Gear Ratios for DH/FR- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Gear Ratios for DH/FR

    Hey everyone,

    In the middle of building up components for a new DH rig this spring and i'm trying to decide what size cassette to get. I have a 34 single ring up front cuz i wanted something a little smaller (coming off a big 40T and MRP guide that was burllllly). I'm debating about what size gears to throw on back since this is going to be a 90% shuttled/DH rig for whistler and DH riding, but i still would like a little bit of ability to huff it up some hills on the not really steep stuff. Just curious what everyone out there is running and if they'd recommend a specific brand/model of cassette.

    thanks!

  2. #2
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    I run 36F and 11-32 rear, plenty of ride ups, relatively little full speed screamers on the way down, more technical stuff.

  3. #3
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    Get a Saint 11-28. Its a very good range for dh racing, but gives you a low enough gear to climb up just about anything.

  4. #4
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    I run a 37 tooth up front with an XT 11-32 in back. Works pretty well for the occasional climb, but since this occasion is about 1% of my riding on the bike I'm thinking of going to something more like 11-26 or 11-28.
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  5. #5
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    I've got a 34T in the front and I run 11-28 in the back.

  6. #6
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    I have a VP Free with a Sram PG990 11-34 and a 32 ring up front, I like being able to climb, but on the other hand I dont like being in a high gear when Im blasting down. So i Might drop in a 36 and see how that works.
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  7. #7
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    the bottlerocket has a 34t in front and 12-27 ultegra road cassette in the back. more than enough for mach-looney when its wide open, low enough to get up whatever i need to get up and the tight spacing of the road cassette makes for snappy shifts.
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  8. #8
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    mainly running whistler and shuttles....gearing doesn't matter......but 36, 34, 32, doesn't matter what is in the back
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  9. #9
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    36 up front 11-21 in back

    not that fun pedaling up hill, especially on a 9inch travel bike. any uphill traveling though is usually done on a lift or hiking.

  10. #10
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    cool, thanks for everyones input.

    To get more specific, is there a specific combo people like for racing? I'm (hopefully) going to do my first DH races this year if i can get healed up. Any input on a good combo for starts and mid run?

  11. #11
    moaaar shimz
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    22-36 front, 11-34 back....... I can't climb continuously without the 22 ring.... maybe the trails I ride are very steep?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacubaya
    22-36 front, 11-34 back....... I can't climb continuously without the 22 ring.... maybe the trails I ride are very steep?
    I'm with Tacu on this one. I run the same set up for that very reason....no way to even try to climb most of the singles I ride on the 36T, even with the 34 out back.

    Also, for me, 32 or 34 up front is too limiting as well....spins out far too quickly for my taste. I would run a 38 but it just does not combine well with the 22...

  13. #13
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    if were talkin straight dh racing here, climbing isnt really much of a factor besides the occasional short up so gearing around such is not a full time goal. with that in mind, im ready for anything cuz experience says it all depends uppon the course and conditions of the day. a 36 - 11/23 should suffice for most events but i also carry a 38 and 40t ring plus a 11/26 in the spares box. obviously i have bash rings to fit.

    sorry to hear yer hurt but aint it grand to fill the down time with a new build? beats tv all to hell.
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  14. #14
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    38 in front 11-26 in rear.

  15. #15
    dirt visionary
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    my dh rig is 38t front and 11-27 rear and my freeride/allmountain is 36t 22t front and 11-34 out back. Had a 34 but I was topping it out and not getting enough speed so I went with the 36t it gave me just what I needed.
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  16. #16
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    bingo! the 22/36 was a great addition to the 11/34. i fought it for a long while cuz i dont like anything more than a 12t jump. i was wrong and the shiftin performance rocks thanx to rf rings, and sram 991 chain and 990 cassette. this isnt new news but if ya havent tried it yet, yer missin out.
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  17. #17
    Locs on Spokez
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    36T up front with a custom 6 speed cassette in back.

    11,13,15,17,20,23 cassette in back.
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  18. #18
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    I run 40T front and 11-23 rear. I run that for freeride and for racing and I love it.
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  19. #19
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    yer runs must be steep. either that or yer a animal!

    hows ya feelin these days? back to work and on the bike yet?
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  20. #20
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    so you think the 34 in front will be too small? kinda seems like it will be for now. it's just what came on the cranks i got so i'd need to pick up a new one.... any suggestions on models? is a 100$ cassette really worth it?

