Help with lowest bike packing gear ratios for bikepacking

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  • Help with lowest bike packing gear ratios for bikepacking
  • flanagaj
    Member

    My lowest gear on my 3 x 10 29er with Maxxis 2.4 Ikon tyres is 22 / 36 which equates to 0.68

    Fully loaded and on steep climbs I really would like to be able to have another gear as I would rather crawl up slowly than be walking.

    Just wonder what options might be available if I was to move to a 2 x 11

    Is there an off the shelf setup that would give me a lower ratio of 0.69 or a combination that people are using out there?

    Thanks

    Premier Icon paladin
    Subscriber

    Could just change cassette for 10 speed 11-42 ?

    PJay
    Member

    Could just change cassette for 10 speed 11-42 ?

    Your rear mech’s Total Capacity could be the limiting factor here (although I’m not sure quite what happens if you exceed this). The Low Cog Maximum might also be an issue, although it seems that folk are pushing well beyond this successfully in a lot of cases.

    flanagaj
    Member

    That’s interesting. I didn’t even think you could get a 11-40 cassette.

    Has anyone used one with a 22/30/40 triple chainset?

    Premier Icon swanny853
    Subscriber

    12s 10-50 cassette with a 32t chainring would drop your whole gear range a little. 30/50 would be by a lot. (I have a 30t chainring on my xc bike and it’s a rare day I don’t find 30/10 a high enough top gear, other may differ).

    Alternatively I think surly do a crankset with extra small sprockets?

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    I’d stick with 2×10 for bikepacking, the extra weight is a killer sometimes so having a range of granny gears is nice rather than being permanently in bottom gear. 22-40 should get you up pretty much anything you can balance on and give a better chain line on normal climbs. At the other end a bash rings more useful as you can’t hop over obstacles!

    Standard long cage mech should work on a double, the problem with triples is capacity, (44-22) + (40-11) = 51, most mechs will only do upto 41 or 43 as it’s defined by the sweep of the cage back and forth.

    That said my last trip was on 33-20 singlespeed!

    whitestone
    Member

    My main bikepacking bike (Cotic Solaris) is 1×10 with 30T front and 11-40T at the back so a lowest ratio of 0.75 – I hardly ever use it, 30/36 will be my usual bottom gear which is 0.84 or thereabouts but I’ll be standing on the pedals on this. Generally if I can’t ride up something it’s something I wouldn’t be able to ride no matter how low a ratio I had. My Salsa Spearfish is 1×11 30T front with 11-42T rear so a ratio of 0.71. My wife has 30T with an 11-46T cassette on her Stooge which is her main bikepacking bike.

    As above, the capacity of the rear derailleur will be your limiting factor. I’ve found that Shimano especially are somewhat conservative with their maximum sprocket sizings and you can usually push at least a couple of teeth more than what’s stated without maxing out the b-screw.

    Spinning out – just got back from a ride on the Spearfish, there was a 2km steady downhill on the road so I tried to spin out. I was just about spinning out at 46kmh, a headwind and a shallowing slope conspired against me so I possibly could have got to 48kmh.

    Fully loaded? TLS

    PJay
    Member

    problem with triples is capacity, (44-22) + (40-11) = 51, most mechs will only do upto 41 or 43

    Shimano T (Trekking) designation mechs. have a 47 tooth capacity with a 22 tooth front difference (T8000 – XT & T6000 Deore); they’re designed to run 11-36 cassettes with a 48, 36 , 26 triple (although I’ve got a T6000 & a 44, 32, 22 triple).

    They’re only designed for a maximum low cog of 36 but it seems that it’s possible to push low cogs well beyond the supposed limits of a lot of mechs.

    The OP’s triple, like a lot of 10 speed triples, only has a 40 tooth big ring, so a 47 tooth capacity T mech might work with the above proviso of its supposed low cog maximum (40-22)+(40-11) = 47 (as with my earlier post, I’m not sure what happens if you try to ride a mech. on a setup that exceeds its capacity).

    The T mechs. are 10 speed only & not clutch equipped if that’s a problem.

    flanagaj
    Member

    So with the Shimano T mech I could in theory run a 36/24 double with a 11-46 as that equals 47

    I was also wondering whether the same could be achieved by using a GoatLink?

    That would give me a 0.58

    PJay
    Member

    So with the Shimano T mech I could in theory run a 36/24 double with a 11-46 as that equals 47

    The T8000/6000 are designed to run with triples & no more than a 36 tooth low cog on the cassette. There are plenty of folk on here that have pushed rear mechs. well beyond their low cog. maximum capacity (sometimes just as they are or with a longer B screw or something like a Goat link) but a double & a low cog that’s 10 teeth over the max. might be pushing it a bit.

