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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Somerset County, South-western, Pa
    Posts
    99

    Coast to Coast: gearing and brakes

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    I currently ride a 2007 Specialized Ruby Pro 50/34 compact double 12/27 with caliper brakes. I run out of gears when cycling the hills in PA and believe I would be better off switching out my gears for a triple or an 11/32 to cross the terrain of the US. Will a 11/32 give me the gears I need? Will I even be able to switch out my gearing? If I am able to switch out gearing, will it be cost effective to do so? What about disc brakes verses calipers? Please advise. My Coast to Coast is next March 2017 and I need the correct bike to start training. Thanks!!!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    How much luggage will you be carrying? The more weight you're carrying, the more you'll want more gearing options, better brakes in the wet, and (what you didn't ask about) chuffier wheels. Which really adds up to a new bike if you're planning to ride self-contained.

    If you'll be riding fully supported, then you could possibly get away with just a rear drivetrain swap. I'm pretty sure (but not positive) that with an '07, you'd need a mountain derailleur to accommodate anything bigger than 28T in the back. And if you stick with rim brakes, make sure you get pads that will stand up to mountain descents.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Somerset County, South-western, Pa
    Posts
    99
    The tour is 58 days and cycling with no luggage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,101
    I concur with Oak. My 2011 custom Guru compact has a mountain bike rear derailleur, with an 11-34, as there were no road derailleurs for this at that time. However, my 2015 Trek Silque has an 11-32 rear Ultegra road derailleur. I'd like to have a 34, but that is probably in my mind.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    164
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesome View Post
    The tour is 58 days and cycling with no luggage.
    You wouldn't by any chance be going with WomanTours would you?
    I am signed up for their Southern Tier tour.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Somerset County, South-western, Pa
    Posts
    99
    I am and just received my packet in the mail yesterday. Thinking of purchasing a new bike as my current gears will not even sufficient for hills. Two bike mechanic at different bike shops believe it will be too expensive to switch out gearing especially if I need new wheels. Are you signed up as well?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    164
    Yes, I signed up for that tour back in Feb of 2015!
    I have a 2011 Ruby with the same gearing as your 2007. I too looked into lowering the gearing and spent a lot of time reading through old threads on this forum. Found that a couple women had success using a sram 12-36t cassette with a new/different derailleur. New chain was added to their setups too. I don't remember the specifics right now. But, it can be done. I was going to go that route and even purchased a 12-36t cassette, but I noticed a nick in the carbon near my head tube. Bike shop checked it out and determined it was just surface damage. I continued to ride it, but won't risk riding it cross country.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Somerset County, South-western, Pa
    Posts
    99
    Wnyrider, Are you going to buy a new bike for the coast to coast? I love Specialized Rubys and the 2016 models are still doubles but have 11/32 instead of 12/27, better gearing for hills.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    Quote Originally Posted by wnyrider View Post
    Found that a couple women had success using a sram 12-36t cassette with a new/different derailleur. New chain was added to their setups too.
    For 10-speed Shimano road groups you can substitute a 9-speed mountain rear derailleur. That will handle a 10 speed 11-32 or 11-34 cassette perfectly and even an 11-36 cassette with a little extra b-tension. I have a friend that uses 10 speed DuraAce shifters and compact crank with a 9 speed XT long cage derailleur and a 11-34 cassette in the santa monica mountains. You'll need a good mechanic to set it up.

    cyclesome....yes an 11-32 will help....also, you have a year to improve your climbing ability, skills, breathing technique etc so think about that too. That ride sounds like a awesome bicycle adventure
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,045
    I wouldn't know about touring and/or the route, but I recently replace my stolen Ruby (12-28) with a new Ruby with the 11-32. I got along fine in Tucson and on occasional hills up to 11-12% with the old bike and haven't truly needed the 32 yet. I don't know if that's helpful at all...

    It sounds like a wonderful trip.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    Quote Originally Posted by azfiddle View Post
    I wouldn't know about touring and/or the route, but I recently replace my stolen Ruby (12-28) with a new Ruby with the 11-32. I got along fine in Tucson and on occasional hills up to 11-12% with the old bike and haven't truly needed the 32 yet. I don't know if that's helpful at all...

    It sounds like a wonderful trip.
    yeah but your legs are use to mt lemmon ....beautiful new bike, glad things worked out so well!!!!!!!
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Just for reference, the Appalachian hills where the OP is from, there's no riding at all without a few 15% grades unless you hug the rivers (which are mostly very busy roads unless there's a MUP), and 20%+ isn't uncommon. Climbs are shorter than they are out west, but very steep. So it's more like high intensity intervals of three to ten minutes, repeated for eight hours at a time, than western steady-state climbing. Even in the shorter, somewhat less steep foothills where I'm from, swapping my 30x25 for a 30x27 made an enormous difference in how easily I could do those climbs all day long.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 03-20-2016 at 04:37 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Somerset County, South-western, Pa
    Posts
    99
    Found a bike mechanic who is going to swap out my gears with either a shims no 105 11/32 or a mountain derailleur 11-36. Any advice as to which set up would be better?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesome View Post
    Found a bike mechanic who is going to swap out my gears with either a shims no 105 11/32 or a mountain derailleur 11-36. Any advice as to which set up would be better?
    You'll notice the difference between 27 and 32 but i don't know the terrain you're riding. A mountian would give you the ability for 32 to 36. Useful if you find you want to go to 34+ later without changing a rear derailleur again.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,827
    This is a very useful thread. My bike currently has SRAM Rival components, 50/34 compact double with an 11-28, 10 speed cassette. Last fall I found myself walking up a particularly steep climb (it was that or fall over with an asthma attack) as I watched my friend effortlessly spin up to the top with her mountain-bike gearing. That was when I decided my next cassette would be better for climbing. Given the rides I'm planning this year, I think it makes sense to keep what I have until it wears out. When that happens I will be wondering the same thing -- what cogs do I want on the new cassette. So this is giving me an idea of what to look for.

    Thanks!

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

 

 

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