Tim wrote:On my few try-out loaded rides I have to admit the 26-32 combination makes for very hard work up any sort of hill.
I've just ordered a 12-36 cassette (Shimano HG61) from Chain Reaction. $35.00 at the moment, not bad price.
Am considering a 24t chainring, probably a steel Stronglight model. I'm just not sure that the Sugino chainring bolts will fit. Failing that I'll probably buy a Sugino 24t aluminium ring off Ebay. I do remember reading that aluminium granny gears wear very quickly so would prefer steel, just not sure of the Stronglight compatability. I wonder if all 74 BCD rings are a standard fit?
No idea on the compatibility. I think you should just give it a try and share your results. Maybe email Noel from Vivente and see what he recommends? 26-32 really isn't low enough when you have 30kg of bike + gear even for pretty small hills.
From another thread where I mentioned I had been suffering serious knee pain on longer rides, RonK recommended a minimum of 22-32 gearing for a loaded touring bike for hills to reduce knee strain. So I'll definitely be looking into this (and other solutions) once I get back to Oz in a couple of weeks. Agonising knee pain every afternoon basically ruined my tour, even after trying to be proactive by getting a bike fit done and seeing a well known podiatrist... I think a 12-36 cassette with a 24T steel chainring should be more sufficient.