The Chainlink

Hello:

My touring/gravel road bike came stock with 11/32 9-speed cassette Shimano LX in the rear and a Sora Derailleur with Sora 52-42-30 Triple Crank up front and bar end shifters (one side friction and one side indexed). I am wondering if this is more of a race  set up and if I should look into either a Sugino XD 600 46-36-24 or 46-36-26 crank up front. This would require me ditching the external bottom bracket for a square taper too.  Has anybody toured and thought the 30 tooth granny up front was not enough on the low end when loaded with 60 pounds? Also, I am not sure if a mountain bike crank can go up front either.

I am new to touring. I might just try it and see what happens when I hit hills. Still, love to get the your inputs.

Thanks,

Dave

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Why change cranks, just change the chain rings...

Hi Dave, that gearing gets you about 4mph a cadence of 60rpm. In very extreme circumstances less than 1:1 is useful, but not really.

You may very well be fine with a 30 x 32.  It depends on you, your load and how long and steep the climbs will be.  Load up, find some hills nearby and give it a spin.  If you decide you need lower gears, Shimano offers 11-34 and 12-36 9-cog cassettes if your rear derailleur has the capacity.  If not, it is likely cheaper to replace the rear derailleur and cassette than change the crankset and bottom bracket.

Thanks again. I think I will try loading up with 50lbs and taking on some hills and seeing how it feels. If I need more low end, maybe an 11-36 rear cassette might be the easiest solution. 

My own bike, a Jamis Aurora, came stock with a FSA Vero 50/39/30 crank and a 11-32 9-spd. cassette.  It's done me quite well carrying me on camping trips in Southeast Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.  If  you're going to change your cassette to get a lower gear, you're going to need the same number of cogs as you have stops in your shift levers.  You may also need a mountain bike derailleur.  My own bike was spec'd with a Shimano Deore SGS rear derailleur.  As far as touring, I hope to see you on the road should the Chainlink campers try another trip into Southeast Wisconsin or Lake County. 

In my opinion, a 52-42-30 is a terrible crank to tour on. Especially if you're going to hauling heavey loads.

You'll never use the 52t ring while touring, except while in a long down-hill, so why even have it? In every other circumstance you'll be cross chaining.

In my opinion, wide range cassettes are also terrible to tour on. Wide gaps in rear cogs make it harder to keep a cadence while climbing, or starting from a stoplight. It also takes longer for the rear mech to make the shifts, making for an awkwardness while gaining momentum.


I suggest a compact mtb crank, like a 42-32-22, and a 12-27 cassette. This is a much more user friendly set-up. You basically use it like a compact double + bail out. If you're hauling 60lbs for 50-100 miles a day you will definitely need the bail out 22t. You might spin out the 42t on a down hill, but who cares? You're not racing. You're touring.

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