Touring cranks


Half-step, granny– 50x46x26– although the package pictures a normal triple. A “touring” crankset from a delightful time when bike trips were popular and mountain bikes were simple and rugged. This crank was likely manufactured by Sugino, although branded by Specialized.

I used an 86 BCD SR Apex triple for several years with 50x45x28 tooth chainrings. More recently, a 110/74 BCD Sugino triple with 46x40x26 is preferred. Mostly, I use these gears as a wide range double, with an additional overdrive ring for descents and fast paved riding.

Two weeks until departure and there is so much to do. Servicing a family of bikes is on the list. A svelte, silver square-taper Specialized crank gets one project rolling.




8 thoughts on “Touring cranks

  1. Love the scan of the old page with cranks. (70’s vintage, I’m guessing.) The bike books of that era were very obsessive with gearing, especially since the maximum option for most was 2 in the front, 5 in the rear. One book I read even suggested having a triple in front was overkill! Ah, how we’ve changed!

    Like the look of that old Specialized/Sugino crankset. Just got a very retro looking Sugino XD 500T (46-36-24). So far I’ve been happy with it!

    • I could ride with a double, but I enjoy a range of riding from fast paved riding to challenging climbs on dirt. For me, a triple is the only way to do this. I don’t know how they did it with those old racing doubles. That’s probably why the English used to fit everything into a Carradice bag.

  2. Yeah. I think it’s also why “touring” during the pre Bikecentennial era generally meant “inn-to-inn”, so you didn’t have to worry about the bulky camping equipment of the time. Though people back then did do their share of bike camping. I love this journal on Crazy Guy on a Bike about camping/touring in Northern Ireland in the 50s/60s. They did it with quite the lack of funds and equipment. They had to make do with single speeds!
    ” A single cottered chain set and an 18 tooth freewheel on 27in wheels gave a gear of 69in, which had to suffice for all terrain.”

    • Beautiful . I’m inspired to vigorous cycling and lightweight travel. Long days in the saddle for the joy of cycling are what I live for, anymore. I feel the “joy of cycling” in these photographs. I think the Ray Jardine inspired backpacking movement is beneficial to bike packers, but traveling light is many decades old. The French and the English in particular had it figured out.

    • Playing with gears on the Pugsley. I removed the middle to move the outer ring inward. Now, I’m riding with a 44-22 by 11-32 cassette on 29″ wheels. Works for now, especially with the inboard position of the 44t ring. A 42t might be better, however.

        • I may play with the gearing, but I think it will work well in this particular situation. Considering that the stock rings were 44x32x22, I wasn’t using the middle ring now that the snow is gone. With a wide-range cassette and the 44t ring, I can stay in one ring most of the time. The 22T is a little excessive, but a suitable bailout. It, or a 24T ring will remain for upcoming adventures.

          My other thought is to make a more useable middle ring, and an overdrive outer, as I did before. What I wanted by switching to a double was to make the most usable chainring the one in the middle position, rather than cross-chaining heavily, or wearing out my small cogs in the 32t ring.

  3. The shifting is acceptable. I have used traditional unshaped front derailleurs on most of my touring bikes, paired with standard chainrings without shifting aids. I’ve never had issues with these ssystems when using friction shifting, especially with modern chains.

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