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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #1
OK so I've been checking out other bikes, and if there's one thing I would like on a new one, is at least one, preferably two higher gears than my current bike offers. I have a Crosstrail with Altus 21 speed. Front rings are 48/38/28. 98% of all the other bikes Ive been checking out have the same teeth count on front rings. Even going down the slightest declines, I'm spinning way fast in seconds, I can't keep up, I reach my peddling speed limit in no time... I want higher gears, so my question is this. If I get another bike with the same front rings, but 24 or 27 speeds instead of 21 will I get 1 or 2 higher gears than I currently have? Or do I just get more gears in between the highest and lowest gears I already have?

I want to go faster, and of all the hybrid type bikes I've researched, only two that I saw had a bigger chain ring than 48. One bike had a 50, and another had a 52. I think both bikes were Kona's which I like alot, but were way up there in price. Thanks for any info. I'm looking for a faster lighter more aggressive hybrid.
 

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A small cog with one less tooth will increase your top gear by a similar amount as adding four teeth to your large chainring. If you switch your stock 13-34 cogset with an 11-28 (two less teeth), you'll increase your high gear by 15%. You would have to change your 48 tooth chainring to a 55 to effect a similar increase in your top gear ratio. Changing from 48 to 52 is a 8% increase.

Amazon.com: Shimano 7-Speed Cassette with 11-28 Teeth: Sports & Outdoors
 

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Oops, I just noticed the Crosstail uses a freewheel rather than a freehub cassette. I don't think 7 speed freewheel with a cog smaller than 13 teeth is available.

Have you considered a road bike? :D
 

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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #4
qmsdc15 said:
Oops, I just noticed the Crosstail uses a freewheel rather than a freehub cassette. I don't think 7 speed freewheel with a cog smaller than 13 teeth is available.

Have you considered a road bike? :D
Road bike? Not really, although I do get slightly flustered when they pass me going up a incline like I'm standing still lol.

But I wonder if I could get this answered ... if I get another bike with the same chain rings as I have now, but with 24 or 27 speeds instead of my current 21 speed, will I get one or more higher gears than I have now? If the answer is yes to this question than that will really open up alot of choices for me as lots of hybrid style bikes have that. If the answer is no, my choices in the hybrid area are minimal at best, and my only options may have to be road bikes, which I'm not terribly interested in. I guess I'm looking for a road(ish) type bike with flat bars, with similar if not total road gearing.
 

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It depends on the number of teeth on the cogset, if you get a cogset with 11 and 12 tooth cogs, you will have two gears that are higher than your current 13. The difference between the 11 and the 13 will be slightly greater then the differences between your 13 and 15, so in that sense you will be gaining a little more than 1 gear . So you see, it depends on how you look at it, whether it's one or two. The difference between 11 and 13 is 15%. The difference between 13 and 15 is 13%. Changing from a 48 chainring to a 52 is a change of about 12%. Changing your top gear from a 48x13 to a 52x11 will increase your top end by 27% which is equal to two additional gears if we define a gear by the gaps in your current gearing.

You should work on spinning. If you can spin 100rpm, which shouldn't be too difficult with some practice, you will be going 30 mph with your current top gear. 48x11 at 100rpm will get you to 35mph. 52x11 with the same pedalling cadence, 38mph.
 

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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info. But it would alot of practice for me to spin that fast! I mean I'm spinning like crazy at 25 mph, and that's is very short spurts. I can't imagine spinning a steady 30mph with my current gearing, no way. But now I'm wondering if my bike computer speedometer is accurate. I've never seen it hit 30mph yet, and that's going down some pretty steep albeit short hills pedaling fast as I can... it got to 28/29mph a couple of times.

Anyways, whatever my next bike is it will have one or two taller gears, otherwise, I don't really see the point of getting another bike if my biggest objective is to go a little faster. I could spend more on a nicer bike that has better components, lighter ect, but if that means I'm just able to accelerate faster to the same top speed I achieve now its not worth it to me. Might as well just keep the bike i have. Again, I appreciate your take on this! ;?)
 

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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #7
Just checked my friends new bike out. He got a Kona Dew Plus off of CL for 350 bucks. Last years model, like brand new, great deal. He has the same 48/38/28 front chain rings, but its a 24 speed Deore. I counted the teeth on his smallest rear gear... 11 teeth to my 13. Looks like he'll have the edge over me in the top end speeds. Nice bike, lighter than mine, disc brakes. I'm the one that told him about that deal... I'm thinking I should have went for it!
 

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Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
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Look at A Fuji Absolute the gear is more on the road side, thay call it a flat bar road bike. I don't know what gear thay are useing today but mine is 50-39-30 with 11-28 I think
 

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Working in your cadence is harder than just buying new gear, but much more effective.
Mr. Hack has given you the scoop. If you are small to average height, shorter cranks may also improve your cadence. A higher cadence is also easier on your knees vs. higher crank resistance.

BobH.
 

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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #11
qmsdc15 said:
A small cog with one less tooth will increase your top gear by a similar amount as adding four teeth to your large chainring. If you switch your stock 13-34 cogset with an 11-28 (two less teeth), you'll increase your high gear by 15%. You would have to change your 48 tooth chainring to a 55 to effect a similar increase in your top gear ratio. Changing from 48 to 52 is a 8% increase.