    I suppose that it could work and I’m about as far from an expert as it’s possible to get, but I’d have thought that sticking with the triple & trying an 11-40 would be more likely to work; 22×40 is pretty low plus you don’t lose any high gears.

    hollyboni
    Member

    I’ve heard that the pull ratio difference between 10spd and 11spd MTB rear derailleurs is so small that you can mix them. Is that true? If yes, there is the XT M8000 long cage RD which according to even the factory specs can run a 40-30-22 with an 11-40.

    https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/product/component/deorext-m8000/RD-M8000-SGS.html

    PJay
    Member

    I didn’t even know that that existed and it certainly looks interesting! It looks like there are a range of doubles that’ll work with 11-42 too.

    No longer a current product but pretty recent so a good chance of finding stock!

    hollyboni
    Member

    I think you’d have a harder time finding stock of the current generation groupsets… 😀 As far as I know only XT and XTR had triples in this generation, M7000 also had a double option with the 11-42 and front rings with a 10T difference. And of course in theory Shimano has 2×12 groupsets now.

    flanagaj
    Member

    If yes, there is the XT M8000 long cage RD which according to even the factory specs can run a 40-30-22 with an 11-40.

    If that is the case then that means that mech can do a max of 47 teeth?

    Which therefore means I could run a 11-46 with a 36/24 eg 35 + 12 = 47

    The former gives a lowest ratio of 0.61, but the later would be 0.58

    I think I’m understanding that correctly?

    hollyboni
    Member

    If that is the case then that means that mech can do a max of 47 teeth?

    Which therefore means I could run a 11-46 with a 36/24 eg 35 + 12 = 47

    The former gives a lowest ratio of 0.61, but the later would be 0.58

    I think I’m understanding that correctly?

    The capacity is 47T, but check the link, it’s all there. Shimano says (again, link) that the biggest cassette you can run in a 2×11 setup is an 11-42, and you can only use the 11-46 with a single ring. No idea why that is. I’m sure people have pushed these RDs, do a bit of research (can’t help you more than that, sorry!)

    oreetmon
    Member

    New 29er hardtail last week.

    I’ve gone 1×46 thinking it will help me become a climbing god.

    Disappointed,

    The gear range is just like I had on the last bike except I’ve got a massive low gear with nowt in between .

    Didn’t research it before buying cassette but I would of liked a bit more of a smooth transition between. Gap between Second last and top ( what ever that may be) is huge and I’m either using it to effect or crawling in biggest ring,,,,, I’ll get used I suppose.

    Might try a 34 up front to see if better.

    I haven’t got a clue 😁

    flanagaj
    Member

    The capacity is 47T, but check the link, it’s all there. Shimano says (again, link) that the biggest cassette you can run in a 2×11 setup is an 11-42, and you can only use the 11-46 with a single ring. No idea why that is. I’m sure people have pushed these RDs, do a bit of research (can’t help you more than that, sorry!)

    Yes. I didn’t quite follow the logic on that page as their 11-42 setup with a 34/22 would give you 43 which is obviously not 47 teeth.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Didnt they offer a wider double 24/38?

    flanagaj
    Member

    Didnt they offer a wider double 24/38?

    Yes, but I am more interested in getting the lowest possible ratio. A 14 difference on the front means I have to reduce the rear range.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Subscriber

    I bike packed the Hebridean way. Fully loaded panniers, seat pack, frame bag, bar bag.

    Did it on a 44t single ring crankset and an 11-40 cassette. Got up everything bar one short steep climb that forced me to push

    Premier Icon tonto
    Subscriber

    Oreetman – sunrace cassettes have more progression

    whitestone
    Member

    @flangaj – The 47T max capacity figure is just for the 3×11. I’ve only ever gone past the Low Sprocket Max value on 1x systems, I don’t know how the derailleur would handle that on 2x or 3x setups.

    I’ve just run some setups through Sheldon Brown’s gear calculator. Currently your setup gives a lowest Gear Inch value of 17.7, swapping your cassette out for an 11-40 drops that to 15.9GI. That’s chuffin’ low! My lowest is 20.7 and that can feel like I’m doing an impression of the roadrunner from the cartoons. When you get down to those sort of values you are expending as much effort in keeping upright as moving forward.

    As per my previous post, just how much stuff are you taking? A summer setup for this country should be under 5kg before food, that’s without spending silly money on super lightweight kit or forgoing comfort.

    flanagaj
    Member

    swapping your cassette out for an 11-40

    I have the M781 XT SGS mech and I think I might have read somewhere that I’d need a different mech to run the 11-40 cassette?

    how much stuff are you taking

    I always struggle to go ultra low weight.

    Tent = 1.4kg
    Sleeping bags + matt = 1.4kg
    Cooking equipment = 450g
    Clothing + waterproofs = 2.5kg

    I’d be keen to see what a 5Kg setup consists of as I might learn something. Is that including the weight of the bags?

