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Old 01-11-21, 11:36 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
When I lived in the Finger Lakes, technically Sterling,NY is the northern most point of the Finger Lakes, and rode there it was sufficient, actually didn't have that good of gearing riding along the Lake Ontario shoreline up to the Thousand Islands 30/26 was my easiest but it still worked fine and I didn't have to walk. I will put it to the test this summer as the VT ride is 30k feet of climbing which still isn't the most I've done but that was paved and not gravel so I'll have to see.


The trail is mostly flat, the campground we stayed in on the south and the lighthouse we went to visit were not flat at all, getting to and from the campground was 4 miles of steep rollers with no flats at all, those were a strain.
I've never run into a campy crank set up like yours, my old tandem has a similar setup but haven't seen that on a Campy touring bike which have been largely nonexistent since i started working in shops in the late 90s. Plenty of racing triples but that's all I was aware that was made. I was basing my options on what I presumed he must have a 30 chainring and usually a 28t max cog. If he's got lower like yours I haven't seen where he's said. In which case I'd still go the microshift option with mtb crank which could still be set up with a 44/28 and up to a 40t in the back. Although I wouldn't be happy to be limited to a 44, loaded its only on the downhills I would use a 44/11 and even then I limit myself to 30mph loaded anyways.
re the Vermont trail--I kinda figure its the more moderate one right? I love biking in Vermont and found the blurb about the Vermont trail, and it seems like a fairly "family friendly" type trail, similar to Le Petit Train du Nord trail north of Montreal, an old rail system made into a trail.
I also did find online a much more offroad Vermont trail that is a pretty hard technical offroad one, where really wide tires and a light backpacking setup is pretty much recommended.
I can't remember the name of both of the trails, but I suspect you've looked into the more laid back one, given your bike choice etc and no mention of hardass hike a biking etc.

Both look fun though, and if you don't know Vermont, its a great place to ride. Beautiful scenery, quiet towns, nice people, respectful drivers. Ive ridden Montreal to Boston and biked to Burlington, then east a bit and all the way down Vermont mostly following the 100 route , maybe 101, cant recall exactly. Super pretty riding, but on paved roads.
So yes, re gravel, your average speed will be down and you'll likely hit steeper stuff a lot more often, but thats part of the deal (unless the whole thing is a rail trail that is)

re climbing, 30k feet is about 10,000m, and I always reckon a 1000m accumulative climbing day is a good day, and I've ridden in mountains a lot, so if you're looking at 2000m per day for a 5 day trip, you sure will sleep well !

re gearing, my mtb gearing on my touring bike 44/32/22 and 11-34 has a top gear of 104 gear inches, which I spin out at a bit over 50kph, or 30mph, but that bike is competent at any speed I can get it up to, if the conditions warrant it, so 70 or 80k or whatever.
All that to say that low gearing really has no bearing on your top downhill speed nor your real life , real people, average touring speed carrying stuff, whether heavy or light.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:07 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
...
I've never run into a campy crank set up like yours, my old tandem has a similar setup but haven't seen that on a Campy touring bike which have been largely nonexistent ...
I have just had a very strong preference for the Campy cranks, I think they look really nice. When I worked in a bike shop in the 70s, Campy had the best and strongest cranks, which I am sure is part of my bias. So, I bought Campy road triples when I built up those bikes. It is slightly inconvenient, the square taper is ISO, not JIS, thus Shimano bottom brackets are not compatible. And the middle and big rings are 135mm BCD, not 130mm, so chainrings are more rare and therefore more expensive.

On the bikes in the photos, drivetrain is mostly Shimano, although one of the bikes has a Campy front derailleur.

My road bike has a Campy drive train, but I bought that as a complete bike, not one I built up.

My rando bike has the old square taper Campy triple, but with the original 52/42/30 chainrings.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:13 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
RR, a 25 gear inch low that you have will show itself up to be not low enough as soon as you do some touring in hilly areas carrying a typical or average touring load, or even a lighter touring load.
I fully realize that until you've toured in very hilly or mountainous areas over many days, and or over many years, that you won't believe the thing about lower gears. The age thing is probably a factor, although to be frank, I figured out 30 years ago that the gearing that you have wasn't working for me. I'm sure if you tried touring in the Gaspe, or really anywhere with lots of either short, constant steep up and downs (the Pacific Coast lets say) or long long reasonably steep hills, you might acknowledge that 25 gear inches is too high.
I, like you, figured out gearing a bit more than 30 years ago. Maybe you are younger or maybe you are slower, but I’ve been using as low a gear as I can get since before I started mountain biking. It just made sense to me.

