'90s GT Arette - Some upgrades.

Apr 1, 2014
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Inherited this '90s GT Arette road or hybrid bike. https://ratrodbikes.com/forum/index.php?threads/90s-gt-arette-hybrid.112022/

I modified it toalow me to sit more upright.

Took it on one of our 12 mile loops around here and I ran it pretty much the whole way in top gear. This felt odd to me because there are enough hills and I ride it enough to know where I need to down shift for hills and where a long downhill stretch allows a high speed run. This bike has thinner tires than I'm used to and at 90 psi rolling resistance is quite low and the bike is lighter than the average cruiser.
If the bike has stock components, this should be the gear ratios..
Calculated the gear inches using stock 48 t high front sprocket
1st gear 28 t = 47 gear inches
2nd gear 24 t = 55 gear inches
3rd gear 22 t = 60 gear inches
4th gear 20 t = 66 gear inches
5th gear 18 t = 73 gear inches
6th gear 16 t = 82 gear inches
7th gear 14 t = 94 gear inches

My wife was riding along with me on her Giant Hybrid.
She don't understand my complaints the bike is too low geared.
What's wrong with a bike that's too easy to pedal?
We were moving along at a good pace after all.
Still bugs me though.
Weird.
 
Jul 16, 2019
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Are the wheels 26? Maybe that's the difference maker. I don't know how gear inches work, don't understand the math, but you ratios aren't much different than RockRat. The big crank sprocket has 48t, the rear is 12-28t, and I rarely spin it in highest gear. I can't see two teeth making that big of a difference, so maybe it's the tires. I also have more rolling resistance from tread.
 
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Jun 13, 2015
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I know what you mean about low gearing. I had to change out USAAF's ancient 7-speed freehub that wasn't rebuildable and could only get an 8. Noticed the newer gearing options and decided to go with a wall climber lower gear (42T) for the additional ratio (friction shift, so no problems with using the extra gear). Ended up having to get a longer derailleur to get it to work and it all ended up a disappointment as that 42T is pretty much useless unless I want to start challenging mountain goats on their turf, but I lack the balance and head banging gives me headaches these days. Maybe if I went to a 1x drivetrain it would be a decent spread, but no plan for that. My tallest ratio is 48 x 13, which is mostly fine, but I should have gone with a set that had a taller ratio instead of (ridiculously) short.

Gear inches are just the equivalent in single wheel size. Picture a penny farthing with a front wheel the diameter of the stated gear inch number, so a 94 gear inch ratio would be like riding a penny farthing with a 94" diameter wheel. Of course, if you had an inseam large enough for that, you'd be in danger of some little punk cutting down the beanstalk on you while you try to descend from your cloud castle.
 
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Apr 1, 2014
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Thanks guys.
Matti, the bike is running 700 c 32's. I think you are right, the "difference maker" is high gear on the cluster is a 14t cog.

Duchess, I'm glad you get my complaint re: low gearing. The thing is in my world this is a "skinny tire bike" and when the wife and I go riding I always ask, "what bikes shall we take?". Sometimes just a putt around - couple of stops maybe pick wild asparagus or berries and a coaster brake bike is fine.
But we have developed a taste for more aggressive riding using gears and tires with less rolling resistance. Nothing epic. (especially this year) but it's 14 to 20+ mile rides with hills so getting a feel for how a bike fits me includes gear inches.

