Advice: loaded touring lower gears on cross bike

Ripley Posts: 16
edited August 2009 in Road beginners
Hope I'm in the right place to ask this...soon going on first solo loaded tour to France. I know my existing setup would mean a walking tour of France or should I be fitter??

I currently have Tiagra front chainset - 50/34 compact - 170mm cranks - Tiagra front D/R.
On the back we have Shimano 105 12/25 cassette. I have a Genesis Vapour cross bike.

To get lower gears two options:
a) install triple chainset. The tiagra shifters will handle a triple. Sounds like I know what I'm talking about - just about.
Do I need new f/derailleurs? Is there such thing as a touring triple? New chain?
b) Use an MTB 12/34 cassette. Do I need to replace the 105 d/r? New chain? Anyone recommend a robust/reliable derailleur and a good MTB cass, I would pay for quality/reliability. I must say b) sounds easier.
Any help greatly appreciated...Tks, James (50+back 2 cycling!)


  • Wooliferkins
    Wooliferkins Posts: 2,060
    Changing the cassette is the easiest option. A new chain as it will need to be a bit longer and possibly a new rear mech although a medium cage mech should cope. Unless you are camping this should get you up most things. Fitness does help, the thing you'll find hardest is back to back days of cycling. Dont go over the top with kit no point lugging stuff round you dont need. Clothes you can wear on and off the bike help. A rule of thumb I was given many years ago, lay out everything you think you'll need to take, remove what you don't really need then halve the rest.
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • mattsccm
    mattsccm Posts: 409
    MTB cassette and rech mech. Say Deore. Stick a chain on, even a ten quid one will do.
  • richara3
    richara3 Posts: 153
    My tricross has an 11/34 cassette, ok it may be an12/34 It gets me up most things using the middle (40 tooth ?) front ring... The odd time Ive done longer rides (100 ish miles ) especially with paniers I have been very glad of the tripples 30 tooth ring. ... Personally the tripple with the MTB cassette and long cage rear derailiur is the way to go... It need not cost a fortune..there is no point spending loads of money to save a few ounces or even a pound when the extra pairs of socks and a bottle of water weigh more..

    have fun doing what you do..

  • Ripley
    Ripley Posts: 16
    Thank you all - very much appreciated.

    I'll have a look for a Deore rear d/r (long cage?) & MTB cassette, sounds good.

    Great advice about the gear. Unfortunately, could not find a room big enough when I went to layout my gear! And yes, I decided to go the camping option.