Anyone ride with a 26t instead of 22t? (Is it a good idea?)

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  • Anyone ride with a 26t instead of 22t? (Is it a good idea?)
  • Hiya,

    I’m finding that I never (genuinely) use my 3 lowest gears and so because I only have two rings at the front, I only really use 2 gears on the 22t.

    Therefore, because my cassette won’t need replacing for a while (it’s an 11-32) I’m thinking of changing my front 22t for a 26t. That way I can utilise my whole cassette and not spend my climbs constanting changing between my two front rings!

    Has anyone done this? It seems like a good (and relatively cheap) solution to me, but is there anything I’m missing?

    Any advice is very welcomed! Cheers!

    Premier Icon paulosoxo

    Given the opportunity (fitness) I think I’d rather use something like a cheap Tiagra 12-28 cassette and have something close ranged.

    I’m pretty sure you can pick up a cassette for not much more than a chainring if you shop around


    Whoa you’re using a road cassette on on trails and xc?!

    How much fitness is needed?!! hats off to you.


    Depends on your riding style and fitness and the hills you climb. I need my 22 /34 granny gear.


    If you’re running a 11-32T cassette, your second biggest rear sprocket is a 28T anyway, so you’d only be loosing the one

    You say you don’t use the biggest (slowest) three, which on an 11-32T are 32-28-24, the next one being a 21T.
    So you could get a road casette with a biggest sprocket as small as a 21T and you wouldn’t be loosing anything other than a load of weight.

    On that basis you ought to be able to just not use the 22T ring at all and just use your 32T? ring and all of your current cassette (and still have slightly easier geearing than 22-21T (F-R)


    I get up hills on my road bike which is obviously lighter and technically easier and I love hills (weird I know) I get off getting to the top climbing hard till I nearly collaspe.

    But on a road cassette? Holy cr*p Batman!

    I’m going to look into this-gets note pad out.


    I use a road cassette 11-25 wit a 22/32/bash guard, no problems. Get up pretty much anything


    Used to run 24 and 36 rings with an 11-28 cassette quite happily. Not sure if you can get 11-28 in 9 speed though….

    What outer ring do you use? If it’s a 32 then I’d go for losing the inner ring and swapping the cassette for a 11-34. If you’re running something bigger, then a 24 or 26 inner ring would be grand.

    Basically, work out the ratio of the lowest gear you use and then find the simplest system which gives you that as a bottom gear.


    Sounds plausible – except that I’m not sure whether going from 22 to 26T may be too big a jump – if you are only not using the three largest cogs on the cassette. Maybe going to 24 would be better – don’t know. There are various online gear calculators that you could use to check whether you’d get the range of ratios you want.


    When i gear my bike, i use 36/24 11-34 and suits me fine.

    However, i’m not sure when i’ll ever have gears again.

    Thanks guys, appreciate the advice.

    My other ring is currently a 32t, which is just about ok at the moment, but as I get fitter (which is hopefully happening!) I think I’ll need to put on something bigger.

    The idea of a road cassette is interesting but seems a bit more expensive than putting a 26t on. Is there really much a weight diference and will a road cassette really cut it on the trails?

    In terms of gearing, by putting a 26t on (and I have to correct you here James) I am essentially losing the bottom two gears, putting my new granny gear inbetween that of gear 2 and gear 3 on the current set up. For those of you who are geeks like me:

    Current set up:
    22t – 32 = 0.69
    22t – 28 = 0.79
    22t – 24 = 0.92

    Potential new set up:
    26 – 32 = 0.82
    26 – 28 = 0.93
    26 – 24 = 1.08

    I reckon it should be alright…


    In the good old days of 7 speed, my granny ring was 26 tooth and the cassette was 12-28. I think that was pretty standard.

    Granted, things have come on a little since then…


    I used to ride off road occasionally with a road block and 36/48 chain rings. I think the road block was 13/23 or 11/23, can’t remember. Not really recommended though, it was blimmin hard work and I only used to do 12-15miles max on it, plus I’m not exactly unfit!


    Premier Icon njee20

    Why the extreme shock Zaskar!? A road cassette makes quite a lot of sense. I did it for a while (with a triple), but found myself shifting on the front mech all the time, if that doesn’t bother it may be worth considering. Now use an 11-34 with 30/42 rings, can do more or less anything on it, but not really suitable for anything other than an XC bike.

    I’d have thought if you fit a 26 inner you want to up your other one at the same time, otherwise you’ll have tonnes of overlap of gears. 26/38 perhaps.


    The reason I don’t think a road block is suitable for xc is because there isn’t enough difference between the gears. I found that each time a shidt in gears was required I’d have to go through two or three gears to make it worthwhile.

    go for a 26t ring and stick to the 11-32 like you said & then think about getting a 34 or 36 fior the outer.


    Thanks Keva and Njee, I like your advice. Keva I hadn’t realised a road cassette has such close spacing, but now you’ve told me I’m pretty sure I want to steer away from that. I like my XT cassette. (Oh and kudos to you for riding with those ratios – there’s no way I could handle that!)

    Njee – I hadn’t really thought through the cross-over in gears, I’ll look into that, but it sounds like you’re right and it may well be worth changing up the outer ring at the same time.

    Thanks again, MM


    I run a 38-22 double with a 11-34 cassette, but never use the granny ring as my front mech won’t drop the chain onto it. Doesn’t stop me getting up most stuff either!
    I’d rather walk up the really steep stuff rather than grinding up it at less than walking speed in the granny ring, but that’s just me…

    Premier Icon mboy

    FWIW, there’d be no point in changing to a 26T granny ring if you’re keeping your current 32T middle ring. There just wouldn’t be a big enough ratio gap to justify it. If you want to go the 26T granny route, I’d upgrade to a 36 or a 38T middle ring too, which will of course give you some taller gears at the top end as a side bonus.

    Running 24/36 on one of my bikes currently, with an 11-32 cassette, which for most riding is ideal. I’d suggest if you’re not using your largest 3 cogs on the cassette in the granny ring, you’re either some kind of super human, or you’re a total pedal masher and you could do with learning to spin the pedals more efficiently. That or you’re riding somewhere almost totally flat! Put it this way, I’m not as fit or quick as a lot of people on this forum, but I’m not unfit, and in Wales this weekend, I was certainly wishing for a lower gear than 24/32 on a few occasions!


    Didnt the 7spd cassette range used to be something like 11-28 anyway?

    Currently riding 24t with 11-32, never use biggest sprocket anyway, ‘cos im hard!
    not really, just couldnt get the front mech to stop fouling the chain with a smaller sprocket.

    Lol, I’m in no way super-human(!) but then I don’t honestly think I’m a pedal masher either… I just prefer to go up things a bit quicker, that’s all (I’m not a big fan of climbing!). My road bike is a ss, so I know how to spin! (In fact, I’m pretty good at spinning in harder gears too) I admit that I could take things a bit easier and not have to stop after 5 minutes because I can’t breath though! 😆

    I think a 26t will still give me a gear that’s ‘granny enough’ though, but like you say, I’ll need to up my outer ring too.

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