Gearing for Touring



scituatejohn

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Aug 3, 2003
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I went to the library last weekend and read a few books on Touring. Two of them suggested a gear range of 24 to 100 inches, one of them suggested 30 to 100 inches, one of them suggested 20 to 100 inches, and one of them suggested 15 to 100 inches. There seems to be agreement on the highest gear, but not the lowest gear. What do you think?
 

sdorrity

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Dec 31, 2003
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Well that all depends ;-)

what sort of loads, terrain, distance, legs etc

touring in the Pyrenees I had a low of 18" and I used it a lot!

personally I like to use sheldon browns century special which gives me a top of 105 and a bottom of 26 (but I rarely use the 105) when lightweight touring. Lower than that when camping

Try and get some close ratios around your touring speed (about 18km/h for me) so that you can find the best cadence for the conditions then one higher and a couple lower with a granny as low as your setup will allow

For me this is good selection around 30-60 inches as I prefer to spin.

Try some short 2 day tours with your planned load and remember the bike will feel very different loaded and will take some getting used to.

Have fun

Steve D

Originally posted by scituatejohn
I went to the library last weekend and read a few books on Touring. Two of them suggested a gear range of 24 to 100 inches, one of them suggested 30 to 100 inches, one of them suggested 20 to 100 inches, and one of them suggested 15 to 100 inches. There seems to be agreement on the highest gear, but not the lowest gear. What do you think?
 

Blackberry

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Jan 8, 2004
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Originally posted by scituatejohn
I went to the library last weekend and read a few books on Touring. Two of them suggested a gear range of 24 to 100 inches, one of them suggested 30 to 100 inches, one of them suggested 20 to 100 inches, and one of them suggested 15 to 100 inches. There seems to be agreement on the highest gear, but not the lowest gear. What do you think?

Having ridden a bicycle across Europe (Greece, Italy, Austria, France, England, Ireland) as well as touring elsewhere, I'd say if you're doing self-supported touring with serious hills, you won't be sorry to have a 20 inch gear, and a little lower might be ok too. If you're anything like me, when you're not going uphill, you probably will be spending most of your time in your mid-range, not your higher gears. But then, I like to saunter and I like to save my knees.