Commuting Chain Rings

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  • 08-22-2012
    austin_bike
    Commuting Chain Rings
    I just started and convered an MTB to a commuter. I have a 2x9 setup with a 32T ring (granny is irrelevant here.)

    All the way to work, even up the very slight incline that I have, I am in 32T in the front and 11T in the back, and I am spinning, almost too fast.

    I was thinking this morning that maybe I should look at a 34T or 36T ring up front. Is anybody running this? I would be interested in knowing if it is worth the hassle to change it out.
  • 08-22-2012
    junior1210
    Heck I run a triple 44-34-22 / 10 speed on my main, and 48-36-24 / 7 speed on my back-up. I almost never use the granny rings but not gonna spend $$ to save a pound (at least not while I'm still over 220#'s).
  • 08-22-2012
    Isildur
    When I built up my commuter MTB a few years ago, I was having the problem of the 3x9 gearing being too easy, given that I had a large descent on the way to work. I ended up jumping up a couple of teeth across all of the front rings (2t), and this has worked well.

    I tried just the big ring, but then the gap between the ratios on the front was too large.

    In the end I settled on Middleburn rings, and they've been bombproof since I put them on.

    That said, I only commute about 45km - 60km over the entire week, so not massive by anyone's standards, but the rings are barely showing any wear after about 2 years.
  • 08-22-2012
    AndrwSwitch
    Is it two rings +bash? Easiest would be to get a "normal" large ring, a 42t or 44t, bolt it on, and see if you're good. 44/11 is a pretty high gear ratio.

    None of my bikes has a 36, but a couple of the road bikes have 34t inner rings. I found 34/48 to be a good combination, and 34/46 is nice too. I never max out either of them. In fact, they have higher gear ratios than my main road bike. However, 700C wheels with slicks are bigger than 26" wheels with skinny slicks, which means the gear ratio is higher.
  • 08-23-2012
    austin_bike
    The problem is this is my backup MTB, so it is not going to get a big ring, need to stay in a 2x9 setup and 26" wheels.
  • 08-23-2012
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by austin_bike View Post
    I just started and convered an MTB to a commuter. I have a 2x9 setup with a 32T ring (granny is irrelevant here.)

    All the way to work, even up the very slight incline that I have, I am in 32T in the front and 11T in the back, and I am spinning, almost too fast.

    I was thinking this morning that maybe I should look at a 34T or 36T ring up front. Is anybody running this? I would be interested in knowing if it is worth the hassle to change it out.

    awful low gearing....especially for the flats...

    I run 22 34 46 and 11-34 works great for both commute and MTB
  • 08-23-2012
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by austin_bike View Post
    The problem is this is my backup MTB, so it is not going to get a big ring, need to stay in a 2x9 setup and 26" wheels.

    No you don't you can easily change...you just don't want to.

    BTW if or when you convert to slicks for the commute you will lose even more gear-inches.
  • 08-23-2012
    CommuterBoy
    My commuter was 1x9 for a long time with a 50 tooth in the front. Currently the Ogre has a mountain triple on it....It lives in the 44 until I hit the trail. I can't imagine being forced to stay in the 32 for the whole commute.

    My singlespeed (29er) is 36/20, and it's a silly spinfest on the road.
  • 08-23-2012
    Dwayne
    I'm running a 1x9 on my commuter with 26x1.25" slicks. 46 up front, 11x32 in the back. Anything smaller up front would be useless to me.
  • 08-23-2012
    Dalton
    If its strictly a commuter.... I wouldn't go smaller than 44t in the front.
  • 08-23-2012
    junior1210
    Now how large of a big ring could you have without changing to a road fd?
  • 08-23-2012
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by junior1210 View Post
    Now how large of a big ring could you have without changing to a road fd?

    My 2005 SLX FD can go to 46 easily...maybe more..shimano rates it a t max 44...

    I have a 2004 maybe 2003 XTR FD that can go to 46 easily maybe more shimano rates it a max 46....so I am guessing at least 48.
  • 08-23-2012
    jrm
    What's the hurry
    slow down a tad and relax, it'll save you the scratch you'd blow on a larger chainring.
  • 08-23-2012
    newfangled
    I just changed over my 3x9 (42/32/22) to 2x9 (36/26) last week. It's not my main commuter but I'll usually ride it to work once a week or so.

