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  1. #1
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    Gearing help for climbing.

    I'm looking for some help in regards to gearing for climbing. The trails I typically ride have some fairly steep climbs(for me anyway) and I could use some help. I currently have a 14' Trek Fuel EX8 3x10 42/32/24 Shimano HG62 11-36, 10 speed and I never use the big ring. What could I do to make climbing a bit easier?

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  2. #2
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    22 front chainring or 41 tooth add on for your casette. There are now a few options out there. Or both.

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    shimano-deore-m612-10-speed-triple-chainset
    A unique 40-30-22t ring combination

    There are 20t granny gears around that can be fitted with a few modifications.

    You can also get larger rear cogs 40/42 that can be fitted to the cassette.

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    Easy and cheap change would be a 22 tooth granny. I'd have to think that any lower than a 22X36, trying to keep the front wheel down or find traction for the rear wheel would be a bigger issue than turning the cranks.
    The 42 rear would in theory work with a 2X10 front. A 3X10 would exceed the derailleur capacity.

  5. #5
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    I do alot of steep climbs also. I changed my 2x10 to a 1x10 using a wolf's tooth components 30 tooth front ring and with the 11-36 seems to be the ticket. even some of the flats i ride with the 30-11 i can still hit 20mph on the flats. Wolf is coming out with a 42 tooth rear cog that i plan on getting just in case i need more, I'm hoping he decides to release a 40 tooth cog. I think going this route would be your best bang for the buck.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jammin View Post
    I do alot of steep climbs also. I changed my 2x10 to a 1x10 using a wolf's tooth components 30 tooth front ring and with the 11-36 seems to be the ticket. even some of the flats i ride with the 30-11 i can still hit 20mph on the flats. Wolf is coming out with a 42 tooth rear cog that i plan on getting just in case i need more, I'm hoping he decides to release a 40 tooth cog. I think going this route would be your best bang for the buck.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PauLCa916 View Post
    Did you change your Stump Jumper top 1 x 10 ?
    Both bikes are 1x10 now.
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  8. #8
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    Ride more.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by razardica View Post
    Ride more.
    Brilliant! If only it were that easy.

    I feel as though it's easier to climb on my fat bike then the Fuel. I think I will go talk to my LBS and sort it out.

    Thanks to those who provided helpful feedback.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by razardica View Post
    Ride more.
    Brilliant! If only it were that easy.

    I feel as though it's easier to climb on my fat bike then the Fuel. I think I will go talk to my LBS and sort it out.

    Thanks to those who provided helpful feedback
    What he probably meant was your body just has to get conditioned to it. The 24:36 gearing you have now is truly pretty low. Most bikes are going to be set up with a 22 or 24 granny and a 34 or 36 large rear cog. Those are all pretty low gearing. It very well may be a technique and/or conditioning issue. If you don't feel that is the issue and you just need a lower gear other's here have given you some good options to explore. Hope you get it worked out and have better climbing days in your future.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitzikatzi View Post
    shimano-deore-m612-10-speed-triple-chainsetDitch the 29er and go back to 26 inch wheels.
    Interesting to note that the bikes in your link had 26" wheels.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tincup69 View Post
    Brilliant! If only it were that easy.

    I feel as though it's easier to climb on my fat bike then the Fuel. I think I will go talk to my LBS and sort it out.

    Thanks to those who provided helpful feedback.
    It is. As the guy above says, dude, 24x36 is super, super, super low. Unless you are riding up the Eiger Nordwand; it's the engine, not the car.