I moved my gearing a bit after a few tours in the eastern US. Out here I need it because of the altitude (our low point is higher than many states high point). Our paved roads don’t tend to be that steep because we don’t want to be sliding off the road all the time and we can actually see where our roads go so people tend to freak out if a wall suddenly appears out of no where.

Eastern US roads don’t seem to follow that logic. I suspect that they can’t see the contours so they just make a road (paved) that goes straight up whatever is around. The “mountains” of the east may not have altitude but they certainly have attitude.

and you know, the bottom line is that having lower gears has no downside, it doesnt affect or change your average speed, it doesnt change how fast you go downhills, and in fact it does help you overall day because you arent lugging your legs at times, so your legs and knees are fresher. And yes, it is possible to upshift....

really, it comes down to the whole "roadie view" and "take" of what is acceptable gearing, and the associated htfu view. Campy has such a road heritage that for years, even on their Tourismo or whatever it is model for years, they put road triples on them, ie 50/39/30

the whole "overgeared" thing is not new, and so many gravel bikes out there are overgeared too, so the issue hasn't changed that much over the years.
I agree. There is a whole lot of machismo involved in bicycling that is totally unnecessary. As above, I blame it on the manufacturers concentration on racing rather than riding. I’m not sure I understand their thinking, either. They sell many more bikes to nonracers than to racers but they ignore that market. It’s a bit like General Motors or Toyota selling super cars and telling everyone to just drive what they provide.

It’s been changing a lot recently...the 50 tooth cog on a cassette is the extreme but having 36, 40 and 42 tooth lows are welcome...even for someone running a triple like I do. I don’t know that I want to go much lower than a 20/36 (15” gear) combination but the possibility of doing so is intriguing.

in the end, if your bike works for you and what you do, great. I would only suggest trying to look objectively at your gearing and wondering how it could be different to make your bike touring more enjoyable.
I do agree with this. When I discuss gearing, I’m not telling people that you have to ride a particular gearing. I just pointing out possibilities that are more in line with us mere mortals rather than the professional racer.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:23 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
re the Vermont trail--I kinda figure its the more moderate one right? I love biking in Vermont and found the blurb about the Vermont trail, and it seems like a fairly "family friendly" type trail, similar to Le Petit Train du Nord trail north of Montreal, an old rail system made into a trail.
I also did find online a much more offroad Vermont trail that is a pretty hard technical offroad one, where really wide tires and a light backpacking setup is pretty much recommended.
I can't remember the name of both of the trails, but I suspect you've looked into the more laid back one, given your bike choice etc and no mention of hardass hike a biking etc.
Its called the VTXL, don't know which it is. My touring bike is a gravel version and with a 38c tire should be fine.
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Old 01-11-21, 12:30 PM
  #55  
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"The “mountains” of the east may not have altitude but they certainly have attitude."

Well said, and may I toss the Ozarks into that category as well.
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Old 01-11-21, 01:17 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Its called the VTXL, don't know which it is. My touring bike is a gravel version and with a 38c tire should be fine.
saw the blurb for it on bikepacking.com in the past and just looked at it again.
Looks like a lot of fun. I've really gotten hooked on wider than 38s, I have some 45-50mm on a bike that Ive ridden a lot over stuff like in the VTXL photos, and the more air volume, the better Ive found, even on my dropbar bike.
I don't know how blackflies are in Vermont, but around here they can be pretty bad in early summer, when the water is still rushing and cold, so maybe check out the times when they arent as bad.

have a great time, any trip going through pretty areas is fun, but again, I really find Vermont pretty.
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Old 01-11-21, 02:21 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
When I worked in a bike shop in the 70s, Campy had the best and strongest cranks, which I am sure is part of my bias.
I broke two of them when I was in high school. Each one was a left crank of the Nuovo Record vintage that snapped at the pedal hole. Like this one -




Maybe it was that 49/28 (47") low gear I was pushing as a teenager!

I've told this story before ... One of them broke in 1968 in Saginaw MI. I had to hitchhike from Saginaw to Detroit to get a replacement. I was humming the Simon and Garfunkel tune the whole way! (I actually took the bus but that ruins the story).

At the time I worked for Mel Pinto Imports in Arlington VA, one of the few US Campy distributors. He replaced the other two casualties. I also have a 1998 Litespeed with the more recent Campy racing triple (30-42-52).

edit: I broke two Campy left and one TA right.

