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Gravel Gearing

RashRash Member
So my CX/Gravel bike currently has 1x with a 44 up front and 11-28 (11 sp) in the rear. I was thinking of converting it back to 2x with a 50/34 up front for Gravel, but honestly I am not sure I am gaining/losing much by keeping it 1x year round. I'd keep the 1x for CX season as it seems not having a front mech to muck up is better. My only two Gravel races on calendar so far for 2019 are the Almonzo 100 and Gravel Worlds. No clue on the Almonzo, but Gravel Worlds will be about 75 miles and 6-7,000 feet of punchy rollers. Most my local gravel riding is rolling terrain with a few punchy, short climbs mixed in. Any thoughts?

I have the front derailleur still so my only cost is a new chain and crankset which can be had for a reasonably low price since I am not a Ultegra/DA snob. 105/used is good enough.
KenElPescadoPelado

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    KHilgendorfKHilgendorf Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    Before I make a suggestion, answer me this: do you grind up climbs at 70 rpm or prefer to spin at 100?
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    RashRash Member
    edited December 2018
    @KHilgendorf I prefer to spin around 90 all the time when practical, but ground my way through Gravel Worlds this year on a borrowed bike without too much trouble (although I was not pushing the pace at all).

    ETA - I read a Carmichael book when I bought my first bike and it said to ride at 90-100 rpms. I've ridden at 90-93 rpm for 90% of my riding ever since. Not sure if that is right, but at this point that's my natural cadence.
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    KHilgendorfKHilgendorf Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    I only ask because a 44 x 28 is about 25% higher gear ratio than a 34 x 28. So if you normally want to grind then you could get away with the 44, even on steep climbs. I probably wouldn't suggest it for 7k feet of vertical ver 75 miles if you like to spin though. On the top end, most of the benefit of a 50 vs your 44 is top-line speed on the downhills, which maybe isn't something you care a hell of a lot about, unless you're ballsy and willing to roll 40+ on gravel. 44 x 11 will get you to 35 mph.

    So I'd suggest going to a 2x setup, but if you're cheap and lazy (like I am), know that can get away with leaving it. It just might not be optimal.
    KenElPescadoPelado
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    Thanks @KHilgendorf - I am both cheap and lazy. My plan is to keep my eye open for a 2x crankset on the cheap and just deal with it in the meantime. I just start to get turned around when I play with online gearing calculators so figured someone here could set me straight.
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    doyoueventribrodoyoueventribro Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    I run 50/34 with a 11-34 in the back. I have a 42t narrow-wide and I'm debating putting that on.

    Honestly there are some hills I ride with gravel where I actually use 34/34 and I'd miss that. Probably wouldn't need it if I just lost weight.
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    MattMatt Member, Administrator, Rooster Endurance Member
    Tire width?

    My upcoming gravel bike will either be 50/34 or 48/32 with 11-34 (or 11-32) and 40mm tires.
    Moving to 1x might limit you with that kind of climbing at Worlds.
  • Options
    I'll be running either my:

    1. Panaracer Gravel King 700 x 38C; or
    2. WTB Riddlers 700 x 37C (currently on there)
  • Options
    Rash said:

    So my CX/Gravel bike currently has 1x with a 44 up front and 11-28 (11 sp) in the rear. I was thinking of converting it back to 2x with a 50/34 up front for Gravel, but honestly I am not sure I am gaining/losing much by keeping it 1x year round. I'd keep the 1x for CX season as it seems not having a front mech to muck up is better. My only two Gravel races on calendar so far for 2019 are the Almonzo 100 and Gravel Worlds. No clue on the Almonzo, but Gravel Worlds will be about 75 miles and 6-7,000 feet of punchy rollers. Most my local gravel riding is rolling terrain with a few punchy, short climbs mixed in. Any thoughts?

    I have the front derailleur still so my only cost is a new chain and crankset which can be had for a reasonably low price since I am not a Ultegra/DA snob. 105/used is good enough.

    I'd just let your needs be your guide. In other words - how much are you currently finding yourself needing more top end or low end gear? And how much do your future races have grades that are steeper than your home turf?

    If you need more gear range, I'd start with a wider range cassette on your current setup, provided your rear derailleur has the capacity for it. You can probably find something pretty cheap. That is, of course, assuming that you don't mind the baggage of larger jumps in gear ratio from cog-to-cog.

    My initial impression is that a single ring 11-28 is not a very wide range. I could get away with that for road riding here in Tampa, because there aren't any hills at all. But some gravel courses can be brutal with hills. I did one in Michigan with 52/36 chainrings and 11-27 cassette, and it wasn't enough - I was barely making it up some of the climbs. I later did a similar race with 52/36 and 11-32 and was much happier. To do single ring, I'd probably need a wide 11-42 or similar.
    simonsen77
    The Dude at Minimal Multisport Podcast, Blog, and YouTube.
    MY PATREON!
  • Options
    RashRash Member
    edited December 2018
    @gregk My rear derailleur won't accommodate much bigger unfortunately otherwise that would have been my first fix. By the time I figure out and buy a cage extension or new rear derailleur, I am pretty much at the same price or more than to simply swap in a front double and have even more range. I've only used the bike for cyclocross so far so the gearing hasn't been an issue (although was grinding at times there as well). I am anticipating wanting more for the short but very punchy gravel climbs around here so will keep my eyes out for a deal on a 34/50 most likely.

    Of course, when I finally drop that 20lbs (ha) all these climbs will be easy and I'll swap out my front single speed ring for a 55T!
    gregk
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    KHilgendorfKHilgendorf Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    @rash, I have a spare Bontrager Race, GXP cyclocross crankset I'm not running if you want a freebie. I think 46x36, but would need to confirm. It's aluminum, heavy as shit and about 10 years old but hardly used.
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    @khilgendorf Thanks for the offer, but a friend just advised he might have an Ultegra R8000 50/34 take off for me in January once he finishes his new build. I think that will do the trick and I'll have the Ultegra 1x on the shelf if I decide to go back for CX season.

    As an aside, I like that I talk about seasons and racing when the reality is I will ultimately spend most the year riding on my trainer and only maybe participate in a handful of events. Oh well, my bike collection doubled this past year and is at least starting to approach respectable.
    Johns622simonsen77
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    I have two bikes I use for gravel currently, depending on the terrain.

    Two-by cross bike with 46x34, and an 11-28 in the back. Tires 38 or 40x700.
    One-by drop-bar MTB, 11-42 cassette, 38t in the front. Tires 42x700 up to 2.1".

    If you're on hilly terrain, two-by will be a lot friendlier. Gravel worlds, anything in Iowa, Kansas, or Oklahoma, I'm running 2x. Building up some Ti this coming year for that specific purpose and converting the cross bike to SS. I'm a lightweight and the 34 small ring works well for me on courses with 7-12,000 ft of climbing. 46x30 is actually a pretty popular combo around here.
    Resident Genius.

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