NorCal SS Gear Ratio Suggestions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    NorCal SS Gear Ratio Suggestions

    Hey Fellas,

    I'm visiting some family in Petaluma and San Francisco for three weeks in late October and they suggested I bring a bike along.

    I'd like to do some trail riding but my mountain bike may not be completely suitable for the local terrain. I'm from Illinois so the bike is set up for flat and fast - it's totally rigid and rockin' a 34-16 gear ratio. Are the trails around here going to kick my ass?

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Edit: Just thought of this. Got Maxxis Holy Rollers in 2.2 - will these cut it out there? Also, my bars are a little on the narrow end now that I think about it. Do you guys have a general rule about bar length for your trail conditions?
    Last edited by taefoto; 09-14-2010 at 09:28 PM.

  2. #2
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    As a SS beginner (but long time rider), I did 32x19.

    I did imagine 18 cog would be about the same.

    With that setting, I rode most of the easy parks and did Skeggs, which is a local must ride spot for most people here. It took some effort, but I cleared most of it pretty ok with that gear ratio.

    There are guys that ride 34x15 and kicked butt with it. I did say that would prob. be the most I go with.

    As long as you are not doing DH, dont really need wide 28 inch bars.

  3. #3
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    Depends on how strong you are I suppose. I'm assuming you are on a 26 inch wheel?

    34-16 is maybe a bit taller than you'll want at some places but fine at others. Personally, I'd pop a 18 on there as when you ride places you don't know it's always better to have an easier gear.

    Rigid is totally fine.

    Holy Rollers? I run them on my DJ/pumptrack bike but not on trails. The dirt in that area is pretty grippy so if you are used to those tires I suppose you'll be fine but I'd personally run something with some tread, especially as you don't know the trails. Nothing crazy, but some tread would be better than none.

    Bars aren't really a consideration, nothing super tight or anything so run whatever you are comfortable with.

    Have fun! Definitely go to Annadel which is 20 min North of Petaluma.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by photodog
    Depends on how strong you are I suppose. I'm assuming you are on a 26 inch wheel?

    34-16 is maybe a bit taller than you'll want at some places but fine at others. Personally, I'd pop a 18 on there as when you ride places you don't know it's always better to have an easier gear.

    Rigid is totally fine.

    Holy Rollers? I run them on my DJ/pumptrack bike but not on trails. The dirt in that area is pretty grippy so if you are used to those tires I suppose you'll be fine but I'd personally run something with some tread, especially as you don't know the trails. Nothing crazy, but some tread would be better than none.

    Bars aren't really a consideration, nothing super tight or anything so run whatever you are comfortable with.

    Have fun! Definitely go to Annadel which is 20 min North of Petaluma.
    Any particular recommendations for rubber? My LBS has 26" tires with no tread and tires with a little tread. Haha, we don't really need anything toothy around here so no one stocks it or knows **** about it.

    As for the 18t, I'll just slap that on there next to the 16t that's already there.

  5. #5
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    annadel? 2quarry or roughgo climbs on 36-18?

    I'd gear down more!

  6. #6
    Obi
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    32:17..

    32-18..

    Both are tolerable for all but the worst climbs for which there's usually room to "wiggle" or worst case, just hoof it.

  7. #7
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    2:1 or easier (1.8:1 ?) seems be most common
    (I run 32:18 or 32:20 on my 29er (sierra foothills)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3034
    2:1 or easier (1.8:1 ?) seems be most common
    (I run 32:18 or 32:20 on my 29er (sierra foothills)
    I agree here, 2:1 is the way to fly. 26 should be a 34:17, and 29 32:17 or 18.

    I raced this last year the Sea Otter, CCCX on a 29 32:17. When I raced a 26 I ran 34:16. That is a big boy gear and I have since toned down a little.

    Q

  9. #9
    pvd
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    I use 34-19. It's great for trailriding.

  10. #10
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    Assuming Annadel, 32x19 is what I like for 29ers, so about 32x17 for 26".

    Oh, and I like knobby rubber.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by taefoto
    I'm from Illinois so the bike is set up for flat and fast - it's totally rigid and rockin' a 34-16 gear ratio. Are the trails around here going to kick my ass?

    Thanks for the suggestions.
    The truth is the trails are going to kick your ass... If you have never done any long extended climbs on your SS I would gear down a bit. You say you have narrow bars and thats not going to help while climbing either. We seem to be a bit spoiled out here with what we think is the norm with gear ratios being we have a good mixture of terrain. If you are coming from all flats with no hard climbs you might want to bring something easy like a 20 in the back with an 18 to throw on if the 20 is too easy. Just my .02 ...

