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  1. #1
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    29er gearing recommendations

    Of course gearing is a personal preference, but I wanted to put this on the front range forum to get the opinions of people who climb big hills.
    I have a friend in the market for a 29er, and a lot of the shops are pushing the 2x10 set ups with a 26x36 low.
    I know that's a pretty decent low, but for me its a no brainer. I'd buy a triple 22,32,42, and probably remove the large and pair it with a 12x36 cassette. (yeah I'm a wuss).
    For me the value of a low low gear is great, and I don't see any downside to a triple, but bike shops will tell you the double shifts better, is lighter and "feels better"???

    You can always convert a triple to a double but not visa versa, and the BCD is too big to go lower than 26 with the double.

    Anyway, compared to a 22x32 on a 26er, which is pretty standard, a 22x36 is the equivalent ratio on a 29. What would you do?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    What would you do?
    32x18
    Last edited by KarateChicken; 06-23-2011 at 09:26 AM.

  3. #3
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    I like gears. Lots of gears. Especially low gears. In fact, I'm always looking for a LOWER gear every time I ride. I'd get a 3x10.

    But maybe your buddy isn't nearly the pvss I am.

  4. #4
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    1x10

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers View Post
    1x10
    not valid^

    you're not tall enough to ride a magical 29er

  6. #6
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    a 29 wheel is about 2 cogs on the rear
    so 2:1 gearing for a 26 (32x16)
    is
    32x18 on a niner

    2:1 is a normal setup for advanced as riders

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarateChicken View Post
    not valid^

    you're not tall enough to ride a magical 29er


    Meh. I had a 29er when 29ers weren't cool.

  8. #8
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    I know I would probably not be satisfied with the 26t granny for those long slogs into the hills. I also don't think there is any option for a bash ring with 2x10 and replacement rings are expensive.

  9. #9
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    To be totally honest I gears are a love/hate relationship for me.

    I was running my 29er rigid for a while with a 32x20 SS and was totally satisfied, but getting into longer rides meant needing more gearing. Since then, I've been running a 1x9 drivetrain with a chainguide and its been awesome. My cassette ranges from 11-34 and I still dont use all 9 gears.

    Save weight, save money. Go with 9 gears.

  10. #10
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    I run a 3X10 (with bash) with 12-36 in the back on my trail bike. I rarely use that lowest gear, but I am very glad to have it when I need it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  11. #11
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    damned 12-36

    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    ...in the market for a 29er, and a lot of the shops are pushing the 2x10 set ups with a 26x36 low.
    I know that's a pretty decent low, but for me its a no brainer. I'd buy a triple 22,32,42, and probably remove the large and pair it with a 12x36 cassette...
    The standard Shimano group from the good old days of 9-speed with triple is 22-32-44 up front and 12-34 cassette. I was still an 8-spd bigot when I got my first 29er and ran 22-32 as lowest low. It was a hurtful thing. So I grudgingly went to 9-spd and of course liked it right away.

    I lived with a 22-34 setup w/ triple for lots of years, then in Feb 2010 I got a new bike that came with a 36 cassette. Damned thing. I now ride most everything I always have in the same gear, it's just two teeth easier (and slower) in every gear. And now I can't imagine going back. Returning to a desk job, getting a lower set of gearing, hello AARP.

    If I was still riding the ridiculous number of miles I used to, I'd probably be temped by a 2x with a 36, but I doubt I'd like it even then for what I ride all summer. The long grindey steeps would be tedious. I like gears and I like to have a plenty low one when I want it.

    For single-speed 29, the Colo norm is 32:20. The tougher SS dudes who just have one bike tend to ride 32:19 or even 18. The SS I just sold was sporting a 33:20, which is just a hint lower than a 32:19. It was fine for the flatter stuff I tend to ride around her in the off season, and places like Hartman Rocks. Really sweet gear for trips to southern Arizona. But if I was trying to have an SS as an only bike I'd be sportin' a 32:21 or 32:22 prolly.
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  12. #12
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    The lowest gear on mine is 22x34 and it's plenty low. I don't think you need lower gearing for the bigger wheels, even tho the internet says so, in fact I felt like I could climb in the middle ring more when I first got mine.

    I would suggest what you said, go with a standard triple and ditch the big ring, it will shift just as nice as the new doubles and he will get the lower gearing of the 22. If he paired that with 36 cog he could climb like Alberto Contador.

  13. #13
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    I have a 3x9 with a 34t cassette. I am a believer in "spin to win" and so I replaced my 22t granny ring with a 20t. Gives me the low-end bail out if I bonk, or if I want to conserve on a long ride, or when I head up to high altitude and have no legs... its not like you HAVE to use the low gears, its just a nice insurance policy.


  14. #14
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    As I suspected, the opinions are all over the board from crazy single speeders to us mere mortals.

