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rack admirer
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Hi
I am old and weak and looking to improve mechanical advantage. I ride a 2016 Santa Cruz 5010. Two years ago I changed the single front ring from 32 to 30 and it was like a new lower gear. I could go one change lower to a 28 but I am now looking at the cassette. My lowest rear is 42. I see that I can change to a 46 or 50. I expect that the 46 will feel like one lower gear again. Is 50 too big a jump? There are times during climbs that I am gassed and would like to ease up just a bit and keep momentum. I recognize that I do climb better in a higher gear, but I am being honest about my limits.
I appreciate any knowledge, experience or opinion that you are willing to share.

best regards
 

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I'm old, weak and slow (hence my user name). I run a 28T chain ring with a 10-50 eagle cassette and feel no shame. It's not that useful for tech climbing, but helps a lot just grinding up steep trails.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I have one bike that's geared at a 28t w/ 11-46 cassette and another that's geared with a 30t w/ 10-45 cassette. Wheel & tire size and crank arm length all play roles in how a particular gear combination feels. Along with any rotational weight and overall bike weight to a lesser extent.
 

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Hitching a ride
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A 160 lb rider going up a 10% grade to maintain 90 rpm, 26lb bike:

In a 30-42 will need 220 watts
In a 30-46 will need 198 watts
In a 28-50 will need 168 watts

The absolute numbers will be off a bit but the differences between them will be pretty accurate.
 

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If you’re asking if your cassette jumps will be too much, the answer is nope. Going from 42 to 46 or 46 to 50 isn’t that much a drop, less than 10%. Slap an Eagle 10-50 on there with an absolute Black 28T oval ring.

If you’re asking if that above combo is too low, nope! Everybody’s health, fitness and riding conditions vary. That’s why super low stuff like this exists. I’ve seen a 26t front single ring also (and of course Shimanos new 10-51).
 

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I'm old, dirty and have a busted knee with limited range of motion. My bike has super short cranks (115mm) to cope with the limited ROM and i need a super low gearing to compensate, running a 26T oval chainring with a 10-48 Hope cassette. That gets me over most obstacles. If anything the chainring makes the most difference.

Adjust your bike to your abilities and keep riding, strength and stamina will come as a result.
 

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NedwannaB
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To all, thank you for your informative responses and commiserating. I have some good steps to take. Be well.
Other things to consider while looking into cassetes is what type hub you have, shimano or XD drive. That may determine being able to use one with a 50t. Also whether your rr derailleur will handle that big of a granny cog. Plus you'll need to buy a chain. Least expensive way to go and try something else out is to get a 28t front ring. No need to fuss with anything but shorten your existing chain. 😎👍
 

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I've been sticking with a 28 ring and 42 cog. I either need to loose another 10 lb, get a lower gear, or both. In my mid 60s.
I'm only 52, but I like 28x10-42 on my fat bike and will probably get a 10-46 or 10-48 to try the next time I go to Austria.

I agree with the above though... no shame. Use what you like.
 

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I'm 57 and a weak climber, and run a 28t oval chainring with a 10-48t Garbaruk cassette. The original 10-42 cassette was mostly fine, but I like having that extra lower gear sometimes.

You might also consider a 2x setup. I used to run a 2x10 setup, and I sometimes miss it. The crankset was a triple with the big ring replaced with a bashguard, so it was 22/33/bash. Most riding was in the 33t ring, but that 22t provided a really low granny that was nice to have. It was also nice to be able to just drop to the small ring when you suddenly hit a climb instead of having to shift across the cassette.
 

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Ride a Ripmo, fairly strong climber, bad knees, stay seated, 145 lbs, gx cassette 10/50 race face turbine cranks with a 26 tooth chainring, use it if I need it, would not want to live without it, lots of steep climbs where I live, climb about 15,000 feet a week
 

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Big part of it is bike dependant...

On my 160mm FS 29er, it came with 30t chain ring and 11-50t NX cassette.

I (mistakenly) tried a 32t Oval CR o_0

Could/should have gone 30t Oval CR (& likely will at some point)

Now running a 28t Oval ring up front. 28/50 acts as my bail out gear for steep/pinchy climbs.

On my 29" 140mm AM HT, I get away with 30t Oval + 11-42t Cassette.

I'm slowly making the HT heavier, so I'll likely need Eagle on it sometime soon ;-)

Or at least 30/11-46.

PS - I'm strong at technical climbing, but suck on long grinder climbs >.<

'Born to ride!'
 

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I am a very fit rider. Even I go with a 28t on Eagle sometimes. Nothing wrong with gearing down.

Best off gearing for the majority of the riding you do. If you only need top speeds on occasion, but climb a lot, then gear for that climbing.
 

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FWIW: The smallest official SRAM Eagle ring is 30t round and 32t oval. I guess SRAM figured anybody worthy of their groupset wouldn't need smaller. Of course that doesn't stop you from using other smaller rings.
 

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I'm old, weak and slow (hence my user name). I run a 28T chain ring with a 10-50 eagle cassette and feel no shame. It's not that useful for tech climbing, but helps a lot just grinding up steep trails.
I'm getting older (mid-40's) and a diesel climber (slow, but I can go a long time). I still run a 2x10 setup...but I've been thinking of switching for the simplicity / easier maintenance and the lack of a need for a really big, fast gear...should I do this? For those who feel they are older/slower who have switched...was it worth it, or was it just what was offered on the bike you wanted?
 
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