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Gearing For Mountain Tour(8 posts)

Gearing For Mountain Tourrezjk
Feb 12, 2003 8:20 AM
I'm planning on taking the Colorado Bicycle Tour this summer have a question about gearing. From the look of the route it appears to be fairly climb intensive. At present I'm setup with a Shimano double crank and 12/25 rear, which works well for where I do most of my riding. I have Dura Ace double shifters and I'm guessing a complete upgrade to triple would run around $600.00, more than I want to spend. I haven't done much riding in the mountains and was wondering if anyone thinks a 12/27 would work or if it's possible to use a XT 12/32 MTB cassette?
Unless you're way stronger than I am (which isn't hard)...cory
Feb 12, 2003 8:34 AM
I live in the Sierra, not the Rockies, but I sold my last double 10 or 12 years ago. My main road ride now is an Atlantis with a 46-36-26 triple and 11-28 cassette, and I use just about all of it.
There are some riders around here who use 53-39 (or thereabouts) doubles with a 25 or 27 cog, but most of them are young and macho and have 24-year-old knees. If you fit that category and you're in shape, you'll probably be able to gut it out. But at least around here (could be different on the Colo. tour), you may be looking at 10-mile, 4,000-foot unrelenting climbs, followed by a 20-minute coastdown and another climb. I've never been sorry I had a granny.
re: Gearing For Mountain TourHardtail
Feb 12, 2003 9:54 AM
Somebody ( I dont remember which company) Makes a 38 tooth ring you can use in front, if you combine this with a 12-28 or 12-30 in back that should help a lot. You can use a 12-32 XTR in back but will nedd to switch to a longer cage rear derailleur.
speed dependentDougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 11:15 AM
Of course, all this information about what gears you'll need depends primarily on how fast you ride. If you climb at a minimum of 10 mph, then a 25 will be fine. If you bonk on a long 15% climb, you'll need a 30x32 combok, as you'll be going 4 mph and not able to stand.

My advice, after doing tons of mountainous double centuries and a 500 mile race, is always, always, take lower gears than you think you'll need. I have never regretted having too low of gears, but often regretted the opposite.

So, the only question in my mind is how to do it. The cheapest way will be to buy the XT 12/32 and an XT rear derailleur. You'll have some larger gaps between gears, but at least you'll not gear out and ruin your knees or be reduced to walking.

If you can scrounge up the money, it would be good time to change to the triple set up. I run a triple on one full Record equipped bike, and I do use all the gears. I'm not fast by any means, but not exactly a couch potato, either.

If you can, get the triple for the Tour. I guarantee you will not regret it.

re: Gearing For Mountain TourSteve Bailey
Feb 12, 2003 2:07 PM
If it's your only road bike and you have no use for a triple otherwise, then it's a cheap solution to go to a 12-34 cogset and an XT R derailer.

I saw this a lot on BTC in '99.

My only concern would be the vintage of your DA group and will the F STI Brifter shift a 12-34 cassette as a result of being an odd-ball DA shifter. At some point, DA started to use the same cog spacing as the rest of the Shimano line, but best to check.

You might want to contact Sheldon 'bout this.

Steve Bailey
re: Gearing For Mountain Toursam-g
Feb 12, 2003 2:11 PM
I've also signed up to ride the Bicycle Tour of Colorado this July and am seriously concerned about the suitability of my 36/50 Ritchie double crankset with a 12/27 D/A cassette. Originally I planned to convert my 12/27 D/A cassette to a 13/30 with the addition of an extra 13T top cog and 30T cog from Harris Cyclery. This would allow for a range of 13,14,15,17,19,21,24,27,30. Sheldon Brown advises that my D/A rear der will actually work with this range except at the extreme ends. (small-small or large-large).

However, I just learned that Criterium Bicycles a sponsor of the BTC is renting new Specialized Allez triple bikes at $150 for the tour. This seems like such a great deal that I've abandoned modifying my cassette and shipping my bike to Colorado in favor of renting.

If you're interested in renting call Kay or Jennifer at Criterium at 888-404-3641 or e-mail at

If you want to convert your cassette, I'll sell you my new unused 13 and 30 cogs for $25.00 prepaid. They cost $30 at Harris cyclery plus shipping.

Good luck.

Sam G
re: Gearing For Mountain Tourrezjk
Feb 13, 2003 2:40 AM
The rental might be the way to go. I'm traveling from Cyprus and it will take 3 planes to get there, I won't have to worry about the gorilla baggage handlers along the way. A decent cargo box cost $150.00, plus it will leave me with a little more beer and pretzel money. I'm going to check into it.

If this doesn't work, I think the rear XT/R MTB setup might be the way to go. I have a new set of DA shifters so they should be compatible
re: Gearing For Mountain TourVikingbiker7
Feb 13, 2003 7:35 AM
Sam- Email me about the cassette. My poor knees would love a 30 tooth cog for 6 gap century this fall. My address is