is 34 tooth chainring better than 32?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    is 34 tooth chainring better than 32?

    i've gotten the impression that most people run 34 tooth chainrings on their ss's. is that true or have i just perceived things differently? i'm running 32 x 16 and i'm happy with it but i wonder if i'd be better off with a 34x17. what's the scoop?

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  2. #2
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    Stick with what you got...

    If you're happy with your final drive ratio (2:1), then there is no reason at all to switch up to a 34:17. I've seen no studies or proof that a larger chainring than 32 tooth is more efficient or anything like that. Plus I much prefer a smaller chainring, as small as I can get in fact. I ride over a lot of log obstacles and the extra clearance provided by a smaller ring really helps to prevent scrapes and subsequent slowdowns, bent rings, and even crashes under certain circumstances. If I had my druthers I'd run a 30:15, or a 28:14 if I could. But finding those chainrings is not easy (like, they don't make it) for the type of XT compact 4 bolt crank I run.


    Quote Originally Posted by head
    i've gotten the impression that most people run 34 tooth chainrings on their ss's. is that true or have i just perceived things differently? i'm running 32 x 16 and i'm happy with it but i wonder if i'd be better off with a 34x17. what's the scoop?

    word,
    head

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by head
    i've gotten the impression that most people run 34 tooth chainrings on their ss's. is that true or have i just perceived things differently? i'm running 32 x 16 and i'm happy with it but i wonder if i'd be better off with a 34x17. what's the scoop?

    word,
    head
    With all other things being equal; the larger cogs/chainrings will last longer because they have more surface area (teeth) to distribute the load from the chain. Also, the chain will bend less to accommodate the larger gears versus the smaller gears, thus reducing the amount of friction in the chain. These factors may be offset because with the longer chain you have more chain and thus more links subject to dynamics, and with the larger cogs/chainrings, you have a larger distace from the center of the crank to the chainring's teeth, thus more possibility of flex. However, in my humble opinion, these factors are negligible considering the average person's power output. That being said, I suggest sticking to the 32:16 :-) Personally, I like a 32t chainring because of the increased clearance for rocks, logs, etc. versus a 34t or a 36t.

    --Billy


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  4. #4
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    Don't change it

    Quote Originally Posted by head
    i've gotten the impression that most people run 34 tooth chainrings on their ss's. is that true or have i just perceived things differently? i'm running 32 x 16 and i'm happy with it but i wonder if i'd be better off with a 34x17. what's the scoop?

    word,
    head
    Final drive ratio being equal, a larger chainring-cog combo will be slightly more efficient than a smaller one, will be smoother to pedal, and the chain and cogs will last longer.

    That said, I don't think a 2 tooth difference is going to be noticeable, and certainly not enough to be worth spending money over. Stick with what you've got.

  5. #5
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    can't go higher than 2:1

    The only problem with your 32 tooth chainring is you probably can't go bigger than 2:1 (e.g., flat trails, road). if you're using a freewheel, 16-t is the lower limit. other than that, small is beautiful.

  6. #6
    The name's Norm...
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    I'm running a 36t/20t

    That was the gearing when I bought the bike. Thinking of going 2:1 w/ an 18t just for something to try. 36/20 works fine, though.

  7. #7
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    there's on-paper, theoretical ideal engineering world efficiency...

    and then there is the real world we all ride in. 32/16 works. So does 34/17 and 36/18. Go with what works for you, and what you can easily replace when it gets worn or wrecked, for a reasonable price.

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