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Wide Range Gearing options for Giant Expressway

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Wide Range Gearing options for Giant Expressway

Old 06-17-22, 09:15 AM
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Leisesturm
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Wide Range Gearing options for Giant Expressway

Are those combination 3sp planetary drive plus 8/9sp cassette hubs available already built into 20" (406) wheels? I can't actually find any Sturmey-Archer CS-RF3 hubs in stock anywhere in the U.S. but I've found a couple for sale in the UK. Then I would need it built into a 20" wheel for my Giant Expressway. I doubt the spokes of the OEM wheel would be any use, so would it be worth the re-using of the stock rim, or should I just get a new wheel built? Which leads to the question posed at the beginning of this post.

Or should I think about trying to put a front derailleur and double chainring on the bike? Cable stops and guides for a FD are already brazed on the frame. The stock chainring is 53T. I've heard that much bigger than that is available but I've never actually seen them for sale. I also know that front derailleurs are very finicky about following the curve of the big ring but I've never heard of any FD's actually made to work with chainrings bigger than 53T.

I've never been excited about the gear range of the Expressway but I've used it for years just as it is. But I've moved to a very hilly area and a major highway winds through it. There isn't any trip that I can make where I won't encounter a natural hill or a man-made highway overpass or both. A much lower low gear with no loss of the present top end which is already way too low is very much desired. Any strategies? TNX.
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Old 06-17-22, 10:03 AM
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Pardon, just curious...a bottom bracket gear drive could not be an option yor you?
With, for example, a chainwheel with 38 physical teeth, a Schlumpf speed drive would generate 63 virtual teeth and an efneo GTRO even 68.
There's zero hassle with a too big chainring or derailleur.
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Old 06-17-22, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackstrida_A_ View Post
Pardon, just curious...a bottom bracket gear drive could not be an option yor you?
With, for example, a chainwheel with 38 physical teeth, a Schlumpf speed drive would generate 63 virtual teeth and an efneo GTRO even 68.
There's zero hassle with a too big chainring or derailleur.
I just priced a Schlumpf drive again and they are still what they were when they were new: $750+USD. The Expressway was $550 and that was eight years ago. If I could find a Schlumpf used (unlikely) maybe. But, yes, a planetary drive for the front end is another option. Thanks.
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Old 06-17-22, 11:41 AM
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What gear-inch range are you trying to achieve?
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Old 06-17-22, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
What gear-inch range are you trying to achieve?
OEM gearing is 33" - 88" (53T x 11-30 8sp). If I used a planetary drive hub with cassette, and a 44T chainring I could get 20" - 98". I would be good with that.
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Old 06-17-22, 01:35 PM
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You might find a wheel already built with a 20" rim and IGH/cassette hub, but I kind of doubt it. If you want something less common then you usually have to build it (or have it built) yourself. However, building a wheel with new rim, spokes and hub is not really all that big of a job, even though it is a skill that has been eclipsed by factory-build low-spoke count wheels.
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Old 06-17-22, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
You might find a wheel already built with a 20" rim and IGH/cassette hub, but I kind of doubt it. If you want something less common then you usually have to build it (or have it built) yourself. However, building a wheel with new rim, spokes and hub is not really all that big of a job, even though it is a skill that has been eclipsed by factory-build low-spoke count wheels.
I do just about any kind of repair or maintenance a bicycle could ever need but wheel building intimidates me. I laced a 4x wheel in my teens (I'm in my 60's) but had to take it to the shop to get trued. I have Jobst Brandt's book. I have a Minoura truing stand. What more do I need? Thank you for reminding me that this is still yet another option.
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Old 06-17-22, 06:04 PM
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A less involved option is a wide-range cassette. Reddleman has put Microshift Advent 9-speeds on 2 Terns, one 11-42 & the other 11-46, and is happy with them. 33" times 30/46 is 21.5" - pretty low.
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Old 06-18-22, 07:39 AM
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Leisesturm The rear wheel of the 2007 Dahon Boardwalk I bought was trashed. It came with a 7-speed cassette. I bought a 20-inch wheel with a 7 speed freewheel at the bike co-op for 20 bucks. I then bought an 11-38 freewheel for $30, and it just works with the stock derailer. The low is low enough for Colorado springs and the high is good for high speed cruising. Mine's not an e-bike, but gears is gears.

