Lower-geared tourer

The Ridgeback Panorama has a 21in low gear
The Ridgeback Panorama has a 21in low gear
The Ridgeback Panorama has a 21in low gear

Lower-geared tourer

I want to buy a new touring bike but I am struggling to find one that has gearing low enough to allow me to climb hills when loaded up. Currently, I tour on an old 26in-wheel mountain bike with a triple, with 44/32/22t chainrings and an 11-32t 9-speed cassette. Lowest gear works out a little under 18in.  I’m looking for a disc-braked drop-bar bike with a similarly low gear but I’m drawing a blank. Even with a road triple (typically 50/39/30t) and a wide range cassette (e.g. 11-32t), the lowest gear (30/32) works out a shade over 25in with a 700C wheel. It’s significantly higher, and there is no way I am getting up some hills on that. I’d prefer STI-type brake/shift levers, not bar-ends.  All solutions gratefully received. 

Marie E Convery

The Ridgeback Panorama tested in Cycle October/November 2017 fits your specification almost to the letter, with a lowest gear ratio of 21in thanks to its 26t inner chainring and 34t largest sprocket. The Dawes Galaxy Excel tested in the same article has similar gearing but is equipped with cantilever brakes.

Richard Hallett

​​​Cycle’s Technical Editor

This Q&A was published in 'Cycle' the magazine for members of Cycling UK. To contact the experts, email your technical, health, legal or policy questions to editor@cyclinguk.org or write to Cycle Q&A, PO Box 313, Scarborough, YO12 6WZ

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