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What's your lowest gear?(36 posts)

What's your lowest gear?Velocipedio
Sep 5, 2002 3:43 AM
Mine is 39x26... seems to get me where I want to go... But the cassette is loose cogs, so I might get a spare 29t for those times when it isn't.
Sep 5, 2002 6:35 AM
I'm running a 1x9, with a single 42 ring in the front, and I haven't had any problems. I live in the Midwest (Minnesota), so the climbs around here are short but very steep. If I routinely rode in the mountains I might go lower, but for now I'm happy.
38 x 27greg n
Sep 5, 2002 7:15 AM
But I don't think I've used it yet. It's there in case I need it though.
38 x 25TCN
Sep 5, 2002 7:25 AM
and it gets used often.

Short but steep San Diego hills.
TCN where are ya in S.D. ?atpjunkie
Sep 5, 2002 5:38 PM
this is atpjunkie, live in Sandy Eggo as well. Short Steep...riding Florida Canyon or UCSD, other? We should hook up sometime.
I'm planning a Laguna Meadows run for sometime as well.
I like the handle...TCN
Sep 6, 2002 7:05 AM
although with me ADP would probably be more appropriate.

I'm actually fairly new to cross. Bought the bike for commuting a few months ago and got hooked. Pretty much retired the mountain bike.

Most of my riding is obviously commuting, but I work in La Jolla and live in Scripps Ranch so I get a nice mix of dirt and road going through penesquito's. Great opportunity to get miles in that I would normally not be able to manage.

Weekends are generally busy so most of the time I try to stay close to home. Martha's grove and sycamore canyon are always a favorite and I'll generally hit that at least once a week. It's a great early morning ride. I'm also fairly new to SD and still exploring. Yet to make it out to the Laguna's yet, except scouting missions in the car with the wife and dog in tow. Still lots of virgin territory to explore.
I like the handle...atpjunkie
Sep 6, 2002 2:13 PM
I live in Uptown and work above Penasquitos. I'll keep an eye out for ya as I ride there as well. I'll have to show you the Florida Canyon, Balboa Park stuff. A good mix. Also you should hit UCSD as you can ride where they have the Cal State Championships. Am second season crosser, long time cyclist, just like to have fun. Martha's on a you portage the rock drop section? I can't imagine riding that in drops especially with the powdered toast dirt ruts that follow. Buy the SD MTB guide, a great little intro, I'd avoid Nobel on a cx but do the Big Laguna Meadow Trail, super fun and so scenic. I'm planning on riding it when it gets snowy.
I like the handle...TCN
Sep 9, 2002 9:10 AM
Sounds good.

Martha's rock section gets hiked about 50% of the time. Depends on the mood. The combination of sticking to the left line and top mounted brake levers make it easier. SUnday was nice. Rain helped the trail greatly.

I like the handle... Marthasatpjunkie
Sep 9, 2002 9:09 PM
damn impressive. I've had a couple close ones on my fully (MTB) I gottas get those top levers, yes rain helped everywhere. I don't think these people know what kinda weird rocky, powdered hell we go through. I miss riding loamy dirt sometimes
Sep 5, 2002 7:37 AM
single ring application, some hills I'd rather climb/spin up than run so I like the 28 on the back, my other cassette has a 26 as the largest cog.
36 x 27 - I am the weakest so far (nm)lnin0
Sep 5, 2002 7:59 AM
re: What's your lowest gear?hummu
Sep 5, 2002 8:32 AM
39x28. And I use it every ride. And I want to get a 38 ring.
36 x 25lonefrontranger
Sep 5, 2002 9:04 AM
I run a 46/36 front dual, but you should see some of the climbing in this neck of the woods. Girly gears for my girly legs. I usually run Campag 10 with a 12-25 rear cluster. Have an 11-27 for those days when the terrain is particularly vertical or I'm feeling even more sluggish than usual.
What are you using for a crank?Velocipedio
Sep 6, 2002 3:06 AM
I'd imagine Campy's 135mm BCD would make a 36 difficult...
Sep 6, 2002 9:29 AM
Ritchey, TA, Sugino and Dimensions all make 110 bolt cirlcle 'cross cranks. TA also makes a wide variety of 110 rings to go with them.

I happened to go with the TA because the local gurus here in Boulder (Vecchio's) recommended it. Shifting and chainline are superb with my Campag 10 chain and Centaur BB. The crank itself is pretty spendy, but it's got an even prettier finish than my Record crank, if you can believe that.
Sep 6, 2002 2:15 PM
yes they rule (TA). Had an old tourer from the 80's I was going to unretire and cx convert from my vintage MTB but the whole bike got sad.
38x25...soon to be 36x16pauly
Sep 5, 2002 9:09 AM
when I convert my CX to a single speed.
44x34 (single front chainring)flyweight
Sep 5, 2002 9:30 AM
1 speed: 42x18 (nm)SS_MB-7
Sep 5, 2002 10:11 AM
Want to see it in gear inches?hummu
Sep 5, 2002 10:33 AM
Slow day at work. I went to Sheldon Brown's on line gear calculator at
and looked up the gear ratios for the
first ten responses.

