So... Granny Gear?

Hopefully this question won't make me sound utterly clueless.  I really have no experience modifying bikes.
A while back, a friend was showing me their mountain bike, and mentioned that they had just installed a "granny gear".  He let me try it, and I was rather amazed at how easy it was to peddle through sand and up hill.  True, my feet were rotating about as fast as a ceiling fan, but the bike kept moving, which for me was unique. Typically, in sand or up big hills, I bog down and have to walk.

Is this possible with Rovers?

If possible, how does one go about it?

Thanks!

Comments

  • Ayup.... Like Elrique says we need more info.

    So....

    How strong is your Granny?

    Does she really love you?

    Pay me no mind.... I'm just a wise-@ss!
  • I was thinking that I would like a lower granny gear.  My present low is 17.9 gear inches with the standard rear cassette and the Lasco crankset.  I think the easiest way would be a different cassette on my Rambler GT and if anybody knows off the top of their head it would be Elrique.  Hmmmmmm?  :-?
  • You need to have an established cadence and then tailor your granny gear to the terrain you're riding. Big hills, lower gear. Medium hills less low, no hills no need.
  • edited March 2016
    Well, I wanted advice and I got it.  #:-S  I'll have the LBS look at the cassette and see what they think.  I can't afford a Schlumpf so I'll see what's available.  Gentlemen, thanks for your advice.  I've also put in a note to TT technical services to see what they say.  I'm pretty sure the components (derailleurs) on my GT are tip top quality.

    One thing I'm thinking is that if I had a better granny gear on my long rides I'd be able to conserve some energy on those kick a$$ hills.  Time is not an issue, but energy is.  So far 39 miles has been my max and I'd like to extend that now that spring is coming and I'm in much better shape.

    I'm accustomed to listening to the sound of the chain as I ride.  I particularly listen to shifting to see how smooth I can get it.  I like to hear the purr of the chain passing through the tubes.  I confess, I think I've become addicted to trikes. :x

    Thanks again... Hal
  • edited March 2016

    I still think it is important to have established over time a good cadence/conditioning, one that can be maintained over a number of miles and terrain using a variety of gear changes prior to going out and buying new sprockets, gears, cranks etc. for hills or other purposes. A lot of this stuff gets expensive real quick so again train, train some more and then evaluate what is the next plateau you want to explore.

    Depending on the hill(s) a person wants to challenge will also drive what your gear requirement will be. Some experimenting required. Are they steep or gradual ?

    I ride in a very hill terrain and have the 27 speed ( 30/42/52 front  &  11-39 rear) supplied with a Zoomer Elite plus the 26 rear wheel. There is no way i can climb at the rate my wife does with her carbon Trek Madone which has a granny gear tailored to her training but I can still maintain a cadence with what I have and get to the top.

    ed

  • I should have been more clear in my opening post.  I do not currently own a Rover.  Hope to cure that Monday, if I can find an LBS with one in stock.  I live in Central Florida, so our hills are not very pronounced.  Still, after my two Rover test drives, I thought it might be a good option to change the gearing a bit.  To give you an idea on how clueless I am on this topic, I didn't even know that the clump of gear rings in the back was called a cassette.  (Learned something new this day!)  

    Whatever cassette comes factory on the externally geared Rover is what I will have.  I was wondering if, with the factory cassette, is it possible to remove one rear gear from the cassette and add a bigger one?  Or would it be necessary to replace the whole cassette?

    Sorry for any confusion.
  • I should have been more clear in my opening post.  I do not currently own a Rover.  Hope to cure that Monday, if I can find an LBS with one in stock.  I live in Central Florida, so our hills are not very pronounced.  Still, after my two Rover test drives, I thought it might be a good option to change the gearing a bit.  To give you an idea on how clueless I am on this topic, I didn't even know that the clump of gear rings in the back was called a cassette.  (Learned something new this day!)  

    Whatever cassette comes factory on the externally geared Rover is what I will have.  I was wondering if, with the factory cassette, is it possible to remove one rear gear from the cassette and add a bigger one?  Or would it be necessary to replace the whole cassette?

    Sorry for any confusion.
  • ClanRiffster,

    The base 8-speed Rover with external cassette has a gear-inch range of 24-66. That might be sufficient to your needs as is. If you do need lower gearing (at the cost of higher speed gearing) it would be easier and much, much cheaper to change the front chainring to one with fewer teeth. I would try the Rover with the stock setup then make the determination after you have put some miles on it.
  • It should do fine for you unless you are expecting speeds well over 10 mph.  I have been unable to get it to go much faster than that.  But, I really don't want to.  I love riding and being able to enjoy the scenery.  On a two-wheeler, I was always watching for road hazards that would knock me into a ditch.  On the Rover, I just enjoy the view!
  • Ah, Florida, you know how to make an old codger feel good :-)

    Fastest I've been able to get Honu up to was 12.5mph for about half a block with a good tailwind. A bit twitchy at that speed which may have due to me or the road surface. I keep intending to check the front end toe-in and maybe regrease the king pin bushing but haven't got around to it yet.

    Like you I like to keep a watch for road hazards and enjoy the scenery. Chooglin' along at 7-8mph on the flat is good enough for me. My speed has been improving a bit as I focus more on spinning in lower gears than mashing higher ones. The infinite variation with the Nuvinci certainly helps with that and I am really glad I made the choice to go with it.
  • Ayep... what jamesr said. Or, if you can afford the additional cost, a Rover with the Nuvinci hub will give you a range of 20-72 gear inches out of the box.
  • edited March 2016
    I think the best thing about riding my Rambler GT is that it puts me in the present moment.  The faster I go the less I see and feel.  For me it's the experience.