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Old 06-18-22, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Leisesturm The rear wheel of the 2007 Dahon Boardwalk I bought was trashed. It came with a 7-speed cassette. I bought a 20-inch wheel with a 7 speed freewheel at the bike co-op for 20 bucks. I then bought an 11-38 freewheel for $30, and it just works with the stock derailer. The low is low enough for Colorado springs and the high is good for high speed cruising. Mine's not an e-bike, but gears is gears.

that step from 6 to 7 is ridiculous. It must feel like hitting that last unexpected step when descending a flight of stairs.
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Old 06-18-22, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
that step from 6 to 7 is ridiculous. It must feel like hitting that last unexpected step when descending a flight of stairs.
I was worried about that, but it has actually worked out well. Think of it as a "6-speed plus bail-out-gear". The next lowest gear (24) is like second gear on my 2x6 and 2x8 roadbikes, which could both use a slightly lower low gear even though they both have lower gears than they came with.

The 34 bail-out gear is still not as low as the lowest gear on my 3x7 MTB-based commuter. And on the MTB/commuter I usually don't use the next two lowest gears.

FWIW, the 3x7 MTB/commuter (with drop bars) has a much higher than stock upper range for faster cruising. And in the winter it gets studded snow tires mounted on a 2nd set of wheels that itself has a extra low bail-out gear. In low range, that gear is almost too low to be useful (especially in snow and ice), but in mid and high range it has kept me from having to shift the front derailler down in some instances, although how tough is that really?

Despite how it looks, it works for me...YMMV.

If this were my only bicycle, I would want a more closely space gears and possibly a 2x or 3x up front (or internally in the back).
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Old 06-18-22, 01:12 PM
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Sheldon Brown is with you on that, BobbyG: " At first glance, many people look at the sprocket numbers 11-13-15-18-21-24-34 and wonder what Shimano's engineers were smoking when they came up with that setup, with a 10 tooth jump between the bottom two sprockets! In practice, this is actually a very nice arrangement, because the big jump to the 34 allows the jumps in the cruising range to be much more reasonable. If the jumps were evenly spaced, the user would often find that one gear was too low for cruising, while the next one up was too high. This type of freewheel, sometimes known as an "alpine" design, is intended to provide comfortable cruising, with the super-low gear for the tough hills. It works a lot better on the road than it looks on paper!"

Regarding the wide-range double option, Sheldon's main ride back in the day of 5-sprocket freewheels was a 14-16-18-21-24 by 51-26 - a 96% jump up front, which of course isn't needed any more but is a bit mind-expanding.
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Old 06-19-22, 03:11 AM
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For context, I did once own a Dahon Speed TR, but replaced it with a Tern Link + Microshift Advent wide-range set up. There are pros and cons of all three options available (based on Fentuzís experiences with a 2x8 or 2x9 setup recorded elsewhere on the forum).

What you are looking at doing is deciding between complexity and range. The dual drive setup gives you the range, but leaves you beholden to one particular company and its parts. If your bike is one of many, thatís fine. If itís your only bike in a pandemic with supply lines that are cooked, thatís not so ideal. To me, that was a dealbreaker and while a wide-range 1x9 setup didnít give me the high end, it got me up the hills without much complication or things to go wrong. It also gave me a wide range of shifting options.

If you have the mounting points on the frame for a front derailleur, a 2x8 or 2x9 setup would be pretty simple to install and maintain. It also allows the use of a shorter rear derailleur and greater clearance.

The dual drive setup as supplied by Sturmey Archer looks to be sturdier than the older SRAM models with their Achilles heel in the form of the shifter rod. However, itís still something extra to deal with going wrong, getting damaged or needing disconnecting when the puncture fairy visits. It also limits you to MTB indexed triple front shifters.

Ultimately, I found I was happy enough maxing out with 52x11 as my highest gear and that simplicity when living at the end of the world (logistics-wise anyway) in New Zealand was something to be sought after when you only have one bike, so Iím happy with a 11-46T rear block and a bar end shifter. As they say, your mileage may vary
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Old 06-19-22, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
OEM gearing is 33" - 88" (53T x 11-30 8sp). If I used a planetary drive hub with cassette, and a 44T chainring I could get 20" - 98". I would be good with that.
This thread is reminding me of how happy I am that I bought a Sram Dual Drive while they were still in production. I am running that with an eight speed 11/32 cassette.

If you can get a IGH hub like that, I think that is the best option. I am not familiar with the Sturmey Archer, so I have no comments on that one. Spare parts for the Sram Dual Drive like the shifting rod are getting hard to find, thus if you found a used one you would want to make sure that it is complete and working.