  21. #21
    dirt visionary
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    IMO 34 is small for dh unless you got super legs on hinges.Look for a new take off cassette....I bought my 08 xt cassette new for 35 bucks
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  22. #22
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    36 or 37 up front and sram 11-26 rear.
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  23. #23
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    agreed. rf makes a quality, light ring at a reasonable price. its not cheap but it wont fold up under torque like a cheapy, costin ya more than gettin good stuff the 1st time. unless i was trippin over stacks of 20's or ridin it all the damn time, id get a sram 970, 980, xt or a 105 dependin on desiered ratio and manf preferance. both the 970 and 105 give a good bang for the buck.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by yomattyo
    so you think the 34 in front will be too small? kinda seems like it will be for now. it's just what came on the cranks i got so i'd need to pick up a new one.... any suggestions on models? is a 100$ cassette really worth it?
    depends how @nal u are about weight. if your going with a road cassette(ie 11-21,12-26), you can get a cheaper model, and still be less weight than a regular MTB casette. if you wanna get real light weight, you can splurge on an ultegra with the Ti sprockets and youll shed more weight. also dont get tricked and buy a SRAM "DH" casette. all it is a road casette with steel rings. heavy and unneccesary.

    as for chainring upfront, you wont get any lighter than an e.13 guide ring.

  25. #25
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    I'm probably the only person that runs a 33F, 11-34 rear. Good for climbing on a heavy DH rig.

  26. #26
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    the point of small rings on dh rigs is ground clearence and chain slap/loss. hence road cassettes and short cage ders. most shimano users even run road ders. it doesnt hurt that theyre much lighter than mtb bits either.

    the other part of this is dh stuff gets destroyed fast and alotta folks buy cheaper parts rather than bay big bucks on a regular basis. that said, it doesnt always pay to go cheap. too cheap and the part cant take a hit whatsoever or just fails due to the punishment without ever hittin the floor.

    btw, dura ace has ti cogs, not ultegra. i think it was still the largest 3 in 9 spd. both are nutty expensive too. the sram 970 dh cassette has a great spread without costin a ton. not sure why a cheap stamped steel shimano road cassette is ok but a sram dh unit is a "trick".

    a nice advantage of the ultegra and dura ace (if ya can find em in 9 spd) is the use of a alloy carrier vs the stamped steel cogs and plastic spacers of the cheaper srams and even lower level shimano. the wide carrier spreads the load far better and keeps alloy freehub bodies from gettin chewed up. hope, for example, reccomends these but doesnt insist on them. a little fine file work goes a long way and youll replace it when the engagement dies far before a steel cassette kills it.
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  27. #27
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    I'm an oldskool: 40T front, 11~34T rear.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by cactuscorn
    yer runs must be steep. either that or yer a animal!

    hows ya feelin these days? back to work and on the bike yet?
    Strong legs, plus there are a few courses that have some pedally sections or places like Mont Sainte Anne and Bromont that you could run a 100T in front and still be out of gears, those mountains are FAST!!!.
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  29. #29
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    will do pal!

    and that, folks, is a classic homer hijack. watch and learn.
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  30. #30
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    thats what i ran last year. worked fine but i often wished for a tighter cassette. theres some big gaps in a 11/34.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by cactuscorn
    btw, dura ace has ti cogs, not ultegra. i think it was still the largest 3 in 9 spd. both are nutty expensive too. the sram 970 dh cassette has a great spread without costin a ton. not sure why a cheap stamped steel shimano road cassette is ok but a sram dh unit is a "trick".
    what i meant by tricked was some people think "oh im building a DH rig, so i'll get the SRAM DH cassette" when you can buy the same SRAM 970 cassette for the same price and lighter weight. thats all.

    SRAM 970 DH is something like 320g and a regular SRAM 970 with the same gears is 225g. both are steel cogs, but the DH has different spacers.

  32. #32
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    ahhh.... gotcha! well i was tricked. i never looked at weight. woops!

    PG-970 DH
    Technology: PowerGlide II
    Gear Ratios: 11-26
    Speed: 9
    Weight: 325g (11-26)
    Material: Steel with Red anodized Alloy Spacers

    PG-970
    Technology: PowerGlide II
    Gear Ratios: 11-34, 11-32, 11-26, 12-23, 11-23, 11-21
    Speeds:9
    Weight: 410 g (11-34) / 330 g (11-32) / 225 g (11-26) / 195 g (12-23) / 185 g (11-23) / 170 g (11-21)
    Material : Steel

    ya gotta admit the red anno spacers sure look better than the orange plastic spacers and thats what gets the chicks hot for old, slow dh riders like me.
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  33. #33
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    always look at weight even if your not a weight weeny. esp for anything that's rotational weight.
    just look how much you can save by just changing out cassette. about .5 pounds from 11-34 to 11-21.

    if your building a dedicated DH rig, there's no need for cogs over 26 really. plus the benefits of having a nice close ratio setup is very nice, IMO.

