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Back into MTB riding / SoCal - A few questions

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3/26/2021 9:26 AM

Very quick background... Grew up riding and racing motocross (10+ years). Knocked my head too many times. Got into mountain bike riding on a Felt Virtue 2016? (3 Years). Had a kid, life had some changes, sold the mtn bike. Had a Harley for a while... not as thrilling as dirt riding so sold it. Kid is now old enough to ride some real trails on a mountain bike, got him a lightly used CO-OP bike to start out with, wife just got her first real mountain bike (Marin) and I picked up a used Specialized.

Bike:
2011 Specialized Pitch - Upgraded everything, bike seems like its well beyond my skill level and the previous owner was crazy meticulous about maintenance.

The bike rides great, fits well, no complaints.. except the gearing. it is set up as a 1x9, with 36 teeth on the chain ring and something tall to 36 (low) in the back. I want to do some climbing, nothing crazy since it is going to be family oriented, but the bike seems geared to tall.

First thought is change the chain ring to a 34... the lowest I can go, current is 36 Renthal sprocket. Crankset: https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/product/component/zee-m640/FC-M640.html

Will this be enough to pull up some hills or is it a weak band-aid and I need a new rear cassette. Old motocross logic is 1 tooth in the front equals 3 in the rear....

Or do I change the rear cassette to something with the big old climbing gear? Would I need to chaneg the de-railer? Sram x7 https://www.chainreactionga.com/product/sram-x7-9-speed-rear-derailleur-185094-1.htm

Do I do both? I like the 1x in the front setup as my old felt was a 3x9 and I never touched the front shifter unless I was cruising the beach on an off day.

Any input is appreciated, thanks!

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3/26/2021 11:19 AM
Edited Date/Time: 3/26/2021 11:22 AM

Good to hear you and the family are enjoying biking together.

I believe the Zee crankset uses a 104 bcd chain ring. You can get down to a 30t in aftermarket chain rings. There's the $15-$20 ones on Amazon & eBay and $45-$60 offerings from RaceFace, OneUp, Wolftooth, etc.. Personally, I've never had any problems using the inexpensive chain rings.

You might buy a 30t & 32t and see what works out the best for your riding.


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3/26/2021 11:46 AM

kwapik wrote:

Good to hear you and the family are enjoying biking together.

I believe the Zee crankset uses a 104 bcd chain ring. You can ...more

The specs on the Zee crankset says it only goes down to a 34T or is that whats offered stock?

Yes its a 104BCD, so possibly any 104BCD chainring will work?
Would I just need to shorten the chain my a few links?

THANKS!

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3/26/2021 1:55 PM

1 tooth = 3 only works as an estimate on motorcycles, because the gearing is something like 14/50; 14 goes into 50 3+ times. Your bike is 36/36 in its lowest gear, so the ratio is 1:1, not 3:1.

I'd do as Kwapik suggests and try a few front chainrings.

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3/26/2021 5:27 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/26/2021 5:33 PM

Correct...actual factory Shimano Zee chain rings are only available down to 34t. And yes, any 104 bcd will work for you. The narrow wide versions will help with chain retention.

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