I am not familiar with your bike, make sure that you get a hub that has the correct dropout spacing width for your frame.
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Old 06-19-22, 07:07 AM
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Some good posts have snuck in while I wasn't looking. Thanks. Dropout spacing on the Expressway is 135mm. I already realized a wide range cassette would require a longer cage derailleur and that doesn't look like such a good idea. My LBS put me in contact with their wheelbuilder and together we tried to find a Sturmey-Archer hub without success. Out of stock everywhere in the U.S. However, if I can find one (have found two sources in the UK) and use the rim off my present wheel he will build the new wheel for $110 labor and spokes. I got two wheels built for that a really long time ago. I'm old. You can't take it with you. There is a device called a JTek Shiftmate that does for drivetrains what Travel Agents did for brake systems. Using Road shifters and MTB derailleurs is their stock in trade. And, no, this is far from my only bike. But I would use it a lot more if it had a more practical gear range. My latest acquisition (Mongoose Envoy) has 18" to 104" but its a beast. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Watch this space.
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Old 06-19-22, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Antifriction View Post
Sheldon Brown is with you on that, BobbyG:
St. Sheldon of Blessed Memory...a genius taken from this world much too soon and in a very unfair manner.
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Old 06-19-22, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
.... There is a device called a JTek Shiftmate that does for drivetrains what Travel Agents did for brake systems. Using Road shifters and MTB derailleurs is their stock in trade.....
Not sure why you would need that, you have nine or less sprockets on your cassette don't you?

Ten or more sprockets with a Shimano system is where the mountain and road shifter cable pull are different.
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Old 06-19-22, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Not sure why you would need that, you have nine or less sprockets on your cassette don't you?

Ten or more sprockets with a Shimano system is where the mountain and road shifter cable pull are different.
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The IGH side of the Archer hub shifts with MTB pull ratios and I will be using the Shimano Flightdeck (105) Road cockpit I got in the sale of a Bike Friday folding tandem last year. I converted it to flat-bar, it's Kismet now to use those same bars to make the flatbar Expressway into a roadie (kind of) for it's next incarnation.
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Old 06-20-22, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
The IGH side of the Archer hub shifts with MTB pull ratios and I will be using the Shimano Flightdeck (105) Road cockpit I got in the sale of a Bike Friday folding tandem last year. I converted it to flat-bar, it's Kismet now to use those same bars to make the flatbar Expressway into a roadie (kind of) for it's next incarnation.
I am not sure what you just said here, but if you said you are using a Shimano brifter to shift a 3 speed IGH, I was not aware that you could do that with a Jtek Shiftmate, but if you can get the right cable pull ratio figured out, I can see where that would work nicely.

I am using a Sturmey Archer 3 speed bar end shifter on my folding bike to operate the IGH part of the Sram Dual Drive. The cable pull appears to be spot on for that. And a Shimano 8 speed bar end shifter for the derailleur.

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Old 06-29-22, 06:21 AM
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...thank you for that great resource, it literally shifts gears on me.
Am i wrong thinking that bottom bracket transmissions like the Schlumpf must be 3x or more sturdier because the 3x lower speeds they transfer power with? I would exhaust all other options before thinking of them. Of course they are useful on bikes without the other options and have their small advantages, like the area where their weight is added. Do i miss something?
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Old 06-29-22, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by splithub View Post
...thank you for that great resource, it literally shifts gears on me.
Am i wrong thinking that bottom bracket transmissions like the Schlumpf must be 3x or more sturdier because the 3x lower speeds they transfer power with? I would exhaust all other options before thinking of them. Of course they are useful on bikes without the other options and have their small advantages, like the area where their weight is added. Do i miss something?
I really know almost nothing about the Schlumpf, I am not even sure what to call it, a crank or bottom bracket. So, you need to ask someone else on that.

I found that link that you cited to be more helpful in mating shifters for the rear with rear derailleurs and cassettes. For example, the Campy 10 speed shifter has almost identical cable pull to Shimano 8 speed derailleur and cassette. That is what I use on my rando bike, a Campy 10 speed brifter, Shimano rear derailleur and Sram 8 speed cassette without needing a Jtek shiftmate.

My folding bike, Airnimal Joey, can't be fitted with a front derailleur. (Newer Joeys can be fitted with one, my older one can't.) I bought the Sram Dual Drive rear hub to give me the wider gearing I wanted, but the Dual Drive hub is out of production. I believe that there is a Sturmey Archer that is similar but I am not familiar with them.
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