    I've watched a lot of the GCN videos on YouTube and I've learned the terminology bit by bit. That's another part of the journey into riding or "triking" as I like to express it.  I also enjoy watching the videos by Graham Williams (UK), LogNotching (TN) and dragerclock (CA).  

    And, as soon as I can afford it, I'm going to get a GoPro and start making some videos of our Razorback Greenway trail system.  I'm looking forward to doing that and posting my experiences in my blog.

    The experience of riding and this forum system will expand your horizon's for sure... \:D/
  • Thanks guys!  You've been very gentle to this noob.

    I do have the $$$ for either the external, or the Nuvinci.  I was leaning toward the external, since that's what I'm familiar with, but if the Nuvinci can give me a greater range in both directions, methinks I need to give one a try.  I did a 10 mile test drive on a standard internal, with only one issue.  When I down shifted, it got stuck in low, with 5 miles to go.  The owner of the LBS came out and fixed it in about 10 seconds.  I also did a very short test ride on an external 8, and I was relatively happy with it.

    As I really liked the clean lines of the internal, a Nuvinci is looking more promising.
  • Yes, the Nuvinci does give you a greater range than the internal but more importantly.... there are no jumps between gears. You can "micro-adjust" your gear ratio up or down in real time as momentary terrain and physical conditions require. Your knees will thank you for that.
  • I switched my standard front chainring on my Rover external (38T) to a triple M131 (28/39/48). It gives me that low end when I desperately need it but most of the time I run 7 & * gear on the rear deraileur and 48T on on the front. This was an inexpensive, effective solution for me. 
    1. I did not need to change the bottom bracket. The new triple and cranks fit perfectly
    2. "Cross chaining" is not a problem as the distance from the front to the back sprockets is sof ar this simply not an issue like it would be on a standard 24 speed.
    3. I had intended to install a front post and derailer, but find it is not necessary as I simply grasp- lightly- the top chain tube and quickly and easily shift the chain on the front sprockets up or down.
    Easy mod that works. see my blog www.bentonabudget.blogspot.com
  • Elrique64
    Don't think the 48T is too small as 7/8is what i use on level no tail wind (5/6 with grade and headwing)and actually looking for more only on a downgrade which I will have when I upgrade to 24 rear but that's a whole other topic. See little cross chaining prob including chain tube wear. After all the stock 38 tooth is used to move through all 8 gears.And what about all the other trikes with 8X3 combos

    Moving the chain from ring to ring is very smooth and easy- and clean. You are not touching the chain, just the tube... besides grease is good for you. Will I install a derailer... maybe. But for a gearing mod, this was cheap, easy and effective.

    Just my 2 cents
  • Respectfully disagree. Way to many words. Nuff said. 
  • edited April 2016
    I agree with squirrelpie0 cross chaining on a trike is a non issue! Modern drive trains are designed to be cross chained and given the extra length and chain tube on a trike the angle created by cross chaining is mitigated. I myself out of habit and being a bit old school only use 8 of 10 rear cogs with each front ring and get on average 5000 miles out of a 10 speed cassette chain combo on a race frame with very short chain stays. Many of my riding acquaintances get similar results and they cross chain all the time. I should say that I do not only because I like to have a clear sequence of shifting and feel that cross chaining paints me into a bit of a corner with fewer options for my next shift. Far more important is keeping your drive train clean especially with deraileur systems. if you keep it clean, I mean really clean, you will get many miles especially on a trike with the extra chain. If you a re not cleaning your drive train weekly you are needlessly wearing out expensive components. If you are putting lube on a dirty drive train you are accelerating wear by forcing dirt into your chain. Even if you do not wash the entire trike a weekly a drivetrain scrub with a brush or sponge and dish soap, a rinse and then fresh lube will maximize the life of your components far more than avoiding cross chaining. My weekly scrub takes less than five minutes. Well rewarded by smooth shifting and longer component life.

    As to shifting by derailing the chain manually this does work and poses little risk to the rider. All detailers do is move the chain to the next cog. I tried this out on my Rambler just for fun and it works very well and I was able to ride with a 42, 44t front end sans chain tensioner. I guess resistance in the chain tube took up the slack. 
  • jamesr Since I clean mine weekly every 200-250 miles I use, wait for it, Sacrilege alert, WD40 it drives out moisture so can be applied right after a rinse and is an excellent short term lubricant. The negative is it has a reputation for attracting dirt  but since I clean it every week no worries. 
  • How do you dry a chain that has been soaked in water? I used to use an air compressor.

    As for those doctors.... better to follow hill country advice.... a cup of corn liquor will fix you right up!
  • jamesr, did you know you have an hour to edit your previous post!

    Your conversation brings up one more question.  If a chain gets soaked, how do you get the moisture out of the chain tube?  I avoid water as much as possible but I'm sure you long distance riders run into it all the time.  Will water in the chain tube cause the chain to rust?  Do you have to take the chain off to get it totally dry?
  • I was thinking about it during my ride.  I would put the rear tire on a stool or something so any water in the tube would run out.  Then I'd lube the chain, if needed.  The tubes are great but there can be problems with them.
  • Just worked on my sons campus bike last week. Chain was stiff an rusty from being outside all winter in Madison WI. Hit it with WD40 let it sit for a bit while I looked over the brakes headset and bottom bracket, gave the whole bike a good scrub lubed with T9 my favorite longer term product, adjusted the drive train now the rust is gone and the old Schwinn rides great again. 

    Bikes are designed to perform in the rain but the dirt picked up in a rain storm should be cleaned away as soon as possible.  
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