%
14,000    4270     72%
 
And a thread that discusses more detail with primary references:
 
In the context of this thread, the higher the altitude the more you need easier gearing to spin up a steep hill.
post #26 of 26

Maybe I should have been more clear.

Elevation affects your aerobic performance, much higher in trained elite athletes, but there are factors that also come into play.
If you are training at that elevation you will use the gear that best fits your fitness level. This depends on how much you train rather than the fact that you are high up there.
If you train at sea level and go up for a weekend your body will spike the EPO levels to compensate, you wont be as efficient but you shouldn't see a drop so big that the hill you used to bike on a high gear now forces you to a granny one.
Keep in mind that the higher you go the less air resistance you will face, which can be helpful with using the same gears.

This is all assuming that you are an avg. trained cyclist, going for the avg bike ride.

If this is a max effort training session and you are highly trained well, than yes you will be affected by a greater percentage.


I hope it makes more sense now.

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