Easiest gearing on your MTB?

What’s the lowest (easiest) gearing you have on your mountain bike?

I have a 32 tooth chain ring, with eagle cassette - so 50 tooth cog, 29er wheels, which I found has worked pretty well for me (I live in the mountains and ride a lot up long climbs).

On one of the recent podcasts, the crew were discussing gearing, and Nate mentioned he could have run 30-50 for Leadville, and that some people should maybe even use a 28.

While I could probably use easier gearing for smooth climbs, with no rocks/ledges to get over or send me off balance, I think if I went any easier on my MTB, the gearing would be too easy to effectively use a “pedal surge” to regain my balance, or get me over rocks/roots/ledges.

Even with 32-50, I find myself dropping into a harder gear when I need to navigate tricky uphill sections I.e. to get more momentum.

Anyone ride with anything easier than 32-50? If so, how do you find it?

In my MTB I am currently using 32 - 46. Where I am living there are no very long climbs but short and stiff ones and I never any issue with it, never felt need a lighter gear. I will say depends on the kind of rides/races you do and your riding style - more in cadence or more in force.

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That is exactly the reasoning for the 30 or 28 as Nate had said. You can still shift to a harder gear for some of the tech to keep it going, but have the 30-50 or 28-50 to keep spinning for long fire road climbs, marathon mtb xc racing. If you race long endurance mtb events, spinning is your friend - especially for stuff like the Breck Epic, Firecracker 50 that have long road/fire road climbs when you’re at mile 40 and after 5,000 of climbing.


I think it makes sense for me to get a 30 tooth chain ring and try it out next spring.

Lately been running 30 up front and 46 in the back. I really only need this when I’m on long slow climbs with tons of switchbacks. Like you I frequently shift up though to dig in more when I feel it’s needed on the steeps.

Love the e13 9-46 cassette.

I just switched from 32 to 30 and I like it a lot. I am a big guy 6’3" 240lbs but it made a real difference for me.

Just brought a cheap steel chainring to try it. It was like $30 and pretty easy to install


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