  34. #34
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    im with ya pal. i simply didnt pay enough attention and thats odd for me but i dig learnin thngs so thanx. i did get the 970 11/23 for the light wheels so theres that.

    somewhere up above (or below. i dunno) in all my rambleings i mention close ratios and yeah, this is a pure dh race rig ive built. i have 3 other turners for my non lift assisted adventures and a sweet lil 22lb homegrown hardtail too. then theres the 19 other bikes. phew! is there a pill for this sickness?
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  35. #35
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    man, thanks for the great info you guys. This has been really helpful. The more i think about it, this will definitely be a Dedicated DH rig. I built up a preston last year for anything that will require climbing... so i think i'm gonna look into the 11-26 combo 970, or the 12-28 ultegra road cassette for the lighter weight... this seemed like a pretty good deal for the 970 with the chain:

    http://www.blueskycycling.com/view_p...eProductSearch

    any other ideas?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by yomattyo
    12-28 ultegra road cassette for the lighter weight..
    It is a 12-27 for the Ultegra.

  37. #37
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    oops whatever it is in that range...heh

    now i just gotta find one on the cheap....

  38. #38
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    my only prob with that ultra-ga cassette is the lack of a 11. sometimes ya just gotta knock it into a tiny cog and get after the speed. guess id rather have it and not use it than not have it when i need it most. spinnin out on the finish sprint and gettin beat by a few seconds sux.

    the pins on the 991 are much stronger. the 971 is ok if yer not a powerhouse rider. still, thats a killer deal.
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  39. #39
    StraightOuttaCompton
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    i run a 38 up front and an 11-26 in back.
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  40. #40
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    32 and 14 Single Speed !!!!!! perfect ratio no problem climbing and i can sprint out of the gate for 4x and ds. i found that i have started to use more flow and pumping motions. My riding is so much better then with my last FS.
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    so if a put a card in my spokes could i trick people in to thinking my bike is good

  41. #41
    dirt visionary
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    You run that on a bike park dh bike?
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by cactuscorn
    my only prob with that ultra-ga cassette is the lack of a 11. sometimes ya just gotta knock it into a tiny cog and get after the speed. guess id rather have it and not use it than not have it when i need it most. spinnin out on the finish sprint and gettin beat by a few seconds sux.

    the pins on the 991 are much stronger. the 971 is ok if yer not a powerhouse rider. still, thats a killer deal.
    Yup - I tend to go through the 971 pretty quickly, I much prefer the 991 (even look into the extra strong cross step version if you can) - IMO its worth the extra dough to have a chain that is less likely to give up the ghost just when you need it the most (as is always the case)

  43. #43
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    going with 36t up front and 11-34 out back on my new rig for 09.
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  44. #44
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    I ran a 36 - 11/32 for a while on my freeride bike. Swapped out for a 34 - 11/32 on my AM bike, and a 36 - 11/34 on my freeride bike to keep the gear ratios almost identical.

    I think I'll be running a 36t and a 11/27 on my new DH bike (when it arrives).
    Meh.

  45. #45
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    That was a good point about the gaps on a 11-34. I ran a 11-32 on my DH bike last year and I think I'm heading to a 11-26 for the smooth shifting. There are a few occasions riding around where I'm glad I had the 32 tooth. But during a race, I need smooth shifts, not climbing. And now that I think about it, I usually start a race 1/2 way through the cassette. I'm going to go check what that ring is. I guess that's the biggest gear I'll really ever need.
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  46. #46
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    thanx man. once in a while i get it right. its the same trick we used to use on road/tt/tri bikes. not sayin im a expert on all things dh. theres tons of folks with way more past and current dh experience than i but i catch on pretty quick when i want to.

    yeah, i had to ask a ass ton of questions when i started the dhr project last fall and got some great feedback on the turner forum. i was surprised to see so many riders usein road setups in back but it all makes sense now. tons of advantages and no real disadvantages besides not bein able to use all the spare shyt i have.

    besides the 2 cassettes, i also carry a 38 and a 40 in my dh box just in case. thinkin i may toss a 11/34 in there too. need to look at a gear chart and see if its worth it.
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