    I'm telling him to get a triple. He probably thinks I'm an old, lazy, out of shape wuss who likes to go against the grain (which is all true), so its nice to see that there are plenty of others around here who like the option of a 22x34 or 22x36, or 20x34!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
    I have a 3x9 with a 34t cassette. I am a believer in "spin to win" and so I replaced my 22t granny ring with a 20t. Gives me the low-end bail out if I bonk, or if I want to conserve on a long ride, or when I head up to high altitude and have no legs... its not like you HAVE to use the low gears, its just a nice insurance policy.

    Wait. Where do I get this mythical 20t granny??

  16. #16
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    Here's one on Ebay:

    http://compare.ebay.com/like/3305714...=sbar&_lwgsi=y

    It's steel, so should be durable.

    Action tech has more pricey titanium options:

    http://www.actiontec.us/prices.htm

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Wait. Where do I get this mythical 20t granny??
    http://www.actiontec.us/prices.htm

    Mine is actiontec, but I think I ordered mine from JensonUSA

  18. #18
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    I'm currently building up a 29er hardtail with a 2x10 setup (the only reason I went with 2x10 was because I found an amazing deal on a 2011 X-9 set with brakes included).

    It has a 26x36 low. I'm going to give it a shot, but it may be a little too tough on some of the long steep climbs.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCS5280 View Post
    I'm currently building up a 29er hardtail with a 2x10 setup (the only reason I went with 2x10 was because I found an amazing deal on a 2011 X-9 set with brakes included).

    It has a 26x36 low. I'm going to give it a shot, but it may be a little too tough on some of the long steep climbs.
    Yes, I'd be interested to hear how it works for you.

  20. #20
    rr
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    Also what kind of 29er?, I would venture to guess the guys riding 1x10 or single speeds are on lightweight or rigid bikes. Easier to push bigger gears than a 30+lb FS trail bike

  21. #21
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    no Ti grannies for me please

    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Wait. Where do I get this mythical 20t granny??
    Quote Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
    Last time I looked there was no such thing as a stainless steel 20T granny for a 4-bolt 64 BCD crank, only those Ti Actiontec ones. Actiontec makes some SS grannies, but to get 20 you have to get a 5-bolt 58mm BCD. I don't know of anyone else who makes 20T grannies for a 4-bolt crank, stainless or otherwise. Anybody know different?

    Some say that Ti is fine for granny gears, but I'm not one of them. At least not for those of us who weigh more than 190 and ride bikes that weigh more than 30 and wear packs that weigh more than 10.

    When I built up my dirt tourer I decided I had to have a 20-30-40 setup, so I got a set of Surly Mr Whirly cranks in order to have external BB bearings and a 94/58 crank spider which would allow me free choice of 20T Stainless grannies (and a stainless Surly 30 middle ring).
    Last edited by TomP; 06-23-2011 at 01:54 PM. Reason: fixie mistakie
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Last time I looked there was no such thing as a stainless steel 20T granny for a 4-bolt 64 BCD crank,
    Smilinsteve linked an E-bay auction above.
    Be warned with those 20t 64 BCD rings you sometimes have to grind some material from the mounting points on your crank or the chain will hang up on them.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Some say that Ti is fine for granny gears, but I'm not one of them. At least not for those of us who weigh more than 190 and ride bikes that weigh more than 30 and wear packs that weigh more than 1
    FWIW... I got pretty heavy over the last several months... and I am down to 195 right now. Been riding that Ti granny for like 17 months now and it still looks new to me. But only time will tell. BTW, I have replaced my middle chainring in that same time frame ( not due to wear but busted a tooth off )

  24. #24
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    How much weight do you save with one less ring and a few links? Not much. Buying a 2x10 crankset seems pointless, if you're set on 2x10 then do the conversion.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    ....When I built up my dirt tourer I decided I had to have a 20-30-40 setup, so I got a set of Surly Mr Whirly cranks in order to have external BB bearings and a 94/58 crank spider which would allow me free choice of 20T Stainless grannies (and a stainless Surly 30 middle ring).
    Pretty much my set-up on my Titus RX29 (except mine is 20-30-42). Middleburn rings. I brought my old Race Face Square Taper Turbine LP's out of retirement to run with a Phil Wood Ti BB. Whole set-up is lighter than a XTR M970 set-up. Using a 11-32 cassette.

