Shimano Double Cranksets
Three questions on the double cranksets.
1) What is your opinion of the big ring size at 38? I am a little worried that is too tall. I have spent that last 15 years riding around on a 32 ring and am wondering if the 38 is going to be too steep. Can I put a 32 on the crankset?
2) Are there any bash guards that fit the double crankset?
3) If running an 11-36 cogset, what derailleur length do you use with a double, a mid or a long?
The XTR racing double you are pretty much stuck with it as is. With most of the other Shimano doubles, including the XTR trail double you can do pretty much anything you can do with a triple including running a bash or whatever.
I personally prefer a triple because I can run in the 32t 99% of the time. I feel like with a double I spend a lot more time shifting in the front because the 38 is too big to use all of the time and the 26 is too small to use all of the time.
You should be able to easily run a mid-cage.
1) that is completely up to you. It depends on the terrain you are riding, your fitness, leg strength, etc.
2) the double is just a double. So if you want a bash guard, you will have the bash and the granny ring. It is not possible to have double and bash. For that, you will need to get the triple, remove the big ring and replace with a bash.
3) Running a double and an 11-36, I would personally run a mid-cage length RD. This should reduce chain slap. Also try a plus RD, to add some extra tension.