Ultimate Beginner Guide To Touring Bike Gears

Touring Bike Gears

If you don’t know what the gear is, it is the smallest cog on your bike’s front crankset. Knowing about Touring bike gears is important because Gear ratios on touring bikes depend on several factors: where you plan to travel, the terrain, your experience, how strong you are as a rider, and, of course, how much gear you’re lugging around. If you just end up riding the gears that came with our bikes, you might end up making things complicated without swapping out touring bike gear for different scenarios. Our Complete and brief guide will solve all your queries regarding touring bike gears.

Basics Of Touring Bike Gears

A group of men riding on the back of a bicycle

Front Gears

A close up of a necklace

This touring bike gear is popularly known as chainrings. The whole setup of front gear with crank arms is called a crankset. Most cranksets have two or three chainrings.

Typically you recognize chainrings with their position inner, outer, or, in the case of a triple, middle, or by their size, big ring, little ring. For a triple touring bike gear, they’re usually called outer/big, middle, and the smallest one has a unique name – granny gear or just granny.

Rear Gears

Cogs are the gears on the rear wheel, and when you put a few of these touring bike gears together in ascending size and attach them onto your back wheel, they are known as a cassette. Most recent bikes have between 8 and 11 cogs in the cassette. The largest cogs’ placement is closest to the wheel, and the gears are numbered from the inside out.


This word in touring bike gear is pretty hard to pronounce and pretty easy to understand. The chain’s movement is from one cog to another or one chainring to another with a derailleur’s help. The derailleur in front is a relatively simple device that pushes the chain off one chain selected by the next. The derailleur in the rear end is a little more complicated as it has two jobs. It guides the cog and also maintains the chain tension.

You’ll face more difficulty to shift your front gears while the chain is pulled tight; therefore, always lighten your stroke a bit when you are switching chainrings. While you are pedaling hard, the rear derailleur is better at switching gears while pedaling hard. That will move the chain to a larger gear when you pull the shift cable in touring bike gears with both the front and the rear derailleur. When you release, it will move the chain to a smaller gear.

Different Gearing Set-Ups

Crank Set (Front Gears)- A compact crankset typically has a 50 tooth (50T) big ring and a 34 tooth (34T) little-ring.

Cassette (Rear Gears)- Always choose a cassette with a narrow range of ratios but closely spaced between each cog, or you could choose a cassette that offers a wide range of ratios but at the cost of bigger jumps between cogs.

Reasons To Use Touring Bike Gears

Avoid ‘cross-chaining’- Cross-chaining means when you have a little/little or big/big combination. In general, avoid cross-chaining, but occasionally it’s okay. When you are on the inner or middle ring, only apply the inner two-thirds. When you are riding in ‘granny gear’ limit yourself to the largest two or three cogs.

Anticipate your shifts- For maintaining a smoother shift, always shift before you have to. As you approach a red light, you should also downshift a couple of gears in anticipation of getting rolling again as smoothly as possible.

Keep pedaling- When you maintain constant pedaling, load shifts to the cardiovascular system, otherwise in fast and coarse riding, load in on the muscular system alone, and power is equal in both cases.


Another time you go for a vacation, make wise decisions for touring bike gears. If you are climbing up, then the natural choice will be a compact crankset, or in extreme cases, a triple, but think about the rear cassette. The key to touring bike gears is to know the kind of riding you are planning to do with the bike you purchase and choose the gearing accordingly.

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