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What gearing for towing or hauling???

chicken_legchicken_leg Posts: 36
Perhaps someone with experience of pulling a trailer/tag-along or carying a child seat could advise me....

I currently ride a Marin Muirwoods during the winter and for occasional commuting. I think it has a gear range of 23 to 113 inches (ish) in the Durham area which is generally fairly hilly. But we are soon to take delivery of our first offspring, and I'm hoping I can use this auspicious occasion to justify an upgrade on the bike! There are some really good deals on new transmissions at the moment.

Most MTB triples seem to top out at 104 inches (the drop here is no problem as I can't remember the last time I spun out), with a low end in the 16 to 18 area. Now as I'm hoping that in the fullness of time I will be returning to the road/railway path with junior either in tow or on board I can imagine that lower gearing will be an advantage as I assume that standing up to do my normal shimmy up the steeper bits wouldn't go down too well with my passenger.

So with a 22/32/44 chainset, my cassette options are 11-32/11-34/11-36

What would you advise??


  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    When I started out with the trailer, I don't think I ever ran out of gears and I did go up some steepish slopes. (Still do - click on 80's ugly below - and with a 5yo and a 2yo mounted on it these days, there's some weight there!) I've never thought about it too much, as most ppl tow behind something with a triple, and so it does the job. I do agree with you - it's best to do your ascending in the saddle, otherwise you can shake the passenger around quite a bit.

    Don't overthink it too much. It's pretty easy to tow a trailer. You certainly feel it - but once progressing, there's not much more effort involved. At a hill, it just feels steeper. Rail trails, by their nature, shouldn't be any problems at all. Roads.... well, it depends upon the road. I don't remember ever having to dismount, but then, I didn't go riding up mountains either ;)

    So yeah, if you feel you'd like the lower gear inches for your personal use too, then it wouldn't hurt. But in reality, any of those you put on are likely to be OK for where you're likely to be riding a trailer (making some assumptions there, of course).
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • I don't think you need to worry about it. I've just used whatever low gear was on the bike at the time, probably a 32, maybe a 34 at a push. That was fine for most road work and most trails.
    The only places where it seemed to be a problem were:
    the minor road from Llanberis towards the Snowdon bridleway, I think I actually had to get off and push on that one, shame.
    The Double Steep Climb on the red route at llandegla, I had to stand up on the pedals to get up that one. Can't remember if there were two or only one kids in the trailer at the time but it was blummin hard work. Although not as tricky as turning round at the top of the climb to come back down (don't think i could have managed the North Shore bit that follows somewhere along that track)

    Enjoy it, taking the kids out in the trailer was one of the best (only) ways of getting a decent workout in the early days of parenthood.
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