  13. #13
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    I have to agree at 24x 36 you have already reached diminishing returns. Sure I drop down there every now and then just so I can stay on my bike but truth be told you are just as fast or faster pushing. Typically for me I expend more energy pedaling at that ratio than pushing. I actually find going down to 24x 34 or 32 has a lot more benefit. Yeah it's tougher but you (I) cover more ground in the long run compared to the energy expelled. Just keep at, some of it is just getting used to it.
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  14. #14
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    Stand up and pedal a higher gear. I know that it is counter to what your asking for but try it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattnmtns View Post
    I have to agree at 24x 36 you have already reached diminishing returns. Sure I drop down there every now and then just so I can stay on my bike but truth be told you are just as fast or faster pushing. Typically for me I expend more energy pedaling at that ratio than pushing. I actually find going down to 24x 34 or 32 has a lot more benefit. Yeah it's tougher but you (I) cover more ground in the long run compared to the energy expelled. Just keep at, some of it is just getting used to it.
    Yep, it's so low that if one can not make the climb or keep going up the slope, it'd be better to simply walk it, you'll go faster. If you stepped UP to a 2t bigger front ring, you'd notice for a few weeks that you couldn't make a few climbs, and over that period you'd adapt and then be able to ride the same climbs as before. I've done this both ways and it's not the "solution" that people think it is.
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  16. #16
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    Even with 22 front and 34 cog is easy go uphills...

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    At least half of these responses were no help to the OP. He wants lower gearing. Sure, maybe riding more will help in the long run, but he wants to know how to get a lower gear ratio now. Maybe he is like me, and gets some satisfaction out of RIDING the really steep nasty climbs, and doesn't care if walking is faster. I ride a 29er with 22-36 gearing and sometimes wish for more, just to get over that last root or rock when my legs are toast.

    To the OP, get a 22t front which will bolt on, or a 20 which might take some minor filing to make it fit, but is well worth the effort. Going from 24 to 22 wont be as noticeable as going to a 20t front. Also lose the big ring and get a bash guard, here in the east the extra clearance for going over shit is quite noticeable.

    Yes you can get 40 or 42 tooth cassette cogs but they are really expensive. A 20t granny will cost about $20 on ebay and BBG makes great bash guards for about the same cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomboyjr View Post
    At least half of these responses were no help to the OP. He wants lower gearing. Sure, maybe riding more will help in the long run, but he wants to know how to get a lower gear ratio now. Maybe he is like me, and gets some satisfaction out of RIDING the really steep nasty climbs, and doesn't care if walking is faster. I ride a 29er with 22-36 gearing and sometimes wish for more, just to get over that last root or rock when my legs are toast.

    To the OP, get a 22t front which will bolt on, or a 20 which might take some minor filing to make it fit, but is well worth the effort. Going from 24 to 22 wont be as noticeable as going to a 20t front. Also lose the big ring and get a bash guard, here in the east the extra clearance for going over shit is quite noticeable.

    Yes you can get 40 or 42 tooth cassette cogs but they are really expensive. A 20t granny will cost about $20 on ebay and BBG makes great bash guards for about the same cost.



    Tell us about riding a 20 x 36 on the steeps please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floydlippencott View Post
    Tell us about riding a 20 x 36 on the steeps please.
    Can't tell you about a 20, but there are times when I use my 22 and am real glad I have it. Like when I've been doing lots of steep climbing, am worn out, am still doing steep climbing, and want to keep riding as opposed to walking. When I want to go on a hike, I leave the bike at home.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomboyjr View Post
    At least half of these responses were no help to the OP. He wants lower gearing. Sure, maybe riding more will help in the long run, but he wants to know how to get a lower gear ratio now. Maybe he is like me, and gets some satisfaction out of RIDING the really steep nasty climbs, and doesn't care if walking is faster. I ride a 29er with 22-36 gearing and sometimes wish for more, just to get over that last root or rock when my legs are toast.

    To the OP, get a 22t front which will bolt on, or a 20 which might take some minor filing to make it fit, but is well worth the effort. Going from 24 to 22 wont be as noticeable as going to a 20t front. Also lose the big ring and get a bash guard, here in the east the extra clearance for going over shit is quite noticeable.

    Yes you can get 40 or 42 tooth cassette cogs but they are really expensive. A 20t granny will cost about $20 on ebay and BBG makes great bash guards for about the same cost.
    Exactly, thank you!
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  21. #21
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    I am happy to carry around and occasionally use a 22/34 low gear on my 26er Top Fuel. That's would be the same as a 21/36 on your 29er.

