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Suggestions for Gear Sets in VT

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Suggestions for Gear Sets in VT

Old 07-04-22, 06:41 PM
  #1  
m2244
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Suggestions for Gear Sets in VT

I wasn't sure if I should ask this question here or in the old people's section (50+). I'm part-way through 51 and I'm not a fan.

Anyway, I bought a Felt Breed 30 a couple of years ago. It's my first gravel bike and the high-end component setup is a gamechanger. I like the bike but I went on a ride this year and people older than me were passing me uphill. It was a 30-mile ride with over 3k of elevation gain. I'm just now starting to learn about gear sets on gravel bikes. My question is, what is the general opinion on gearing? Are single front sprockets the way to go and what sort of a low gear should I consider to help me climb some of the VT back roads? Side note: I like the high gears for paved downhill runs.

Specs from the Felt site for my bike: Praxis Works Alba, 48/32T, 47cm: 165mm 51cm: 170mm, 54 - 56cm: 172.5mm, 58 - 61cm: 175mm
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Old 07-04-22, 08:59 PM
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Steve B.
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Gravel bike used on pavement occasionally and rolling or even longish hills that VT is famous for, I prefer 2x as the cassette often has closer gears that are useful to maintain a decent cadence. While I like my 1X system for mt. biking where I do a lot of quick up and downs, I prefer 2X on my gravel bike. My Topstone with a 30/46 crank and 11-34 11 spd. Cassette gives me 19 different gears. A 1x is only the number of gears on the cassette, 11 or 12. Why give up gears. Note though that depending on the 1X system, you might get a cassette with lower gears than on a 2X, my 1x 12 spd. Cassette has a 50 tooth, which is significantly lower than the 34 on my gravel bike, so if you know the hills are super steep, sometimes a 1x gets you the gearing to be able to climb. YMMV
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Old 07-04-22, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
I wasn't sure if I should ask this question here or in the old people's section (50+). I'm part-way through 51 and I'm not a fan.

Anyway, I bought a Felt Breed 30 a couple of years ago. It's my first gravel bike and the high-end component setup is a gamechanger. I like the bike but I went on a ride this year and people older than me were passing me uphill. It was a 30-mile ride with over 3k of elevation gain. I'm just now starting to learn about gear sets on gravel bikes. My question is, what is the general opinion on gearing? Are single front sprockets the way to go and what sort of a low gear should I consider to help me climb some of the VT back roads? Side note: I like the high gears for paved downhill runs.
Specs from the Felt site for my bike: Praxis Works Alba, 48/32T, 47cm: 165mm 51cm: 170mm, 54 - 56cm: 172.5mm, 58 - 61cm: 175mm
First, you should ask in 'the old people's section', so that there are no doubts...
2nd, with regards gearing - you left out important info about your Breed 30 - the gearing info. And if you haven;t made any changes to the bike, here's the info:
11-34 11spd cassette on a 650b wheel, rim internal of 21mm with 47mm tire and the 48/32 chainrings
so, my opinion on gearing - you gotta have it...
on your specific gearing - good general range of gears for a vast range of riding type - road and gravel/dirt, flat and difficult hill climbing. Short of the need to pull stumps, the bike has it all.
Here's a gearing chart for your setup:


... so ... there aren't any seeming holes or omissions in the gearing available, for most all riding occasions, short of road racing...
and I do have a few thousand miles of riding experience on VT roads, and some off-road...
climbing hills, road or dirt, is always a challenge. And, yes there are those Old Folks who can get up a hill pretty OK.
so given a very nice bike, like your Breed 30, and having a good gear selection, like the bike has; the other important element is the motor and the CPU - which is you.
Motor needs 'upgrading', CPU needs to be programed to pick the gears which can help the motor do the best job.
Not all motors are equal, BUT, in most cases the motor can be 'improved' with more use. As relates to climbing a hill, the more hills climbed, the stronger the climbing becomes.
It's never 'easy', it just becomes more familiar and doable.
so, 'upgrade' the motor and cpu - easy enough, get out and ride/climb more - learn how to use your gearing - it's ok to not be the youngest, oldest, fastest or slowest.
so you have 2 options - get out and ride more/learn some OR get an e-bike
as for age, there is no going back... you have NOW... and iff'n you;re lucky, you might have what comes next, and what comes after that... if there are other choices, then I need to wise up.
There are a huge number of threads on BF, and resources on the inter-web, on every aspect of upgrading the 'motor' and 'cpu'. A lot of very helpful info, but nothing which doesn;t include rubber to the road.
ride = life, life = ride
enjoy it
Yuri
EDIT: you could put an 11-36 cassette on, or possibly even an 11-40, but you will not go any faster... 'easier' is something which eludes me, cycling... if I'm going up a hill at 5 mph, regardless of which gear I'm in, the term 'easier' is just never applicable.

Last edited by cyclezen; 07-05-22 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 07-05-22, 07:52 AM
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Triples are so uncool, I won't even suggest putting an old-school MTB triple drivetrain on this bike, even though you could keep your high end and get 2-3 more gears on the low end. The cool kids will just laugh at you when they catch up to you at the top if you do such a thing.

A MTB compact double crank could get you a gear lower, and a bigger cassette (11-36 or 11-40) might get you close to the triple bottom end range. You might have to pedal 10% faster going downhill, although I'm usually ready to spin out and coast on steep downhills.
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Old 07-06-22, 07:22 PM
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I had same gearing on my Open and same problem. I dropped to a 30-46 chainset and got FASTER overall because I could spin up hills. Stick with 2x because as you get older your cadence range narrows and the smaller steps available between gears with a 2x becomes very useful,
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Old 07-07-22, 08:27 PM
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Totally agree on 2X in Vermont (I live next door in NH). I run 46/30 and 11-36 11 speed and use all the gears. I don't use the lower gear often, but when I do I'm sure glad I have it.
My new bike that I'm in the process of building up will have a White Industries crank with 40/26 and a 9-32 cassette. Essentially the same gear range, lighter, and I expect I'll spend more of my time in the big ring which has a bunch of advantages.
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Old 07-08-22, 02:08 PM
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Because of my knees and the hills (5 to 12%) on and off road, i set my 1x11 with a XC setup:
36x 9-46. As i swap the original rival crank 172.5 for force crank 165. It works well.

but as other said, on road biased, I run a 2x with 39/53 front and 11-25 or 11-34 depending of the hills…
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