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  1. #1
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    Convert 2x10 to 3x10 for road riding

    Hello,

    I bought a new Novara Ponderosa 29er earlier this year from REI. I am doing a bit more road/trail riding than actual mountain biking. However, I'm a Clydesdale (around 315 pounds, on the way down) and like the support a big 29er gives me.

    As mentioned, I want to be able to do more distance riding out of this bike. I have put slick Schwalbe Big Apple tires on it. I'm now noticing that I can often be maxed out when on big chain ring in the front - I'm pedalling but not really able to go any faster. Is it possible to add a third chain ring to give it a higher gear to allow for better cadence, speed, etc?

    If this is possible, would I need to swap out the front deraileur or chain as well?

    Appreciate any insight. BTW, I'm planning on riding in the upcoming MS 150 in Michigan later this month with this bike, so doing this upgrade will help me out in that event!

    Thanks!

    Steve

  2. #2
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    Going to a 44 chainring will give you a 15% higher gear/speed before you top out. It still won't be quite like a 50 or 53 on a road bike. It'll be more like one more shift and a bit.

    To do it you will need a different crank, longer chain, possibly a longer cage rear derailleur and a new front derailleur if it says 2X on it. If you're asking this question you probably don't have all the skills and tools to do the work yourself so the cost will be getting pretty considerable when you're done. It seems so simple, but components are designed to work as a package and when you change one it dominoes down the line.

    This is why I'm a fan of 3X drives; you can take off the big ring and put a bigger middle on and shorten the chain if you want a 2X - then change your mind again, but with a factory 2X you're stuck. But the 3X crank is becoming as scarce as V brakes and toe straps because - well, just because. It was just fine for thirty years but now it's not.

    You could also sell the bike and buy one with a 3X crank. Economically that makes the most sense because you will never get the money and labor you put into the swap back out again when you sell the bike. Giant had a basic 29 with a 3X crank in '13 that seemed about equivalent to what you have. I'm sure those Shimano Deore PF30 3X cranks are going into basic 29s from other manufacturers too.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    Going to a 44 chainring will give you a 15% higher gear/speed before you top out. It still won't be quite like a 50 or 53 on a road bike. It'll be more like one more shift and a bit.

    To do it you will need a different crank, longer chain, possibly a longer cage rear derailleur and a new front derailleur if it says 2X on it. If you're asking this question you probably don't have all the skills and tools to do the work yourself so the cost will be getting pretty considerable when you're done. It seems so simple, but components are designed to work as a package and when you change one it dominoes down the line.

    This is why I'm a fan of 3X drives; you can take off the big ring and put a bigger middle on and shorten the chain if you want a 2X - then change your mind again, but with a factory 2X you're stuck. But the 3X crank is becoming as scarce as V brakes and toe straps because - well, just because. It was just fine for thirty years but now it's not.

    You could also sell the bike and buy one with a 3X crank. Economically that makes the most sense because you will never get the money and labor you put into the swap back out again when you sell the bike. Giant had a basic 29 with a 3X crank in '13 that seemed about equivalent to what you have. I'm sure those Shimano Deore PF30 3X cranks are going into basic 29s from other manufacturers too.
    Good advice, I'm also underwhelmed with 2X cranksets. Try finding a bash guard for a 2X Shimano crank - only one choice. Triple cranks are so much more versatile.

    While I'm ranting: bring back threaded BB shells... And get off my lawn....

  4. #4
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    Race Face still sells triple cranks and thats what I use. I am also a fan of the triple that way I put in a 36 tooth middle ring and drop the outside ring and add a bashgaurd.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I do have the tools (got a bike installation kit from Nashbar a few months ago) and am pretty mechanically inclined, was just wondering what was involved (or if it was even possible). Off to do some more research

  6. #6
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    The cheapest solution is to just put on a 2x crank with larger chainrings. Are you really spinning out in top gear? On my 29er, my top gear is 39/11, and I hit 30mph at 100 RPM cadence. How fast do you need to go?

    Rather than buying a new drivetrain, you may be better off getting a bike that is better suited to your use.

  7. #7
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    My top gear is 38/11. I usually max out at 16MPH. When doing down hill I can get faster but my pedaling realy doesn't effect the speed until it gets back down to the 16MPH range. Don't know how many RPMs I'm at.

    I've never been able to hit 20MPH+ with me just peadling.

    I agree that a new bike may be better but don't know if a road bike would hold a guy my size.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdkjr View Post
    My top gear is 38/11. I usually max out at 16MPH. When doing down hill I can get faster but my pedaling realy doesn't effect the speed until it gets back down to the 16MPH range. Don't know how many RPMs I'm at..
    If this is true, then you cadence is probably only in the 55 range, which would make you a masher. Most folks aim for an average cadence of 90 RPM or so, which with a 38/11 would put you in the range of 27 MPH.

    Might be better to work on bringing up you cadence rather than looking to higher gears for increased speed.
    All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best...William of Ockham

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