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Touring Gears-2(5 posts)

Touring Gears-2lexington476
Jan 31, 2003 7:31 PM
Just wanted to put this back up at the top. I live and plan to use this bike in Michigan, USA. It is more or less flat here, but some parts of the state do have some hills. After taking another look at the G/F catalog I put in the wrong gears. This is the correct gears: 48/38/28 7-speedd 13-30 (this is from the catalog, I did not go and count teeth), the Mamba is a $300 hard tail mountain bike. I am getting a real ($1000) MTB, and want to convert this one for touring. I am a little lost on some of the terms, what is half-step gearing, and granny gear (and how do I know if I have them)? I want to try to get away with out having to refit the whole drive train on this bike and gear shifters on this thing (it is only a $300 bike after all). If I replace the real cassette would I need to replace the shifters, derailleur, wheel parts, etc (same question for the front chain rings)???? The current drive train is in fairly good shape, I am in fairly good shape my self and in my late 20s (I plan to race MTBs this year). I think the loads I will carry will be for weekend trips and such nothing to bike (yet). I want to get this thing to go faster on the road. One time I rode it to the mall and was only doing 12 mph (that was with off-road tires though). Also, how does the rear gearing work more teeth more speed of the other way around (same for front)?
Touring Gears 101.Spoke Wrench
Feb 1, 2003 5:24 AM
1. Generalities. The more teeth you have on the front, the faster you will go, but it will be harder to pedal. The more teeth you have on the back, the easier it will be to climb hills, but you won't go so fast.

2. Definitions. A "granny" gear is the small, third, sprocket on the front. Since it has fewer teeth, it makes it easier to climb hills, but you'll be going pretty slowly. Half-step gearing is an almost archaic term. It refers to a drive train in which, if you shift from the big to the middle chainring in the front, the amount of change is equal to half the difference you would get from shifting one cog on the rear. That used to be fairly common in the days of 5 speed freewheels, but it doesn't happen today.

3. What you really want to know. For paved road use, your 28-30 low gear combination is pretty easy for someone in their 20's who thinks they are in average or better condition. Your 48-13 high gear combination is going to feel "wimpy." If you have a spin-on freewheel in back, I'd look for a SRAM 12-21 or 12-28 freewheel. Either will give you a faster high gear and somewhat closer gear spaceing, which you will like. If you have a separate Shimano cassette, cassettes are available in 11-19, 11-24, and 11-28. Don't try to skimp by using your old chain, always match a brand new chain when you get new gears on the back. I'd also recommend a pair of slick tires. You can get some real skinny ones, but anything narrower than 1 1/2 inches looks a little goofy. Your present shifters, derailleurs and brakes should all work fine.

Everything, including labor, will probably cost between $100.00 and $150.00. That may sound like a lot to spend upgrading a $300.00 bike, but you will be getting road beater bike, which you don't have now, for under $150.00. I think it's a good deal.
Don't botherAlexx
Feb 1, 2003 7:29 AM
Any $300 MTB is not going to be worth a d@mn for touring. Not only will the chainstays be too short for panniers to be mounted, the hubs are not up to carrying loads. Get about 100 miles into your first tour, and you'll wish you'd taken the bus....
Not sure I agree. I've had good success...retro
Feb 1, 2003 12:22 PM
In theory Alexx is right, but I'm not sure it holds up all the time in practice. Before I could afford "real" bikes, I used a Bridgestone MB-5 (low-end mountain bike) for just about everything--I did some (metric) centuries on it with slicks, rode serious Sierra offroad with it for years (and still use it occasionally in winter), commuted on it and did some multi-day tours, without panniers but with a hell of a load in bags and on a rear rack (plus my 225 pounds). Later I did put Mountainsmith panniers on it, and they worked all right, though there was minimal interference with my size 15 shoes. I've had it at least 12 years, and still ride it pretty regularly--it's on my trainer now.
I haven't had ANY trouble with it, or done any work beyond normal maintenance. It still has the original driveline except for the chain and a rear derailleur because I ripped the old one off on a rock. If I wanted to take off for Canada tomorrow, I'd need a couple of hours to tune it up, but I'd go without worrying (actually I'd ride my Atlantis, but if I HAD to take the Bstone, I could).
Bikes are more versatile than we give them credit for. It's only been the last few years that we all had to have one for every purpose--before that, everybody just had one bike and used it for everything.
Reserve Bikelexington476
Feb 1, 2003 2:05 PM
This is a reserve bike, I was thinking about turning it into a single speed, but then I found it had eyelets (only took me a year to notice). I do not want to buy a touring bike (that would make five bikes [four is enough, road, XC, real MTB, and this one]). So, changing the gearing, tires, and putting fenders and rack on it are not too much to do. I was just at the bike shop and they were telling me that I might not be able to put a bigger front chain ring, the 48 might be about as big as I can go on this frame. I think what I will do is put the Continental Goliath tires on it first and see how fast I can go; then go from there.