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  1. #1
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    Gearing Confusion

    I am a little confused on the gearing aspect. I am in the process of building a SS. All I need are a set of pedals and a seat. I have a 16T cog on the rear, and a 34tooth on the crank. I guess my question is rather simple; when wanting to go to something that will climb better, meaning it would be easier, would I go to a 17T? It is my understanding that a good starting point is a 2:1 ratio. I know its difficult to describe what is the best gearing ratio because everyone is different. Is my gear ratio common? Any information you guys can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    ali'i hua
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    starting at a 2:1 ratio depends on a few things:

    a- where are you riding? texas flat or colorado mountainous, for example. wait- "mountainous" doesnt sound like a word. oh well

    b- how good of shape are you in? if you're superman, 2:1 in colorado might not be a bad thing.

    34:17 will climb easier (NOT necesairly better) than 34:16 but keep in mind that you'll have less momentum. one benefit of adding a tooth in the back on a horizontal drop out bike (with no chain link number change) you'd effectively shorten the wheelbase, which can be good for the tight stuff.

    as an example, my 26er ss is geared at 34:19. on a whim and out of shape i tried 34:22. I didnt have the momentum to get over small stuff and nearly endo'd due to a lack of 'Mo

  3. #3
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by StedFast
    I am a little confused on the gearing aspect. I am in the process of building a SS. All I need are a set of pedals and a seat. I have a 16T cog on the rear, and a 34tooth on the crank. I guess my question is rather simple; when wanting to go to something that will climb better, meaning it would be easier, would I go to a 17T? It is my understanding that a good starting point is a 2:1 ratio. I know its difficult to describe what is the best gearing ratio because everyone is different. Is my gear ratio common? Any information you guys can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Going to a larger cog in the back or a smaller ring in the front will make it easier to climb. If you want to compare gear ratios, just divide the front teeth by the back teeth. For example, your setup is 34/16 or 2.125:1 ratio. 34/17 would be 2:1, (a little easier). If you want a more noticable difference, try 34/18 (or 1.89:1).

    Also, keep in mind that the 2:1 starting point is for 26" wheels. I have been happy with 32:18 for 26ers and 32:20 for 29ers, but I'm not super hardcore and I live around a lot of steep climbs (and I still have to walk sometimes).

  4. #4
    Dr Gadget is IN
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    I ride fairly steep stuff (see www.hornytoadhustle.org for a profile), and weigh 205. I started SS on my 29er with a very low 34x22, and I'm glad I did. Made it fun and let me build some strength and technique. But after 3 months it was too easy. When I stood up, there wasn't enough resistance to make it work well unless it was way steep. I had to do a standing spin!

    Now, I have 34x20 - or to put it another way 34/20*29= 49 gear inches instead of the 45 gear inches I started with. 2:1 on a 26er is 52 gear inches. On a 29er its 58!

    Anyways, the 49" gear works well for me. I can sit and spin thru the easy stuff, but standing up feels right and works well.

    As another note: I always liked regular width flat bars, and they work well for me on a gearie. But once you're doing SS and standing on climbs - you really need some bar width! I actually pulled a tendon in my elbow from standing and sprinting up a rough hill (ok, the bike's rigid so my arms were also doing suspension duty). I swapped to a riser bar after that and learned to love width - but had to listen to it creeeeeeeaaak all the time. I now have a wide flat bar with a 31.8mm OS clamp and enjoy the silence....
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

    WSS/OSS: Open Source Sealant

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Thank you guys, you have been of great help. I guess I will buy a few different cheap cogs, maybe a 17 and 18.

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