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  1. #1
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    Cassettes and age.

    Kind of a 50+ or age issue.

    The pretty much unused Fuel EX I got from a friend is 29r and had 1x 34t with 40t 11 speed. A 32t ring made it fine and fast for most riding. Yesterday I put on a 42t cassette.

    While that's hardly a bailout or granny with big 29 tires I do confess it was some climb relief the day after some fast and hard riding. With a road trip ahead and tired legs I did a little test to realize it will make a difference.

    One surprise remains. For years on heirloom wheels I was sure I had to have my 22-32 front and biggest possible cassette. Now for 4 seasons I'm running steeper gearing and for the most part doing fine. I do have 30t front and SRAM 10-42 on our fat bikes.

    Careful pedaling on big climbs has been working and no super low or bailout gear has me a better rider.
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  2. #2
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    Curious where you ride and what kind of elevation gain / mileage you get on a typical ride.
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  3. #3
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    Chris Froome used a 38x32 combo en route to winning his latest TDF which would have been considered ridiculously low for any type of professional road racing just a few years ago. There is no shame in gearing down and lots of times it's the fastest option.

    That said I do think some people gear down more than they need to on climbs and would probably improve if they pushed themselves a bit at times.
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  4. #4
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    I live at higher altitude (about 6600 feet) and my climbs usually end up at 9800 feet or so. If I want to go lower cadence, more torque, I just shift down. I'm 65 and running a 28 front on a 27.5 with an 11 speed 42 tooth on the back. I do think that your observation is interesting, though, regarding higher gearing. The limiting factor for me is usually cardiopulmonary and I find I can control my heart rate better if I run a lower cadence and higher torque at the same speed. But there is a limit to what I can push and I'm not ready to go to a bigger front chainring. Sometimes, I need that low gear.

  5. #5
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    It's definitely an age / condition / terrain factor. Like MSU said, sometimes I can power up a climb and sometimes it's a long slog and I need to just sit and spin up it. I live in Colorado and as a returning rider at 54 , I'm running 28 front and 11-49 in the back on my 27.5+ and it's just right. The 49 is now a true bailout gear that I'm using where I used to dismount and walk for a bit when I was running 36 or 42 in the back.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Curious where you ride and what kind of elevation gain / mileage you get on a typical ride.
    =sParty
    I live in the Midwest and take trips to real mountains and areas in fly over country that are surprisingly good such as Michigan UP or Duluth.

    The 34t or 32t to 40 cassette is fine for 1-2 hour rides that don't record more than 1-2000 ft of elevation.

    When I spent 2-4 months a year in Jackson Hole I did need a true granny gear for some rides.

    My surprise or wondering has been how often riders in my area insist on a granny or bailout gear and my riding got better after I didn't have it. Many days in a row o 34t to an 11-40 got one old knee tender. 32t to 11-42 seems like relief.

    My Honzo is steep gearing by comparison but it's not as often when it is used for an epic or competitive ride.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBaldBlur View Post
    It's definitely an age / condition / terrain factor. Like MSU said, sometimes I can power up a climb and sometimes it's a long slog and I need to just sit and spin up it. I live in Colorado and as a returning rider at 54 , I'm running 28 front and 11-49 in the back on my 27.5+ and it's just right. The 49 is now a true bailout gear that I'm using where I used to dismount and walk for a bit when I was running 36 or 42 in the back.
    Altitude is a big factor. My riding is in similar conditions, Durango starts out at 6500' and climbs from there. My easy gear is 28x42 on my 29" FS, which is appreciated when climbing from 9K' to 12K'.
    Craig, Durango CO
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  8. #8
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    Was going to say that with CD's and DVD's got rid of all the cassettes, vhs tapes and lp's, is an age thing.

    It all comes down to conditioning, I use a 28t with a 42-11 cassette and struggling, is making me spin fast and my breathing can't keep up. Will prolly go to 30t to slow down the spin a bit, not going to 32t because I suck at climbing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL View Post
    Was going to say that with CD's and DVD's got rid of all the cassettes, vhs tapes and lp's, is an age thing.

    It all comes down to conditioning, I use a 28t with a 42-11 cassette and struggling, is making me spin fast and my breathing can't keep up. Will prolly go to 30t to slow down the spin a bit, not going to 32t because I suck at climbing.
    You don't need a 30 tooth, just go to the next gear and slow the cadence. At least you'll get an idea of what the 30 tooth is like without spending the money and you'll keep a low gear for the really heinous climbs.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL View Post
    Was going to say that with CD's and DVD's got rid of all the cassettes, vhs tapes and lp's, is an age thing.

    It all comes down to conditioning, I use a 28t with a 42-11 cassette and struggling, is making me spin fast and my breathing can't keep up. Will prolly go to 30t to slow down the spin a bit, not going to 32t because I suck at climbing.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    You don't need a 30 tooth, just go to the next gear and slow the cadence. At least you'll get an idea of what the 30 tooth is like without spending the money and you'll keep a low gear for the really heinous climbs.
    Yes, I have learned to climb at a slower cadence.

    I suppose Eagle would solve it but I'm not spending the money now. I need the 10 or 11 (Shimano) for speed with a 32 in summer or the fat bikes with 30 in front. I'm so fond of 1x that I'll deal with moment of less range over all rides with crap I don't need on a bike.

    Eagle was in my plans but an all XT group was on the incredible deal pretty much unused bike I picked up this summer. The XT shifting is better than I expected and I like the XT brakes and crank more than the SRAM versions I have on other bikes so it's all working out.
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  11. #11
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    I like to have a much lower gear for climbing. I use a 24x34 front and 11x46 rear. When things get real steep my knees like the 24/46 combo. It's also a good resting gear when the climbs are long. I slow the cadence down to 50-60 RPM, sometimes slower, but then staying upright can be a problem if the climb is at all rocky. This is on a 27.5" bike

  12. #12
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    I run a 1x11 32 front 50 max on the rear with a 27.5+ giving me a very low low of about 17 gear inches. That's because I'm almost 70 and I have some lung issues from asthma and lymphoma. Even with such a low, I end up pushing most long hills now but I can at least push really fast! I suspect that there is a point at which going too low doesn't add to my ability to climb.

    Love those downhills!

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