Gear ratios for touring

roundisland

Veteran
Location
Worcestershire
Hi I'm looking at a bike at the moment with a chaingring set up of 30-42-52 and a rear cassette of 12-26 is this setup going to be any good for climbing hills with the bike loaded up.

Any advice on what i find a complicated subject much appreciated.:smile:
 
Hi I'm looking at a bike at the moment with a chaingring set up of 30-42-52 and a rear cassette of 12-26 is this setup going to be any good for climbing hills with the bike loaded up.

Any advice on what i find a complicated subject much appreciated.:smile:
My Ridgeback Panorama uses a 48-36-26 up front with an 11-32 cassette at the back

So the gear ratios your looking at might be a bit high for loaded touring ?
 

andym

Über Member
My Ridgeback Panorama uses a 48-36-26 up front with an 11-32 cassette at the back

So the gear ratios your looking at might be a bit high for loaded touring ?
48-36-26 and 11-32 (or even 11-34) seems to be the most popular spec for purpose-built touring bikes. But the choice of ratios depends a lot on how fit you are, your riding style, and where you are riding.

If you are fit/riding in a flat area/prefer riding with a slower cadence (or all three) then you might want to tend towards bigger chainrings. And of course the converse applies.

My advice would be to err on the side of lower gears.
 
OP
roundisland

roundisland

Veteran
Location
Worcestershire
Thanks for the replies. the ratios i have mentioned are currently on a Claud Butler Regent touring bike. If the setup of 30-42-52 rear cassette 12-26 wont be practical for fully loaded touring what would there reason be for setting the bike up like that. cost? The regent being a budget level touring bike.
 

willem

Über Member
The reason is simple: cost and convenience for the manufacturer. This is a drop bar tourer (I love those) with sti shifters, so it is easiest to use road bike components. Road bike sti works best out of the box with 130 mm bcd road cranksets such as this one (minimum ring size 48-38-26, but those smaller rings would be special order because not standard on a road bike). The alternative would be a 110 mm bcd diameter triple crankset (allowing something like 46-36-24) but for these the manufacturer has to shop elsewhere.such as with Sugino.
Even for a road bike for a mere mortal the gearing is actually on the high side, but all those wannabees who think they are racing the Tour de France don't want sensible gearing. It looks like the bike comes with a long arm rear derailleur, so a larger cassette with 34t should be fine, and may be perhaps be exchanged on purchase of the bike. By the time you change the front chainwheels, you could replace them by more sensible rings such as 48-38-26, provided you can lower the front derailleur sufficiently. For now, you could also try to use a 28t ring instead of the 30t. That should probably work ok, and will not cost much. In general, for loaded touring my preference is for the lowest gearing you can get with mtb parts, such as 22 or 24 front and 32 or 34 rear, and work upwards from there to see what the highest gear is that the derailleurs will take. You will need those low gears, and it is far more important to get up that hill/mountain than to be able to pedal on a fast descent.
This changes a bit of course if you travel really ultralight with only something like 10 kg, but even then you would like at least 1:1 gearing which this bike does not have.
Willem
 

Banjo

Fuelled with Jelly Babies
Location
South Wales
Hi I'm looking at a bike at the moment with a chaingring set up of 30-42-52 and a rear cassette of 12-26 is this setup going to be any good for climbing hills with the bike loaded up.

Any advice on what i find a complicated subject much appreciated.:smile:
My 9kg Scott Speedster triple roadbike has a 30 tooth small chainring and 25 tooth largest cog. Gets me up steep long hills carrying two gels and a marsbar but I couldnt see it being any use on a laden touring bike.
 

mcshroom

Bionic Subsonic
Looking up the rear mech (Shimano 2300) it appears to only be rated up to 26t. (Confusingly Tredz state their Regent's have an 11-30
)

I don't know why they've gone with a road mech on a tourer. I've just got a Dawes Vantage (same sort of price) and that has an altus mtb rear mech. Gearing is 48-38-28 front and 11-32 rear .To buy replacements the altus and the 2300 are almost identical in price. (about £15-£20) so I can't see where the saving is.

It may be that the gearing is suitable for the sort of riding you intend to do, although I'd prefer lower myself.
 

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
Thanks for the replies. the ratios i have mentioned are currently on a Claud Butler Regent touring bike. If the setup of 30-42-52 rear cassette 12-26 wont be practical for fully loaded touring what would there reason be for setting the bike up like that. cost? The regent being a budget level touring bike.
The cheapest thing to do would be to swop to an 11-28 cassette, which should give you low enough gearing.
 

snorri

Legendary Member
Any advice on what i find a complicated subject much appreciated.:smile:
Perhaps it just complicates the issue for you, but as you have not yet purchased a bike, have you considered buying a Rohloff compatible model? Their hubs seem to be the answer for trouble free touring. :smile:
 

vernon

Harder than Ronnie Pickering
Location
Meanwood, Leeds
I had a Raleigh road bike and I successfull lowered the gearing by changing the 30 tooth granny ring to a 26 tooth and substituting an 11- 28 tooth cassette. No mech changes or adjustments were needed.

For touring though, I'd look at getting a cassette with a largest sprocket of 32 teeth which will mean you having to buy a mountain bike mech for the rear.
 

byegad

Legendary Member
Location
NE England
Imagine it's blowing a gale into your face, you're tired and the hill you are climbing seems never ending.

26 at the front and 34 at the back, will give you a gear you can keep turning until you get to the top. 30 front 26 back is a lot higher so much harder to keep turning over.

I'd be looking for a 22 at the front to 34 at the back, but I'm 59 and travel with the kitchen sink!
 

MacB

Lover of things that come in 3's
30/42/52 is the sort of gearing I'd expect to see on a bike for general use that could be toured on in a pinch. It doesn't fit in with a full on touring setup and definitely seems like a cost thing rather than a fit for purpose thing.
 
OP
roundisland

roundisland

Veteran
Location
Worcestershire
thanks for all the reples really useful info and feel I have learnt more about gearing, decided not to buy , but the bike though it reached a good price on ebay £360 for a bike that you can get new for £399
 
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