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  1. #1
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    best gear ratio for small and middle chan rings?

    I will be getting new chain rings in the very near future and installing a bash guard in place of my large ring and I was wondering what the best ratio might be for something like this? I ride all kinds of terrain on my 5.75" PUSHed 5 spot, love the climbs, love the high-speed downhills. I was wondering what is the largest teeth difference I can have between the small and the middle chain ring? I was hoping to get something pretty large like anywhere from 36 up to 40 teeth up front to get a better ratio for high speed peddling. And it would be nice to have a rather small size chain ring for those ultra grunt/near impossible climbs out in colorado and moab... what are your suggestions? I ride an XT 11-34 cassette.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    When I ditched my big ring I pondered this too. What I found is that keeping the standard 32T and 22T rings works out just fine. I never used the big ring anyhow and still had the same gears I've always used for climbing/descending. I run a 11-32 cassette.

    If you really need/use your big ring now (there is a difference between using it and needing it) then you might want to consider a 36T middle, I wouldn't go bigger. If you need bigger consider just keeping all three gears and getting a bashring that fits to the outside of the big ring.

    FWIW when you take away the big ring on a 22-32-44T set up with a 11-34 cassette, you only lose your two top gear ratio's...that's it. Here is a chart from Sheldon Brown showing this. As you can see you lose the 7.5 and 6.4 ratio's at the 11-44 and 13-44 combo's but at 15-44 (5.5 ratio) you get that back with the 11-32 combo.

    It all comes down to need and riding terrain. I climb and descend slow, technical terrain with lots of boulders and ledges. I have no need for anything close to a 44T big ring. Even in Moab I'm quite happy with 32T as my max, 34 wouldn't hurt but I never felt the need to swap it over. Ride without your big ring for a while then decide if you need a bigger middle to even things out on the faster sections.

    here's the link if you want to punch in your own numbers: http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/
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  3. #3
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    would it be safe to do a 36T middle ring and a 20T small ring? would that affect front shifting much?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Biker
    would it be safe to do a 36T middle ring and a 20T small ring? would that affect front shifting much?
    20t ring ? You really think you need to drop to a 20t granny ? I found I needed to go up to a 24t and eventually settled on a 26-36-bash w/11-34 cassette. The 26t granny keeps me moving on those steeper climbs. A 22t or 24t ring left me spinning like crazy w/virtually no momentum and loosing balance on steep climbs. The 26t keeps my momentum up giving me more/better balance, it does however take your legs a while to "get used to" such a "big granny ring". Seems like a 20t would be for climbing trees, as small as it its. But then if you're in Boulder, you might need it due to altitude. I could use a 20t due to "attitude or the lack there of".

    Oh yeah, most people find that they tend to have better shifting bikes if the stay w/in a 10 tooth differential. I have ran a 24-36t combo w/o any problems and have heard of others that have ridden wider combos w/o problems. The wider combos tend not shift as easily and as crisp as a 10 tooth differential, but it mainly depends on how good your chainline is.

    FYI - my bikes are SC Bullit, VP Free and Nomad.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Biker
    would it be safe to do a 36T middle ring and a 20T small ring? would that affect front shifting much?
    I have no experience with that combo but I know from reading on these forums a lot of people swap the 32T middle for 34 and 36T all the time. i don't see why you couldn't use a 20T small, maybe have to lower the der. a bit, not sure.

    Do you need a 20T granny now? If not why do you think you'll need one if you get a bash ring? I went to a 11-32 cassette b/c with a 22T granny I find the 22front and 34 rear combo to spin too easily, even on the steepest of terrain I prefer a 11-32 cassette. Provides more control but requires more strength...get stronger,

  6. #6
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    It was just an idea... I don't use the granny very often, only on sections I really need it, that seem near impossible or extremely steep. That might actually be a good option. I currently have a stock set of rings on an xtr m952 crankset so I'm pretty sure my small ring is a 24T. Maybe I'll try going w/ a 26T and see how I like it...

    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    I guess I wasn't really thinking about how much I actually do spin like crazy in my granny gear - probably why I power up climbs in my middle ring most of the time. I am a strong climber so I think I'll actually try out a 26T 36T combo. I'm pretty sure I have a 24T 34T combo on my xtr m952 crankset, so that shouldn't be a big deal

  8. #8
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    Agree 100% w/eatdrinkride. "Go w/the bigger gears and get stronger". It'll kill ya at 1st, did me anyways, but stick w/it and you'll be leaving everyone else on th' longer climbs and be waiting for them at the top and you'll be plenty rested cause yer gonna get there waaaay before they do. That's my experience anyways.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by man w/ one hand
    Agree 100% w/eatdrinkride. "Go w/the bigger gears and get stronger". .

    Sounds like he is a strong rider. He will be fine.

    BTW OP, i'd bet that xtr set up is a 22-32-44, could be wrong though....and how did you go from wanting a 20T granny to deciding on a 26T granny? I'm perplexed, lol. Sounds to me like you're not quite sure what to think, that's why I say just ditch that big ring and ride your stock set up for a while, then decide what changes are needed, if any.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride
    Sounds like he is a strong rider. He will be fine.

    BTW OP, i'd bet that xtr set up is a 22-32-44, could be wrong though....and how did you go from wanting a 20T granny to deciding on a 26T granny? I'm perplexed, lol. Sounds to me like you're not quite sure what to think, that's why I say just ditch that big ring and ride your stock set up for a while, then decide what changes are needed, if any.

    Now I am 200% in agrrement w/eatdrinkride.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

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