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Touring groupsets

Old 03-01-21, 11:01 AM
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gauvins
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Touring groupsets

[Recent thread was asking for a specific frame. But what about the bigger picture?]

I'd be interested in reading opinions wrt touring groupsets. I suppose that we all agree on a few basic ideas, such as a wide gear-inch range and the availability of a really low gear-inch. Yet things are changing quite fast, so... what about:

1. 1x drivetrains (personally not attracted to, because of the very large steps, but 1x are becoming more affordable and, from what I read, the new standard for MTB.) For instance, I read yesterday that 12-speed chains were of a much better quality than 10 and even 11 (twice as many kms before "stretching" more than 0.5%), which raises the spectre of future improvements focusing mostly on this standard. And if considering a 1x, is there any reason to prefer a derailleur system (Shimano or SRAM) vs a Rohloff? Anyone knows if it is possible to customise a 12-speed cassette (ex: instead of 10,12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32,36,42,50 -> 14,15,16,17,18,21,24,28,32,36,42,50)

2. My reference groupset was the Shimano trekking XT, on a frame with flat or butterfly handlebars. How convenient/practical is it to install these components on drop bars (I saw dual brake levers setups, what about shifters? Are brifters a real option? Any issue wrt to handlebar diameter?)

3. Will 3x10 become obsolete in the foreseeable future, to the point of repairs/spares becoming a challenge (as seems to be happening with 26" rims/tires)

Asking because I *may* build another touring bike (kids are growing up).
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Old 03-01-21, 02:28 PM
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When I think about what I want on a touring bike, I want robust components, easily replaceable (both the process of physical replacement and obtaining replacements), reliability, and overall reparability as opposed to requiring replacement parts. And of course cost.

And I generally do not think of group sets. I prefer to think of individual components, and build up a group set from that which might mix and match components from several manufacturers. Once Shimano started making road and mountain parts less compatible with each other, that forces you to think more in the group set mode, which is a big reason that most of my derailleur bikes use 8 speed chains and cassettes, I have a wide latitude for substitution. And I do not see a great advantage in the newer systems, so I am sticking with the old stuff that works like the energizer bunny, it just keeps going, and going, and going, and ... ...

And when you start thinking of group sets, which year was that group set?

If you want an 11 speed bike, buy it. If you want a 12 speed bike, buy it. If you want a 13 speed bike, buy that, although I think only Campy makes a 13 speed cassette so your choices are limited to the few choices of cassettes that they offer. If you want a 14 speed bike, choice is limited there too because only Rohloff makes that. But actually the Rohloff makes choices wider, do you want belt or chain drive, etc.

But the more sprockets on a cassette, the harder it will be to fix something or repair/replace a part in the middle of nowhere. Your choices for replacement derailleurs or shifters will be much smaller. The Rohloff, there are no derailleurs to worry about.

And assume that you will want more than one touring bike. My last tour was on my Nomad, a Rohloff bike that I built up in 2013. My tour before that was on my Lynskey, I built that up in 2017 with a 3X8 drivetrain. The tour before that was on my Thorn Sherpa, I built that bike up in 2010 with a 3X8 system. And the tour before that was on the Nomad, the Rohloff bike. My point is that each of my three touring bikes has different characteristics, so if I decide to go on a trip, I have to decide which bike would be best for that trip because I still own all three and likely will tour on all three in the future.

So, compare your goals and think about contingencies. If I will be far from a bike shop, I will bring my Rohloff bike. Closer to bike shops, I would give much more consideration to a derailleur bike. Rohloffs can fail, but the most common failure was a cracked flange, they now provide flange support rings so that a flange failure won't stop you from continuing your trip. (I added those rings to my hub a couple years ago.) You have lots of choices.

One choice that I am happy I made, one of my bikes has S&S couplers. Thus, it is a lot easier to lug my stuff around on an international trip with that bike.
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Old 03-01-21, 11:55 PM
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I have a 3x9 setup. It's simple and was cheap which was a factor when I first chose it.
I lucked into a setup that worked well the first time and I have had no reason to change it since I don't use the bike enough to warrant spending money for a new drivetrain.

26x34 is my current low which is 20.71gi with my current tire size.
If i switched to a modern 11sp, I could use a 46/30 with 11-40 cassette for 20.43gi. It may need a wolftooth roadlink, or maybe just a longer b screw.
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Old 03-02-21, 12:08 AM
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Mine is 3x10: 26/36/48, 11-36. It works fine, but honestly 30 gears seems like redundant overkill since several gears are practically duplicated. A 2x10 setup like 26/46, 11-36 would be a little simpler, lighter, and probably work just as well.

