Trying to make some tough decisions on my wife's new bike. She is moving up to a 29er, and will be using the bike for both racing and general trail riding. She does not have great leg strength, so the ability to climb is probably more important than top speed. She would greatly prefer a 2 x 10 setup, but I'm starting to think 3 x 10 might be the better solution.
My personal preference leans toward Shimano. I do not like the 1:1.5 ratio you are stuck with in the SRAM chainrings, and having demo'ed both systems I think the Shimano 10 speed rear shifts a little crisper than SRAM (ymmv).
But, now I'm reading the Shimano 2 ring system limits you to a 12 tooth step up, which is even MORE narrow than SRAM's 1:1.5 ratio. I have read in a couple of magazines that you can set up the Shimano system wth 26.40 combo, but I have not seen any real world confirmation. 26.40 is not much different than SRAM's 26.39, anyway, and if you lose shifting reliability than its probably not worth it.
And anyway, I am wondering if a 26x36 granny gear is small enough for my wife on a 29'er? Her current 26'er granny is 22x32, and she will use it on those long rides in the mountains, although I suspect she could learn to get by with a larger gear.
Is a SRAM front, Shimano rear a possiblity? (complete opposite of what I currently run)
She has also mentioned that she might like grip shifters, particularly for her front shifter. I'm not even sure if 10 speed grip shifters are available for the rear.
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