    As the guy above said, get a 20t small ring. Also, on days when I do a lot of climbing I pump up my shock high enough to all but eliminate any pedal bob. Then I leave the suspension active on climbs to get better traction and a smoother ride. I run 2.4 wide tires at low 20's psi for additional traction. Spinning out is a common problem here on the steepest climbs.

    I also use long'ish bar ends. I like the forward position on long climbs. Also, I have dislocated my shoulder a few times and being able to change my hand position on long rides is absolutely golden. Again, not everyone's cup of tea, but they might work for you if you have never tried them.

    Having a super low granny gear is something I would never appologize for. I prefer to sit in the saddle and spin higher rpms on the longer climbs, so small gears work for me.

    As for hills - this is where I live and ride.
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  22. #22
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    I see on the Giant (international) site that the current Advanced Anthem 29er ships with 24/28 combo on the front. My 2012 model has 26/38 combo. I know it is a small difference, but at age 62 I need all the help I can get, so I have ordered a new set of rings to get the lower gear. We will see if it is worth it.

  23. #23
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    From a Clyde that's not near in the shape of most these guys. 22t is about as low as u want to go. I run 11-34 rear and the 22 I have traction issues or really gotta get my weight toward or I flip backwards ( not fun did it once landed on my ass ) but I have alot of leg strength.

    Personally I run a 24 in front now as I spin slower and use strength instead. I found stand and mash makes life so much easier on steep stuff. Granny gears for me are for mid lvl longer climbs as by the end of them im cranking slow as shit in as low as I can go just to push myself as far as I can or make it over the top.

    I'd say over try all different options, lower gears, stand and pedal etc. See what u like best. Lower gears may help or you may realize u hate it, so keep and open mind to all options to improve ur climbing. But physical conditioning will play a big part in anything u choose.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitzikatzi View Post
    shimano-deore-m612-10-speed-triple-chainset
    A unique 40-30-22t ring combination.
    ^^This...

  25. #25
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    Another comment. Seems like everyone has their own opinion on what might be TOO LOW gearing. Take all that with a grain of salt, they don't know where you live or the terrain you ride, or your fitness level. I see a post that says a 1x10 with 30/34 is all anyone needs. I used a 28/34 last year and hated it. Went back to a 2x9 (yes 9 speed-lol). Also, not everyone on these forums rides several times a week (or more). Its winter here in the east, haven't been on the bike in a month.

    You don't sound like a new rider, but sometimes telling a new rider to get more fit, or suck up the climbs, or that his current gearing is good enough, will discourage him enough to give up the sport. That's not good for our sport. In the 20 something years I've been riding, the advances made in bike design are amazing, and they wouldn't even be possible without the large numbers of riders that are buying all the latest and greatest. When I started riding, I rode with a club that had about 12 guys that would meet twice a week. Today that club has hundreds of members, and there are many others similar clubs all over the state.

    I'm in CT, so no big mountains, but we still have SUPER steep short climbs. And my riding buddies and I love to try to climb them. We will stop at a steep hill and take turns trying to ride it until someone does. None of us race anymore and we ride for the fun of it. Its common for us to be riding at a popular spot and have a group of hammerheads fly by us. More power to 'em. We are in our late 40's and 50's now but have been riding since the early 90's. Also, I ride a 32 lb Kona Satori, not some flyweight racer.

    Rant over-lol. Ride what you want.

  26. #26
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    I am actually ditching my triple for a 1x, 30t race face narrow wide and 11-36t cassette. I have dabbled with my 22/36t on a long steep loose gravel climb on my route, but it feels like I am barely moving and I typically up shift a couple times just for a bit more oomph. There is a point though where position, traction, cadence etc take over and only going lower gearing seems to have a point of diminishing returns. Practice with what you have. I couldn't imagine a 22-42 gearing, since it would feel like a stationary bike with no resistence.