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Old 03-02-21, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
Mine is 3x10: 26/36/48, 11-36. It works fine, but honestly 30 gears seems like redundant overkill since several gears are practically duplicated. A 2x10 setup like 26/46, 11-36 would be a little simpler, lighter, and probably work just as well.
oooof, a 20t jump with chainring shifts would be a real pain in the keester. I know road bikes have had compacts 50/34 for years, and I used a touring bike with a 16t jump for years between the 24 and 40, but I really did find that 16t jump to be too much---or should I say, 10t traditional jumps are nice , simply from a real world practical side. One of my bikes now has a 13t jump and its not bad, but from my experience I have no real urge to go back to a 16t jump, let alone a 20t jump.

this is an interesting topic gauvins, simply because there have been a lot of changes with derailleur systems these last few years, and its good to try to look objectively at the 2x systems and think about how they would be for touring---AND as you bring up, how chains may be much longer lasting than earlier stuff.

I do find myself still thinking that if I am going to change to newer systems, what actual advantage will there be for touring? and of course bringing into the equation initial costs and replacement costs and how long things last compared to 8, 9, 10 stuff that most of us ride touring.

I try to be open to new stuff, and lets be realistic, tech stuff changes all the time, so its good to think about using newer setups like you are proposing.
I'm curious to see where this discussion goes.
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Old 03-02-21, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
Mine is 3x10: 26/36/48, 11-36. It works fine, but honestly 30 gears seems like redundant overkill since several gears are practically duplicated. A 2x10 setup like 26/46, 11-36 would be a little simpler, lighter, and probably work just as well.
Yeah, looks like I am piling on here- a 20t jump is massive and drivetrains arent designed for that. Everything is 16t, except GRX which is 17 somehow. I guess if it works then it works, but thats a big difference in ring size for the system to overcome.
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Old 03-02-21, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
[... snip ...]
I do find myself still thinking that if I am going to change to newer systems, what actual advantage will there be for touring? and of course bringing into the equation initial costs and replacement costs [my emphasis] and how long things last compared to 8, 9, 10 stuff that most of us ride touring.
[... snip ...]
Good point. I was thinking in terms of a new build -- our current "flotilla" is still in very good shape. Still strongly leaning towards a 3x10 (based on Shimano's trekking, albeit with a smaller granny and a mix of Miche and XT sprockets). Works fine on our current builds, reasonably priced and spares will hopefully be available for the foreseeable future. But curious as to what is the word regarding 1x (which are some kind of "open box Rohloff"). From what I gather, SRAM's NX is attractively priced, and compatible with standard hubs (or did I miss something). The range isn't that great (455% vs 650+% for a 3x10). Stumbled across Campagnolo's Ekar groupset (1x13) with a 460+ range (the best thing being that steps are very reasonable -- 8-9% -- in the mid range), but at an eye watering price that is comparable to a Rohloff and certainly not easy to fix on the road.
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Old 03-02-21, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Yeah, looks like I am piling on here- a 20t jump is massive and drivetrains arent designed for that. ....
My two derailleur touring bikes are half step plus granny, 46/42/24. If I got rid of the big ring, I would have a double with 42 and 24, an 18 tooth jump. And that shifts just fine.

I am using older derailleurs for a double, thus on the upshift off of the 24 I have to overshift and back off a hair, but that could probably be fixed if I had a derailleur that was designed for that instead of using a vintage one that does not lift the chain. I anticipated dropping chains, so I put a chain catcher on initially, thus I do not really know if I would have dropped chains or not, have not tried it without a chain catcher.





I do not think it would be any different if I had a 20 tooth difference instead of 18.

If I did get rid of the big ring, my derailleur would be closer to the granny sprocket, that would improve shifting from what I have.

ADDENDUM:

I should have noted that on these derailleur bikes, I use bar end shifters, Shimano BS-64, front is friction. For my odd mix of chainring sizes and derailleur choices, I am most certain that an indexed shifter would not work.

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Old 03-02-21, 12:25 PM
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I posted this in another thread, but it may be applicable here. I believe a maximum 12 tooth difference is recommended for 9 speed triple cranks.

I'd hazard a guess that most folks building a touring bike up from the frame don't use "group sets". I know I didn't on our 4 touring bikes that were built up from the frame. What I wanted could not be found in one group set.