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Old 01-11-21, 02:53 PM
  #58  
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I found out the new 2021 Kona Sutra come stock with a triple; https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...y-ordered.html
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Old 01-11-21, 04:40 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
I broke three of them when I was in high school. Each one was a left crank of the Nuovo Record vintage that snapped at the pedal hole. ...

I also have a 1998 Litespeed with the more recent Campy racing triple (30-42-52).
If you broke three, ... sounds like bragging. That was the go-to crankset for professionals at the time so if they were weak, the world would have heard about it.

Besides the three bikes with Campy triples, a couple years ago I saw a new Race Triple on ebay for $80, grabbed it to put on the shelf in case I might need it some day. And a couple ISO bottom brackets on the shelf too.

The big rings in the photos I posted above are from Stronglight and TA, so there are 135mm BCD options besides Campy if you need any.
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Old 01-11-21, 05:53 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
"The “mountains” of the east may not have altitude but they certainly have attitude."

Well said, and may I toss the Ozarks into that category as well.
Been there as well. At least in the unpronounceable Ouachita mountains.
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Old 01-12-21, 08:19 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I moved my gearing a bit after a few tours in the eastern US. Out here I need it because of the altitude (our low point is higher than many states high point). Our paved roads don’t tend to be that steep because we don’t want to be sliding off the road all the time and we can actually see where our roads go so people tend to freak out if a wall suddenly appears out of no where. Eastern US roads don’t seem to follow that logic.
A squirrel went up the hill that a way once.
Then a fox followed the squirrel.
A few years later a deer went up the hill.
And a bear.
An Indian followed the game trail to climb the mountain.
Years after that, a pioneer went over the mountain using the same trail.
He came back and led the settlers over that trail. After they settled, they pulled a few of the bigger rocks out of the way.
When the area was settled, the county came in, pulled out a few more rocks, and paved the road.
Eastern roads are historical, you see.

Why'd they do it like that? Well, a counter example is U.S. 321 between Maryville and Townsend. If I've got the story straight, the state of Tennessee had firm fixed price contracts with four contractors to blast and build a nicely graded road. The first three went bankrupt, which is why it took four contractors. Takes a lot of money to build straightened roads that are stable.
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Old 01-12-21, 10:32 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
A squirrel went up the hill that a way once.
Then a fox followed the squirrel.
A few years later a deer went up the hill.
And a bear.
An Indian followed the game trail to climb the mountain.
Years after that, a pioneer went over the mountain using the same trail.
He came back and led the settlers over that trail. After they settled, they pulled a few of the bigger rocks out of the way.
When the area was settled, the county came in, pulled out a few more rocks, and paved the road.
Eastern roads are historical, you see.

Why'd they do it like that? Well, a counter example is U.S. 321 between Maryville and Townsend. If I've got the story straight, the state of Tennessee had firm fixed price contracts with four contractors to blast and build a nicely graded road. The first three went bankrupt, which is why it took four contractors. Takes a lot of money to build straightened roads that are stable.
I think you story is wrong. From my experiences in the eastern US, I think it’s more a case of someone sees a big rock at the bottom of the hill and thinks “that’s a good way of getting to the bottom” so they just follow the fall line.

I did a ride in the Dog River valley in Vermont about 20 years ago. I don’t recall which road I used out of the valley but I swear it was steeper than the pitch on roofs of houses along the road. I returned on a road called Winch Road. I was thinking “wench” as in barmaid until I realized that they meant the device for hauling something up a steep slope.

I’m glad I’ve bagged all the states in the east (except Florida) so that I don’t have to go back there anytime soon.
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Old 01-12-21, 11:10 AM
  #63  
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and while we are coming up with reasons why some roads are like they are, after biking up numerous passes in the Pyrenees, my first time in the mountains, and seeing how they are predominantly switchbacks all the time, hairpins, to keep the gradients to a reasonable amount--I reckoned that this was because in europe cars and trucks were generally low powered, so it just made sense to go this route.
vs V8 powered cars ? Anyway, that was my thinking......not sure if its right given that early American cars were just as underpowered....
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Old 01-12-21, 11:33 AM
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I think in eastern USA the routing of roads was based on old animal paths that overtime were found to be good trails for people riding on animals, mostly horses. And with land ownership, it was easiest to build roads where trails already were instead of building a public road on a new route through the middle of someone's field or pasture.

And further out west I think the road routing instead was based on animals pulling wheeled carts and wagons. Wheels are better on flatter roads.

Or to summarize, when I walk into a building, instead of walking up a wheelchair ramp that has a shallow slope, I will instead forgo the long way and walk up the stairs.

