Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Before we get rolling with this week’s TT, thanks for the interesting and helpful comments to last week’s discussion about whether bottles are safe to drink from. For example, Bob Williams shared that Camelbak actually has bottles with nozzle caps in their Dirt Series (https://amzn.to/3cLxRXF) which I didn’t know. And there are more great readers’ tips worth checking out.
If you missed the column and are wondering what could be unsafe about bike bottles, here’s a link to catch up: Are Bicycle Bottles Safe to Drink From?
Phil Shares Some Great Gearing News
This week’s news also comes from a RoadBikeRider reader. His name is Phil Young. He lives and rides in lovely San Diego, California and he’s emailed us a few times about gearing.
Of all the things we cover here, gearing is among the most popular, so I think you’ll like what Phil told us. He’s been wanting to upgrade a Shimano 9-speed road bike to a SRAM eTap 12-speed electronic drivetrain groupset. Or, he might splurge and buy a new bike with the group on it.
The thing holding him back is that they hadn’t yet offered low enough gearing for him. He knew about SRAM’s 1X (single chainring) setup using their wide-ratio 10-50 cassette but it didn’t offer the fine selection of ratios as the smaller double chainrings he was hoping for.
Phil was looking for something like a 25/38 chainring combo with a 10-33 cassette. He felt that that would provide the perfect gearing for club road riding and light touring especially for older and weaker riders. It would offer an easy 20-inch low gear right up to a 101-inch high with fine jumps of 10 to 15% between each shift.
SRAM’s New Force eTap Wider Gearing
Since Phil’s been in the hunt, he noticed this before we did and was only too happy to share the news that SRAM just came out with a Force AXS “Wide” group with 43/30 chainrings and a 10-36 cassette.
Here’s a link to read all about it: https://www.sram.com/en/sram/road/collections/wider-gearing-for-force-etap-axs.
Phil points out that it’s almost exactly what he’s been looking for and he believes it’ll be perfect for lots of other roadies, too. It has a low gear of 23 inches all the way up to an 116-inch high, with reasonable jumps between.
Here’s how the gear charts look:
The 12 cassette cogs are: 10/11/12/13/15/17/19/21/24/28/32/36
On the 30T ring, you get: 22, 25, 28, 33, 38, 42, 47, 53, 61, 66, 72 and 79 inch gears.
While on the 43, it’s 32, 36, 41, 47, 54, 60, 67, 76, 88, 95, 103 and 114.
It’s always nice when readers like Phil let us know about important new product developments like this so that we can spread the news. To learn more about SRAM’s new Force wide group and see all the components and options, here’s a link: https://www.sram.com/en/life/stories/force-etap-axs-wider-gearing-guide.
Ride total: 9,646
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.