One the most versatile set ups that I used on three bike, including my wife's custom built frame was: XT hubs, LX rear derailleur, Tiagra 4503 front derailleur, Sugino DX 500 44/32/22 crankset, Tiagra 4503 shifters(brifters), and either LX or XT 11-34 cassette. Using a mtn bike crankset required using a 103 mm length bottom bracket to get the 46 mm chainline needed to use STI shifters/brake levers. It is a 9 speed set up, which works very well. It is a combination of parts that over time I found work together very well.

The 44 high chainring with the 11 tooth rear cog will give you 28 mph at 90 RPM. I find this to be adequate for almost any touring situation I've encountered. I usually use down hills to rest, and do not need to peddle going downhill. I've never wished for a higher gear on a tour, but there have been times when I would have used a lower one.

This is my LHT that was built up from the frame.


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Old 03-02-21, 12:55 PM
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As much as I would love the relative simplicity of a 1x, or even a 2x, the triple offers better a better chainline for the most part. Using the two, or even three largest cogs in back, with the smallest on front, gives a straighter chainline on a triple than if you were using a 1x, or even a 2x. That will wear better when grinding up a hill. The same holds true for using the largest chainwheel up front, and the smallest in the back, and the inner cogs along with the middle chainwheel up front.
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Old 03-02-21, 01:01 PM
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I realize I could have been clearer re 16 to 20t jumps between chainrings--what I really was referring to was the slightly annoying factor of having to shift a lot more gears at the back when you do a chainring change. From my 16t diff experience, there was usually a 2 cog upshift needed , sometimes 3, when going from the midring (my 40) to the small ring (24).
With my 9 spd triple bike with a 50/39/26, usually a 2 cog upshift is done at back.
Whats nice with the usual 10t jumps is how more smoothly things go, and often a 1 gear rear upshift means things transition nicely.....I guess this falls more into the pleasureable aesthetics side of riding, the tactile thing. I know chaindropper things work great, but overall, I'd say that I prefer smaller jumps between chainrings.

so ya, I meant the enjoyable factor of less diff between rings, not the mechanical "can it do it" thing.
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Old 03-02-21, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
..., the triple offers better a better chainline for the most part. Using the two, or even three largest cogs in back, with the smallest on front, gives a straighter chainline on a triple than if you were using a 1x, or even a 2x. That will wear better when grinding up a hill. The same holds true for using the largest chainwheel up front, and the smallest in the back, and the inner cogs along with the middle chainwheel up front.
That is exactly the way I shift on my 3X8 systems, I consider them to be 18 total gears, not the mathematically possible 24.

And a bike with 18 useable non-redundant gears beats any 1X bike.
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Old 03-02-21, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I realize I could have been clearer re 16 to 20t jumps between chainrings--what I really was referring to was the slightly annoying factor of having to shift a lot more gears at the back when you do a chainring change. .....
That is why I do not like the concept of a wide range 2X system.

My road bike is a 2X10 system with a compact double (50/34). I avoid two or three smallest sprockets on smallest chainring, two or three biggest sprockets on biggest chainring. Thus have 14 to 16 effective gears. After I shift the front, I have to make three shifts in back. And that change over point between the two chainrings is close enough to level ground that I make that change fairly frequently.

I have a similar situation on my half step plus granny triples on my derailleur touring bikes when shifting to or from the granny gear, but i do that much less frequently because that changeover occurs on a steeper grade.

My 3X8 rando bike with a stock (no aftermarket chainrings) road triple and stock 11/32 eight speed cassette is preferable in many ways, one of which is an effective 18 gears when avoiding the cross chained gears..
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Old 03-02-21, 04:54 PM
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For my road touring bike, I’ve stuck with a 9 speed, triple system. In my opinion, the triple system provides the best, widest range of the various systems available. I have enough parts to keep me running for decades. My range of gearing is from 15” to 110” using a 46/36/20 XT Hollowtech II crank and an 11-36 cassette. I do have to use a road link to get my XTR rear derailer to get it to work with the 36 tooth low gear on the cassette.





The 20 tooth inner ring works if you do some filing of the chainring bolt studs.

On my bike packing bike, I use a 10 speed system with a 8 speed era crank and an 11-36 cassette. The 5 bolt Race Face allows uses a 58mm BCD inner ring which makes using a 20 tooth inner easier. This isn’t my bikepacking bike but it’s the same crankset.


9 or 10 speed doesn’t really make that much difference. I don’t really notice the extra gear or the lack of one.
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Old 03-02-21, 05:15 PM
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I'd be interested in reading opinions wrt touring groupsets.