I have no training in history of transportation engineering, the above are my guesses.

I have been on switch-backed hiking trails in the mountains, I think those were mostly built for horseback riding, not hiking. Rarely did I see anything really steep below timberline. Some of the steeper sections of the Superior Hiking Trail in Northern Minnesota have stairways but they were not build for horses.

Photo is from a backpacking trip I did on the Superior Hiking Trail looking down at a stairway.

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Old 01-12-21, 11:39 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
And further out west I think the road routing instead was based on animals pulling wheeled carts and wagons. Wheels are better on flatter roads.
I don’t know that I would agree with this part. We have a bunch of old stage roads here in Colorado. They tend to be rather steep and rugged. Some of them cling to the sides of hills over cliffs. Real flattening of the terrain came with the railroad. Many of our highways and a fair amount of old roads through the the mountains here actually follow the old railroad right of ways.



Originally Posted by djb View Post
and while we are coming up with reasons why some roads are like they are, after biking up numerous passes in the Pyrenees, my first time in the mountains, and seeing how they are predominantly switchbacks all the time, hairpins, to keep the gradients to a reasonable amount--I reckoned that this was because in europe cars and trucks were generally low powered, so it just made sense to go this route.
vs V8 powered cars ? Anyway, that was my thinking......not sure if its right given that early American cars were just as underpowered....
Part facetiously but part seriously, I think there is a visual component to the way that roads are built. In the eastern US, the hills are covered with so many trees that visualizing a more gentle route is difficult so that just run them straight up the hill. Here in the Rockies (and in the Alps), people look at a mountain that is bare of trees and say “no frickin’ way!” They can go to the left and/or right to find a flatter route without some stupid bloody tree in the way!

There is also a game trail/cow path element to routing, especially for foot paths. I’ve been exploring the canyons of eastern Colorado recently and came to an epiphany on trails. The canyons can have fairly steep walls (100 feet or more) and there is not always an easy way through them. It leads to a lot of hike-a-bike or even climbing cliffs with bikes...not something I recommend. I started following cow paths since they were rather smooth and found that the cow paths offer nice, relatively easy ways up an out of canyons. No cow (or deer) will go where rocks are and will pick out the smoothest routes out of the canyon. Once I started following the cow paths, I had a whole lot more fun. I hate climbing cliffs in bike shoes!

Going waaaaay off topic here: Native Americans actually took advantage of this tendency of animals to avoid rocks. They built things called game traps (or game runs). Some are quite extensive with low walls (about a foot high and a foot wide) running for as far as a mile. I’ve been to one that is well documented and found a couple of others that no one else seems to know about.

This one is on top of Rollins Pass and is well documented. It’s at a bit over 12,000 feet and could be 10,000 years or more old. They have found atal atal darts as well as arrow heads on the site. The tribe would drive the animals uphill and along the wall towards blinds where hunters hide.


This is a blind at the opening of the trap. Hunters could kill the exhausted animals with impunity. I’m standing near another blind so the animals could be caught in a cross fire. They hunted big horn sheep. Animal still follow the walls to this day and will not just jump over them.



This is another one in eastern Colorado. It’s never been studied and the open space authority in charge of it doesn’t even know it exists. This one was for probably for bison. You can see 2 lines and there are even three lines of rock walls at this site.



The three line structure of the walls. The kind of “airplane” figure is a thunderbird. I contacted someone who studied the Rollins site and he thinks this isn’t contemporary but I’m not so sure. There are 3 of these figures in the system and one of them is way off the trail. The walls also align with the wing tips.



This is one I found in southeastern Colorado recently. It doesn’t look like much but it’s at the top of the hill and the wall guides animals to a jump that they can’t see



Sheep herders built walls throughout southeastern Colorado but those are circular structures.

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Old 01-12-21, 12:27 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
Now that the triple seems all but dead in the mid to high range groups what is everyone using?
During 2020 I built up a bike with a SRAM Eagle 10-50T twelve-speed cassette on garden-variety Shimano XT disc hubs driven by a 40T thick-thin single chainwheel. SRAM Eagle GX rear (one and only) derailleur. Shifting on the drop bar is handled by a Microshift BR-SR-M12 indexed bar end. The 1x12 well-spaced indexed ratios go from a 21 g.i. low to a 104 g.i. high.