    Chris

  12. #12
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    I just went from a 32-18 to a 32-19 on my 29er. Much better. I would go 34-18 (or 32-17) or easier on your 26" bike, depending on how strong you are. Annadel is always referred to as "SS friendly". There is plenty of climbing, it just isn't really steep for extended periods of time. As for fully rigid, you'll be fine. Suspension is always nice, but I run my SS rigid at Annadel, Skeggs, and Waterdog.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by taefoto
    I'm visiting some family in Petaluma and San Francisco for three weeks in late October and they suggested I bring a bike along.

    I'd like to do some trail riding but my mountain bike may not be completely suitable for the local terrain. I'm from Illinois so the bike is set up for flat and fast - it's totally rigid and rockin' a 34-16 gear ratio. Are the trails around here going to kick my ass?
    Many people from outside the area are surprised by how hilly Northern California is. The three places that come up as good riding close to Petaluma are Tamarancho, China Camp, and Annadale, an all are reasonably hilly.

    When I was fit and racing, I used to run a 2x1 (so 34x17 in your case). This was actually set up based on 1 race - the Sea Otter, They used to have a hill called "The Long Climb Home" which was a mile or so and we'd hit it twice in a 32 mile race (back before they had different classes for singlespeeds). 2x1 was the highest I could use and still make it up this hill. other hills, like the infamous hurl hill, I'd be running up.

    Now that I am not racing and my fitness is much lower, I am 32x17ing it, and sometimes think about switching to 32x18. The challenge with these is if you are in a group, don't be behind anyone when they drop down to their granny gear, or you will be walking.

    If on 29er, add 2 teeth the number for the rear cog and you get about the same gear inches. So a 34x17 on a 26er would be about the same as a 34x19 on a 29er.
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  14. #14
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    I ride 32x17 on a 29er in Auburn and Tahoe. For my current fitness/strength, I'm pretty much at my limit, and on most climbs I long for the 19t rear I had when I first got the bike. I might go back one day, but probably not.
    :wq

  15. #15
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    34x20 works out well for me on my SS 29er, with a 28" bar.
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  16. #16
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    49-51 gear inches. (SS29 or SS26) Equates to 32:18T - 32:20T has worked Soquel, Santa Cruz, Concord, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Santa Rosa
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  17. #17
    fc
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    If you're from Illinois, you may want a geared bike to truly enjoy the area!

    fc

  18. #18
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    Just because he's from Illinois doesn't mean he can't climb......case in point, a single speeder from Illinois just won the single speed class at the Tahoe Sierra 100....->http://www.globalbiorhythmevents.com...-2010-web1.pdf
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  19. #19
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    You guys are all tougher than I am. I run 32:21 on my 29er. Works perfectly for me at Skegg's and Tamarancho. Tried other gear ratios and this is the one that I like best.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces
    Just because he's from Illinois doesn't mean he can't climb......case in point, a single speeder from Illinois just won the single speed class at the Tahoe Sierra 100....->http://www.globalbiorhythmevents.com...-2010-web1.pdf
    Haha, thank's for the vote of confidence. I lived and rode a lot in Korea for a while and they've got a lot of short STEEP climbs out there. I used to ride the mountain behind my apartment all the time. From bottom to top it's about 600-700 meters of elevation in about 2 or 3 miles.

    I expect to have to walk the bike a little but would try to avoid that. I'll make sure to bring a 18t with me and since the wheel is all the way at the end of the dropout I imagine I'll have room to swap it in. I figure with the three weeks I'll have time to actually try the trails so I'll take it to a LBS to have the cogs swapped if I need 'em.

  21. #21
    Obi
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    I see three of us saying 32-17..

    Can someone go ahead and drop the hammer? ( get a gavel?)


    Ultimately, try out stuff and see what works..there are a few of us who SS and I'm sure wherever you are there's a rider w/ a few spare cogs you can try out to see what works best for you.

  22. #22
    NedwannaB
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    I agree w/ Tyrone

    The guy from Ill. beat my buddy stoom from right here in Norcal!

    As for gearing, he's got a 34/18 available and that will be fine for Annadel, Skeggs uhhh maybe a little more work. As for tyres, depending on what happens weather wise when he's here the rollers will be fine as well.

    @ Taefoto, post up or PM me when closer to coming if you want a tour of Annadel. I'm in Petaluma.
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  23. #23
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    my ears are burning over here....

    Yeah, yeah, ok I was beat by a guy from Illinois last weekend at the Tahoe Sierra 100. There was 13,000 elevation gain in 92 miles. He was running 32:20 on his 29er and I ran 32:22 on my 29er. He was a hurting unit and pushing on sections that I was pedaling. He dug deep to catch and pass me at mile 88.

    I run 32:21 and/or 32:22 on 24hr solo racing. As for Annadel gearing, I ran 34:17 for years riding and racing on the little kids bike (26er). Now on the 29er I would recommend 32:18 or 32:19.

    Hope that helps and if you'd like a tour around Annadel give me a shout. JMac and I can show you around.

    [email protected]

    M

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