Going smaller than a 30T chainring

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Going smaller than a 30T chainring


This topic contains 12 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  kenwrightjr 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #207205

    After Endover’s post last week about upgrading his bike it has fueled my passion expeditiously to upgrade my own. So thanks Endover!

    With that being said, I ride a Specialized FSR Comp 6Fattie. It came stocked with the Stout XC 30T crankset. I’m contemplating going to like a 28T chainring as I’d enjoy a little more assistance climbing. At 53yrs old some of the climbs I come upon begin to look quite daunting.

    My question is this guys: Is going to a 28T chainring enough to help me with this and, besides lighter weight (which I don’t care about) what other benefits or advantages could I expect by making this change?


  • #207208

    All depends on the kind of trail you’re riding. But personally, 28t is too small for me, unless its a fatbike. I swapped my fs with an oval though, a WF 30t, and AB 28t on my fattie . As a mid-age slow rider, Id say give it a try. You are upgrading anyway 🙂

  • #207210

    Here on the Eastern slope of the Continental Divide Where climbs are steep and long, 26t is not uncommon.

  • #207212

    Hahaha.   You got my name almost right.  And you’re welcome.

  • #207217

    Thanks for starting this! I have 2×10 and want to go 1x… to keep the best climbing/descending ratio which size chainring is recommended?? Sorry for halfway jacking your thread… Sorry i’m in the same boat as you so I can’t help! 😀

  • #207228

    I think it depends on what your cassette is, if you are rolling a 34 tooth or smaller you will probably benefit from a smaller chain ring.  I am contemplating converting from 2×10 to 1x and will probably go with a 28 tooth ring up front.  Like you I am mid 50’s and value the ability to spin my way up hills over having top end ratios for down hill.  Good luck!

  • #207244

    Let me know how this works out for you, if you decide to make the change.  I’m right behind you age-wise (about to turn 50) and haven’t run out of lower gears yet on any of the rides I’ve done, but also haven’t faced any huge uphills.  The worst part on one of my normal rides is a mile-long uphill gravel road near the trials at Briar Chapel in Chapel Hill, NC.  It’s down hill on the way in to the trails for me, so uphill on my ride home after blasting around the trails for a couple hours.

    Looks like I have the same bike as you as well, so interested in finding out the details.

  • #207319

    How many teeth are on your biggest cog on the cassette?

    Bumping down two teeth in the front will have a noticeable effect on your climbing. The rule of thumb is 1:2 for chainring vs. cassette. So dropping two teeth in the front is basically the equivalent of adding four teeth to your biggest cog.

    Are your wheels setup tubeless? If not, that would be step one before swapping rings. You may find you don’t need the smaller ring once you convert to tubeless.

  • #207373

    I bought a 1×11 last year (biggest ring in rear was 42) and was concerned about the lower gearing, since it won’t go as low as a 2×10.  Immediately I bought a 30T and it was pretty good.  Still needed just a bit lower.  Found a “dished” or offset 28T from a Canadian company, North Shore Billet, that fit the 64BCD mounting of my SRAM crank.  Only slightly moved the chainline in about 1 mm.  Worked great.  Got the low gear I needed, and still had decent top gear.  (I am 62 years old, BTW.)

  • #207487

    What is your cassette?   And have you tried oval chain ring, ,for me an oval gives me the feel climbing of two teeth less with out giving up actual speed. There are no long climbs around here. I actually run 1×9 with 32t oval and a 11-36t cassette and very seldom use 1st gear.

  • #207500

    My tires have been tubeless Aaron. I know that I am going to be giving up top-end speed in my highest gear but, in reality I never really go there unless Im up for a good hard sprint back to the car. Which is rarely ever cause it’s all I can do to just breathe coming back in.

    My LBS is going to get one and put it on. I’ll try it out and see if it’s beneficial or not. If not, I’ll change back. I’d rather gain climbing ability and sacrifice speed.

  • #207534

    I put a 26t (I do a lot of ascending and I’m not an endurance athlete) blackspire on my 2016 Fuse with the same stout crankset.  In short, it was an ordeal and I no longer have those cranks on the bike.

    The problem I had was that the stout crank on the fuse has an oddball 76mm BCD and no removable spider.  This led to me getting the blackspire–it was affordable and one of the few rings in 26t and 76mm BCD.  The problem arose because the blackspire is designed to use the same bolts as the SRAM XX1 cranks that use that BCD.  These are proprietary 8.5mm diameter bolts and are different than the standard 8mm bolt/nut combo that came on the Fuse.  So I ordered those bolts, only to find that they are too long to fit through the fat spider on the stout crank.  There was no way to fit this chainring to the stock crank.  I ended up buying a used Gx crank and an XX1 spider to fit it.

  • #207535

    It’s funny you mention that Carver. I was hoping that I could possibly pick up a good Race Face 28T chain ring for like….$50, right? Wrong. The bike repairman at my LBS called me yesterday and told me that SRAM was my only choice and it would be close to $100. I just hope it’s worth it all in the end. I tend to have an old love affair for climbing and the more technical it is the better. My riding buddy is always standing up to ascend and while I know we’re all different in how we ride I can come right behind him remaining seated and he is incredulous how I was able to do so. LOL. Why work harder if you really don’t have to?!


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