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  1. #1
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    2X10 Gearing in the Mountains

    I have a 2011 Epic 29er I built up last year and sent it to a family member's house in Lake Tahoe and left it there. Last year the bike handled great and I went on trails I have never been on before. Many had steep climbs and I geared the bike as 11/36 in the rear, 39/28 in the front. But many climbs the front chainrings were not small enough and I suffered on 20+ mile rides. I have decided to go with either 38/24 or 36/22 for the front. This bike will spend it's life in the Mountains.

    For reference I live in Texas and run the largest chainrings offered and I don't think I have ever used the small ring.
    I need something smaller in the mountains so I can ride longer, I'm afraid 38/24 may still be too tall for the 24+ degree inclines and I fear 36/22 may be too small for the flat sections. The last time I had a 22 ring was on a 26 In bike and I barely used it in the Mountains, but I understand the 29er makes it seem as a larger gear.

    Any Advice?
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  2. #2
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    2X10 Gearing in the Mountains

    Assuming you're running an 11t small cog out back, a 36t front ring at 100rpm would get you about 28mph. Check out this chart for more context:

    I run 38/26 and 11-36 in my mountainous area and its fine for all but the steepest climbs. Depending on how much you ride, I think that your legs would likely adapt to the 24t small ring if you're worried about losing top end.
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  3. #3
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    24/34 up front with 36t big 10sp rear works awesome on my 2012 Stumpy 29'r.

  4. #4
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    Go smaller. Gravity will get you plenty of speed when headed down. I also have a 26/38 and ride mountains with 20% sections and it works fine. I also have a 26 inch bike with a 3x9 and a 22 tooth small ring and really enjoy the lower ratio one the steep climbs. Its nice to be able to sit and spin a cadence. I almost never use fastest gears
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  5. #5
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    Maybe I'm just a slow lardass, but I use the lowest gear combos a hundred times more than the steepest. My butt is usually off the back and coasting/whizzing/whooping rather than cranking those puppies at those speeds.

  6. #6
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    I have the 36/22 combo (and 11/36 rear) that came on my FSR STJ 29er, works great for Tahoe.
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  7. #7
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    If I were to choose, I'd go with the smaller(36/22) combo. 28 mph on a flat section on a mountain bike is rare. use gravity to your advantage abd bomb down the hills, crank up then and have fun :-)

  8. #8
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    I have the 36/22 combo on both of my 29ers for the long grinds (11/36 rear).

  9. #9
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    Coming from Texas & going to Lake Tahoe you've got 2 big elements going against you: elevation & steep arsh climbs. Because of that I would go no bigger then a 24 for the granny.

  10. #10
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    2X10 Gearing in the Mountains

    I changed my 39/26 for a Bash/38/24 on my Cannondale Scalpel 29er and it was a big improvement for my riding here in Arizona. I got two extra low gears and gave up ... Almost nothing. I would definitely recommend 38/24.

  11. #11
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    With a 22/36, you're basically giving up one (rear) gear from having a standard three ring crankset.

  12. #12
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    Josh I had a 22/36 on my BMC last year and the 36 was plenty big for TX, as stated above it'll get you well over 25mph. The 22 was really nice though when I went anywhere else and just wanted to sit and spin up climbs. I'd say get the 22/36.
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  13. #13
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    22/34 or 24/36 is perfect for Tahoe and many trails within the surrounding area.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the replies guys. As tootall knows, I am a Cat 1 racer here in Texas, but I am a momentum rider. Being 5' 11" 175-190 lbs (depending on training) I use speed to my advantage, so Hills have never been my best friend. Plus I'm a masher, normally i'm turning 70-90 maybe 95 on MTB trails. But with the current gearing I was turning 40 cadence on some hills and it took it's toll. One of the rides I went on, on the TRT, I gave up, it was late, my legs were toast from the 30 miles I'd done and I was about to drop 200 Feet then have to climb 700-1000 and I didn't feel I could do it. I don't want that to happen again.
    I think the Idea of the 22/36 is nice, because if I don't use the lowest often, at least it is there if needed. My main concern was speed on the flats, and that chart helps, as long as I can hit 22-24 if needed for "popping down to town" I should be good. I can only think faster than that and I'll be on a downhill. I have raced in Tahoe, and it kicked my a$$, but I'm not ruling out another race.
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