Video Link: http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-7-Speed-Cassette-11-28-Teeth/dp/B003EQ71OA/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_6
Thanks for the link. I went looking at other bikes at the LBS and told the owner about higher gearing... he actually had that same cassette in the link you supplied. I'm really looking and researching other bikes but maybe Ill try that cassette on my current bike to see how it does. The only downside is I lose the giant "MegaDrive" super low cog which is great for going up really steep stuff. Can't have it all I guess...
 

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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #12
wild said:
Look at A Fuji Absolute the gear is more on the road side, thay call it a flat bar road bike. I don't know what gear thay are useing today but mine is 50-39-30 with 11-28 I think
Thanks, I have looked at the Fuji hybrid bikes per your recommendation... they look nice indeed, and do have higher gearing options. I will definitely consider them . I assume you're happy with yours? Have you reviewed it here somewhere?
 

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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #13
As far as "working on my cadence" I do understand the philosophy of this, but there has to be a point where upgrading to a better bike is the thing to do... my friend loves his new Kona Dew Plus, he says its "sick fast" but remember he's coming from a cheapo Costco bike and hes only been biking for about a year. I'm wondering what his reaction would be if I told him to sell the Kona, get his money back and work on cadence and pedaling faster on the old bike that is geared lower... I don't think I have to say what his response would be! My cadence must be faster than his though, because with the same gearing, I pull away from him on the flats, and being 57 years old, I'm 11 years his senior. By the way, I can do 100rpm, but not all day long by any means. I'm just happy be able to do 20+ miles with include some good hills without much problem. Ive said it before,and Ill say it again, My Crosstrail is a decent bike, it certainty has the lower gears covered for just about any hill around here, but it lacks at least one taller gear for declines and smooth flats, and I'm not changing my mind on that...
 

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11-34T freewheel sprocket - 7 spd

11-34T freewheel sprocket - 7 spd - $31



11-34T freewheel sprocket - 8 spd - $34




I did much searching to find these items.
My first eaBike (electric assist Bike) had a 14-28T 7spd.
Top motor speed was 16mph, but I did simple mods that increased speed to 20, then, 23, then 27, then 30+ mph.
With 44F - 14R sprockets, pedal assist speed was somewhere above 20mph, but not nearly, fast enough.
Feeling that the Assist was vital, for me, I was joyous to find these.
With the 44T front - 11T rear I can maintain 30 mph - my eaBike target speed.(rpm 90+ ?)
 

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... I'm really looking and researching other bikes but maybe Ill try that cassette on my current bike to see how it does...
Well, as soon as I recommended that cogset, I realized it won't fit your rear hub. I maybe should have deleted the post, instead I wrote a follow up which attempted to explain that you need a freewheel, not a freehub cassette, unless you buy a new rear wheel (or a new wheelset).

The only freewheels I could find all had 13 tooth small cogs. I've never heard of Long Yih freewheels, but apparently Vibiker is using one with no problems, and they do have the low and high gears you want (11-34). Might be worth a try.

When I suggested you could go 30mph with your current gearing by spinning 100 rpm, I was just trying to illustrate that your gearing was probably holding you back less than you think. No, I don't expect you to be able to spin 100 rpm for hours on end, but I don't think you can cruise at 30 mph for hours on end either regardless of your gearing. At a more reasonable 80 rpm, you'll be going 23mph, which is still a speed that most riders cannot maintain for long periods of time. The limiting factor is the engine, not the gearing.

You go faster that your friend although he has a bigger top gear. That should tell you something. 48 x 13 is faster than 48 x 11 in most situations. Yes there maybe times you spin out your 48 x 13, "pedaling air", but you're going at least 30mph at that point. Hey it's OK to stop pedaling and coast sometimes. :D
 

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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks again for the interesting replies, I appreciate and try to learn from this. qmcds15, I'm not sure I understand the difference between free wheel and free hub? You seem to think that I need a different wheel to change cassettes? Reason why I ask is because the owner of the LBS I bought my Crosstrail from found a 7 speed cassette at the shop with a 11 tooth cog that he said would work on my bike no problem, even quoted me the price of the gears and installation. Everything including tax out the door would be 42 bucks. Or maybe he's wrong and not thinking right?

As far as me pulling away gradually from my friend on the flats, this is when he had his old bike with identical gearing to mine... not his new bike... I suspect that will change when I ride with for the first time on his new lighter bike with the higher gearing. I expect him to pull away from me now, we'll see soon enough. I'm looking forward to try his bike out to see how it feels, its just what I need to help me make a decision on what I should do. What I really would like is a new better bike, then I couldn't give my Crosstrail to my girlfriend, which would be a huge upgrade for her, and then she could let her son ride her current bike.

Another thing, I'm curious about my Bell cycle computer, and how accurate it is, (or isn't) I go barreling down some good hills, to the point where I'm "peddling air" (your term which I like) and have never got higher than 29 mph in the highest gear... doesn't seem right.
 

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Specialized Crosstrail
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Discussion Starter #19
Vibiker.. thanks a bunch for posting the different cassettes!
 
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