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What gearing for a tourer?

rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
edited November 2010 in Tour & expedition
I had thought that a compact (34/50) was the ideal but would welcome your thoughts on this. I'm doing up an old steel frame bike for use as a tourer and I'm trying to decide what sort of chainset to put on it.


Cheers

Tom

Posts

  • random manrandom man Posts: 1,514
    Go for a triple - touring bikes tend to be lower geared than road bikes because you'll be carrying weight and going uphill. You want to be able to ride comfortably all day so speed isn't too important.
    Don't know what your budget is but the Shimano Tourney looks good value for under £20, either 48-38-28 or 42-34-24.
    What frame is it BTW?
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    It depends where you are going to do your touring, how much gear you plan to carry, if you want to use it as a general riding around bike as well; lots of things. A compact chainset and a 13-29 (if you happen to have Campagnolo) or 12-28 (Shimano) will see you right in most circumstances for lightweight touring.

    That said, most dedicated tourers have triples. My expedition bike has 46-36-24, and my light tourer has (or will have, since I am in the process of building it up) 48-34-26. Your choice of chainset obviously is a matter of taste and budget. If you are mainly touring with the bike you won't need anything terribly elite - durability and reliability are the guiding factors here, not weight and race performance. Spa Cycles or St John Street Cycles are both very reputable shops that specialize in touring bikes and would be able to guide you in your choice of chainsets and whatever bottom bracket would be appropriate.
  • bobloboblo Posts: 360
    Depends where you're going and what you're carrying.

    If you are credit card touring in the flat lands, standard roadie gearing should be fine. Your 34/50 chainset mated to a 12-25 or 12-28 cassette should be OK.

    If you afre carrying lots of weight and/or in very hilly country and/or on censored roads, go as low as you can. I'd opt for an MTB type chainset with a 22/34/44 ringset and something like a 12-32 or 12-34 cassette. This may mean new ders and chain for you of course.

    IME, you can't have too low gears on a pukka tourer. Headwind+long day+gradient+heavy panniers will soon have you scrabbling for those low gears...
  • nwallacenwallace Posts: 1,465
    Think I've got 26-36-46 and 32/12 (Need to recheck)
    Only ever spin out going downhills, and with it being 26", mudguarded up and with bags on the rear rack and bars (front bags coming soon) the best I've seen from it is between 30 and 40mph. (Downhill, with my chin on top of the bar bag, oh yes I was trying)
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  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I have the same as NWallace above. On a long, loaded, multi day tour you won't worry about spinning out down hills, you'll just take the rest that they offer. I am using a long cage Deore (mtb) rear mech with Tiagra shifters, works fine on the 32 cassette.
  • ChiggyChiggy Posts: 261
    Have a look at the Dawes Galaxy specification.
  • AidanRAidanR Posts: 1,142
    I have a light tourer/training bike, with 52/40/30 and a 12-27 cassette. If I was to change anything, I'd stick a proper touring triple on it. On my last tour in the Highlands I had to miss out on the Applecross peninsula as I couldn't get over the Bealach Na Ba with my equpiment - instead I left it at the bottom and went up and back down the way I came.

    Spa have a Sugino crankset for £35, but only with 165mm crankarms:

    http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php ... 2000&rs=gb
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  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    On a loaded tour, nobody ever prays for higher gears.

    I was defeated on a few occasions by steep dirt tracks even with a 24/34 lowest ratio
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    A triple sounds like a good idea then. I'll have a look. Got a 7speed freewheel on the rear which I think is 12-28,
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Just watch the chainstay clearance, on my 1997 vintage 531 frame it is very marginal with a triple, I needed a spacer on the drive side - that was on a Hollowtech II (external bearing type) crankset, so that wasn't too tricky. I'm sure it can be done.
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    My tourer runs a triple with a 48 tooth top, cassette is 11-28. I find that about right and can get her over 40mph downhill :-) I seldom use anything but the top ring although when I need the granny gear I'm glad of it!

    Does anyone know if you can get a decent road chainset with a 48 tooth by the way? My original (Suntour) is worn out and I can't find a road triple with less than a 50.
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  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    unixnerd wrote:
    My tourer runs a triple with a 48 tooth top, cassette is 11-28. I find that about right and can get her over 40mph downhill :-) I seldom use anything but the top ring although when I need the granny gear I'm glad of it!

    Does anyone know if you can get a decent road chainset with a 48 tooth by the way? My original (Suntour) is worn out and I can't find a road triple with less than a 50.
    I wouldn't worry about the designation (road/mtb), personally, I have a Deore chainset (and rear mech) on my Tiagra equipped tourer.

    Shimano have this Deore Chainset down as a "treking". Its available in 48 / 36 / 26 (I think it must be the one I have).

    CRC have them at £59. It should include the bottom bracket cups as well.
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