Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 41 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
2,358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
On my gravel bike, I'm currently running Ultegra, 2x11 (SH RD-8000, long cage GS) 50/34 with an 11-34 cassette. That 34/34 low gear isn't enough. On long, steep climbs, I feel like I'm walking up stairs. This weekend, I did 47 miles and 6,000' of elev. gain and kept saying "Need. More. Gear." with each slow pedal stroke.

Without swapping the crank and rear derailleur, what are my options? I don't think a 32t chainring is an option. So, that points me to the rear. Am I correct in thinking I can squeeze an 11-36 (assuming I can find one) in there with only replacing the chain?

I'm not opposed to using a Wolftooth RoadLink if that's part of the solution.

just because posts are always better with pics... even when they're irrelevant
Tire Wheel Car Land vehicle Bicycle

... and yeah, I ruin every crank on the first ride.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No, a 26" rear wheel will lower your gearing a lot! ...maybe a 27.5?
Oh. No. Thanks though. I don't want to go smaller than 700c. I'm already feeling like I'm asking too much from the 40mm 700c package. I've burp-flatted a few times and broken a couple spokes. It would seem I need to slow down or save the fast rocky descents for the mtn bike.
 

· 'brifter' is f'ing stupid
Joined
·
15,918 Posts
If you want your derailleur to work correctly you have no option other than a smaller crank/chainrings. You might get an 11-36 to work but you'd have to try it to see. Do NOT use a Wolf Link. It says right on their site that they don't work for applications like this. They do allow a larger big cog but then the upper pulley is further away from the smaller cogs and they don't do anything to make the pulley cage longer to increase chain wrap, which is definitely needed when going to larger cassettes. The easiest/cheapest option is to just not ride those hills.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
25,237 Posts
So, that points me to the rear. Am I correct in thinking I can squeeze an 11-36 (assuming I can find one) in there with only replacing the chain?
Give it a shot. You can usually get an extra tooth or two above the Shimano Spec.

I'm not opposed to using a Wolftooth RoadLink if that's part of the solution.
I don't think so. Wolftooth says you can't exceed the RD capacity, which is 39T. A 36T cassette would put you at 41T capacity.
They are really designed for 1x Cranks and then you can exceed the RD max sprocket and be within the capacity.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
2 MPH????? You could get off and walk faster?
it was wet, drizzling/raining, muddy... It was better to stay clipped in and try to keep feet dry(er). The steepest section was definitely slow... but 2mph may be off the mark. GPS speed in the woods, with switchbacks, cloud cover, etc. is often off a bit.

This was at the bottom (still in the clouds) of one of the descents. The campers (truck) were conveniently parked right where one us flatted. They offered water, paper towels...
Tire Land vehicle Wheel Vehicle Plant
 

· Banned Sock Puppet
Joined
·
17,407 Posts
@tlg @cxwrench that's great feedback. Thanks!

CXWrench, you may be right about those hills. I went back and looked at the profile where I was pedaling squares. It steep and sloppy.

View attachment 485703
WTF! There is no way I could ride up a hill at less than 4mph without losing balance. 21% for longer than a couple of seconds would have me walking. 15% is about all I can sustain for any length of time.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,926 Posts
I'm pretty sure that 21% was more of a spike than a constant. It was steep but easily ridable. Well, technically easy... ish. Okay, it sucked for a bit.
Looks like 1,800 feet change from mile 21 to 27, that’s an unrelenting 6%, more if you count the small dips you encounter.

When I used to ride from my house, half of my rides had a 19% grade at the end near my house. That would show on the Garmin for about three seconds, was probably an average 12% ramp over 125 meters.
 

· Banned Sock Puppet
Joined
·
17,407 Posts
Back to solving the problem. I agree with @cxwrench that your only option is a different crankset like the 30/46 that @Catmandoo suggested. Your existing setup is already 2 teeth over Shimano's conservative rating. An 11-36T would take you up to 4 teeth over which would either bind in large-large or go slack in small-small.

Forget the Wolftooth. The Wolftooth may solve the problem of derailleur geometry, but it can't give you more chain wrap than your derailleur cage can handle. That's like trying to turn water into wine.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top