I've been assured that this 1x12 gear range is ridiculously inadequate for touring. The Trek 520 is triple geared 20-108 g.i. The Surly Disc Trucker is triple geared 21-110 g.i. So, you know, whatever.
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Old 01-12-21, 12:59 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
During 2020 I built up a bike with a SRAM Eagle 10-50T twelve-speed cassette ...
I've been assured that this 1x12 gear range is ridiculously inadequate for touring. ....
I would call that a low end for desired range for touring, but not inadequate. A 1X with a 10/50 cassette gives you a 500 percent range. My Rohloff bike has a range of 526 percent, which is only slightly better.

But I have often wished that my Rohoff bike had more gearing up higher for shallow downhills, but I am unwilling to give up my low gearing to obtain that higher gearing. Thus, I wished my range was a bit greater than 526 percent.

My derailleur touring bikes are 558 percent, I consider that better. I had a bigger big ring that gave me even greater range, but I reduced the range to get more mid range gearing.
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Old 01-12-21, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...
Going waaaaay off topic here: Native Americans actually took advantage of this tendency of animals to avoid rocks. They built things called game traps (or game runs). Some are quite extensive with low walls (about a foot high and a foot wide) running for as far as a mile. I’ve been to one that is well documented and found a couple of others that no one else seems to know about.
...
Your photos clearly look like they are man made, and I expect you are correct. But if you find any that have more sand and gravel with smaller cobbles, they could be eskers, a natural post glacial feature.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esker

Smaller eskers are likely hard to find, as they are subject to erosion but you might spot a few if you were looking for similar hunting features.

And sometimes they were mined for aggregate.
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Old 01-12-21, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
During 2020 I built up a bike with a SRAM Eagle 10-50T twelve-speed cassette on garden-variety Shimano XT disc hubs driven by a 40T thick-thin single chainwheel. SRAM Eagle GX rear (one and only) derailleur. Shifting on the drop bar is handled by a Microshift BR-SR-M12 indexed bar end. The 1x12 well-spaced indexed ratios go from a 21 g.i. low to a 104 g.i. high.
How do you run an Eagle 10-50 on a “garden variety Shimano” hub? I thought the 10 tooth cog needed an SRAM XD freehub. A “garden variety Shimano” hub shouldn’t take anything lower than a 11. I really do what to know how you do it.
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Old 01-12-21, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Your photos clearly look like they are man made, and I expect you are correct. But if you find any that have more sand and gravel with smaller cobbles, they could be eskers, a natural post glacial feature.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esker

Smaller eskers are likely hard to find, as they are subject to erosion but you might spot a few if you were looking for similar hunting features.

And sometimes they were mined for aggregate.
The ones on Rollins Pass have been studied extensively. They aren’t glacial. The ones that I’ve found on the Colorado plains aren’t anywhere near any glaciation features. We had extensive mountain valley glaciers but the glaciation didn’t reach out of the Colorado mountains. Glaciers here didn’t come down much below 8000 feet and were somewhat localized. Even the top of Rollins Pass wasn’t glaciated.
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Old 01-12-21, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
How do you run an Eagle 10-50 on a “garden variety Shimano” hub? I thought the 10 tooth cog needed an SRAM XD freehub. A “garden variety Shimano” hub shouldn’t take anything lower than a 11. I really do what to know how you do it.
This is the newish SRAM Eagle SX. As SRAM sez, "Works with low-cost wheels that have splined 8/9/10sp driver bodies."

https://www.sram.com/en/sram/models/cs-pg-1210-a1
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Old 01-12-21, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I would call that a low end for desired range for touring...
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Old 01-12-21, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
But I have often wished that my Rohoff bike had more gearing up higher for shallow downhills, but I am unwilling to give up my low gearing to obtain that higher gearing. Thus, I wished my range was a bit greater than 526 percent.
Time to chuck the Rohloff in the bin and get a 543% Kindernay?
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Old 01-12-21, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Time to chuck the Rohloff in the bin and get a 543% Kindernay?
I will stick with what I know works, they have been building Rohloffs for over 20 years, mine is now 8 years old.

Plus, I just ordered two more rear sprockets for it and have about a decade supply of oil for oil changes, so I'm good. Plus, I can brag it has a wider range than your 1X system, plus has two more gears.

My next tour will probably be with one of my derailleur bikes (3X8), there are advantages to derailleurs and advantages to an IGH.
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Old 01-12-21, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
This is the newish SRAM Eagle SX. As SRAM sez, "Works with low-cost wheels that have splined 8/9/10sp driver bodies."

https://www.sram.com/en/sram/models/cs-pg-1210-a1
Your link says 11-50, not 10-50. That changes your high and your range.
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