I've been thinking about a SRAM 11-50, 12-speed Eagle NX cassette fitted on a Sturmey-Archer CS-RK3 hub with a single chainring. 806% gear range.
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Old 03-02-21, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
I've been thinking about a SRAM 11-50, 12-speed Eagle NX cassette fitted on a Sturmey-Archer CS-RK3 hub with a single chainring. 806% gear range.
I was not familiar with that hub, so I pasted it into google for a quick search. Looks like a Sram Dual Drive copy. I run a 11/32 eight speed cassette on my Dual Drive on my folding bike.

Overal, I think a triple crank is a better option, the only reason that I use a Dual Drive on my folder is that I can't fit a front derailleur on my folder. Thus the only way to get that wide a range is with the Dual Drive.

You can put a LOT of torque on the hub if you are on the 50T sprocket on that cassette. Not sure if the hub internal gears can take that much torque. You might want to look into that.

If I could have used a triple crank on my folder instead of the Dual Drive, I would have.
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Old 03-03-21, 06:39 AM
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Maybe I'm special but I want different gearing for a 559 over a 622

With 700x44 I just don't need anything bigger than 36 on 26x2.2 (559x57) I want a 44 chainring with an both with an 11x34 cassette

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Old 03-03-21, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
Maybe I'm special but I want different gearing for a 559 over a 622

With 700x44 I just don't need anything bigger than 36 on 26x2.2 (559x57) I want a 44 chainring with an 11x34 cassette
wheel size does play a part, and why I love the 44 on my mtb triple setup for my tourer with 26 inch wheels
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Old 03-03-21, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Looks like a Sram Dual Drive copy.
More the other way around. Sturmey-Archer has offered various models of hybrid derailleur+hub gear sets since the early 1950s.
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Old 03-03-21, 08:27 AM
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Very recently I bought a Venzo Traveler (almost a clone of the Trek 920. I'm from Argentina).
Comes with 27v (40-30-22 /11-36).

I'm a newbie here and almost one touring.
Do I need to change it?
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Old 03-03-21, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
More the other way around. Sturmey-Archer has offered various models of hybrid derailleur+hub gear sets since the early 1950s.
I knew that Sturmey Archer were into three speeds for almost forever, but only recently have I learned that they also had one with a freehub on it.

Saches (spell?) 3X7 hubs which preceded the Sram Dual Drive were common a long time ago on folders.

I am not doubting you, but I have not seen any Sturmey Archer hubs since the production moved to Asia.

Unfortunately, Sram dropped their Dual Drive a couple years ago so it is nice to know that there is something similar available to replace it.

Back to my original comment, if you are a strong or heavy biker, that that big of a cassette you could be putting a lot of stress on the hub internals. On the other hand if you are a light weight person that would not put too much torque on the hub, it may work well.

On my folder I usually have my Dual Drive in the overdrive mode, but the steep hills require low gear on it. Am running an 11/32 cassette.
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Old 03-03-21, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by minder02 View Post
Very recently I bought a Venzo Traveler (almost a clone of the Trek 920. I'm from Argentina).
Comes with 27v (40-30-22 /11-36).

I'm a newbie here and almost one touring.
Do I need to change it?
No. Not really. Here’s your current gearing (sorry about the gear inches but that’s how I think of gearing). You have a pretty good low and a reasonable high with fairly good arrangement in the middle. That’s actually kind of amazing for a modern bike.
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Old 03-03-21, 12:08 PM
  #23  
minder02
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Thank you!

Thanks a lot for the advice!

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
No. Not really. Here’s your current gearing (sorry about the gear inches but that’s how I think of gearing). You have a pretty good low and a reasonable high with fairly good arrangement in the middle. That’s actually kind of amazing for a modern bike.
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Old 03-03-21, 01:32 PM
  #24  
djb
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Originally Posted by minder02 View Post
Very recently I bought a Venzo Traveler (almost a clone of the Trek 920. I'm from Argentina).
Comes with 27v (40-30-22 /11-36).

I'm a newbie here and almost one touring.
Do I need to change it?
hola y bienvenidos, your bike is a fantastic touring bike, it is setup very much like my bike that I've ridden in Mexico and central America, so I know that your gearing is excellent for touring in Latin america.
Have fun travelling by bicycle, hace cuidado siempre pero disfruta.
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Old 03-03-21, 01:40 PM
  #25  
minder02
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Gracias! Merci! Thanks! djb
Have Bike, Will Travel


Originally Posted by djb View Post
hola y bienvenidos, your bike is a fantastic touring bike, it is setup very much like my bike that I've ridden in Mexico and central America, so I know that your gearing is excellent for touring in Latin america.
Have fun travelling by bicycle, hace cuidado siempre pero disfruta.
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