Cog & Chainring Question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Cog & Chainring Question

    Another noobie question (like you were expecting something different from me ... really!).

    So my GF Rig came with a 32 tooth chainring and a 18 tooth cog.

    What are you guys typically running?

    Next, since my riding is not hardcore off-road, I am doing more urban and light trails (read easy), and I tend to be spinning out pretty quickly on flats I am planning a first step to purchase a 17 tooth cog.

    Should I, as I get stronger, next move up to a 34 tooth chainring? Are ya'll typically running a 32 or 34 chainring? I do not see myself moving to a 36 (maybe ever).

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    34x18 is a great all around gearing for road and light trail. I've always tended to run a 34T chainring and swap the cogs as needed. 34x16 for street use all the way up to 34x22 for steep and technical mtb trails.

    Subjectively, larger chainrings always felt better... my favorite gearing ever was 38x22 - pretty close to 34x18, but with a smoothness that is hard to describe.
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  3. #3
    Stateline Falls, Watauga
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    You're running a gear that many would consider to be a pretty steep ratio for a beginner SS (and others would consider too easy). It happens to be the gear I've been pushing for almost three years, also on a Rig. I use it everywhere - mountains and local trails - and never change it.

    Having said that, it matters not what other people ride. Experiment and find the gear that works for you.
    It never gets easier, you just go faster. -Greg LeMond
    I'm not as fast as I think I am. -JeffL

  4. #4
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    JeffL, steep for a beginner SS as in for hills?

    So it sounds like getting a 17 cog and a 34 chainring would be a good first choice to switch out to see how I like the different combo's. Then just ride them and see what I like the most (given that differing terrain will call for different combo's).

  5. #5
    Stateline Falls, Watauga
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    Yes, I'm referring to hills. Local trails with short steep climbs, but also mountains. I prefer climbing more than descending, and I don't mind pushing this gear for an hour up a 1900ft climb. But I couldn't have started on this gear - it took me about three months riding SS to build up to this ratio. Since arriving at 32:18 (32:16 on a 26er) I've never seen the point in changing for different conditions. If I'm gonna walk something it will be at a place where a couple of teeth wouldn't have made a difference anyway...

    But, I just re-read your post about urban and easy trails - yes, I would want a gear that's steeper if that's all I had to ride. That's why comparing gears is meaningless - find the ratio that works best for you in the conditions you ride. I suggest using a few cheap stamped steel cogs to experiment over the next ~two months as your strength builds, and then buy quality gearing at the ratio you decide you like.
    It never gets easier, you just go faster. -Greg LeMond
    I'm not as fast as I think I am. -JeffL

  6. #6
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    New here but smart enough to search before asking questions that most likely come up pretty often...I just got my rig with stock gearing. I ride mainly urban so the 32/18 seems to have me look like a hamster running for his life...I was thinking about a 32/16 then go from there..JeffL I read your posts just wondering what you would run if you were more urban than trails...

    P.S.- the stamped cogs is a great idea while experimenting

  7. #7
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    I have a 32t ring on my 26er and I switch between a 16t, 18t, and 20t cog on it. the 16t is for road and easy trails, and the 20t is for loose, dusty. or damp conditions. the 18t is for anything in between. I have horizontal track ends on my bike, so I don't have to change my chain at all when I swap the cogs, just more the axle forward/back and move the brake caliper if needed. I have also tried 32/14 for a steeper road ratio but I like it a little easier for the rolling hills around here. the 32/16 is just right for climbing on the roads but not too spinny. I just deal with spinning out on downhill parts and top out at 25 mph or so.

  8. #8
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    For me, it's easier to just deal with gear inches. Pick your chainring and buy the cog that gives you the right degree of difficulty/spin/whatever.

    My preferences:

    Fixed gear, road: 70 gear inches
    SS road: 65
    Urban BMX cruiser: 63
    Offroad 29er: 52


    Here's a calculator:

    http://software.bareknucklebrigade.c...it.applet.html

  9. #9
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    I just got 17 cog and 34 chainring in from Rennen. Both look like quality products. I will try first the 17 cog.

    If my age were a bit lower and my fitness a bit higher, I would probably switch both at the same time. For what I am typically riding (streets - as it is all I have time for) I definitely need more gear. I am spinning out constantly. I will be huffing the hills a bit more, but that is good for me anyhow.

    I will let you know how it goes.

  10. #10
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    different parks and styles demand different size cogs. i run a 32 up front and switch between 17-20 depending on where i'm riding that day.

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