Velocipedio 39x26 40.5 inches
Fiver 42x25 45.4
greg n 38 x 27 38.0
TCN 38 x 25 41.0
climbo 42x28 40.5
lnin0 36 x 27 36.0
hummu 39x28 37.6
lonefrontranger 36 x 25 38.9
pauly 38x25 41.0
flyweight 44x34 34.9

I calculated in gear inches using an arbitrary wheel size of 700x32 for
an average(?) cross tire. Any stats people want to interpret the data?

Next I went to Bikes of the Stars at
and made note of these.

Thomas Frishknecht 39x27 39.0 inches
Sven Nys 39x27 39.0
Marc Gullickson 44x27 44.0
Dominique Arnould 42x23 49.3
Emily Thorne 38x27 38.0
Tim Johnson 42x27 42.0
Erwin Vervecken 39x25 42.1

Hmmm, looks like I need to push a bigger gear if I want to keep up with
the pros.
Want to see it in gear inches?climbo
Sep 5, 2002 11:29 AM
Wow, Nijs and Frishy are wimps !! LOL ...
Sep 5, 2002 1:46 PM
Interesting that, of the two women in your "bikes of the stars" comparison, one runs the largest ratio of all riders compared, and one runs the smallest.

Gearing is pretty personal as witnessed by the popularity of both singlespeeders AND triple cranks in 'cross. I just don't have the horsepower necessary to turn a big gear over in a 'cross race, but then I prefer to spin anyhow.

I raced on the road for years with a 50/38 dual crank. It was always nice to be running smoothly in the middle of my block when everyone else around me was all crossed up on the 53x21/23 and/or dropping their chains at the bases of climbs...

My original coach/mentor was a chauvanistic old-school retrogrouch who ranted and raved that juniors and women should never run bigger than a 52x15; tho I argued at the time, I now sometimes feel he had a point... particularly as I'm blowing past some 105-lb pixie struggling to turn over her 53/12 in a field sprint ;-)
that dude sounds like a lady....fredly
Sep 5, 2002 3:57 PM
FYI, Dominique Arnould is a man (whoops!)
So I'm stronger than Frishy and Gully?Fiver
Sep 6, 2002 6:08 AM
Sweet! Time to go pro.

Interesting stats, although I'm not sure what it shows, other than that some people prefer to spin and others to bounce out of the saddle and crank away. My hardtail is a singlespeed, so you can see where I"m coming from.
So I'm stronger than Frishy and Gully?atpjunkie
Sep 6, 2002 2:26 PM
or crazier, I hope your knees are good. Frishy's lengthy and successful career is probably in part due to his spinning. Mashing tends to do more damage to the knees, but I dig the whole SS thing as well.
Ha! 28x32 (that's 23.6") on my Volpe, baby!GlowBoy
Sep 5, 2002 11:36 AM
Of course, I use it for off-road explorations, not for 'cross racing.

- Dan
34x26-Ritchey Cross Crank(34/48)peter in NVA
Sep 5, 2002 1:03 PM
Too high for just a few short steep hills-use it a lot.
On pavement, 23 slicks on road bike with 38x25 seems easier
to climb than using cross 32's with 34x26.
42x 30 single 36 x 27 doubleatpjunkie
Sep 5, 2002 1:09 PM
re: What's your lowest gear?mackgoo
Sep 5, 2002 10:08 PM
One of the reasons why I asked...Velocipedio
Sep 6, 2002 3:08 AM
Is that I ran into a racer whom I greatly admire. I mentioned that I was planning on jumping into the provincial series this fall... he says "well... you're going to need a 32..." I'm thinking "so they run these races up walls?"
Lower baby, lowerOffRoadTourer
Sep 6, 2002 8:40 AM
With you all the way GlowBoy (or should that be LowBoy?)
I'm currently running a 30x32. I tried to install a 26 on my road triple crankset, just as an experiment, but ran into problems with front shifting and chain slack. C'mon Shimano, make an extra long rear derailler and a front derailler with some serious drop, I've got walls to climb!
Oh and just for the record my high gear is a 53x11, so I do know how it feels to go above walking pace.
One of the reasons why I asked...mackgoo
Sep 6, 2002 10:32 PM
First let me say I don't race. Now I've always heard that if you have to go that low, it would be faster to get off and run.
Might be true for racing, but ...GlowBoy
Sep 10, 2002 11:10 AM
not for cross-country riding. Sure, when you're racing, if you get off your bike it's so you can RUN.

But when you're riding XC, if you run out of gears and get off the bike, you're going to start hiking. Really, how fast do you hike uphill with your bike, if it's a grade of any length? MAYBE 1.5-2 mph, tops. You can ride up that steep grade in a 20 to 30 inch gear at anywhere from 2 to 4 mph. And if it's that steep, riding is a hell of a lot easier on your ankles than hiking.

- Dan
Might be true for racing, but ...atpjunkie
Sep 10, 2002 12:31 PM
must agree. Broke my Ellsworth MTB and had to hike it 9 miles. You ever see what heels look like after hiking that far in bike shoes?...not pretty. Have a 26 I can throw on for "adventure riding"
and yes it beats walking. In a race yes, I run but on an adventure, prefer to ride
re: 30/27jrm
Sep 7, 2002 7:50 AM
This is a triple set up. My ring selection is 46/38/30 instead of the OE 50/42/30. Can get up almost anything.
Sep 9, 2002 9:58 AM
hurts on that steep road ride to work but otherwise is superb for my riding in norcal