touring gears?


crappy member
South West
I want to build a 'fast(ish)' tourer with either 28 or 32mm tyres and drop bars/STI shifters

my question is should I use a road triple drivechain such as Shimano SORA 30/39/50 11-32
a MTB 'trekking' triple drivechain such as Shimano Deore 26/36/48 11-32?

I don't intend to cycle up Mount Everest or anything, just UK and Netherlands tours with light front and back roller panniers by Ortleib. I don't want to build a tank!


Hugh Manatee

My 'touring' bike is my old mountain bike. It has a shortish top tube and is very comfortable. It still runs the same ratios it had back in 1990 although each time I replace something it gets a little harder to find. Anyway, I did a few nights preparing for an end to end that never happened so the bike was well loaded with front and rear bags.

The gearing (with 26" wheels) is 24-36-46 and 12-28. I needed first only once or twice up around Stiperstones and didn't ever spin out the big gear. The jumps between the gears didn't seem too bad despite only having eight on the cassette.
I'd go for the Deore 26/36/48.

You won't need most of those gears in East Anglia or anywhere in the Netherlands, but if you go to Cornwall with those front and rear racks loaded, you might be very glad of them.

You could always buy both chainsets. If you're headed somewhere flat or audaxing, stick on the Sora. If you're going camping somewhere hilly, put on the Deore.

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
East Devon
My touring/audax machine has a road chainset 46/36/26 and 13-26 on the back. Nicely close ratio and a 94" top.

My other touring/audax machine has 43x17 or 43x18
Depends on where you think your main touring is going to be out of those 2 places. The Netherlands I would go with the first option.
If I was only going to tour in flat areas of the UK, then the first option..

Otherwise the UK is exceptionally well known for its step ungraded country lanes and sudden 15-25% gradients (and sometimes more) so I would go with your 2nd option.


Legendary Member
NE England
MTB gears every time for me. You need a gear at the top end that will be capable of getting you to 20mph and a second bottom that will get you up the steepest hill you are likely to meet with a full load and at the end of your longest day's ride, giving you a bale out gear below that for emergencies.
Top Bottom