    I don't use it often, but I like having the 20-32 option...when you are at hour 5-6 of a training ride or race it's nice to go granny mode when your legs are hurting and you have that steep ass climb in front of you. Have toyed with swapping to 2x10 but I like having those extra gears.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    I like gears. Lots of gears. Especially low gears. In fact, I'm always looking for a LOWER gear every time I ride. I'd get a 3x10.
    Amen, brother. I'm running the 2011 XO 3x10. That's a 22x36 low. And I do use it at White Ranch, Mt Falcon, etc. Hell, I could do away with the large chainring.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSH View Post
    I brought my old Race Face Square Taper Turbine LP's out of retirement to run with a Phil Wood Ti BB
    awesome








  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarateChicken View Post
    awesome
    Thanks for the pictorial. Yes, I'm aware of folks busting their old Turbines. I'll take my chances. Will send you a pic if I break mine though, so you can add to your beautiful collection!

  29. #29
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    My .02

    2x10 is geared toward racers and mtb-ers that need to have the cutting edge technology.
    3x10 is for the majority of mtb-ers that prefer to ride up the steeps and roll the flats and roads to our favorite trails. I'll go to 3x10 when the prices come down and SRAM has a 10spd twisty.

    With that said I've tried a number of different gear combinations and prefer the 3x9 (22x34 low) for rides with steep climbs or the occasional bail-out when falcon or belcher try to win.

    Currently I have two 29ers one is SS FS 32x20 and a the other is HT with 26/38 x 11/34 (9spd) The 2x9 works for me here on the front range, but the 26x34 will definitely require dismounting and walking when the trails get steeper, longer, and the air becomes thinner.

    my conclusion - 3x10 (22x36 low / 20x34 low) on a 29er just makes sense for most of us.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
    I have a 3x9 with a 34t cassette. I am a believer in "spin to win" and so I replaced my 22t granny ring with a 20t. Gives me the low-end bail out if I bonk, or if I want to conserve on a long ride, or when I head up to high altitude and have no legs... its not like you HAVE to use the low gears, its just a nice insurance policy.

    We're riding with a 22t granny with 11-36 cassette on our 29r tandem. That 22x36 low gear is gets us up Belcher, no problem and about grades in excess of 20%.

    I ride a SS as well (32x20), but am REALLY big fan of the low gear options when riding the tandem bike!

    We looked into the 20t granny gear matched with an 11-34 cassette, and that would have given us a lower gear than the 22 with 36t cassette, but in the end we went with the 22 granny and its all good!

  31. #31
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    As part of the learning curve, I have found that the 2 x 10 (39/26) gearing for overly steep, long climbs is a grunt and would like a 22/34 set-up. Sram doesn't offer lower chain ring sizes that I am aware of, any suggestions?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill the void View Post
    As part of the learning curve, I have found that the 2 x 10 (39/26) gearing for overly steep, long climbs is a grunt and would like a 22/34 set-up. Sram doesn't offer lower chain ring sizes that I am aware of, any suggestions?
    That's the whole problem. If you try 2x10 and want lower gearing, you are kind of stuck. Not a whole lot of options..

  33. #33
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    The 2 x 10 set-up with an 11-36 rear is very good in 90% of the riding however, there are limitations on those few rides. Either way, there isn't much use for a large ring on the local and regional trails, will have to just get in better shape.

    Any ideas are appreciated.

  34. #34
    Kaj
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    running the 22-36 3x10 on my Anthem X 29er. I like it, especially since I busted my knee riding on the ice earlier this year.

    And I vote a strong 2nd for the 10speed gripshift---I can't get used to these darn triggers
    Kona Wo for Fat Biking, Ibis HD3 for Trail Shredding, Merckx Road bike for collecting dust in garage

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill the void View Post
    The 2 x 10 set-up with an 11-36 rear is very good in 90% of the riding however, there are limitations on those few rides. Either way, there isn't much use for a large ring on the local and regional trails, will have to just get in better shape.

    Any ideas are appreciated.

    Action Tec makes cassettes with 38 or 39 tooth large cogs. Or you could also just buy an individual 38 or 39 tooth cog from them and adapt it to your current cassette.
    They make them in titanium and its kind of pricey, but an option.

    Another option is to sell your crankset and buy a triple. 2x10 is the latest thing, and there are plenty of flatlanders who would love to have it, so the resale value should be pretty good.

  36. #36
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    One other related question I have about gearing options. Even if you think that 2x10 gives you low enough gearing, isn't it bad for your knees to grind up hills at low rpm and high force on the peddles? Just thinking about ergonomics and joint health, wouldn't it be better to use lower gearing for steep hills?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSH View Post
    Thanks for the pictorial. Yes, I'm aware of folks busting their old Turbines. I'll take my chances. Will send you a pic if I break mine though, so you can add to your beautiful collection!
    those were not old at the time of breakage, but were snapped within 18 months of being put on those bicycles

    if you snap one, the ones pictured above may still be up on the wall at ote fruita

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    It is always good to spin, but that also is relative to strength. I need to get stronger!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill the void View Post
    <snip> I need to get stronger!
    Yeah - sometimes that's not an option, you see? That's why I like MOAR GEARS.

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