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    I have a 22t granny on my 3 x 9 triple with a 11/36 cassette. I'm fat and flabby. I sure do appreciate the low gearing. I've even thought about going to 10 speed so I can try a oneup 42T cassette conversion. Yes, I've flipped over backward too many times already, but slamming my nuts on the stem is much worse when I stall out on a climb.

  28. #28
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    A few years ago we were all happily riding our 26" mountain bikes with triple 22/32/44T cranksets and 11/34T cassettes. This includes racing groups like Shimano XTR M960. It was simply the norm and no-one said, "Ride more". Then many of us started riding 29" bikes and the 22/34T combination was noticeably tougher by at least 10%.

    I used to live in New Jersey where the terrain is rolling. There are steep climbs but they don't go on for thousands of feet. I rode my Banshee Paradox with a 22/34 combination and found it adequate.

    A few months ago I moved to Northern California where the terrain is very different with extended, unrelenting climbs. Now I'm looking for lower gearing. I'll start with a 22/36T combination. On a 29" bike that results in 16 gear inches. 22/34 on a 26" bike is still lower gearing at 15.5 gear inches.
    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
    I'll start with a 22/36T combination. On a 29" bike that results in 16 gear inches. 22/34 on a 26" bike is still lower gearing at 15.5 gear inches.
    A 22/36 low gear on a 29er is 17.7 gear inches.

    On my two FS 29ers that are set up 2x10 I'm running a 20/36 low gear (Mr. Whirly cranks) and that is 16.1 gear inches. Pretty nice climbing gears.

    Really nice climbing gears are on my Trans Am 29 hardtail with a 19/36 granny, that is 15.3 gear inches. I have ridden this 180mm XTR square taper crank with it's Mountain Tamer adapter many thousand of miles on my old Astrix Monk FS 29er. On the Monk I ran it as 19/28/36/bash, now, on the TA it is set up with 19/28/33/bash. Sweet setup.

    Zero issues with spinning out the rear wheel while climbing on all but the loosest tracks. I do not have problems with falling over either when spinning in the 19/36 granny. Riding at such slow speeds up steep stuff did take about a month to get used to, but not an issue for a long time now.

    More info about the Mountain Tamer crank setup in my thread here:

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    Last edited by 29erchico; 02-02-2014 at 11:35 AM.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
    A few years ago we were all happily riding our 26" mountain bikes with triple 22/32/44T cranksets and 11/34T cassettes. This includes racing groups like Shimano XTR M960. It was simply the norm and no-one said, "Ride more". Then many of us started riding 29" bikes and the 22/34T combination was noticeably tougher by at least 10%.

    I used to live in New Jersey where the terrain is rolling. There are steep climbs but they don't go on for thousands of feet. I rode my Banshee Paradox with a 22/34 combination and found it adequate.

    A few months ago I moved to Northern California where the terrain is very different with extended, unrelenting climbs. Now I'm looking for lower gearing. I'll start with a 22/36T combination. On a 29" bike that results in 16 gear inches. 22/34 on a 26" bike is still lower gearing at 15.5 gear inches.
    Agreed. I don't get these tough guys. Maybe they don't ride long days. In my experience, many would kill for lower gears after 4 hours of riding steep mountains. I paid a lot for my bike. To ride it. Not to push it. And remember. During a race, the guys PUSHING their bikes has to make way for the guys RIDING the climbs.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29erchico View Post
    A 22/36 low gear on a 29er is 17.7 gear inches.
    I bow to your superior knowledge on the subject. I guess I could make the calculation based on wheel circumference and ratios but I'm too lazy to do that. Instead I went to:

    BikeCalc.com - Bicycle Gear Inches Chart

    I inserted a 23mm. tire instead of 2.3 and got 16.0 gear inches. The correct number is indeed 17.7. Pretty much the same as the 22/34T 17.3 gear inch on a 26" wheel.
    Last edited by Ronnie; 02-02-2014 at 03:57 PM.
    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

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