    It's worth playing with a gear calculator for this stuff: Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator

    With my 11-34 cassette:

    Going from 42 to 36 is like losing 1 gear:
    42x13 = 36x11, or at the low end 42x34 = 36x30

    If I dropped from 42 to 32 that would be like losing 2 gears:
    42x15 = 36x13 = 32x11, or 42x26 = 36x30 = 32x34

    If I went up to 50 I'd gain 1 gear:
    42x13 = 50x11, or 50x34 ~ 42x30

    I'd say 32 upfront is pretty low. 36 is okay, and the max 36x11 is higher than either of my singlespeeds. But I'm worried I'm going to eat through my cassette pretty quickly since I'll be spending so much time in the small 11/13/15 tooth cogs. I might end up going to 42/26 at some point.
  • 08-23-2012
    car bone
    The lower end shimanoi mtb rings (4bolt) are made of steel and can be had in 34,36 and 38 and maybe even 40, as middle ring. Acera x, alivio, old lx and such.

    The lower end shimano road cranks (5bolt) also use steel as smallest and middle rings. The standard middle ring for a road triple is 39. And they usually have a better chainline. Typically 45mm or so. Whereas the mtb "standard" for triples is 48-50mm which is crap if you want a single ring setup without too much crosschaining.

    Also Surly or Salsa makes stainless steel rings in whatever bolt pattern and size pretty much. I think those are a little thicker stock. But you have to cheack out the sites to find out.
  • 08-23-2012
    BrianMc
    FWIW my 700 x 38's are driven by 42 x 11-34 (1 x 9) and has carried over 80 pounds of groceries home. Not too hilly here but not flat and I am no longer young, nor as powerful as I once was. Low is a bit high fully loaded into the wind on the last grade, so I don't load quite as heavy anymore. The top gear is about the same as a classic road bike's top, of 52/14 with wind and a downhill, I use it, and low is 20% (3 gears) lower.

    BrianMc
  • 08-23-2012
    TheSlowDude
    I've been running a 1X10 with a 34 upfront and 36-11 in the rear. I usually ride on dirt or loose gravel, so the 34:11 is hard to keep up with over much more than 2-3 miles when I feel like I'm about to lose my lunch.
  • 08-23-2012
    mtbxplorer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by austin_bike View Post
    The problem is this is my backup MTB, so it is not going to get a big ring, need to stay in a 2x9 setup and 26" wheels.

    What's wrong with 3x for MTB'g? Not arguing, just wondering why something I've run for the last 25 years is no good.
  • 08-23-2012
    austin_bike
    Never use the big ring. By taking the big ring off, you get more clearance. Central texas is all about rock ledges and technical features, so 2x9 works a lot better than 3x9 for me. The extra inch is very welcome, especially if you ever saw how chewed up my bash guard is.

    Actually considered a hammerschmidt on my Blur because that has an even smaller front ring, they use magic.
  • 08-24-2012
    wschruba
    I have a 53/22 as my highest on the road bike, and that's plenty. On my mountain that I ride every now and then, it's 42/11. I'm rarely in the top gears on flats, unless I'm late for work. The bigger rings are nice for climbing, though. A 36 would be plenty for the flats with an 11 in the back.
  • 08-24-2012
    junior1210
    I'm starting to toy with the idea of converting from 3x10 to 1x10 after seeing some of the set-ups in the drivetrain forum, and the thread in 29er forum on swapping a Trek X-cal to 1x10. Although I'd use a 44t or 46t front. Wouldn't be good for trails, but I haven't had time for riding in the dirt lately anyway. No real purpose to it other than to try something different, maybe.
  • 08-24-2012
    blockphi
    3X9 for me as well. I'm on a bone stock Pugsley and find the range works quite well for my needs. Right now 90% of my time is on the 44 up front, but when the snow flies I'll be dropping to the mid and granny a lot more. Choice is good....
  • 08-27-2012
    hunter006
    I use a 44T big ring, spend most of my time in a 16T or 17T cog at the back. My setup is 24-??-44 x 11-36, and I use all of my gears. 44-11 is usually around 28 mph on my 29'er.
  • 08-27-2012
    austin_bike
    I might have a solution. Borrowed a redline 925 from a friend to try for a week or 2.