    The last trip was a fair bit more as I was in the Alps and therefore I had waterproof clothing + merinos + warm down jacket + warm cycling gear.

    whitestone
    Member

    Yep, including bags. I’ll do a list in the morning for you but roughly by category:

    1.2kg for tarp, pole, quilt and mat
    1kg for harnesses and bags
    1kg for clothing
    500g for tools and spares
    500g for electricals
    200g for cooking kit.

    All standard retail kit with one or two homemade items.

    All these specialist bits of kit are great…. till they break and they never break when you are at home or outside your LBS.
    I tend to ride Shimano xt 2×10 with a 22 small ring and an 11/36 cassette; you get reliability, can get spare parts anywhere in the world, up-spec or down-spec if needed and with that ratio, if you’re going any slower or up anything that steep, you are better off walking – it gives your legs a rest!

    whitestone
    Member

    OK, here we go. This is what I took on a recent overnighter in the Yorkshire Dales. I wouldn’t add much more for an extra night or two, the main things then would be more fuel for the stove and food. The weights are after I’ve made any modifications and rounded up to the nearest 5g.

    Shelter.

    Trekkertent cuben fibre tarp – 140g
    Bearbones carbon fibre pole and pegs – 115g (the bike acts as the other “pole”)
    Exped Winterlite mat – 405g (could go a lot lighter for summer – I’ve used this in arctic winter conditions)
    Cumulus 150 quilt – 365g
    Borah Gear bivy bag – 170g
    Sea2Summit inflatable pillow – 100g

    Total – 1295g

    Clothing.

    merino top and bottom for sleeping – 400g
    PHD down jacket – 175g
    spare socks – 50g
    Lightweight waterproof carried in back pocket – 125g
    Microfibre towel – 50g

    Total: 800g

    Electricals

    Garmin Oregon – 210g
    Exposure Joystick – 90g
    Moon rear light – 50g
    Spare AA batteries for Garmin – 50g
    iphone – 125g

    Total: 525g

    Tools & spares

    Hacked toolkit and spares – 130g
    Topeak chain tool – 40g
    Tubolito spare inner tube – 90g
    Topeak pump – 150g
    Leatherman Squirt pliers – 50g
    Sewing kit – 30g

    Total: 490g

    Cooking.

    Alpkit Mytimug 650 with homemade beer can stove and windshield, lighter and pan scrub – 140g
    Collapsible mug – 50g
    Spork – 10g
    MSR Trailshot water filter – 160g

    Total: 360g

    Bags.

    Alpkit Gnaro – 220g
    Wildcat Tiger harness and dry bag – 275g
    2 x Revelate feed bags – 200g
    Alpkit top tube bag – 80g

    Total – 775g

    That’s a total of 4245g. There’s fuel and food to add to that, I reckon on 100g of meths per day if we make use of cafes. Food obviously varies but will typically have 1kg of trail and breakfast food. Also missing toiletries and First Aid Kit but those are less than 200g total.

    Have gone with a tarp setup which is what we usually use. The Trekkertent is expensive, almost £1/g! but there are cheaper, heavier alternatives like the Alpkit Rig3.5. If we decide to use a tent (Big Agnes Copper Spur) then that weighs 1500g but we split it between us so 750g but then I don’t need the tarp, pole or bivy bag so it only adds 325g to the above.

    The above list might seem minimalist but we are pretty comfortable when using it and rarely wishing for more kit. My bivy kit for races is a total of 900g by way of example (lighter mat, lighter bivy bag, no pillow) and there’d only be the filter from the cooking group.

    philjunior
    Member

    Go 2×10, 11-42.

    I find bikepacking (even just one nighters) for some reason lends itself to a bit less effort up hills, and a lower gear is worthwhile even if you are superlight.

    There are 10s rear mechs that will work with 11-42, if yours has plenty of life left go for a goatlink or similar. (you can get 11-42 working by moving the plastic spacer from behind the B tension adjustment screw but it gives poor chain wrap in the smaller sprockets and the chain will therefore slip under power even when fairly new).

    If you go 12s, at least go for a 28 front (my GF doesn’t bikepack but runs a 24T front 10-50 and doesn’t feel the need for a bigger high gear)

    flanagaj
    Member

    Cheers all regarding the weights and the gear tips. I definitely can cut down on the clothing. I take camp clothing, t-shirt, underwear, cords .. but I suppose on reflection I have seen people just wear their waterproof trousers.

    I could have also ditched the leg warmers as the waterproof trousers would be ideal for cold too.

    whitestone
    Member

    Try and pack items that do more than one job – thermals are both camp wear and pyjamas that help prevent body oils getting into your sleeping bag.

    After your next trip make a pile of the kit you didn’t use. Don’t take that kit pile on the trip after that.

    flanagaj
    Member

    After your next trip make a pile of the kit you didn’t use. Don’t take that kit pile on the trip after that.

    The incorrect travel charger, the 2 mobile phone chargers, waterproof socks …

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