I'm going to pull the chain cause it's kinda too short.
My brother bought it very used and I will count teeth because a lot of parts look new and the calculations I got from Sheldon Brown's gear calc may be off due to parts swapping.
GT Arette, Cannondale H300
1st gear 28 t = 47 gear inches, 1st gear 30 t = 36 gear inches
2nd gear 24 t = 55 gear inches, 2nd gear 26 t = 42 gear inches
3rd gear 22 t = 60 gear inches, 3rd gear 23 t = 47 gear inches
4th gear 20 t = 66 gear inches, 4th gear 20 t = 55 gear inches
5th gear 18 t = 73 gear inches, 5th gear 17 t = 64 gear inches
6th gear 16 t = 82 gear inches, 6th gear 15 t = 73 gear inches
7th gear 14 t = 94 gear inches, 7th gear 13 t = 84 gear inches
8th gear 11 t = 99 gear inches
Both bikes 700c wheels.
I have not ridden the cannondale recently, but I remember top gear was awesome and low was crazy stump pullin' low. I have some road bike cranks with a 52 t chainwheel if they fit the frame, gears would be....
1st gear 28 t = 51 gear inches
2nd gear 24 t = 60 gear inches
3rd gear 22 t = 65 gear inches
4th gear 20 t = 71 gear inches
5th gear 18 t = 79 gear inches
6th gear 16 t = 89 gear inches
7th gear 14 t = 102 gear inches
 
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Apr 1, 2014
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Removed the bike rear wheel. Cassette is loose and I have to tighten it.
Got accurate tooth count. Rear hub is a Shimano "sealed mech" FH-HG20.
With Shimano 13-15-17-19-21-23-26 7-speed "H" Cassette. Crankset was smaller than stock at only 42t on the largest ring.
So back to the gear inch calculator:

Calculated the gear inches using stock 42 t high front sprocket As I received it.
1st gear 26 t = 44 gear inches
2nd gear 23 t = 49 gear inches
3rd gear 21 t = 54 gear inches
4th gear 19 t = 60 gear inches
5th gear 17 t = 67 gear inches
6th gear 15 t = 76 gear inches
7th gear 13 t = 87 gear inches
So compared to the Cannondale, top gear is 12 gear inches lower than the Cannondale. Thus The GT is geared about 13% lower that the Cannondale.

Changing to a 48T front ring yields following gears:
1st gear 26 t = 50 gear inches
2nd gear 23 t = 56 gear inches
3rd gear 21 t = 62 gear inches
4th gear 19 t = 68 gear inches
5th gear 17 t = 76 gear inches
6th gear 15 t = 86 gear inches
7th gear 13 t = 100 gear inches

The Cannondale gives a range of 47 to 99 gear inches so the 48t would pretty much duplicate that.

Also have several 52t road bike cranksets, including a FC-A-300 biopace w 52 and 40t rings.

Changing to 52T front ring yields following gears:
1st gear 26 t = 54 gear inches
2nd gear 23 t = 61 gear inches
3rd gear 21 t = 67 gear inches
4th gear 19 t = 74 gear inches
5th gear 17 t = 83 gear inches
6th gear 15 t = 94 gear inches
7th gear 13 t = 108 gear inches
The Cannondale gives a range of 47 to 99 gear inches so the 52t would pretty much duplicate that and add 8% overdrive. :39:
 
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Apr 1, 2014
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Pulled the crank today. Surprised bearing bracket was gritty and hard to turn. Upon removal it was full of rust, dirt and bugs!
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After a thorough cleaning and re-lube bearings are fine again.
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Still looking for a crankset 48 to 52t. Have a couple that may work and going to try them tomorrow.
 
Apr 1, 2014
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Added vintage 48t oval chainring. I had to remove the inner rings for clearance.
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Nice 175mm length too.
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Taking for test ride today.
 
Apr 1, 2014
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6mi test ride went great! There are 3 pretty good hills a great test of low gears. Also a nice long down hill cruise stretch for high gear. :)

2nd gear got me up the steepest hill. Top gear always felt like there was resistance to pedal against, not "too easy" like it was with the 44t ring.
Nice to loose the front derailleur too.
 
Apr 1, 2014
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Just not happy with the "Gripe shift". Gotta go.
She's in my winter shop - down by the wood stove.
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Deore SIS thumbie and Grips from Ebay.
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Found some spray paint that matched original paint pretty well. :)

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New pedals from Amazon.
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Also this Treking saddle with memory foam to try. Was 1/2 off at Amazon.