    It is a singlespeed, 42x16. Rode it into work today and it cranked well the whole way in. The price is right, so I think if I have no issues by the end of the week I will probably buy it.
  • 08-27-2012
    newfangled
    42x16 is what I've got on my "street" ss (albeit with 26x2.35 big apples, instead of 700c). It's definitely the bike I prefer to take if I won't be hitting the trails on the way home.
  • 08-27-2012
    austin_bike
    yeah, I wouldn't take this off the street. nor would I take it off any sweet jumps either.
  • 08-28-2012
    Songdoghunter
    i ride a 97' Giant MTB to work and have converted it to a one speed with a 44- 16 and run about 15+ MPH well untili get to the hills. I may be slow but i'm consistant.
  • 08-28-2012
    djork
    Interesting and useful thread. Got a Cannondale BB5 and think about converting it to a 1x9. It came with a Shimano M431 crankset 48/36/26 and a 11-32 cassette. Had the shop immediately swap crankset to a Shimano Hone (think M580 LX) 44/34 with granny gear removed for a 2x9. My intention is to go 1x9 and have a Race Face SS 38t ring. Terrain is not hilly but not flat either. Wondering if I should have gone for a 40t instead.
  • 08-29-2012
    AndrwSwitch
    700C wheels, right?

    You don't need a bigger gear than 38/11. IMHO.
  • 08-29-2012
    edubfromktown
    Run what you have and foghetaboutit... I run two 29er's with 3x9 44/32/22 12-34t and 38/32/20 12-34t and a 29er single speed 32x16 for everything- trails, pavement, etc. I rarely go into the big ring when commuting unless I want to sprint home.
  • 08-29-2012
    djork
    Andrew: Yep, 700C tires. Thanks for the tip. This morning I took my BB5 for a spin and tried the 44t and 11 and that was a chore. Felt like I was riding through thick syrup, but then I didn't really ride far to actually gain momentum, still it was hard to get going from a stop.

    Have to do something about the stock Swalbe Kojack tires. Have never had super thin road tires with no treads before, and I dunno how roadies ride on tires that feel like they're just a thick chunk of rubber with no absorption. The tires give a hard ride because they're so pumped up and feel so hard. Have a set of 700x38 Michelin City tires that I'm going to swap, but first I want to give the Kojacks a chance.
  • 08-29-2012
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by djork View Post
    Andrew: Yep, 700C tires. Thanks for the tip. This morning I took my BB5 for a spin and tried the 44t and 11 and that was a chore. Felt like I was riding through thick syrup, but then I didn't really ride far to actually gain momentum, still it was hard to get going from a stop.

    Have to do something about the stock Swalbe Kojack tires. Have never had super thin road tires with no treads before, and I dunno how roadies ride on tires that feel like they're just a thick chunk of rubber with no absorption. The tires give a hard ride because they're so pumped up and feel so hard. Have a set of 700x38 Michelin City tires that I'm going to swap, but first I want to give the Kojacks a chance.

    I rode 46 11 for a month....we have some hills to....

    By then it didn't feel too bad.
  • 08-29-2012
    austin_bike
    Problem solved. 42:16 and no shifting (other standing):

  • 08-29-2012
    AndrwSwitch
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by djork View Post
    Have to do something about the stock Swalbe Kojack tires. Have never had super thin road tires with no treads before, and I dunno how roadies ride on tires that feel like they're just a thick chunk of rubber with no absorption. The tires give a hard ride because they're so pumped up and feel so hard. Have a set of 700x38 Michelin City tires that I'm going to swap, but first I want to give the Kojacks a chance.

    Let some air out. Finding "your" pressure for road tires is basically the same as for MTB tires. You'll arrive at a higher figure, but it's still all about handling and avoiding pinch flats.
  • 08-30-2012
    cassava
    I use the Prowheel crank on my commuting MTB with 48/38/28T gear setup.

    I'd like to remove the lower and higher chainring but it's been riveted.

    What would happen if I remove them? Could it reduces its sturdiness?

    Does anyone on here has ever tried it?
  • 08-30-2012
    AndrwSwitch
    If you remove the big and little rings, what's going to keep your middle ring on the crank?
  • 08-30-2012
    wschruba
    If it's riveted, you can use a cut-off wheel and take the larger and smaller rings off at the sprue that connects them (right above the rivets). Otherwise, you're stuck with what you got.